New Skills +++ Professional Challege +++ Working Overseas +++ Absolutely Intercultural 247 +++

Hello and welcome to show 247 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today’s show is about Working Abroad. Maybe you’ve always dreamed about stepping into a new work environment overseas? We will hear from Sandie, an Australian lecturer who taught in Germany, and Nika, from Georgia, who worked as a bartender in Norway. Our interviewer today is Kalvin Mitchell, also from Australia, who is doing his semester as an exchange student at RheinAhrCampus, Germany. He has been our editor for a while and was curious how worklife changes from country to country. Continue reading “New Skills +++ Professional Challege +++ Working Overseas +++ Absolutely Intercultural 247 +++”

Intercultural trainers +++ SIETAR +++ Ethiopia +++ Ghana +++ absolutely intercultural 227

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I have been curious about how you come to work in the intercultural field and have continued my conversations with people who are doing it.  One thing I realise now after talking to several people is that there are many ways into an intercultural career.

Here for example is Dawn who was based in Ethiopia and formed Broads Abroad, a support group for expatriate women, based on the conversations that used to happen after the Zumba lessons she started giving.

And Franklin Yartey, a professor of intercultural communication at Dubuque University, Iowa, worked as PR manager of a dance school in his native Ghana before ending up in the US to continue his education.

And once you are doing it, it seems that intercultural work is its own reward as Joe Kearns describes!

So this show is the second in our series on how to get into the Intercultural field. Thanks to everyone who agreed to participate.

Another thing I noticed about today’s contributors is that they all had a connection with Africa, two with Ethiopia and one with Ghana. Listen to find out which is which.

Continue reading “Intercultural trainers +++ SIETAR +++ Ethiopia +++ Ghana +++ absolutely intercultural 227”

Erasmus +++ Student stories +++ Exchange semester impact +++ Learned skills +++ Absolutely Intercultural 222 +++

To what extent does study abroad influence  students’ future life both in academic and career perspectives? Well, in this episode, which will be the last of a series on the 30th Anniversary of the ERASMUS program, we will listen to my colleague from RheinAhrCampus , who works with outgoing students, and helps them find the best partner universities for their stays abroad. She will talk about differences in students’ behaviors and appearance which she notices after they come back from their host country. We will also interview two guest lecturers from Portugal and from our partner university Indian Institution of Technology, Madras. They will talk about staying abroad and an extraordinary campus in India, and how it was first established with German aid in the 1960s. And we will hear some voices of international professionals who were once exchange students in Germany and who will tell us what skills and habits they gained during their studies at RheinAhrCampus. Finally we will listen to my co-host Anne Fox from Denmark who was in Germany and took part in our seminar Managing Cultural Diversity.

Continue reading “Erasmus +++ Student stories +++ Exchange semester impact +++ Learned skills +++ Absolutely Intercultural 222 +++”

Absolutely Intercultural 221 +++ before Erasmus +++ study abroad experiences +++ stereotypes +++

Hello and welcome to show 221 of our podcast “absolutely intercultural” which is the fourth of series of “Erasmus 30” podcasts to celebrate and highlight the 30th anniversary of the most successful of all student exchange programs. In this episode, our two lecturers will share their exchange experiences and stories about their studies abroad. How did teaching in Germany under the Erasmus mobility program benefit a lecturer’s research activities and his academic life? Then we will listen to a lecturer from RheinahrCampus, he will talk about how he studied abroad two decades ago. Was it more difficult to arrange than an exchange semester today? What were the required documents in the past and now? And finally, we will look at the differences in student lives in different countries.

Continue reading “Absolutely Intercultural 221 +++ before Erasmus +++ study abroad experiences +++ stereotypes +++”

Absolutely Intercultural 195 +++ international students +++ internship experience abroad +++ gypsy art +++

Sander WillemsIn today’s podcast we hear about ‘‘International students and their internship experience abroad”. We talk to Sander, a Dutch student who is living in Spain working in a bike tour company and he told us about how to plan, organize and prolong a student internship then we listen to an interview with two gypsy artists Delaine and Damian from Great Britain who are traveling the whole world and exhibiting their art in various places, e.g. at VHS Aachen Continue reading “Absolutely Intercultural 195 +++ international students +++ internship experience abroad +++ gypsy art +++”

absolutely intercultural 122 +++ besig +++ contracts +++ mindfulness +++ longterm relationships +++ pragmatics +++

