In today’s podcast we hear from people who are comparing their life styles in Germany with that in their home countries. However, we will also discuss different beer traditions with a Belgian who gives beer seminars in Germany.
We hear from Ru´a and Francisco, exchange students from Jordan and Spain who tell us how some everyday experiences in a new culture can be a little overwhelming at the beginning.
Then we listen to Filip, the “beer seminarist” from Belgium. He will explain the main differences in beer brewing to us.
In our last part Issa tells about his ideas about Germany before he arrived. He held many stereotypes before coming to Germany and he will admit that some of them were disproved right on arrival.
In today’s podcast we have special topic: the Muslim Ramadan. The reason for choosing this topic is the great number of refugees in Germany which comes with a great number of intercultural learning opportunities. At RheinAhrCampus we have embraced this opportunity and have reached out to those refugees who are interested in university life, have integrated them in our daily routines and they, in turn, have readily shared their new lives with us.
Recently we organized an international cooking event followed by Iftar (إفطار – the joint breaking of the Ramadan fast) together with some international students, German students, ordinary Remagen citizens and our new international friends, the refugees. The success of the event and the incredible Ramadan spirit that reigned in the two kitchens gave us the inspiration for our Ramadan Special today.
Our New Editor from Spain: Elena Colunga Caballero. Welcome to our team!
So what should we be listening to in this podcast:
How do you personally try to gain authentic information about a country and culture that you are interested in? Do you trust the official view of the foreign office website? Or do you go straight to Wikipedia? How about listening to some real people from that country? This way you will get the unofficial story from the citizens themselves. Perhaps it could be interesting to listen to a father of two children who can tell you what it is really like to take the two on public transport or to a restaurant? This is inside information that you may not find in any of the official publications of the country. Under a system which is called Rotation Curation Movement, Karsten Kneese will host the twitter account of I_amGermany for a week starting next Monday.
Let us explore what you, the listeners can find out about his culture if you follow him during that week. In our first category “absolutely twitter” I asked Karsten how the Rotation Curation Movement has developed since it started in Sweden last year. If you are interested, please find “I_amGermany” on Twitter on Monday and follow Karsten around for a week. This is grass-roots journalism on Twitter that I think you should not miss. You have the opportunity to find out the real story from real citizens without having to travel to the country.
I spoke to a group of students from the German-Jordanian University who jumped in at the deep end and decided to spend a whole semester in Europe. In our second category “absolutely stereotypical” I asked them what their parents and friends had warned them about before they left.
In our third category “absolutely international” I am talking to a young but very well travelled person. After spending all her holidays abroad since she was 15 she has also studied in France and has now started doing her practical training in the department of Languages /International Affairs at the University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz. I asked Elena from Spain what her friends and family had said when she was planning her big step.
Let us now return to the group of Jordanians who told me that in their country it would be very unusual for a lecturer to go to the university by bike, because there seems to exist a bigger “power distance” between lecturers and their students. We also learn that in Jordan, if you get invited to dinner you have to refuse several times in order to be polite before you finally accept. So one of the students politely said “No” to a dinner invitation in Germany but then learned the hard way that here you only get one shot, and he was not invited again. In our last category “absolutely different” I asked the students to explain major cultural differences which they have observed during the first weeks in Europe.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 2nd of November from Anne Fox in Denmark.
In this show we’ll be going to Ireland and asking if multi-culturalsim is dead then what should replace it? We’ll also be hearing from another Irish man, Robert O’Dowd, based in Léon, Spain about the added value of multimedia when doing online intercultural exchanges and from two of the current participants in the Podcasting course offered by The Consultants-E. I’ve been tutoring various online courses there and it has often struck me how intercultural these EFL teachers are and so this time I took the opportunity to find out more about them. For example I discovered one of the issues facing female Saudi students who want to study abroad.
absolutely failed But we’ll begin with Stephen Spillane in Ireland, a political blogger whose latest post made me want to find out more. Stephen was picking up on the backlash against multiculturalism which is spreading across Europe and made an interesting suggestion about what to replace it with. So let’s hear Stephen explain why multiculturalism has absolutely failed. Soon after I had spoken with Stephen my eye was caught by a recent report with the headline Employers looking for global awareness in young recruits, which is a kind ofpositive reply to the negative comment Stephen got to his post, and tells us that intercultural awareness is a sought after quality by employers. You can find the link to that report here.
absolutely global In my work with The Consultants-E helping English teachers integrate technology into their everyday practice I have met (virtually of course) many interesting people. Usually the teachers fall into two categories; either they teach gloriously mixed classes in their home country or they are the ones who have moved to teach in a new culture. So in our next category, absolutely global, we are going to meet two teachers from my current podcasting class as I thought it only right for them to experience podcasting from a different perspective. First I talked with Janice Ford, an Australian based in Sydney who has taught English to students from all over the world. Janice talked to me about some of the nice moments with her international groups. I then spoke with Samah Thabet, an Egyptian woman who has been teaching in Saudi Arabia or KSA, for the last four years. I was curious about Samah’s students also. In fact my chats with Janice and Samah and others from my course were much longer so watch out for more from them in later shows. If you would like to practice your English you can try the dictation based on a short extract from this category at Listen & Write.
