In today’s podcast we hear from people who are comparing their life styles in Germany with that in their home countries.
First up we hear from Dennis Rayuschkin, a RheinAhrCampus student from Kazachstan who tells us about his cultural backround and his integration efforts.
Then we listen to to Dr. Wendy Spinks, who will explain some differences she has noticed between the German and the Australian cultures.
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In this show we’ll be hearing about a new online training for foreign interns and if you decide this could be for you then you have the chance to take part free of charge starting in March! And not only that, if you take part in the course you could be in the running for a free trip to Brussels in September.
My name’s Anne Fox and I wonder if you guessed correctly which of the stories we told you in the last show were true or not? Do you remember that we were asking students to imagine themselves in a future scenario where they take an internship abroad and some of them were true and some were not! This was a demonstration of the old adage ‘Fake it til you make it’ and we’re hoping that the effort that Younes & Philipp put into their stories will lead them to put at least some parts of their stories into practice anyway. You can read their comments about their plans on our Absolutely Intercultural Facebook page.
And it was through Facebook that I discovered that Professor Sugata Mitra who was featured in Show 72, has been awarded the TED prize for 2013. TED is a growing bank of short talks by inspirational speakers which are freely available on the Internet. Every TED speaker is asked to describe their dream and this year it is Sugata Mitra who gets to put his into practice. Mitra’s research shows that we are are all capable of learning wherever we are and he wants to apply these findings to provide education in areas where it is poor or non-existent. And now with the prize money he has a million dollars to start realizing his dream.
So we’re in the middle of a financial crisis; there’s high graduate unemployment so maybe it’s a good idea for graduates of any discipline to find out more about how business works? They can do this through sponsored internships but today we’re going to hear about asking the interns to also follow a course during their internship to really get them noticing these entrepreneurial processes. And you could join them! The first pilot has just ended and we’ll be hearing from two interns who took the course and if you like what you hear and are planning to be an intern by April then why not apply to join the second pilot? The application form is at the Unikey website or you can contact me through our Facebook page or here on our blog.
The project is called UniKey where we invite foreign interns to go absolutely entrepreneurial. We hear first from a couple of the project partners and their vision of the UniKey project, Christina Langsdorf and Professor Dr Carsten Müller who teaches business subjects at Fulda University. The UniKey course is aimed at foreign interns, who are based in small and medium sized organisations and also social enterprises and the course is based on authentic entrepreneurial situations. We also hear from Nina Raiss, a German doing an internship in France, about why she agreed to do an additional Unikey online course on top of her internship.
We also meet Collette Wanjugu Döppner, the UniKey course director who you will meet online if you decide to do the course.
And as if it wasn’t enough to be doing a course on top of an internship, we added a slight gaming element in the form of extra challenges which were not compulsory. But if you did do them, there was a chance of winning a trip to Brussels. I was able to catch up with two of the winners and asked them about their motivation: first Nina Raiss, and then Torsten Scheithauer who is doing his internship in Northern Ireland.
There are lots of other added touches to the UniKey course and one of them is the opportunity to meet with a different entrepreneur or expert in each of the seven modules and ask them questions. For example in the third module which looks at ethical dilemmas we meet Ilona Jehn who worked at Lufthansa Cargo.
So if you want to join the next course starting at the end of March then apply now! And full disclosure: I am a partner in the project which is why I know so much about it!
By the way I just added a resource to the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon store, a sort of do it yourself multimedia course in intercultural competence called Komunipass. If you buy through our Amazon store you don’t pay any more while we get a little bit of the price which helps to pay our podcast costs. You will find links to our Amazon store on our Facebook page also. If you know of an item which we should add then do let us know. There is a permanent link at the top of this blog page.
The next show will be coming to you from Germany on April 5th with Laurent Borgmann so until then stay tuned!
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.
