absolutely intercultural 99 +++ Christmas down-under +++ Ariane Curdy +++ John Kaethler +++

A white Father Christmas at the music festival in Perigian Beach

Happy Christmas to our listeners!

absolutely down-under
To be honest it feels strange to celebrate Christmas in the summer heat here at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland,  Australia. Back home normally we have temperatures below zero degrees Celsius and often a bit of snow, but this year I have done my Christmas shopping in shops where air conditioning from morning to evening is absolutely essential even if from the loudspeakers we are all listening to “Winter Wonderland” and “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas”. And while the students at USC tell us about the  typical Australian Christmas with seafood barbecue, salad and drinks by the swimming pool, of course different national groups also keep up their own traditions in Australia and Cassie told us about a Nigerian Christmas party with wonderful African food where Father Christmas is impersonated by a black Nigerian, which seems a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to be reminded of cultural diversity.

absolutely-experiential
In our second category we see what Canadian students can learn from ordinary Africans if they have the right attitude to learning and to their guest country. I asked John Kaethler, a colleague from Brock University in Canada why he takes students out of their regular surroundings and organizes intercultural excursions to Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. It seems to make absolute sense that if students approach a foreign country with humility and the wish to learn they will probably get more learning out of their intercultural experience than if they followed a seminar about that country.

absolutely-prepared
So we understand that intercultural learning could be initiated by lecturers at the home university, it could be triggered by contact with people in the country that is visited but our last guest on the show stresses that the ultimate responsibility is on us, the learners and travelers and that the experience should always be accompanied by thorough reflection. In our last category Ariane Curdy explains that we need to understand our own values and backgrounds in order to be open to learn from the others.

This was the last show for the year 2009, I hope you’ll enjoy the festive season, be it in the cold or in the heat! The team of “absolutely intercultural” wishes you all the best for the year 2010. And don’t miss our next show, believe it or not this will be show No 100, and will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 8th January 2010

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 98 +++ Kole Ade-Odutola +++ Yoruba +++ Minhaaj Ur Rehmen +++ environmental awareness +++ conflict avoidance +++ Sweden +++ African Footprint +++


The drumming which starts the show was recorded when the Ghanaian drummers of African Footprint visited Grenaa earlier this year and they are to put you in the mood for learning an African language; the Yoruba language to be precise which is taught by Kole Ade-Odutola in Florida as part of the language fulfilment part of American university courses. We also hear from Minhaaj Ur Rehman who, if you remember from Show 96 has just arrived in Sweden from Pakistan to do an MBA. He talks about how environmentally aware the Swedes seem to be; this is good when talking about wise use of resources but maybe less so when talking about avoidance of conflict.

absolutely secure
Kole who comes from Nigeria and is a true polymath with many different interests in media, poetry, literature, environmental activism and development which we will explore in later shows. First I was keen to explore more about his teaching of Yoruba in Florida.  So be prepared to learn a little Yoruba in this first extract of our conversation. When I was editing the audio file for this piece it occurred to me to look at the pattern of the sound file as Kole was demonstrating the three different ways of saying ogun and the three sound waves do indeed look very different so I chose this as the graphic for this show’s blog entry.We start by finding out what brought him to the US in the first place.

absolutely environmental
At the moment it is almost impossible to find a hotel room in Copenhagen because of the Climate Summit. Scandinavia does have a reputation for being environmentally aware and it was interesting that Minhaaj Ur Rehmen, who has just started a course in Sweden and comes from Pakistan, noticed this specifically. So what was it that caught his attention?

absolutely authentic
Meanwhile back on Florida I wondered how Kole’s students could get opportunities to practice the language. How can you get absolutely authentic in Yoruba? So to find out more about what Yoruba sounds like you could go to www.abeokuta.org where you will find music, drama videos and some basic lessons in the language.

absolutely passionate
If you heard two people talking to each other in loud voices you could assume that they were arguing and not getting on at all but depending on where you are you could be completely wrong! Our final segment is absolutely passionate and features Minhaaj in Sweden again and this time he talks about passion in conversations and where the Swedes score on that level!

