absolutely intercultural 65 +++ working cultures +++ email writing styles +++ excursion to Poland +++ teaching staff mobility program +++

In today’s show, we put our emphasis on working cultures, both, in digital work contexts and in face-to-face team work.

Whether you prefer to work in a hierarchical context or whether you prefer to work collaboratively – we sometimes end up in workplaces which do not leave the choice to us. Are you aware of the working culture that surrounds you? Do you appreciate it or would you change it if you could? Do you notice that you have an impact on this culture, too?

absolutely structured:
We hear about different email cultures and discover that yes – your email may show your personal writing style – but that your email also says a lot about the working culture of your company or your institution. Our interviewees fill us in on their opinions regarding the perfect email. We learn that signals which indicate whether the message is well structured and can easily be read and dealt with are quite important and that preference is often given to those messages which have a “speaking” subject line.

absolutely international:
Different working cultures in face-to-face teamwork are explored. Jean Lennox of the University of Applied Sciences in Mönchengladbach, Germany, reports about an international excursion with university students to Posnan, Poland, which confronts them with the difficulties of working in groups of European students from various countries. We learn that intercultural tests of what we expect of the working cultures of other countries can bring up interesting results.

absolutely mobile:
Nora Müller, who is going to the Netherlands for her practical training, gives us some insights into her preparations for her stay abroad and tells us that she believes that going to a neighboring country in Europe is still a big step.
Dr. Cruickshank from Scotland and Clementina Poposka from Macedonia came to Germany as lecturers under the “teaching staff mobility” program. We get to hear what they hope to gain from their academic mobility and in which way universities in their home countries differ from what they experienced during their visit.

The next show will be coming to you on 19 September from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Assistant Editor: Jan Warnecke

absolutely intercultural 63 +++ studying abroad +++ ERASMUS placements +++ internships abroad +++ intercultural preparation +++ international week in Remagen +++ scholarships +++

logo of the \
In today’s show the emphasis is on students who decide to spend some quality time abroad. What are their choices, how do students need to prepare themselves, when should they start with their intercultural preparations? Most students, whether they take a Bachelor or a Master course, have the opportunity to go abroad for some time during their studies. Our interviewees tell us what the benefits of such a study abroad period can be.

absolutely welcome: 
At most universities the international offices try to highlight students’ opportunities for going abroad by celebrating an international week at least once a year. The university invites representatives from their partner universities who can then explain and advertise their study programmes and answer specific student questions concerning the best choice of courses, the credit points which students can gain during their stay abroad and also questions concerning accommodation or living costs in their countries. Listen to Prof. Henzler, president of the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz as she welcomes the delegations from the different partner universities on the first day of the international week. 

absolutely useful:
From the student perspective the presence of the foreign guests offers a number of opportunities. They can follow lectures in foreign languages, can get to know teachers and administrators from the partner university before they arrive there and make informed choices as to which university would be the best one to go to. We listen to one of the student representatives of the “go-out”-initiative (German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD). Gerrit tells us that he sees the main benefits of these periods abroad in the fact that they create new and unexpected opportunities to expand your own personality and that well-documented experience abroad is a great plus when you are looking for a new job – because it seems to be a strong signal to the prospective employer that you are motivated, flexible, and that you show initiative and speak foreign languages.

absolutely integrated:
Most universities have orientation weeks where all foreign students get together and get basic information or do excursions around the university in order to facilitate their integration. Some universities have “buddy programs” where the incoming foreign students are paired with local students whose task it is to integrate the newcomers as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Adelheid Korpp, who is in charge of the “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus tells us what the university offers to make sure that the students from the partner universities have the best start, get integrated quickly and, if possible, feel at home in their new surroundings right from the beginning of their stay.  

absolutely strategic: 
Students should prepare themselves interculturally for their stay abroad before they arrive at their new destination. Barbara Neukirchen, who looks after the “outgoing students” at RheinAhrCampus and coaches them during their application process for universities and scholarships tells us how students can plan a successful stay abroad if only they start the planning phase early enough.  

absolutely prepared:
In our last interview Carsten Ritterath a Bachelor 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 will be to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten has applied for a scholarship 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. We are keeping our fingers crossed for him to get the scholarship in the end because accommodation in London can be quite expensive.