Today I would like to pick up the topic of your last show. We talked about CSR which stands for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. In times of global markets and increased business competition, Small and Medium sized Enterprises must find a way to increase their competitive edge. Therefore they often try to save costs as a result of competitive conditions and market instabilities. However, maybe a cultural change in companies will give them a competitive advantage? Implementing and practicing CSR may lead to increased costs and you may not see the benefits immediately. So why do successful companies go in that direction? Apparently around 50% of American and European SMEs believe that CSR-activities are somewhat effective for their business. SMEs can change their company culture and provide significant benefits by investing in small, efficient projects in society to increase their own visibility in the community. Some companies may do something good for the environment or donate money and others might start working in close cooperation with Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations. This time I would like to approach the topic from a different angle. CSR is becoming more and more important in business life and thus future managers should have a solid knowledge about it. In previous shows I talked to CSR specalists such as lecturers from different European universities and employees of companies which have implemented CSR in their business plans. Our focus was to find out how CSR work changes the culture within the company but also the contacts between a company and its stake holders. Today my focus is on students and what they learn about CSR during their studies of Business Administration. I interviewed students from Hungary, Russia, and Mongolia who dealt with corporate culture and CSR in their last semester at RheinAhrCampus in Germany in one of my courses called “International Business Simulations”.
absolutely young In our first category I asked Katalin Perjési from Hungary what she thinks about CSR and what she learnt on the course. She will tell us about a project where the students designed and implemented their own CSR projects for the university. They invited school children to the campus to teach them about respect and diversity in the community. Some said afterwards that they walk past the university every day but had never dreamed of spending a day inside before they reach their A-levels. As these were school children who often get taught in classes with many national backgrounds it was not so surprising, how much they already knew about diversity, respect for different cultures and dealing with other children who do not have the same first language.
absolutely green I interviewed Nadya Kokareva from Russia. She will tell us about the vague ideas people have about CSR and gives us some examples of how a university could practice CSR. This is not exclusively about institutions “going green”, which means saving the environment. Nadya also took part in the course and participated in another project. This time, the target group were not the children in the community, but the elderly people who live in a nursing home just 800 metres from campus. In spite of the proximity, the students who took part in the project had never visited the home.
absolutely courageous Oyunbileg is an exchange student from our Turkish partner university in Izmir. However, she is originally from Mongolia and is currently doing her Erasmus semester abroad. In our last category she will talk about her theoretical lectures on stakeholder relationships and relates the theory to the practical CSR projects she was involved in last semester. Finally she gives us an idea of the cultural differences she experienced moving between Mongolia, Turkey and Germany.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 7 of September.
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!)
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.
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.
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.”
I wonder if you can tell where I’m based just because of what I produce online! This is one of the questions we’ll be looking at in this show. We’ll also be asking whether non-native speakers of English can be examiners for a prestigious English qualification and how you can use your multi-cultural background to start a business
So we won’t be mentioning Australia in this show but we will be visiting almost every other continent. Starting in Europe, I was very honoured to be asked to be a judge in the 2011 European Podcast Award and I can’t tell you how difficult it was to decide. There are so many different types of podcast, long and short, fly on the wall documentary to fictionalised reality. Dogme-style, what you see is what you get to expertly produced with delicious sound. By the time this show comes out you’ll be able to check out who the winners are in the different categories and the different countries.
Enough on Europe, let’s start the show in China where there is a huge demand for English qualifications as young Chinese look for at least part of their training abroad. The two main exams which will show you are able to tackle a university course in English are TOEFL and IELTS. Both of these have a spoken part of the test and in the IELTS exam this is done in the presence of a real live human being instead of on computer. So does the IELTS examiner always have to be a native speaker? I spoke with Tinting Yang who now counts among her many other activities that of IELTS examiner. Let’s find out what went through her mind as she decided to apply for the job.
What is the value of internet chatter? Can you tell where someone comes from by the way they communicate online? Can you even speak about nation building as part of that online dialogue? These are some of the questions which Koleade Odutola tackled in his doctorate which has just been published as a book. The title of the book is Diaspora and imagined Nationality, and looks mainly at how Nigerians around the world define themselves and their country in their online dialogue. Koleade is himself Nigerian and has lived in the UK but mostly in the USA where he teaches at the University of Florida. Let’s go absolutely digital and find out whether online dialogue helps Nigerians define what being a Nigerian means. The sub-title is USA-Africa Dialogue and Cyberframing Nigerian Nationhood and you can buy from it the publisher as well as from the American version of Amazon.
Our final guest on the show today is a great example of how you can turn your multi-cultural heritage into a sound business proposition. Alexa Kovacs was brought up in Switzerland and is of Hungarian and British parentage and has recently started a business selling beautiful clothing and accessories which she sources in a surprisingly direct way. The business is called Orphelia and it’s really well worth a visit for the visual beauty alone. So let’s go absolutely beautiful and hear more about how Orphelia works. I really do recommend a visit to Alexa’s site as a feast for the eyes.
Today 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.
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?
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