In this show we’re going to be featuring a new business dedicated to making it easier for all to apply to American universities.
The company is called AdmitSee and we’ll be talking to Stephanie Shyu one of the co-founders. One of the biggest sources of students to American universities is China, where the university entrance process is quite different. So what would you do if you needed help in applying to a foreign university? In China, they often turn to an agent who charges a great deal of money to help you out with language issues and especially in writing a personal statement, which most Chinese have no experience with. The idea that Stephanie Shyu and her co-founders had, was to create a site where students who had already secured a university place could share various aspects of their successful application for a much smaller fee than an agent would charge. Continue reading “Admit See +++ China +++ France +++ study abroad +++ Absolutely Intercultural 180 +++”
Our New Editor from Spain: Elena Colunga Caballero. Welcome to our team!
So what should we be listening to in this podcast:
How do you personally try to gain authentic information about a country and culture that you are interested in? Do you trust the official view of the foreign office website? Or do you go straight to Wikipedia? How about listening to some real people from that country? This way you will get the unofficial story from the citizens themselves. Perhaps it could be interesting to listen to a father of two children who can tell you what it is really like to take the two on public transport or to a restaurant? This is inside information that you may not find in any of the official publications of the country. Under a system which is called Rotation Curation Movement, Karsten Kneese will host the twitter account of I_amGermany for a week starting next Monday.
Let us explore what you, the listeners can find out about his culture if you follow him during that week. In our first category “absolutely twitter” I asked Karsten how the Rotation Curation Movement has developed since it started in Sweden last year. If you are interested, please find “I_amGermany” on Twitter on Monday and follow Karsten around for a week. This is grass-roots journalism on Twitter that I think you should not miss. You have the opportunity to find out the real story from real citizens without having to travel to the country.
I spoke to a group of students from the German-Jordanian University who jumped in at the deep end and decided to spend a whole semester in Europe. In our second category “absolutely stereotypical” I asked them what their parents and friends had warned them about before they left.
In our third category “absolutely international” I am talking to a young but very well travelled person. After spending all her holidays abroad since she was 15 she has also studied in France and has now started doing her practical training in the department of Languages /International Affairs at the University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz. I asked Elena from Spain what her friends and family had said when she was planning her big step.
Let us now return to the group of Jordanians who told me that in their country it would be very unusual for a lecturer to go to the university by bike, because there seems to exist a bigger “power distance” between lecturers and their students. We also learn that in Jordan, if you get invited to dinner you have to refuse several times in order to be polite before you finally accept. So one of the students politely said “No” to a dinner invitation in Germany but then learned the hard way that here you only get one shot, and he was not invited again. In our last category “absolutely different” I asked the students to explain major cultural differences which they have observed during the first weeks in Europe.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 2nd of November from Anne Fox in Denmark.
Today I would like to pick up the topic of your last show. We talked about CSR which stands for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. In times of global markets and increased business competition, Small and Medium sized Enterprises must find a way to increase their competitive edge. Therefore they often try to save costs as a result of competitive conditions and market instabilities. However, maybe a cultural change in companies will give them a competitive advantage? Implementing and practicing CSR may lead to increased costs and you may not see the benefits immediately. So why do successful companies go in that direction? Apparently around 50% of American and European SMEs believe that CSR-activities are somewhat effective for their business. SMEs can change their company culture and provide significant benefits by investing in small, efficient projects in society to increase their own visibility in the community. Some companies may do something good for the environment or donate money and others might start working in close cooperation with Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations. This time I would like to approach the topic from a different angle. CSR is becoming more and more important in business life and thus future managers should have a solid knowledge about it. In previous shows I talked to CSR specalists such as lecturers from different European universities and employees of companies which have implemented CSR in their business plans. Our focus was to find out how CSR work changes the culture within the company but also the contacts between a company and its stake holders. Today my focus is on students and what they learn about CSR during their studies of Business Administration. I interviewed students from Hungary, Russia, and Mongolia who dealt with corporate culture and CSR in their last semester at RheinAhrCampus in Germany in one of my courses called “International Business Simulations”.
