absolutely intercultural 69 +++ digital world +++ communication via new media +++ media fashion +++

thirty-three-messagesSkype, SMS, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Second Life. Like the characters in Pirandello’s play “Six Characters in search of an Author” these applications seem to have been set loose on our post-modern society without a clear script or a destination.
We have all heard about these digital applications which promise to make our lives richer, more interesting and more “connected”. However, it is difficult to predict which of these activities will still be part of our culture in 20 years’ time. Will they replace old-fashioned communication channels like the telephone or email? Or are they just a passing fashion for digital geeks and flat rate junkies?
Today we want to look at the online culture and how we all manage to be part of it in our daily lives at work and at home.

absolutely private:
Some weeks ago at a teacher-training event I met Evi and Linda who had attended my seminar on integrating new media such as podcasts and twitter into their teaching. Later in the afternoon I had the chance to speak to the two to ask them about their general attitude towards new media for communication. I asked how essential mobile telephones are in their private lives and while Linda has had her mobile since she was 13 (which seemed normal to me) to my utter surprise I heard from Evi, a successful professional in her thirties that she only bought her first mobile phone four months ago and only because she had to …

absolutely connected:
Assja Tietz, one of our students, who has spent a lot of time in different countries during her studies speaks about her study period in Australia, an excursion to Ireland and her recent internship in Hungary. What with all her moving around her challenge is actually to stay in touch, both with family and friends at home but also with those new friends she met during her stays abroad. So rather than being overwhelmed by too much communication on different media channels she is constantly looking for the best ways to be “close to home” even when she is far away…

absolutely fashionable:
Katrin dares a prognosis whether the new technologies we hear so much about will become important parts of our communication or whether they are more like a fashion that comes and goes. Can you imagine that perhaps nobody will remember Facebook or Twitter in ten years’ time?

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

So long…stay tuned!

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

absolutely intercultural 67 +++ teaching culture +++ South Americans in Germany +++ adult learners +++ women in adult education +++

Mauricio Virgens, Bariton, on his way up
In this episode we are going to have a look at adult education. Anne and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg by Alexandra Haas. We took part in a very stimulating workshop day for trainers inspired by Alexandra’s previous project “Teaching Culture!”.

absolutely learner-oriented:
Mechthild Tillmann, director of the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg, reports on 24 different work-shops in which teachers shared ideas about marketing, suggestopedia, podcasting in the classroom and other subjects related to their teaching. Following the idea of “teaching culture” and the “culture of teaching” the institution invited their own teachers to turn into learners and improve their methods.

absolutely bossanovarized:
We listen to Mauricio Virgens from Brazil and Andres Villamil from Columbia, two South American musicians who played music for us, and “bossanovarized” our busy lives a little. Mauricio speaks about his mission as a cultural ambassador for his native country Brazil and tells us how he keeps up his cultural identity through music. Of course, we also get to enjoy a bit of their music.

absolutely enjoyable:
Katrin, one of the new staff at the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg, tells us how previous learning experiences of the participants can a be challenge for the teachers. She has noticed that learners seem to expect the same “learning culture” which they got used to when they were learners for the first time – years ago. However, one aspect seems to be important to all learners – that they learn faster if they are having fun.

absolutely gendered:
Evi and Linda both work in adult education and explain to us how adult education creates its own culture. We also hear about their perspectives on gender issues and that adult education, just like health services, appears to attract women with a strong impulse to help.

The next show will be coming to you on 17 October from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Und bleiben Sie schön interkulturell!

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

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 39 +++ international family life +++ bi-lingualism and bi-culturalism +++

Is it always an advantage to grow up with more than one language? And what happens if a child does not speak the language of one of its parents? To answer these, and many other questions, we have interviewed four people from very different backgrounds, who all have in common that they grew up either bi-culturally, bi-lingually or both.

absolutely bi-lingual
First you’ll hear about a woman whose parents had grown up speaking English and German, who of course herself grew up with these two languages and now raises her little daughter the same way.
Then Peter from England talks about what it was like to grow up with an Austrian mother and an English father in England. And how that changed the whole look and feel of their house in England.

absolutely mixed
Right after that we go south to Italy, where Manuel, whose father is Italian, tells us why he had to take a beginners’ course in the Italian language a few years ago, and what, as a young boy, got on his nerves when he was visiting his family in Italy.
And for the last part of the show we go even further south to Brazil. Stefanie also doesn’t really talk the language of her mother’s family, but she does love to visit them in Brazil.
The next show will be coming to you on the 21st of September 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 36 +++ Bringing up baby +++ the Kenyan, German, Australian, Danish or Scottish way +++

This show has been recorded outdoors because everything seems to happen outdoors at this time of year in Denmark including cooking programmes on the TV as well as weather forecasts.

Baby by ECohen, Flickrabsolutely yours
Don’t forget to add yourself to our Frappr map on the blog. It may be interesting for us to talk to Vox Appeal from Rennes in France for example, who says he’s interested in podcasting in or about minority languages.