Our next show will be coming to you on 22 August from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Und bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host and editor of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

absolutely intercultural 61 +++ stereotypes +++ prejudice +++ regional diversities +++ pre-fabricated phrases +++ national pride +++

\“Germans are all punctual but don’t have a sense of humor, people from Great Britain do and always have their tea at 5 pm in the afternoon, Italian men pick up girls all the time, the French eat baguette, cheese and frogs’ legs. Women can’t drive cars and men simply cannot listen, young people are irresponsible because they get drunk all the time and old people are terribly inflexible.” You could easily continue this list about any nationality, age, gender, political or sexual orientation. Stereotypes are pre-fabricated phrases to generalize about certain groups of people. But how are they generated? Do they have any practical use in daily life or are they just wrong and useless? Are their fixed for all time once they have been established or can they change over time? In this show, we try to find some answers to these questions about stereotypes.

absolutely Spanish:
Emma Cuevas-Saunders, who is an ERASMUS student from Spain, has been studying and doing a practical training in Germany for about a year now. She tells us about her experiences with stereotypes in Spain and how prejudices about Germans almost prevented her from going abroad. We also learn that Spain, known as a nation marked by national pride, actually is divided into many different sub-groups, which each have stereotypes about the other groups. However, as Emma says, this is a rather positive aspect, because it demonstrates Spanish diversity and these stereotypes are also used as a conversation starter. But first, she tells us, that all Spaniards have discovered a new pastime: They like to sit on the beach and guess the nationality of the tourists, but perhaps this is also a stereotype?

absolutely Mexican-American:
In our second category we talk with Susana, who has her roots in Mexico, lives in the United States and currently is studying in Germany for one year. Although she is probably the expert on this topic, we thought she tends to underestimate the popularity of her two “home countries”, thinking that they are not very much liked in the world. We learn that stereotypes really can change over time, if people like Susana have the courage to go abroad, make their own experiences and afterwards, tell people about it.

absolutely Austrian:
We speak to Dr. Nicole Slupetzky from “Volkshochschule Salzburg” (institute of adult education) about the challenges connected with harmful stereotypes and the opportunities of friendly ones. While friendly stereotypes can provide you with conversation topics and sometimes make these conversations run more smoothly, harmful stereotypes can be responsible for hate and racism. Nicole emphasizes that it is important to talk about these stereotypes, to learn about the affected groups and sometimes even to laugh about these statements together. We discuss that, of course, we shouldn’t believe every stereotype we hear, because they can be produced in many different ways, by the media, the family or even education.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Peter Kron

The next show will be coming to you on 25 July from Anne Fox in Denmark.

 

absolutely intercultural 59 +++ different working styles +++ philosophical talking +++ striking students +++ international teamwork +++

Politically the different member states of the European Union have already achieved surprising synchronisations which would have seemed unthinkable 20 years ago. Culturally, however, most countries try to keep their own identity within the Union. Imagine you leave Germany and go South to Slovenia, Portugal, or Greece. In every single nation you can experience different cultural habits and, as a consequence, different working and life styles. Apart from reporting about how we had a Royal Visitor from Ghana (see on the left) in our classroom , in this show we mainly hear about some differences between the South of Europe and the North. How do the various cultural differences influence our working styles in joint projects or when students are studying in another one of these European countries?