In this show we’re going to be hearing about why knowledge of the local culture is important, how different cultures understand the notion of a contract, what sort of intercultural problems business people have, the right and wrong way to express disagreement and lots more. In the past we have brought you tasters from various conferences on intercultural topics and in this show we are very lucky to have been given permission to bring you extracts from the recent online webinar organised by IATEFL’s Business English special interest group on the topic of intercultural communication. IATEFL is the International Association of teaching English as a foreign language and IATEFL has many special interest groups of which Business English is just one. Carl Dowse in Germany was the organiser of this recent webinar and you can see the full recordings on the BESIG webiste at besig.org and they are also on YouTube

absolutely overlooked
We’ll start with an important observation from Baoquan Liu who was talking about how to test intercultural competence in his students when he mentioned something which is often absolutely overlooked…So could YOU describe your own local culture? Baoquan also included an interesting case study at the end of his talk which would be a great starting point for a discussion. You can see the case study on the besig.org website where the recording and slides are available free of charge.

absolutely contractual
For our next segment we are going to go absolutely contractual and find out some of the problems various business people operating across cultures experience with one of the basics of business – the contract. Listen as Evan Frendo, an intercultural trainer, talks about some of the problems he hears about with contracts and why the last thing you want to do is have a lawyer in the room when hammering out the details. 

absolutely problematic
The next speaker in the webinar was Sabrina Gerland, an American based in Germany for the last 30 years, who spoke about the crucial importance of tone and expression. In this segment Sabrina starts by listing the types of real life questions which German business people present her with during her training sessions and then talks about how what you say can also be absolutely problematic even when it is grammatically correct.You can hear more examples of communication going wrong by listening to the whole of Sabrina’s talk on the besig.org page

absolutely mindful
So far we have heard about very specific aspects of intercultural communication in business; be aware of the local culture, what do you understand by the word contract and how can you express disagreement politely. Our next segment, , will bring this all together. Peter Franklin, the final speaker in the Besig webinar, presented results of extensive research into what he calls intercultural interactive competence. He then pulled it all together into an idea called mindfulness… 

absolutely short term
One of the great joys of this webinar was the constant reference to real life, real people and real situations so in our next segment, absolutely short term, we’ll hear why the usuall advice to nurture long term relationships in order to build trust in business may not work. 

absolutely German
And talking of real world problems, I’m going to end the extracts from this webinar with a lovely case study; an incident related by one of Sabrina Gerland’s course participants. I think we have to call this segment absolutely German!

So my thanks to Carl Dowse, the organiser of this wonderful and free webinar, for allowing me to bring you some extracts today.Did you like this taste of an online conference? Do you know of any other relevant upcoming online meetings? Do you have an idea for a show or a segment of a show. Do get in touch if you’ve got something to say about the podcast. And don’t forget that if you catch the show online it is now very easy to do so on your iphone or ipod.

The next show will be coming to you on 1 October from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.
So long…stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 120 +++ Serious Games +++ Haji Kamal +++ Wiglington & Wenks +++ SIETAR +++

Welcome to AbsolutelyIntercultural, the podcast where we look at all things intercultural. We’re going to see if playing games can increase your intercultural knowledge. I’m talking about serious games which are becoming more widespread in education at all levels.   

absolutely serious
Mikkel Lucas Overby works for a Danish company Serious Games Interactive which has produced several games both in Danish and English which are mainly aimed at high school students. The games explore topics which we all know something about such as the Israeli Palestinaian conflict, child soldiers in Arifca or child labour in Asia. But the difference here is that you are on the ground and have to deal with the situation by interacting with the different people involved. I tried out a couple of these and so did my daughter, Gwen. But are there limits even within Serious Games? It seems yes when you hear what Mikkel has to say about their forthcoming game about the slave trade.  I started by asking him how the Serious Games Interactive company started and how they chose the topics of their games.

absolutely playful
As you heard I got to play a couple of their games and so did my daughter Gwen who took on the role of a buyer from a European clothes company inspecting reports that the factory which sources their leather uses child labour. How did she fare?

