Working in Japan – Haiti and the Dominican Republic – Hofstede in action
Yogesh Bang, an Indian software engineer, has worked on assignment in Japan several times. His advice to anybody thinking of working in Japan is to be prepared to lose out on sleep. He also noticed the effect of concensus decision-making, hierarchy and the status of women employees during his time there.
Absolutely Educational I
We have another report from Chris Saenger of the Intercultural Management Institute of Washington on their annual conference last March called ‘Does Culture Still Matter?’ This time he talks about their second keynote speaker Laurence Harrison who is not afraid to make controversial propositions as to why for example Haiti and the Dominican Republic perform so differently economically even though they share the same island.
Absolutely Educational II
Speaking from Iceland, David Stroud, a senior British civil servant, talks about why the Hofstede model is so useful in international negotiations.
The next show will be coming from Germany on May 18.
The culture of Adult Education – Lifelong Learning – International Emergency Calls
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.
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.
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.
Just in time before the Easter holidays – Report from the conference “Does culture still matter” – Gypsy music in the Czech Republic
Absolutely yours: We get birthday congratulations and an idea for a new show.
Absolutely educational: Chris Saenger reports on some of sessions he attended at the ‘Does Culture Still Matter?’ conference hosted by the Intercultural Management Institute of Washington DC. First Chris recounts how an activity involving holding two water-filled cups of water can show you various aspects of how you react in an unknown situation. Later he tells us about how former US ambassador, Prudence Bushnell, adopted various strategies to enable a woman’s voice to be heard in patriarchal cultures.
Absolutely musical: On a recent trip to the east of the Czech Republic, the Rivus trio play traditional gypsy music in which the cimbalom or hammered dulcimer instrument (pictured) plays a leading role. This is not a music podcast but music can have an important role to play in culture.
The next show will be coming from Germany on April 20.
It is our birthday today – and we are taking you behind the scenes of absolutely intercultural!
So because this is our first birthday episode, we are going to be a bit more self-centred then usually.
For the column absolutely nostalgic we’re taking a look back at our very first show. Do you remember? It was about the Tapas culture in Leon, in the north of Spain, and Steve Evans from the British Council in Madrid constructed an English lesson around this show. As he was one of the first teachers who have used our show in the classroom, I decided I should visit him and interview him about it. So I met Steve a while ago and we chatted about the reactions of his students and how our podcast has influenced their way of learning and communicating in the classroom. Please also have a look at the Madrid Young Learners Video Podcast, which they started after listening to our first show.
For our second column absolutely influential Anne, Laurent and I have talked about how our podcast has influenced our own working lives and maybe even our private lives. And right after that we’ll go absolutely indiscrete and take you behind the scenes of absolutely intercultural. Have you ever wondered how we actually produce this podcast and meet all the people for our interviews? Well, your questions will be answered soon. And we’ve got some confessions to make, but that’ll have to wait until later.
And in the end you can learn a little bit more about us, the makers and moderators of absolutely intercultural, if you like.
The next show will be coming to you on the 6th of April from Anne Fox in Denmark.
So long…stay tuned!
Are there any B-people in Second Life? And does culture still matter?
Second Life is a virtual world but is it also a new culture which we can explore in the same way we can come to new cultures in the real world? To consider some of these issues I talked with Helen Keegan of Salford University who first visited Second Life on Christmas Day, 2006 and Sus Nyrop, a freelance educational consultant in Denmark who has visited both Danish and other areas of Second Life. We wondered whether your appearance matters and if it helps to have cultural informants as a guide.
BSamfundet is a new society in Denmark promoting flexible working hours. The structure of the day and attitudes to time are aspects which vary greatly across cultures. B-samfundet means B-society and by catering to those who only come alive after 10 in the morning they maintain that this will reduce traffic jams and will help those so-called B-people who are only fully functional later in the day. But is this an issue that is going to resonate in Denmark where work starts and finishes early? To answer this question I took a straw poll of my colleagues in Grenaa and I did manage to unearth some shattered B-people.
Borrowed Identities – European Student Now! Project meeting on Achill Island and in Dublin, Ireland.
Welcome to episode 25 our Silver Jubilee of absolutely intercultural, which is absolutely Irish!
Laurent and I have just been on an excursion to Achill Island and Dublin in Ireland within the framework of the EU funded Intensive Programm “Borrowed Identities – European Student” now, and in this episode you will hear many different voices from many nationalities, but one in particular – Agnes Dus, a student from Corvinus University Budapest in Hungary has helped us a great deal with doing interviews and creating the concept for this episode, so thank you very much Agnes.
