refugees +++ integration +++ Denmark +++ Germany +++ Eddies +++ absolutely intercultural 196 +++

Kalø HøjskoleWe have a new look for the website, a Facebook milestone, a webinar on culturally responsive teaching and a plea for help on the Edublog awards! We will be talking to two teachers about how they adapt to a diverse classroom.
So we have updated the website to accommodate the new material we have on culturally responsive teaching. You can now also sign up for the Teaching Culture newsletter . The next one comes out on the same day as this podcast and includes information, links and news. And of course it’s all free.

And thanks to Jeja Petrici who became our 500th Facebook liker on 16th October. We regularly post links on intercultural topics there on most week days. Just do a search on Facebook for Absolutely Intercultural or use the link on the sidebar.
People overcome all sorts of obstacles to be on our show! Here’s Alexandra Haas in Germany, arriving to our agreed recording a tiny bit delayed!

absolutely at home
We’ll hear more about what the refugee influx has meant for Alexandra’s work later in the show. But first we will make a visit to a very special institution, a Danish high school, which is not what you may think. The network of Danish high schools dotted all over the country, usually in very attractive rural settings, is a place for adults to go on short to long term residential courses. These courses in the past have tended not to be vocational but mainly just for the sake of learning. It’s a very Danish institution and can be traced back to Grundtvig, a Danish 19th century philosopher who gave his name to the European Union’s strand for adult education funding. My local high school specialises in languages and nowadays caters for foreigners in Denmark needing to learn Danish in order to settle down here. I went to Kalø Højskole (see image) to meet Jennifer Appave, a Canadian who has worked in Japan, Africa and Asia, to ask her about her experience teaching multinational groups in this residential setting.

absolutely German
Did you know that this podcast came out of a project called Teaching Culture which ended in 2006? In Teaching Culture we developed a curriculum to help teachers become more interculturally aware and to include intercultural elements no matter what they were teaching. Alexandra Haas was the initiator and coordinator of the project and it was great to catch up with her almost 10 years later to find out how the refugee influx in Germany was affecting her work at VHS Rhein-Sieg.
Hearing from Jennifer and Alexandra is very helpful to me as I update and adapt the Teaching Culture course so that it is suitable for Erasmus+ funding. What we learned there was about the importance of

  • treating each learner as an individual,
  • negotiating what goes on in the classroom and
  • being prepared for conflict and dealing with that by finding out what the underlying reasons for the conflict may be.

absolutely global
I’ll be talking about making the most of the intercultural resources in the adult classroom at the upcoming Global Education conference which is free and online. My session is in the European evening of November 19th at 20:00 CET and you might want to explore the other sessions available from 16-19th November because the overall theme is about going global in your classroom.
So that’s it for this show! We’ll be posting on the Facebook page when the nominations for the Edublog awards start so please do consider nominating the podcast. The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on 4th December. So until then stay tuned!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook or leave a comment on iTunes and stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox




IATEFL +++ Manchester +++ Pakistan +++ Nepal +++ Bangladesh +++ Afghanistan +++ Zimbabwe +++ Cameroon +++ Absolutely Intercultural 190 +++

web-banner-2015-url-hashtag-330x250In this show I will be taking you to Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. For example why do people learn English in Pakistan? And what do you think the best way of delivering training would be to the semi-literate migrant workers of Bangladesh? This show includes snippets of recordings made at the IATEFL conference in Manchester last month. Continue reading IATEFL +++ Manchester +++ Pakistan +++ Nepal +++ Bangladesh +++ Afghanistan +++ Zimbabwe +++ Cameroon +++ Absolutely Intercultural 190 +++

Stereotypes +++ Dubuque +++ Yartey +++ Ideal Global Life Summit +++ Absolutely Intercultural 186

1622414_10203754713767118_2814680752038057489_oHappy New Year! Welcome to the first Absolutely Intercultural show of 2015 brought to you by Anne Fox in Denmark.