absolutely philosophical?
In show 57 we talked about how teamwork in internationally mixed groups is influenced by different cultural habits. In this show, we put the emphasis on how the work itself can be different and we hear, that often for people from Southern Europe the result is not the most important concern, but that the way how the result should be achieved needs more attention and discussion. Sometimes, in the eyes of the Northerners this can lead to seemingly endless “philosophical” discussions with uncertain outcome. For Germans, this often seems as if “they just like to talk and talk a lot”, because the function (e.g. trust-building) of this kind of communication is not so obvious. However, our interviewees also recognize, that all different ways are “kind of right” and that you just have to learn how to handle different styles so that in the end you can work successfully in all international environments.

absolutely quiet:
Petros is an exchange student from Greece, the country of the ancient philosophers. He is now in Germany for his semester abroad and you could get the impression that he somehow enjoyed that there was not so much talking in public places and generally more discipline. Leaving the strike-ridden university system in Greece he stresses that he likes that German students are very quiet in the library and also very reliable when it comes to group work or presentations. It seems that Petros can confirm most of the stereotypes people around the world have about the Germans, that most of them are disciplined, reliable and punctual. He also tells us that he first had problems with “proxemics”, the attitude to personal space, distance and touching each other during a conversation, but that he learned a lot for his future in international work places.

absolutely royal:
We speak to Georg Reifferscheid, a student at RheinAhrCampus, who recently made a real king from Africa visit our campus and hold a panel discussion with students about development aid. Herr Meickl is an architect from Germany, who was made king by a Ghanaian village, because he had invested so much of his time and energy in his development projects there. Mr. Meickl showed the students the difference between development and financial aid and also presented a video of his “crowning ceremony” in Ghana. Georg shares his initial worries and experiences with us telling us how this unique opportunity came up and what he learned on the event management side.

absolutely improved:
In our last category we talk to Maria Koenen, teaching assistant on a Business English course, about various opportunities to improve your language skills. She tries to motivate her students not only to learn during the course, but to combine your hobbies with learning English at home or even on your way to work or to university. The result is, that all students now try out different things to improve their English outside the classroom

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Peter Kron

The next show will be coming to you on 27 June from Anne Fox in Denmark.

absolutely intercultural 41 +++ intercultural weddings +++ conventions for accepting food +++ my big fat Lebanese wedding +++

In this show we are going to look into which parts of our culture we have to re-think or even leave behind when we get married. We have entertaining stories from Lebanon, the United States, Hungary, and Spain and even from our own lives.

absolutely Swiss-French-Lebanese
Our first guest is Stéphane Bazan, lecturer at the Université St. Joseph, who is French and got married to his Lebanese bride in Biblos near Beirut. He tells us about the cultural conventions preceding his wedding which turned into a happy cultural mix for him and his French and Swiss family but also for his new Lebanese in-laws.

absolutely prepared
Jennifer is an American university lecturer who got married to her Lebanese husband in the United States. She remembers thinking about what cultural clashes could arise from the different customs and attitudes of her Lebanese and American families. She even went as far as giving some private intercultural lessons to prepare her family and her Lebanese in-laws for the happy day.

absolutely Mars vs. absolutely Venus
Agnes Dús, Laurent Borgmann, and Mathias Knops had a round table discussion about “leaving one’s own culture behind” where they tell their own stories about how difficult it can get when two persons from different cultures decide to stay together for life. Finally they had to admit that sometimes it is not the national culture which creates problems, simply the fact that men and women come from different planets: men are from Mars and women from Venus.

absolutely Big Fat Wedding
In the last part of our show we will get back to Stéphane, who tells us what cultural challenges he had to face before his “Big Fat Lebanese Wedding” with 800 guests! During the process he sometimes felt a considerable cultural gap between his families, as if he was not from France but from the other side of the world.

Our co-host today is Agnes Dús from Budapest in Hungary, student of the Corvinus University of Budapest. You may remember her from the interviews she made in Ireland for show number 25. She will co-host the shows from Remagen until Christmas.

