Cultural expectations+ Helpful expectations +++ Parental expectations +++ Community expectations+++ Absolutely Intercultural 267 +++

Hello and welcome to show 267 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today we will talk about “cultural expectations”. Whether we like it or not – we are all trying to meet cultural expectations in our daily lives. Some of us may struggle with those preconceived ideas. Others insist we conform to cultural expectations. Back at school, for example, we may have noticed that others expected us to conform to male or female patterns of behaviour.

Can the expectations placed upon us help us be succeed in this complex worldand should we be grateful for cultural guidance on our path to success? Or will these well-meant pieces of “you should be” and “you should feel” advice become a very heavy burden and limit our opportunities?

In this show we are going to listen to the stories of Leo, Adika and Pravesh, all threeconfronted with everyday cultural expectations in very different places, at home, at school or even in the street by a random person.

absolutely shameful

In our first category, “absolutely shameful”, Leo tells us that because of the gender expectations of the other school kids, he had to stop playing with his favourite toywhich his parents had given him for his birthday,  – it happened to be a baby doll.

absolutely small

In our second category, „absolutely small”, Adika, an exchange student from Azerbaijan, describes how a random stranger  approached her to help with her heavy bags outside the supermarket.

absolutely reversed

Finally, in our last category, “absolutely reversed”, Pravesh, from Pondicherry University in the South of India, explains that in Indian families usually the sons are expected to bring in money for the family. For him -this is different. In his family, the financial help actually comes from his successful sister.

What about you? Did you ever have to change your behaviour or your plans because of the cultural expectations that other people had for you?

Our next show will be coming to you on the 5th of November.

Until then – stay as diverse as you are – and

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Esjona Musta 

Assistant Editors:   Alina Vor, Natalia Obikhod, Elene Mikeladze

 

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Home country+ Host country+++ Cultural surprises +++ Reverse cultural shock +++ Absolutely Intercultural 266 +++

Hello and welcome to show 266 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today we talk about the cultural surprises that will happen to you when you live abroad and far from your home country. For some of us, living abroad is a temporary expierience in life and for others living abroad has become a permanent challenge or joy. When we go home, mostof us instantly feel comfortable again but for some their home country doesn’t feel like home anymore. 

Why do we sometimes feel more comfortable in our host country than in the country where we were born? Which are the reasons that no matter where we go, there is something that drawsus back toour home country?

absolutely fitting

In our first category, “absolutely fitting”, Natalia,originally from Ukraine,tells us about the reasons why she feels that Germany has turned into her chosen home country. She explains that living, studying and working in Remagen has provided her the intercultural environmentwhich she had always been searching for in her home country.

absolutely shocked

In our second category, „absolutely shocking”, Ariana, an exchange student from Albania, tells us about her first loud and cheerful birthday party – at the age of 20! For her as an Albanian Muslim birthdays are apparently not a big deal and only communal celebrations such as Eid are celebrated in full pomp. 

absolutely indian

Finally, in our last category, “absolutely Indian”, Surya, from Pondicherry University in the South of India, shares with us that even though she tried hard to recreate an Indian-like environment here in Germany, not everything can be recreated. Compared to India, even big cities in Germany seemed “empty” to her and she misses the closeness of the crowds in India.

What about you? Do you have any host country that feels just like your home country, or even closer?  Is there something in your home country which brings you always back to it? Write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up with you in one of our next shows.

Our next show will be coming to you on the 1st of October.

Until then – stay as diverse as you are – and

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Esjona Musta 

Assistant Editors:   Alina Vor, Natalia Obikhod, Elene MikeladzeNatia Nikvashvili

 

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

Coffee Pixabay
Creative Commons CCO

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