absolutely global
We start by going absolutely global as the Living Your Ideal Global Life Summit, which ran for the first time last January, is about to happen again. I will let Sabrina Ziegler one of the main organisers, tell us what we can expect this year. Don’t forget that it is free to participate, you can sign up at the website  and the dates are from 26 to 30 January. If we’re lucky we may be bringing you a few highlights from the summit in a future show. Continue reading Stereotypes +++ Dubuque +++ Yartey +++ Ideal Global Life Summit +++ Absolutely Intercultural 186

Scotland +++ referendum +++ Ewan McIntosh +++ Absolutely Intercultural 184 +++

8577971814_0e4aa90744_zYes it may be cliché Scottish music, but Amazing Grace is the only bagpipe music that I could find with a Creative Commons licence, and I did like a bit of bagpipe music when I lived in Scotland a long time ago. A couple of months ago I was on a trip to Scotland where all the talk was about the Scottish referendum so I thought I would talk to a few people about it, but would they talk to me? Continue reading Scotland +++ referendum +++ Ewan McIntosh +++ Absolutely Intercultural 184 +++

absolutely intercultural 159 +++ Rotation Curation +++ Culture Shocks +++ Jordan +++ Working in an international environment +++

Our new editor, Elena

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.

absolutely twitter
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.

absolutely stereotypical
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.

absolutely international
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.

absolutely different
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.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Elena Colunga Caballero & Karsten Kneese



absolutely intercultural 153 +++ South Korea +++ Germany +++ Semester abroad +++ Ideal student +++ Personal development +++

EWHA-University-Students Today I am going to talk about the exciting decisions of those students who broaden their horizons by studying abroad. Furthermore we will talk to an expert who helps these students get the right information and financial support for fulfilling their dreams of living and studying in another country. Last but not least I would like to share an urban myth about an intercultural incident on a British Airways flight complete with a happy ending (at least for some of the people involved!)

absolutely remarkable
In Germany it is normal for about 20% of students at universities go abroad during their studies. However, Anne Gründer, is rather special in many ways. She studied Biomathematics and chose to spend a semester studying abroad at EWHA Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea. And because she enjoyed her time so much she actually extended her stay for a second semester. Anna also successfully learned the language with the Asian symbols that look so unfamiliar to the western eye. Now that she is back in Germany she looks back on the cultural differences she experienced and shares how she benefited from her stay. In our first category  she will start by telling us why she chose South Korea as her destination for her semester abroad.

absolutely courageous
If one of our listeners is toying with the idea of coming to Germany, our interview will be particularly interesting for you. Kata Perjési is an Hungarian student. After spending a study semester abroad in Finland, she had planned to do her internship in Finland too. However, luckily for us she ended up being our new intern here at RheinAhrCampus. Kata is from Corvinus University in Budapest and will stay here for six months. In our next category she is going to tell us, why she chose Germany as her destination and what benefits she expects to get out of her stay abroad.

absolutely ideal
Our last guest for today is Wolfgang Kräft. He is working for the “German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD”. Together with his team, one of Wolfgang’s jobs is to travel through Germany and to inform German students how they could study abroad and which financial support they can get. They stop in bigger cities with their go-out mobile bus and provide students with a lot of information. In our last category Wolfgang will tell us what the ideal study abroad student should look like, how students can receive information about a semester abroad and finally he will give us advice on how your stay abroad could be the most productive time of our studies.

absolutely funny
Let me finish today with an intercultural urban myth about a black man and a white woman – a story has turned into a well-copied piece on the internet over the last decade. According to different versions this incident would have happened on about 17 different Airlines which is not very plausible but the story is nice enough to be re-told here:

“A 50- year old white woman on a British Airways flight arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.
“Whats the problem, ma?” the hostess asked her
“Cant you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t sit here next to him! You have to change my seat”
– “Please, calm down” – said the hostess
“I think, all the seats are occupied, but I`m still going to check if we have any.”
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
“Madam, I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn`t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class.”
“Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class be upgraded to the first class. However, given the circumstances, the captain thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person.”
And turning to the black man, the hostess quickly said:
“Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your hand luggage, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…”
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some giving standing ovations.”