The next show will be coming to you on the 19 October from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

Host of this show: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Co-host: Agnes Dús
Editor: Mathias Knops

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absolutely intercultural 31 +++ International Week @ RheinAhrCampus +++ Study abroad +++ Where is Lithuania heading? +++

International Week at RheinAhrCampus – Study abroad – Where is Lithuania heading?


For one week each year we celebrate the international and intercultural aspects of the University of Applied Science Koblenz, this year again with support from the DAAD initiative Go Out!. Every year we invite guests from our partner universities and experts who give presentations for our students about studying or working abroad. However, this time, there were not only students from our own university, but also Agnes Dus from Corvinus University in Budapest in Hungary, and Johan Olsson from Umea University in Sweden. Agnes and Johan were our roving reporters for this week, and they ran from one location to another, always looking for good opportunities to interview people and find out about their international and intercultural experiences.

absolutely studentlike

For our first column they have interviewed three students about their intercultural experiences and plans. Isabelle for example talks about different cultural ways how people do business, and Daniel tells us how his stay in Singapore has changed his life and why you shouldn’t trust too much what you can learn from books about intercultural behaviour.

absolutely experienced
For the second column Johan spoke to Professor Patrick McMahon from the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education. He turned around the perspective and asked him, what he as a lecturer can learn from international students and what has changed most in the British student culture since he was a student himself.

absolutely lithuanian
Agnes met Ruta Jankauskiene from the University of Kaunas. Ruta will give us an insight on the Lithuanian perspective on international exchanges and where her country is heading.
absolutely lifelong
And last but not least we are proud to present a new column “absolutely lifelong” where we will share good ideas to organise your own life long learning. Today’s contribution has been produced by Anne Knopf and Gereon Reuter, two of our students at RheinAhrCampus. They will give you some good advice on how you can improve your English in a realistic way and have a lot of fun at the same time.
Here are the links:

Announcements
Anne Fox will give a talk/workshop on “Using Podcasts in the EFL classroom” at 20:00 GMT on May 19th. Please go to wiaoc.org to find out more about this event.

Karsten Kneese will participate in a panel about “The future of educasts” at 5 pm on June 20th for the Podcastday 2007.

The next show will be coming to you on the 1st of June from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited and co-hosted by: Karsten Kneese

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absolutely intercultural 29 +++ Adult Education +++ Lifelong Learning +++ International Emergency Calls +++

The culture of Adult Education – Lifelong Learning – International Emergency Calls

absolutely grown-up

Lifelong learning is often promoted by institutions of adult education, so for our first column we have interview Ulla and Beate, who both work for adult education institutions. Ulla works for the Folkuniversitetet in Sweden and Beate for Deutscher Volkshochschulverband in Germany. We tried to figure out whether there is a specific culture of adult education, and what makes people want to carry on learning throughout their lives.

absolutely personal
Laurent met his long-time friend and colleague in many European projects Pat Shrimpton, who went from England to Sweden 41 years ago with her husband Neville. She also started her career at the Folkuniversitetet but later on became a teacher at the University of Umea in the very north of Sweden. She talks about how the field of adult education has changed in all those years, and why she won’t move back to England after her retirement this summer.

absolutely on fire
Now, imagine you have just started a new job in a foreign country somewhere in Europe, let’s say Lithuania. At work you mainly speak English, and you haven’t really mastered the Lithuanian language yet. One night you wake up and discover that your house is on fire. You rush to the telephone, dial the emergency number 112 and suddenly realize that the operator at the other end might not understand you. This is where Dieter Nüssler and his wife Helga come in. They have won the European Language Label for the project Multicom112, which tackles exactly that problem.

absolutely lifelong
And last but not least we are proud to present a new column “absolutely lifelong” where we will share good ideas to organise your own life long learning. Today’s contribution has been produced by Anne Knopf and Gereon Reuter, two of our students at RheinAhrCampus. They will give you some good advice on how you can improve your English in a realistic way and have a lot of fun at the same time.

The next show will be coming to you on the 4th of May from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited and co-hosted by: Karsten Kneese

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