absolutely young In our first category I asked Katalin Perjési from Hungary what she thinks about CSR and what she learnt on the course. She will tell us about a project where the students designed and implemented their own CSR projects for the university. They invited school children to the campus to teach them about respect and diversity in the community. Some said afterwards that they walk past the university every day but had never dreamed of spending a day inside before they reach their A-levels. As these were school children who often get taught in classes with many national backgrounds it was not so surprising, how much they already knew about diversity, respect for different cultures and dealing with other children who do not have the same first language.
absolutely green I interviewed Nadya Kokareva from Russia. She will tell us about the vague ideas people have about CSR and gives us some examples of how a university could practice CSR. This is not exclusively about institutions “going green”, which means saving the environment. Nadya also took part in the course and participated in another project. This time, the target group were not the children in the community, but the elderly people who live in a nursing home just 800 metres from campus. In spite of the proximity, the students who took part in the project had never visited the home.
absolutely courageous Oyunbileg is an exchange student from our Turkish partner university in Izmir. However, she is originally from Mongolia and is currently doing her Erasmus semester abroad. In our last category she will talk about her theoretical lectures on stakeholder relationships and relates the theory to the practical CSR projects she was involved in last semester. Finally she gives us an idea of the cultural differences she experienced moving between Mongolia, Turkey and Germany.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 7 of September.
Today I am going to talk about the exciting decisions of those students who broaden their horizons by studying abroad. Furthermore we will talk to an expert who helps these students get the right information and financial support for fulfilling their dreams of living and studying in another country. Last but not least I would like to share an urban myth about an intercultural incident on a British Airways flight complete with a happy ending (at least for some of the people involved!)
In Germany it is normal for about 20% of students at universities go abroad during their studies. However, Anne Gründer, is rather special in many ways. She studied Biomathematics and chose to spend a semester studying abroad at EWHA Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea. And because she enjoyed her time so much she actually extended her stay for a second semester. Anna also successfully learned the language with the Asian symbols that look so unfamiliar to the western eye. Now that she is back in Germany she looks back on the cultural differences she experienced and shares how she benefited from her stay. In our first category she will start by telling us why she chose South Korea as her destination for her semester abroad.
absolutely courageous If one of our listeners is toying with the idea of coming to Germany, our interview will be particularly interesting for you. Kata Perjési is an Hungarian student. After spending a study semester abroad in Finland, she had planned to do her internship in Finland too. However, luckily for us she ended up being our new intern here at RheinAhrCampus. Kata is from Corvinus University in Budapest and will stay here for six months. In our next category she is going to tell us, why she chose Germany as her destination and what benefits she expects to get out of her stay abroad.
Our last guest for today is Wolfgang Kräft. He is working for the “German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD”. Together with his team, one of Wolfgang’s jobs is to travel through Germany and to inform German students how they could study abroad and which financial support they can get. They stop in bigger cities with their go-out mobile bus and provide students with a lot of information. In our last category Wolfgang will tell us what the ideal study abroad student should look like, how students can receive information about a semester abroad and finally he will give us advice on how your stay abroad could be the most productive time of our studies.
Let me finish today with an intercultural urban myth about a black man and a white woman – a story has turned into a well-copied piece on the internet over the last decade. According to different versions this incident would have happened on about 17 different Airlines which is not very plausible but the story is nice enough to be re-told here:
“A 50- year old white woman on a British Airways flight arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.
“Whats the problem, ma?” the hostess asked her
“Cant you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t sit here next to him! You have to change my seat”
– “Please, calm down” – said the hostess
“I think, all the seats are occupied, but I`m still going to check if we have any.”
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
“Madam, I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn`t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class.”
“Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class be upgraded to the first class. However, given the circumstances, the captain thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person.”
And turning to the black man, the hostess quickly said:
“Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your hand luggage, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…”
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some giving standing ovations.”
