absolutely intercultural 49 +++ Texas is a state of mind +++ American-German genealogy +++ travelling with Servas +++


rows and rows of Cowboy boots int a shop in Austin, Texasabsolutely Texas
Gosh – the internet seems to put not just the world, but also our family history, at our finger tips. I noticed this on my last trip to Texas. People from all over the world do research in the Sophienburg Museum and Archives to find their ancestors. A family of three generations in 2008 find their roots in New Braunfels. Volunteer organisations help us to travel the world with a “very restricted budget”.

absolutely unbelievable
Laurent tells us about an unbelievable coincidence he witnessed during his stay in Texas. An American family of three generations makes a trip to an immigration museum in New Braunfels between Austin and St. Antonio to do some research with the help of an old photograph which shows their family house. To everybody’s astonishment this turns out to be the very house the director of the museum lives in. All this unfolds while the microphone is running …

absolutely Texan-German
Linda Dietert, a true “Texan-German” tells us about the history of the Texas settlers in the 1850s. Their descendants, some of whom still speak some German after all these generations, are often happy to talk about their background in the “old world” and keep up some of the old traditions such as sausage-making . But of course a Texan “Bratwurst” does not have the same taste as its German relatives – and why should it?

absolutely hospitable
Agnes tells us about the “Hospitality Club” where you can find places to stay for your next journey if you cannot afford to pay for accommodation on your travels. Adelheid Korpp provides detailed information about “Servas” a non-profit organization which also puts you in contact with hosts around the world and she shares her experiences with us. We hear about hosts who give out their keys to guests whom they have never seen before or offer their own cars instead of telling you where to rent one. This Servas-spirit of sharing is meant to “foster new insight, knowledge and tolerance of others”.

The next show will be coming to you on 8 February from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The hosts of this show are: Dr. Laurent Borgmann and Agnes Dus
Editor: Mathias Knops

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absolutely intercultural 47 +++ New Year‘s Eve +++ New Year‘s resolutions +++ NYE in Denmark +++ Dinner For One +++


Fireworks over Cologne
This show will be dealing with all kinds of New Year’s Celebrations, rituals and traditions in Denmark, France, and Germany.
absolutely repetitive
Here you can learn from Beatrice which experiences she made with New Year’s resolutions and her list which she unfortunately has not put into practice yet. She also introduces us to the ritual of melting metals as a way to forecast the New Year.



absolutely French
In France – the land of fabulous meals and the home of „haute cuisine“ food is one of the main aspects of a special occasion like NYE. Michael tells us that he spends this night with his friends after having dinner with his family.

absolutely mad
Anne talks about forgetting all good behavior on that night as a ritual in Denmark. In some cases it is even necessary to take all the goods out of the shop windows to make sure nothing will be damaged. We learn everything about playing tricks and blowing up postboxes as well as the personal resolution to teach her daughters French. She also talks about the new experience of fireworks which she didn’t know from her time in Britain.

absolutely non-British
Andreas tells us about another German NYE-tradition: It is very common, to have „Dinner for One“ in that particular night. It looks like a British TV-show – but it is in fact a German comedy-sketch about an old lady celebrating her 90th Birthday and her butler James who is doing his best to make her feel comfortable. Andreas, like Anne did earlier, talks about the private fireworks which are very common in Germany.

The team of absolutely intercultural wishes all of you a Happy New Year!

The next show will be coming to you on 11 January from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Mathias Knops

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absolutely intercultural 45 +++ music as a universal language +++ international festivals +++ Colors of Cologne +++ music as the ultimate way of expressing feelings +++ music as a tool for integration +++

In this show you will hear about situations in which music played an important role connecting people from different cultures, to overcome language barriers or to express feelings for which words would not be adequate.

absolutely universal
Anne Fox our co-host from Denmark, tells us why music is often so helpful when other languages fail. Music is often seen as a universal language, however, in her experience this is not always the case…

absolutely international
In the second part of the show we will look into International Festivals which have become more and more popular over the last years. During those festivals tens or hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world sing, dance and live together internationally for a few days. The Sziget Festival in Hungary is a special one, because it is held on an island in Budapest, so the “absolutely international islanders” literally live in the heart of the capital city. Michael Darde, a French student, tells us how he saw it as a tourist and Agnes Dús from Hungary shares her experiences about taking part as a local.

absolutely colorful
In Cologne on the Rhine foreigners from 20 different countries have been singing together in a choir, called “Colors of Cologne”, for the last eight years. Most of the participants report that they joined the choir in order to integrate better in their new environment and to make friends faster. We will also listen to their music!

absolutely spontaneous
Sarah is a student for whom music has a special importance in her life: she plays the piano and writes her own songs. Music helped her make friends more easily, especially during her stay in the US, and also it is the best way for her to express her feelings.

absolutely together
In the last part of the show Emma Cuevas Saunders, a Spanish student, tells us about how singing helped her integrate into the group in a school summer camp in England. She experienced that when words are not enough music comes in and becomes an alternative kind of language.

Our co-host today is Agnes Dús from Budapest in Hungary, student of the Corvinus University of Budapest.

The next show will be coming to you on the 14 December from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

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

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absolutely intercultural 43 +++ Flying a plane is all about communication +++ intercultural card game BARNGA +++ Myers-Briggs-Test

Laurent as the BARNGA facilitator
In this show we will point you to two very different ways of becoming more aware of your personality and what your spontaneous reactions are when getting in touch with people whose cultural rules are different.

“absolutely up in the air”
Our first guest is Simon Brown, a former airline captain with British airways, who tells us how the Myers-Briggs personality test, which was used to make pilots more aware of their different personality styles, opened his eyes.

“absolutely simulated”
BARNGA is a card game, which simulates the experience of meeting people from other cultures and working with them. It was played a group of 25 students from several different countries at the University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz, RheinAhrCampus. During the game the students sit at five different tables which are separated from each other. They play a card game with the rules they received on a written sheet at the beginning. When the actual game starts no more verbal communication is allowed. The students have to find alternative ways of communication if they want to play together, such as gestures, facial expression or drawing pictures…

“absolutely confusing”
We will look at what happens when you go through the intercultural simulation in practice. Some students seem to be pretty sure that they play according to the “only valid” rules, while others seem to be a little confused…

“absolutely eye-opening”
In the last part of our show we will return to the airport in Bangkok to Simon and the Myers-Briggs Personality Test in British Airways. Laurent asks Simon whether the test itself and the feed-back he received from his colleagues in the famous envelope had been useful for him. Had it changed his view about himself?

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 16 November 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 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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