absolutely social In our final category I am bringing you an extract from a free webinar offered by the Language Learning and Social Media project on the topic of social media and interculturality. Entitled Give interculturality a chance – Can social media make a difference?” I was one of the invited speakers and you can access my recorded slideshow at SlideBoom. The webinar featured Fred Dervin from Finland and Christine Develotte from France who presented some very interesting statistics about the use of social media and Liang Wang from the Open University in Milton Keynes in the UK who talked about the social media habits of Chinese students. The webinar also included a presentation by Robert O’Dowd based in Léon, Spain who talked about the multimedia exchange between his Spanish students and a group in the USA. Does multimedia help to raise intercultural awareness in an online exchange? So if Robert O’Dowd’s comments have whetted your apetite then you can find the link to the whole webinar here.
Thanks very much to everyone who took part in today’s show. We couldn’t do it without you! If you have any comments, criticisms or suggestions then please add a comment here on the blog.
This show we will be mainly about storytelling as we meet the author of a book about intercultural communication and explore the art of story telling in Africa and as you will hear this does not just mean talking. We’ll be talking to the author of a new book on the grammar of culture and finding out the role of stories there and finding out some of the key features of story telling in the African tradition.
Natalia Pérez de Herrasti told us about the first volume of her new book called Grammatica del la Cultura, the grammar of culture. As you can guess the book is in Spanish. So why do we need to be aware of the grammar of culture? We discover that this is a way of making sense of the stories or critical incidents that are the starting point for so much intercultural training.
And now for the first time on Absolutely Intercultural you will be given a taste of African story telling. This is not just a case of ‘Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin’. This is absolutely participatory. Oluwatoyin Kole from Nigeria was invited to demonstrate African story telling technique to a University of Florida class on Social change through communication. So first came a bit of pre-session training. Then we’ll hear an extract from the story which concerns a couple who have long been married but have not been able to have children. The husband consults the local diviner who says… If you want to experience the full story then you will have to follow this link. We also hear the start of the discussion after the story had ended.
So you heard the man! Let’s hear your stories. If you have any stories of critical incidents which happened to you or which you heard about and which made a difference to the way you think about things then let’s hear them. You can add them as a comment to this blog or you can send us an audio recording which we can include in our next show or we can arrange to meet you online so that we get a more interactive version.
Today the whole show is dedicated to the go-out campaign, of BMBF and DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, which encourages young people to spend a semester abroad. I spoke to students and organisers and asked them how to plan your stay abroad, which skills are needed and what benefits we can expect to get out of it. They told me what reasons motivated them to plan this big step in their careers and but also in their private lives and which intercultural experiences they have made abroad.
Making intercultural experiences abroad is becoming more and more important for our working lives. It is generally agreed that students should pack up, leave everything behind, discover the intercultural world and learn about new cultures at least for one semester. I met a student who has done this more than one time. In our first category we hear how Tobias Pfanner went to Canada and after this experience he also did an exchange semester at our partner university in Australia. Right now he is applying for a scholarship to do his internship in China. But let us listen to how it all began during his first weeks on campus.
absolutely going out
In our next category I spoke with Wolfgang Kreft, from the go-out campaign of the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. He told me how they tour from city to city – from university to university park their mobile stand with information in the middle of the campus they visit and try to convince students to make that big step and study abroad. I must say I am a great fan of the go-out campaign of the DAAD that reaches out to the students where they are – in the middle of their campus and sends out the clear signal that going abroad is not reserved to the best students and certainly not only to the richest students but should be an aim for everybody. On our campus this has inspired many students to find out more about our partner universities and scholarships and to visit the international office to get more information
In our next category, I interviewed David, a student who has made internationalization a priority and has studied and worked in Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Russia, and in Great Britain – no wonder he is strategically planning to join the diplomatic service after his studies.
absolutely german In our last category I did an interview with Dino, who is the student editor of this podcast and who has just come back from his experience abroad. He spent a semester at our partner university in Spain and told me what motivated him to make his own intercultural experiences abroad.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 23 July
Our show is getting more and more international. My English co-host Anne Fox has been doing her shows from Denmark where she lives with her family, our half-German half Italian and half Swiss editor Dino Nogarole is currently doing his semester abroad in León and so is editing the sound files from Spain – and I am still in Queensland, Australia where I am teaching and doing some research for one semester. However, thanks to the new media – email, virtual drives, and digital platforms – such international cooperation is feasible which means that we can bring fresh, new and I hope interesting reports from around the world directly into your ears. Our interviewees today are from Spain, Canada, and from Hungary.