Today, we present a show which is going to focus on the European Program called “ERASMUS”, named after Eramus of Rotterdam. However, the name also stands for “EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”. So, University students can apply for ERASMUS grants when they want to study abroad withinin Europe. Therefore we will hear different opinions about this mobility program and the opportunities students gain by studying abroad within the ERASMUS framework. Nowadays it is more and more important for students to internationalize themselves during their studies. This means they have to leave their comfort zones and broaden their horizons by studying abroad. In order to initiate this process, the European ERASMUS program was founded almost 25 years and has been giving out grants for the internationalization of students.
absolutely basic In our first category Adelheid Korpp is going to tell us, what the program is about and which preparations students have to make. She is an expert on the ERASMUS program. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus and she knows a lot about the grants. She will tell us which countries in Europe take part in the ERASMUS program and what benefits student can expect if they decide to go on an ERASMUS exchange. For good Europeans it is essential to understand each other better particularly in context of the recent discussions about financial solidarity between the European member states.
In our second category Timo Schneider will share his experiences with us. He is back from his stay in Worcester, England, where he studied at a partner university of RheinAhrCampus. He will tell us how he heard about the program, what motivated him to put in an application, and of course which benefits he got from his stay. Timo also shares some of his intercultural experiences in sports where he noticed that his previous stereotypes really did not help. He will also give us a very useful advice.
In our last category Carsten Ritterath a 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 was to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten managed to get a grant 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. I took this interview with Carsten some time ago so in the meantime he is already back from his very successful ERASMUS stay.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 16 September
This show is all about the life of students here at RheinAhrCampus in Germany! You will gain an insight into the daily life of Lucy Warren, an exchange student from Australia. She shows us what the life of an exchange student is like and what specific things you can do in Remagen: e.g. editing the international exchange students blog – supervised by Adelheid Korpp. And you will have the chance to get the the latest news of the “National Youth Orchestra of Iraq” and how our students are involved in that project.
The students at RheinAhrCampus know that “intercultural experience abroad” which is documented on their CVs can be a competitive advantage when they are looking for a job. This means they have to leave their intercultural comfort zones and broaden their horizons by studying or working in a different country. It may seem a huge step but it really helps students understand intercultural differences, learn other languages and prepare themselves for their future business lives where they will have to deal with different cultures in different situations. So it seems like a “must have” to go abroad and that is what Lucy Warren, an Australian Student from the University of the Sunshine Coast did. She has spent a whole year away from home at the German partner university doing a combination of studying and internship abroad. Before she left she documented one of her typical days Let us listen to how she starts her day, what helps her clear her mind and which free time activities she indulged in during her stay.
If in our audience there are students who want similar experiences, please feel free to contact us because we like to have international students on campus and we are always looking for interns, too. So go out and internationalize yourselves!
absolutely ambitious part I
The Russian student Nadya Kokareva, who also likes to take risks and jumps in at the deep end, came to our university less than a year ago. She enrolled on one of my courses – International Business Simulations. There we simulated a company called “oRACle” which helped Paul MacAlindin and his “National Youth Orchestra of Iraq” promote their work. Nadya is the president of that company and she will tell us what she experienced during the course, what she learnt from the experience and how this course helped her prepare for her future working life
In our next category Adelheid Korpp will tell us, how the exchange students at RheinAhrCampus document their experiences and their daily lives on an exchange students’ blog – so that everyone who is interested in their progress, can follow them online with text and pictures. It is a useful exercise for every exchange student to share their experiences with their friends and families on the world wide web. The students are talking about their travels in Germany and Europe, about their academic experiences at RheinAhrCampus and of course about events they experience during their stays, like for example the famous Karneval in Cologne.
absolutely ambitious part II
Lucy Warren is going to tell us more about her job in the simulated company “oRACle”. While Nadya is the CEO of that simulated company which is helping the “National Youth Orchestra of Iraq” to promote their visit to Bonn this autumn through social media, Lucy is actually the PR manager of that same company. Lucy tells us what her main tasks have been and how this practical experience may be a little different from learning the theory of PR work from a textbook.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 19 August
Dino, our previous editor, is not working for this podast any longer. He finished his studies and right now he is doing an internship as a controller in a company in Switzerland! The team of the international department at RheinAhrCampus wishes him the best in his future. Dino was the most international of us and he jokingly introduced himself as half German, half Italian and half Swiss. We all know that Dino has the potential to go very far and wish him the best!