absolutely military
And what about war? We’ve mentioned this before on Absolutely Intercultural but one of the groups which need intercultural communication skills the most are soldiers. Think for example about the situation in Afghanistan where you need to get on with the locals for all sorts of reasons including to get a continual stream of information from them. In the game ‘Connecting with Haji Kamal’, Lieutenant Justin Harril is about to meet Haji Masoud Kamal, an influential local leader who Harril hopes will become a longterm contact. Harril knows that Haji Kamal is going to offer him chai, the local tea which he really doesn’t like? We hear the advice offered by two other officers. The Lieutenant has the following choices, refuse saying he’s not thirsty, refuse saying he’s allergic or accept. What’s the best choice? The game is available online from the World Warfighter company which specialises in military intercultural training through games.Earlier we had a taste of the type of interaction faced by soldiers in Afghanistan. The game Connect with Haji Kamal is available online at worldwarfighter.com and takes about 10 minutes to play. You heard the first dilemma at the beginning of the show when Lieutenant Harril is offered tea which he thinks he won’t like. What did you decide he should do? Of course if you refuse his hospitality then that won’t start your relationship with him on a good footing. How might the visit continue? The soldiers noticed a field of cannabis plants growing close by Haji Kamal’s house – should they mention it? So the choices are to compliment Haji Kamal on his cannabis crop, admire the hills or suggest that you get down to business. What would you choose? I think this game would be a great discussion starter plus it is a great way to try out various strategies without the consequences being too bad as you can always re-start the game. So what if you had refused the tea? If you want to see how the situation develops you’ll have to go to the worldwarfighter website and play the game yourself. And if you have any comments about how you did or what you think of the game then you can leave them at the end of this blog post.

absolutely virtual
There are intercultural games for children in the virtual world of Wiglington and Wenks where you can visit Brazil, London and Madagascar finding out about the places as you go. I sent my younger daughter, Mia on safari to explore Wiglington and Wenks. I had a feeling she was older than the target group but younger children might learn something about the world in Wiglington and Wenks.

And there are also intercultural quizzes in one of the most famous virtual worlds of them all, Second Life. SIETAR is the society for intercultural education, training and research and they have equipped a whole floor of their building in Second Life with over 30 quizzes about different countries. So for example in the quiz on Sweden you can answer a question about being offered a pat of butter on a butter knife at a dinner. What happens to the knife? Do you only use it to put the butter on your plate, or use it to butter your bread and then return it or use it and keep it as yours? The answer is butter your bread and return it. If you want to try the rest of the quiz or quizzes for other countries then you can find the link to SIETAR’s place in Second Life here.

So what do you think? Could playing computer games help raise your intercultural awareness? Did we miss out some really good digital intercultural games? I’d be very curious to hear about your experiences with any of the games I’ve mentioned and any that I missed out.

The next show will be coming to you on 29th October from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.

Until then have fun!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 118 +++ Kenya +++ Zachariah +++ Gallaudet University +++ Mike Marzio +++ Real English

In this show we’re going to be covering three very different topics with one person, Mike Marzio. In actual fact I’ve been wanting to invite Mike onto the show for a long time mainly to tell us about his wonderful Real English set of video lessons but right now Mike has a pressing reason to talk to us. You may remember that way back in 2006 we featured deaf students from Gallaudet University and how they could express themselves online with hearing Israeli students. Now Mike would like to raise $30,000 to send Zachariah from Kenya to do English at Gallaudet University. We also hear from Mike about his days in the sixties as a civil rights worker helping black people register for the vote and the culture shock he experienced just by visiting a different part of his own country. 

absolutely worthwhile
So let’s find out how and why Mike is trying to raise $30,000 dollars to send a young man from Kenya to college in the United States.  And just to repeat the web address where you can find out more about this project, that was http://zachs-fundraiser.blogspot.com  Finally we also hear more about what Zachariah hopes to do once he has completed his studies in America.

absolutely eligible
Back in the sixties Mike worked as a civil rights worker helping black people to register to vote in the southern states of the US and what he experienced was culture shock in his own country!

absolutely real
If you’ve heard the name Mike Marzio before it’s probably because of the Real English series of videos which Mike has made since the early nineties to help people learn English by hearing Real English. We hear more about why he had the idea and how it works.

absolutely daily
As an added bonus on the blog, we include here an English lesson which is based on the story of Zach in Kenya. The lesson was prepared by Sarah Lilburn of the Daily English Show fame. Her blog includes the text of the “conversations with Sarah” section of this show, and a lot of other interesting information about Zach’s area called Karagita, in or near Naivasha, Kenya.