Adapted from:


Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 4 May.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer



absolutely intercultural 145 +++ Internship FAZ +++ Facebook no thanks! +++ JUAf charity Tanzania +++ Tradie of the Month +++

Kikwe Woman in the JUAf projectToday our show will be all about work and will focus on different work situations. You will first listen to an interview with Kyle Hickman from California who did an internship with a German newspaper, then to Mathew Dunne, a plumber from New Zealand, who worked in England and who is currently working in Munich, Germany. Also, I interviewed Judi McAlpine, an American manager who quit her job to found a non-profit organization in Tanzania. Adelheid Korpp will tell us her reasons, why Facebook will never play a role for her, neither in her working life or her private life.

absolutely committed
In our first category I talk to Kyle Hickman from California. At the time of the interview, Kyle was doing an internship with a big national newspaper in Germany, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“,  and told us a little about the cultural differences he had noticed between California and Germany. For example, he seems to have detected a difference in attitude towards interns who are doing a practical training in a company. While he expected to be exploited as cheap labour – making coffee, copies or “cold calls” he noticed that his internship in Germany was really centered on the professional development of the intern – often even based on the intern’s personal likes and interests. So, from the beginning Kyle was trusted with what he calls “real work” and was able to contribute to the success of the newspaper. However, he also found out that smiling too much in the work place could be seen as suspicious in his host country and adapted his behavior accordingly. He did not find it difficult to integrate, though, as he grabbed every opportunity to be social with his co-workers. Listen out for what Kyle shares about eye-contact and how he had to adapt to a different culture.

absolutely careful
In our second category I talk to Adelheid Korpp. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus. Students from our partner universities who have been in contact with her often want to add her as a friend to their Facebook accounts. However, Adelheid is suspicious of being part of this biggest virtual community in the world. Well, she is probably right because life was difficult and complex enough before we had to check Facebook and Twitter. Sharing your personal information and pictures on the internet can, indeed, sometimes perhaps be harmful for you and for your career. So let’s find out, why she doesn’t want to take part in the big social media hype.

absolutely helpful
In our third category  I interviewed Judi McAlpine from the US when we both met in Cambodia earlier this year. Judi was a very successful manager for a huge company in the US. But then she transferred all her resources into a 2-years stay in Tanzania, where she lived in the villages with indigenous people and founded a charity. JUAF is a registered non-profit charity located in the Kikwe village of Tanzania. In partnership with indigenous women, Judi founded a village with resources for vulnerable women and children to empower them to fight poverty. This is done through micro financing, education, and support. Check out their blog for more information. But why would someone like Judi give up her well-paid job in the US to move to third-world-country?

absolutely tradie
In our last category I Interview Mat Dunne who is a plumber from New Zealand. He has travelled a lot around the world for his work. He worked in Canada and in England. Right now he is living in Munich, Germany. In every step of his life he experienced different cultural situations. In the interview he will tell us about the differences in reputation between “tradies” in New Zealand and craftsmen in Europe. It is, indeed, true that the same profession may have very different prestige and reputation in different countries. I was personally surprised during my time in Australia to find that “tradies, unlike their often bourgeois German counterparts would mostly be very good-looking guys with a cool hair- and life style and a surfboard on their cars so that in between two customers they would hop on their boards and enjoy the surf. On page 3 of cheap newspapers you would sometimes even find the picture of a shirtless “tradie of the month”.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 14 October

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer

absolutely intercultural 143 +++ ERASMUS special +++ Experience Report +++ EU-placements +++ Internship +++

ERASMUS LOGOToday, we present a show which is going to focus on the European Program called “ERASMUS”, named after Eramus of Rotterdam. However, the name also stands for “EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”. So, University students can apply for ERASMUS grants when they want to study abroad withinin Europe. Therefore we will hear different opinions about this mobility program and the opportunities students gain by studying abroad within the ERASMUS framework. Nowadays it is more and more important for students to internationalize themselves during their studies. This means they have to leave their comfort zones and broaden their horizons by studying abroad. In order to initiate this process, the European ERASMUS program was founded almost 25 years and has been giving out grants for the internationalization of students.