As a preparation for the proposed “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008” our project “Borrowed Identity” aims at creating an intercultural learning environment based on virtual and real mobility. The project is targeted at Business, Technical and Humanities students in Germany, Sweden, Spain, UK and Hungary and focuses on combining computer-mediated academic work, face-to-face meetings and intercultural communication.
This combination provided students with a new perspective of their own cultural identity as students, and the cultural identity of their foreign fellow students and hosts in Ireland.
So a short while ago 40 people from 5 different countries and actually 8 different nationalities met for 12 days in Ireland, to work together on a variety of academic workshops and to attend several intercultural lectures.
Now, to give you an idea of what the personal aims of the participating coordinators and teachers were we have asked some of them what they wanted to get out of the project, personally and for their professional life, and if their expectations were actually fulfilled.
We have also interviewed old friends like Sean and Margaret Cannon, who are a part of our “European project family” for more than 10 years now. And we have met new friends like Stephen Manning, who has just recently settled down on Achill after quite an exciting period of his life.
This episode is also a part of the general documentation of our whole project, and you can also follow a day-by-day travelogue of the excursion, written by the students themselves. Check it out – they have done a really good job!
A lot has happened during our time in Ireland, and we hope to give you a good impression of what our students have achieved, what the whole project is all about and what a good time we had on Achill Island.
The next show will be coming to you on the 9th of March from Anne Fox in Denmark.
So long…stay tuned!
Corporate Culture, bilingualism, business and the environment
Absolutely bilingual: We revisit the issue of bilingualism with comments from one of our listeners about her experiences.
Absolutely corporate: TrineMaria Kristensen of Social Square explains how companies define their culture around the stories they agree on and whether screaming with laughter in the A P Møller Mærsk offices is acceptable or not.
Absolutely Environmental: Peter Malbek of SCA Packaging explains why responsibility for the environment is built into the culture of SCA and also comes with news of this year’s trendy Christmas present; a bag of hot air.
Absolutely educational: We are very keen to hear about how listeners use our podcast in their teaching. The Leonardo Lancelot project plans to use one of our shows in their pilot course for training online teachers.
The next show will come from Germany on February 23 so … stay tuned!
The Host of this show is: Anne Fox Download Podcast-Feed iTunes-Abo
How to prepare yourself for a stay abroad // multilingualism
What can you do to prepare yourself for a semester or a stay abroad? Is reading up on the country you’re planning to go to or getting information from the Internet enough? Ariane Curdy, an intercultural trainer and teacher, gives us the answer.
And if you’re interested in learning more about how to prepare yourself, or your students, for a stay abroad, then you might like to know more about a European project called LIPS. LIPS stands for Linguistic and Intercultural Preparation of Students for the workplace and the aim of the project is to identify key situations in collaboration with potential employers and students and develop an innovative media-based learning community. You can find more information about LIPS at www.eu-lips.de
What is it like to raise four children bilingually? Elisabeth is from Austria, but followed her husband 33 years ago to England. The children have been speaking both, German and English at home, and we also asked her son Thomas, what it was like for him to grow up with two languages at the same time.
Christina Cunningham talks about how the working language of the Commission has changed since the last enlargements of the Union, and what is being done to give the less spoken languages, like Danish or Lithuanian for example, more visibility and a stronger impact in the daily work of the Commission.
The next show will be coming to you on the 9th of February from Anne Fox in Denmark.
We are still waiting for Zanele Khumalo from Cape Town in South Africa to get in touch as the winner of our Frappr map prize.
Absolutely National: And we stay in South Africa to hear from Mark Anderson in Pretoria who explains the classification system of the old apartheid system and the beliefs this led to. Mark also explains how the Zulu culture may not be as old as we might think.
Absolutely Yours: Our feature on image projection in show number 21 struck a chord with Fernando from Spain who sent us an audio comment about what led him to discard almost his entire wardrobe of clothes when he had an internship in Germany.
Absolutely Educational: Anne has difficulty pronouncing Katarzyna Kubacka’s name. Katarzyna is a student teacher in Poland who was known as Kate during her time as a classroom assistant in Grenaa. Katarzyna was financed under the Comenius programme of the EU. Katarzyna talks about the differences in approach and mentions one thing which she found particularly shocking.
Image projection and internships abroad – We have a winner for our frappr-map-competition – And hey! We won the Edublog Award!
Believe 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.
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!
And 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. =)