If you want to help, see below.

The next show will be coming to you on 1 October from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 116 +++ Languages Out There +++ Jason West +++ Verge +++ China +++ Morocco +++ Chantiers Sociaux Marocains +++

Chantiers Sociaux Marocainsabsolutely out there
Back in March we talked about the Languages Out There approach by Jason West which consists of preparing students in the classroom and then sending them out with mini tasks which involve interacting with the general public outside the classroom. For those classes not based in English speaking countries Jason suggests organising students to interact with English speakers online. I spoke to Jason about how he developed that side of the approach and how practical it could be.

absolutely online
After speaking to Jason I decided to ask Richard Wood of Verge  in China how he applies the Languages Out There approach in an environment with very few native speakers available to practice with.  While speaking to Richard Wood I realised that the Language Out There approach is simply what a motivated person might do and what Jason West’s methods do is to enable less motivated or less confident learners to make progress.

absolutely voluntary
I met Rachad Izzat from Rabat in Morocco at the Anna Lindh Foundation Forum in Barcelona in March. Rachad is Programme Manager at Chantiers Sociaux Marocains which organises volunteer work all over Morocco and he explained how voluntary work lead to intercultural exchange without needing to leave Morocco.If you wanted to get involved with CSM you could for example sign up to a trekking project this September or October staying with local hosts, learning a little Arabic and being shown around some of the main historical sites and then trekking in the Atlas mountains. You will find more information on their Facebook page.

The next show will be coming to you on 3rd September from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 114 +++ China +++ Verge +++ LTS Training +++ Intercultural course design +++ Pilbeam +++ Comfortable Communication +++

In this show we’re going to go to the UK and China to find out about opportunities for learning more about intercultural communication. We’ll be meeting Richard Wood, one of the founders of Verge, a cross-cultural communication company based in Hefei, China. We’ll also be meeting with Adrian Pilbeam who runs two courses to help people get started in intercultural training and if you’re lucky you can get these for free!

absolutely trained
So let’s start with the main topic of this show which is about how you can get a solid grounding in how to do intercultural training by attending one of 2 five-day courses which is usually held in Bath, England but has also been held in other countries by special request. I talked with Adrian Pilbeam, one of the main instigators of the course and also one of the main facilitators about what you can learn in five days.

absolutely comfortable
The need for intercultural training is a growing one especially in the economic powerhouse which is China. So for my next piece I contacted Richard Wood, one of the founders of Verge, a cross-cultural communication company based in Hefei, China. Richard’s company has come up with the idea of Comfortable Communication. So we find out what that means.

absolutely free
It’s obvious that there is a huge potential demand for this sort of training and if you liked the sound of the course which Adrian Pilbeam  at LTS Training was offering earlier then if you are based in Europe there is even more good news as Adrian’s courses could be ‘absolutely free’ if you are based in Europe as you could then get it funded through the Grundtvig scheme.

absolutely uncomfortable
And if you’re in any doubt that intercultural training might be a good idea then you should take note of this cautionary tale from Richard Wood of Verge. Here he is describing an example when he was absolutely uncomfortable! We’ll be hearing more from Richard in a future show about how he trains his Chinese students to avoid these uncomfortable situations. In the meantime I hope that you are on your way to comfortable communication.

You may be pleased to know that this is absolutely your last chance to vote for us in the European Podcast awards as voting closes at the end of July! Unfortunately we have no way of knowing how well or badly we are doing but I would like to extend a big thank you to all those of you who have voted for us so far. You can leave us a comment about what you liked or what we could do better here on our website and you can also make a suggestion about who or what we should feature in future shows.

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on August 6th so until then stay tuned!

Don’t forget that you can still vote for us in the European Podcast Awards both on the German page and the Danish page.

The next show will be coming to you on 11 June from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole
Picture credit: Bigstockphoto.com