 absolutely basic
In our first category Adelheid Korpp is going to tell us, what the program is about and which preparations students have to make. She is an expert on the ERASMUS program. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus and she knows a lot about the grants. She will tell us which countries in Europe take part in the ERASMUS program and what benefits student can expect if they decide to go on an ERASMUS exchange. For good Europeans it is essential to understand each other better particularly in context of the recent discussions about financial solidarity between the European member states.

absolutely experienced
In our second category Timo Schneider will share his experiences with us. He is back from his stay in Worcester, England, where he studied at a partner university of RheinAhrCampus. He will tell us how he heard about the program, what motivated him to put in an application, and of course which benefits he got from his stay. Timo also shares some of his intercultural experiences in sports where he noticed that his previous stereotypes really did not help. He will also give us a very useful advice.

absolutely working
In our last category Carsten Ritterath a student of business administration reports about his preparation for an internship in England. His football coach helped him find the English organisation where one of his tasks was to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten managed to get a grant from ERASMUS-placements and he tells us what he needed to do in order to apply for this. He wrote a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, he took part in an intercultural seminar and he had to pass an English test. I took this interview with Carsten some time ago so in the meantime he is already back from his very successful ERASMUS stay.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 16 September

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer

absolutely intercultural 133 +++ different skin colours +++ adoption +++ integration of black children +++ children confronted with racism +++

black-boy CG2_SoulArtist on flickrWhat pictures would you have in your minds when we are talking    about people who are visibly different? Perhaps the difference could have something to do with their skin colour? In fact, today I present some exciting interviews for you with people who have children with a different colour.

absolutely integrated
Christiane Bainski, adopted a black youngster who was a pupil in her school class. Of course, this was not the typical way to adopt a child –  the idea actually came from Busa himself, her pupil, who was taught by Christiane. Can you imagine how Busa convinced his teacher to adopt him? It was a big step for both, teacher and pupil – but the administrative side was less complicated than expected. Let us listen to Christiane’s report. 

absolutely mysterious
Iris Hansen, also a white woman has three beautifully coloured children. However, her husband is also white. So the obvious question is:  “Where does all the  colour of the children come from?” Sounds mysterious? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Iris’ husband likes dark chocolate as he sometimes jokingly suggests?

absolutely adopted
Paul Masson is also the father of a coloured boy.  He tells us that Mathieu, his black son, sometimes misinterpreted stereotypes about black people he heard when he was young. For example one time he got really worried when at school he learned that black children do not get enough to eat …

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 29 April

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Markus Scherer

Continue reading absolutely intercultural 133 +++ different skin colours +++ adoption +++ integration of black children +++ children confronted with racism +++

absolutely intercultural 130 +++ China’s one child policy +++ Speaking ‘merican +++ Vicki Hollett +++ indirectness +++

The picture is of me holding our European Podcast Award, beautiful but heavy, together with the Olympus DM 55o Digital Voice Recorder which I used to record this show. OK I promise that this is the last time I’ll mention it! Thanks for the votes and thanks to the whole Absolutely Intercultural team which keeps the whole thing going.

absolutely lost
Tingting Yang is a Chinese teacher of English and corporate communication advisor. There was lots to talk about but having done a Masters in Intercultural Communication and working as an intercultural trainer with Verge Cross-cultural Communication. There was one aspect of Chinese policy which Tingting was convinced has had a huge effect on Chinese culture and that is the one-child policy.

absolutely ‘merican
Now I want to introduce you to Vicki Hollett, author of several successful English language learning books. Vicki is British but moved to the US about ten years ago. Her book Business Objectives, had been very successful in its original British English version so her publisher suggested that they make an American English version. We hear about positive and negative politeness and indirectness as used in Britain and America. To test our understanding of indirect English, Vicki produced a dialogue in which two people discuss what to do about a project which is behind schedule. Is the outcome clear?

And if you need a bit of structured listening or writing practice then you can find several different types of dictation exercises based on a snippet of that interview at the Listen and Write website.

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany on18th March

So long … stay tuned!

The host of this show is Anne Fox : Editor: Markus Scherer