But who is going to help us with the podcasts? I have the pleasure to present you his successor: Markus Scherer. You may know him from interviews in previous shows. Dino made sure there was a smooth transition and taught Markus all the tricks of the trade so that you, the listeners, will hopefully not even notice any difference in quality. Markus is a student at RheinAhrCampus and in our first category Emese and Lucy are trying to find out everything about his hobbies, interests and fears.
I am talking to Paul MacAlindin the Musical Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq and his flautist Daniel Agi about their new music project in Iraq in our second category. What happened when they tried to start an orchestra in an Arabic country recovering from a war? Imagine if you have to create an intercultural team consisting of multi-lingual and multi-cultural and multi-religious participants. Perhaps even people who outside your team would never choose to talk to each other – like Kurdish and Arabic participants. How difficult must that be? Paul MacAlindin created the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq which can also be followed on facebook. He will tell you more about his project and the hurdles he has to take. Furthermore Daniel Agi will share his experiences how he supported the flautists during the rehearsals in Iraq.
In our last categoryyou will learn about an unlikely reunion of two sisters. Both have the surname “Bognar”. One grew up in Germany, the other in Hungary. When the German sister wanted to learn Hungarian her teacher matched her with another student who is also called “”Bognar”. This story is too sweet to be true! But how could that happen? Well, Emese is from Hungary and working for the international department here at RheinAhrCampus– and Daniela is German and a student at RheinAhrCampus. They both met for the first time here on campus. But are they related? This is what Lucy is going to find out and at the same time we learn more about the differences of everyday life in Hungary and Germany
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 27 May
Why do different people have different perspectives? How can the same person have different perspectives on traffic only because one time the person experiences it in the car and the next day on a bicycle? How do our perspectives on events change over time. How big is the cultural influence on our perspective? And how does our perspecive change when we move to another culture?
All of us have different perspectives on the everyday things that surround us, we watch news on television, hear stories and we think we are perfectly informed about everything. But are we really? Sometimes a trip to another country or a new episode in our lives can change our perspective on the World dramatically.
Take Paul MacAlindin for example. He moved from small-town Scotland to big-town Germany and this move changed his geographical perspective to one which for Continental Europeans seems very normal.
Emese Bognar an exchange student from Hungary, vividly illustrates different perspectives and changing perspectives when she told me what irritated her when she attended a lecture and how her perspective on traffic changed, when she did her driving license.
Agnes Dus from Hungary interviewed Adelheid Korpp, who had tried the “hospitality club”, which is a clever system for travelers to get cheap accommodation. The traveler applies for accommodation to a host, contacts the host and asks if they can stay for 1 or 2 nights. This seems to be a pleasant way for travelers to get around and have a cheap bed for the night. However, more importantly, this could be a good way to change your perspective from that of a regular tourist to that of a dear friend invited to the country. But let us listen to Adelheid how this works in detail, because first of all you need to get approved.
In our fourth and last category Roman told me about his time in Australia; he spent a semester at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and we now really have to change our perspectives here, because he is telling us that in the middle of the Australian summer you can still feel pretty cold, but listen to him yourself.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 01 April
Welcome to show 129 of our Podcast “absolutely-intercultural”. Thanks you again to all of you who have helped us win in the non-profit category of the European Podcast Awards (fourth place in Germany and even number 1 in Denmark!). We really appreciate all your input and the attention our podcast has received as a result. We feel absolutely comfortable seeing that what we produce seems to have a wide audience of listeners.
