absolutely intercultural 147 +++ charity and volunteering +++ mentality and charity culture +++ Mekong Quilts in Cambodia +++

Manager of Mekong QuiltsToday our show will be all about charity and volunteering. But is this all about being a good person and doing good deeds? We will talk to John Kaethler who volunteered in West Africa and admits that in his personal definition the word “charity” has a rather negative connotation. We also meet Judi McAlpine and Sovannry Chan who both work for charities, Judi in Tanzania and Sovannry in Cambodia and who have dedicated their whole lives to charity.

absolutely modest
A couple of days ago I sat down with John Kaethler from Brock University in Candada who told me that he had volunteered for two years as a development worker in Nigeria and again for two years in Papua New Guinea a long time ago. As a teacher and hospital help in West Africa he learned that if his activity was called “charity” then HE was the one who was actually receiving it. The charity workers need to understand that THEY are the ones who are learning a lot and growing in the process…

absolutely charitable
Let us jump from Africa to Asia, and specifically Siem Reap to a very beautiful place in Cambodia which I visited with my wife for my 50th birthday. I walked into a shop because they had very beautiful handmade quilts in the shop window. But there was more to that shop as I found out from some British fellow shoppers. So, after admiring the beautiful handmade quilts I got interested in the “charity aspect of the shop called “Mekong Quilts” and asked the manager Sovannry for an interview and she was only too happy to talk about her work …

absolutely self-critical
In our last category I am coming back to John Kaethler and boldly asked him whether charity workers and volunteers sometimes need to step back a little and consider whether they are not just doing the charitable work for their own self-esteem.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 11 November.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Karsten Kneese

absolutely intercultural 146 +++ Matthew Hill +++ intercultural trainer +++ SIETAR +++ Aarhus University +++ Chinese +++

In this show we’ll be finding out about the work of intercultural trainers. Did you know there was an organisation for intercultural trainers? It’s the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research and if you go to their website at SIETAReu.org you’ll find lots of useful information and links for intercultural trainers there. We’ll be hearing from Matthew Hill about the importance of the biennial SIETAR conference which took place in Cracow,  Poland at the end of September.

absolutely trained
So let’s start the show by hearing from Matthew Hill, based in the UK, who is an intercultural trainer. I was interested to find out what that involved.

absolutely Chinese
What sort of experiences do expatriates have? Laura Dombernowsky, of Aarhus University interviewed some of the current Chinese students studying there to find out how they were finding Denmark.  My thanks to Laura for allowing us to feature part of her interviews. You can see the whole film on YouTube with subtitles.  Laura is currently in Bejing as part of her journalism PhD so I hope to catch her when she returns in January and hear about her experiences.

absolutely informed
While I was talking with Matthew Hill, of Hill Networks, I had the impression that the business is dominated by independent freelancers so how do they find out what’s new in their field? Well one way is to attend conferences such as the Congress recently held by Sietar in Poland. What benefits are there from attending?  Matthew Hill explains what happens at the conference.

absolutely connected
Matthew Hill was not just a delegate but also a presenter at the conference. His session centred on what intercultural skills you need when presenting a webinar to an intercultural audience. Of course one of the key factors is the language that you use. Matthew’s whole talk is on YouTube but you can hear a snippet on this show about the importance of language in webinars.  One of Matthew Hill’s latest projects is a CD about managing intercultural conflict. The CD will take you through a process lasting about an hour after which you’ll end up with a plan for managing conflict. So if you’re interested in finding out more about that you should email Matthew Hill at this address, matthew.hill@hillnetworks.com .

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany on 28thOctober 2011

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Markus Scherer
Photo credit: Michael Nyika on Flickr