This show will be about children because child-rearing norms are deeply culturally bound and serious problems can occur when parents from one culture rear their children in a different culture.

absolutely babyish
We hear from Collette Döppner who in an earlier show told us about her pregnancy in Germany as a Kenyan woman. Now that her child has been born, things have got no easier as Collette attempts to carry out the Kenyan tradition of sleeping with her baby. Her grandmother provides wise advice and support when the new family visit her in Kenya.

absolutely confidential
Collette has been able to work out what she wants in discussion with her husband but what happens when you are mother to the new Prince of Denmark, you come from Australia and Danish norms dictate that young children spend much of their time in kindergarten? The press has a field day for certain especially the Australian magazine Woman’s Day, but are Australian and Danish norms so far apart or is this just tabloid journalism? I talked to Michael Coghlan and Alison Waye in Adelaide to try and make some sense of this scandal.

absolutely childish
Finally we talk about slightly older children of about 4 or 5 years old. Does it make a difference whether what they are attending is called a school or a kindergarten? This topic arose when I was talking to Ewan McIntosh about something else at the Reboot conference in May and I suddenly began to wonder if we weren’t talking at cross purposes. In the process you will hear what is surely the shortest curriculum in the world, the Scottish school curriculum which is summed up in eight words as ‘Successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors’. A succinct and positive note on which to end.

The next show will be coming to you from Germany on August 10th.

The Host of this show is: Anne Fox

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absolutely intercultural 21 +++ We won the Edublog Award +++ Image Projection +++ Internships and practical training abroad +++

Image projection and internships abroad – We have a winner for our frappr-map-competition – And hey! We won the Edublog Award!

Image projectionBelieve it or not – we are Number One in the Edublog Award in the category “Best Audio Blog”. This is really amazing and we’d like to thank each and every one of you for your votes and your support. And of course for all the comments and emails we got. We will get to all of them when we return from our Christmas break in January.

And our frappr-map-competition has come to an end. And the winner is… Zanele Khumalo from Cape Town in South Africa! Many congratulations, Zanele, and thank you very much for putting pin number 100 on our frappr-map. We will contact you soon and see how we can make you the guest host of one of our next shows. And of course we’d like to thank all the others for participating in our competition and for putting your pin on our map. It is nice to see where you are listening from.

We believe that “actively designing your image” is a very controversial but also an important concept that especially students should pay a lot more attention to when they are planning a stay abroad.

So let’s start with our first column ‘absolutely German!’ where Vera Klopprogge will tell us more about her internship at the World Health Organisation in Denmark.

But not only when you go abroad should you think about your image projection. Also when you start a new job or move to another city you could plan to try out something new. So we have asked Marlen Izquierdo from Spain and Anita Molnar from Hungary if they have worked on their image projection when they first started their new jobs, teaching at a university, and we call the second column ‘absolutely tiny!’, and you’ll soon understand why… =)

For our third and last column ‘absolutely abroad!’, we have interviewed Wiebke Begere, who is doing an internship in the tourist office on Achill Island, which is situated just off the west coast of Ireland. She’ll tell us about the differences between the buzzing Melting Pot Dublin, and the remote and very calm Achill Island. And she’ll also give us an insight on what she has learned from her stay abroad already.

We’d like to thank you once again for listening to us, for your support, for your comments and emails and basically for everything you have done to make this podcast what it is.

The next show will be coming to you on the 12th of January from Anne Fox in Denmark.

We are very much looking forward to the next year and hope that you will…stay tuned!

The Host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited by: Karsten Kneese

oedbAnd this came in last minute: ‘absolutely intercultural!’ has been named a Top 100 Education Blog by the Online Education Database. Wow, thank you very much! Now we’re really under pressure to live up to all the expectations. =)

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‘absolutely intercultural!’ – Show #2


Thanks to all of you for your numerous comments after the first show – we were overwhelmed by your response! In our second show we ask ourselves: Can intercultural awareness be taught in a classroom? Can it be taught in online courses?

We start by giving you some quotations from the 17 comments of feed-back on the first show. Fernando, a Spanish student who is doing his internship in Germany explains how surprised he was to hear Germans discuss different olive oils as if they were wines. Alexandra gives examples of how you can teach intercultural communication by facilitating intercultural experiences between participants of different countries. Ana shares her experience of an intercultural business simulation between her university and universities in Sweden and Lithuania.

And then we ask you, the listeners: Have you got any experience with intercultural classes? Perhaps even online? How can we gain intercultural awareness? In our gossip column Tommy from Denmark tells us how the Mohamed-cartoons crossed his holiday plans in Egypt and in our look at our favourite podcasts with cultural contents we hear about solar radio for coffee traders in Ruanda.

The Hosts of the show are: Anne Fox and Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Karsten Kneese (the pod-Karsten)

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