Today we are going to talk about comfort zones and especially leaving our comfort zones. A comfort zone is the place where you feel comfortable, where everything seems to be easy and under your control. But what happens if you have to leave this comfort zone because of a change in your life or if you decide out of your own free will to leave your comfort zone? In our first category I had a meeting with people who have chosen to spend some time outside their comfort zones – by going to a foreign country: Lucy from Australia, Gintare and Vaida from Lithuania and Yasha from Turkmenistan decided to leave their comfort behind and experience something new. They left their home countries and entered a new world. I asked them which situations in their new lives were the scariest.
If the feeling is strong, you may even feel out of place or unsafe in your new environments. This happened to Beatrice, when she went to Egypt on a holiday for the first time and all the new impressions, smells, the loudness of the street and the different behaviors of people she met, made her feel like a fish out of the water and she was even a little scared. In our second category I asked whether she could still remember leaving her comfort zone for the first time.
In our next category I will return to our round table, where the foreign students tell me how they try to introduce familiar objects from their home countries into their unfamiliar surroundings in order to be a little more comfortable even outside their comfort zones. But first I asked the participants to tell me what situations in their host country made them most uncomfortable.
When I was putting together this podcast it seemed that nowadays it is a universal truth that we need to leave our comfort zones all the time? But can that really be right? I went out of my way to find someone who says that there are professions where everybody would want you to stay within the comfort zone. How ironic, I actually had to find an artist who would speak in favor of comfort zones so in our fourth and last category I finally spoke to Paul MacAlindin, a classical musician who is active in organizing international orchestra performances, e.g. for the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq, of which he is the Musical Director. I asked him where he leaves his comfort zones during his artistic work and also in his private life. To my surprise he explained that in classical music most stakeholders prefer not to leave their comfort zones.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 05 March
Today we are going to talk about how important social media and email have become in our lives. Do they help us be more productive or do they dominate our daily lives? 2010 may have ended peacefully and the holiday season was pretty calm but what was your first look at the internet like when you came back to work? Hundreds of email messages that were waiting for an answer? Dozens of requests to join somebody’s Linked-In network or to accept or decline messages because you are the moderator of a list or a blog? To be honest, after 10 minutes at the computer where I felt like a fire-fighter trying to get the worst catastrophies under control I was tempted to shut down the computer and do some “real work”. But did I? No, somehow I felt I needed to write quick answers, press “Like” butt0ns on Facebook and accept digital invitations because it all looked so urgent and real even though I was alone in my office and all the urgency was “only digital”.
I met Elaine and Will and had a discussion about how to monitor your work-life balance and perhaps separate your business and your private lives. In this respect almost all my friends fall into one of two very separate cultures and will explain to you that their particular work situation (rather than their own choice) determines their behavior. Are you the kind of a person who will switch off totally after work and recharge your batteries so that you can perform well in the work place afterwards? Or are you always connected and keep checking your email account at home even when you should be preparing dinner? If you decide not to look at your work email at home, does that this really mean that you are less than fully committed to your job or does the constant digital connection to your work place show that you cannot let go and eventually lead to burn-out syndrome? However we deal with this, most of us somehow have a bad conscience about our work-life balance one way or another, so let us discuss this and see whether digital addiction is actually a bad thing? In our first category Elaine and Will describe how two partners deal with this daily challenge in very different ways.
In our second category Andreas Faulstich tells our interviewer Maria that some badly written email messages can drive him crazy and cause him a lot of extra work. Fortunately, there are only few messages which steal his time. Listen to how he tries to deal with these messages and how he suggests writing email messages more professionally. First, Maria asked Andreas how many email messages he receives every day?
In our last category we organized a round table where I am talking with Lucy, Emese and Markus about how students who leave their home universities and study abroad can stay connected with family, friends and their home university through the digital media. Do we perhaps need to choose different channels for different target groups?
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 04. February