Some people who listened to my absolutely down-under reports asked me whether, apart from a “Tropical Christmas by the Pool” or a “National Australia Day” which I described both in previous shows – a very normal, regular day in Australia would also be different for a European. So, I followed myself with the microphone one morning and recorded my intercultural impressions from getting up at 7 o’ clock until I arrived at the University of the Sunshine Coast at 9. You will notice from my comments how much I like it here – except for the first minutes after waking up – I admit, I am not a morning person.
In our second category we go to an unusual language classroom in Canada where the Chinese teacher encourages the students to interrupt the teaching if they are thirsty. In different cultures some gestures mean different things. Symbols are not universal. But what do you do when a good friend from abroad uses a gesture that offends you? Do you choose to ignore it and pretend nothing happened? Or do you talk to your friend and explain that the gesture is not acceptable in your culture? Listen to what John Kaethler from Brock University in Kanada did, maybe we can learn some general strategies about how to react constructively to these intercultural incidents.
Have you ever needed to construct an image of yourself, because otherwise people won’t take you seriously? When you start a new job or move to another city you could plan to try out something new. So, quite some time ago we asked Marlen from Spain and Anita from Hungary how they have worked on their personal image projection when they first started their new jobs, teaching at a university.Marlén describes how she wanted to prove to the students that she was the teacher and perhaps went a little over the top to the point that one of her students was frightened.
To vote for us at the “European Podcast-Award”, just click here and you will find a list with several podcast. We are very thankfull for every vote we get.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 05.03.
Image projection and internships abroad – We have a winner for our frappr-map-competition – And hey! We won the Edublog Award!
Believe it or not – we are Number One in the Edublog Award in the category “Best Audio Blog”. This is really amazing and we’d like to thank each and every one of you for your votes and your support. And of course for all the comments and emails we got. We will get to all of them when we return from our Christmas break in January.
And our frappr-map-competition has come to an end. And the winner is… Zanele Khumalo from Cape Town in South Africa! Many congratulations, Zanele, and thank you very much for putting pin number 100 on our frappr-map. We will contact you soon and see how we can make you the guest host of one of our next shows. And of course we’d like to thank all the others for participating in our competition and for putting your pin on our map. It is nice to see where you are listening from.
We believe that “actively designing your image” is a very controversial but also an important concept that especially students should pay a lot more attention to when they are planning a stay abroad.
But not only when you go abroad should you think about your image projection. Also when you start a new job or move to another city you could plan to try out something new. So we have asked Marlen Izquierdo from Spain and Anita Molnar from Hungary if they have worked on their image projection when they first started their new jobs, teaching at a university, and we call the second column ‘absolutely tiny!’, and you’ll soon understand why… =)
For our third and last column ‘absolutely abroad!’, we have interviewed Wiebke Begere, who is doing an internship in the tourist office on Achill Island, which is situated just off the west coast of Ireland. She’ll tell us about the differences between the buzzing Melting Pot Dublin, and the remote and very calm Achill Island. And she’ll also give us an insight on what she has learned from her stay abroad already.
We’d like to thank you once again for listening to us, for your support, for your comments and emails and basically for everything you have done to make this podcast what it is.
The next show will be coming to you on the 12th of January from Anne Fox in Denmark.
We are very much looking forward to the next year and hope that you will…stay tuned!
And this came in last minute: ‘absolutely intercultural!’ has been named a Top 100 Education Blog by the Online Education Database. Wow, thank you very much! Now we’re really under pressure to live up to all the expectations. =)
Thanks to all of you for your numerous comments after the first show – we were overwhelmed by your response! In our second show we ask ourselves: Can intercultural awareness be taught in a classroom? Can it be taught in online courses?
We start by giving you some quotations from the 17 comments of feed-back on the first show. Fernando, a Spanish student who is doing his internship in Germany explains how surprised he was to hear Germans discuss different olive oils as if they were wines. Alexandra gives examples of how you can teach intercultural communication by facilitating intercultural experiences between participants of different countries. Ana shares her experience of an intercultural business simulation between her university and universities in Sweden and Lithuania.
And then we ask you, the listeners: Have you got any experience with intercultural classes? Perhaps even online? How can we gain intercultural awareness? In our gossip column Tommy from Denmark tells us how the Mohamed-cartoons crossed his holiday plans in Egypt and in our look at our favourite podcasts with cultural contents we hear about solar radio for coffee traders in Ruanda.
In our first show we take you along to Leon in the North of Spain. Some guest in a tapas bar tell us about the social aspects of the tapas culture. Dot from Sweden wonders when Spanish people ever get their sleep and Indre from Lithuania tells us the heart-breaking story of a Lithuanian basket-baller and his Israeli girlfriend who have different religions and whose wedding plans are overshadowed by gossip in their respective countries.