The next show will be coming to you on 25 December from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Australia.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is:  Anne Fox
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 97 +++ Australia +++ Go out! +++ social media exchange +++

Laurent-008-web400pix-02absolutely down-under
The Sunshine Coast is calling, and yes, I am leaving the German autumn behind to go right into the Australian summer. Today we start a new mini-series called “absolutely down-under”, the reason is that I am going to the University of the Sunshine Coast, where I will teach and do research at our partner university. This means that the next couple of shows will be coming to you directly from Southern Queensland. So our editor Dino Nogarole asked me for an interview, a new situation for me, because normally it is my role to interview the people on the show.

absolutely abroad
Lets now go on to our category “absolutely abroad” one of the stimulators for my stay abroad, who is working for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He was at RheinAhrCampus in order to present the Go Out! campaign, in which he motivated students to do an internship abroad or to study in a foreign country …

absolutely trained
Some months ago, at the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Bloggers’ Meeting in Luxemburg I met Jessica Dheere, an American citizen who lives in Lebanon. In 2008 she started a project which is called social media exchange. You will hear that social media isn’t only Flickr, Twitter or Facebook, but also the ability to produce your own media, like mapping, blogging or podcasting. Her organisation offers training sessions which are specialised in social media exchange. The idea of it is to reach as many people as possible by using online tools or programms. Jessica trains young people how to use the social media. She explains why these net based tools are so important in Lebanon and why it is so difficult to spread your news through the national radio or through television. Her courses also help to bring different communities from different parts of the Lebanon together, for example the Christians and the Muslims.  Jessica tells us that her advantage is that she is an outsider with inside views and that she uses the social media for social change as a kind of common ground for the peer-learning between the different intercultural groups.

The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 11 December

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 88 +++ Cultural Synergies +++ culture as elephant +++ vocational education +++ international project teams +++ Tom Verghese +++

 

small_CoverThe whole show is devoted to a conversation I had with Tom Verghese of Cultural Synergies which is an international management consultancy in Melbourne, Australia.

absolutely invisible:
First of all I asked Tom Verghese the story behind the name of his book which is ‘The Invisible Elephant’. It turns out that an elephant is a great metaphor for culture and it is also linked to the expression about the elephant in the room meaning the big issue which nobody dares to talk about.

absolutely vocational:
Tom referred to several racist incidents which have happened in Australia recently as the catalyst for his next book, ‘The Invisible Elephant in the classroom’ which will give practical ideas for short focused activities to help vocational teachers make their increasingly international classes more inclusive. Something as simple as getting all the students to explain the story behind their names helps everyone in the class to appreciate the cultural richness within it.

absolutely reflective:
Tom has developed a tool called the Cultural Mirror which helps groups of people discover their tendencies in 9 significant cultural factors. Some of these are well known from the  basic literature of intercultural communication by Gert Hofstede and Edward Hall such as a tendency to individualism or collectivism or the tendency to monochronic or polychronic attitudes to time. But some of the nine factors were new to me such as the dichotomy between a guilt-based culture and a shame-based culture. Knowing where the individual memebers of your international team stand on these issues should be a great starting point for working out best practices within the team regarding attitudes to deadlines and so on. I am certainly interested in trying out the Cultural Mirror exercise at the beginning of the next project which I coordinate. The cultural mirror approach is described in more detail in the book, ‘The Invisible Elephant’.

The next show will be coming to you on 7 August from Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Jan Warnecke

absolutely intercultural 76 +++ mateship +++ Australia +++ Intercultural Management Institute +++

Australian map by color line @ flickr.com

absolutely yours:
Thank you to Alberto and Collette for leaving comments on our blog. If you recall, in the last show we featured the Tapas investigation in Léon, northern Spain and this obviously made Alberto homesick as he is now studying outside of Spain and was in fact a student on a pilot course called Hands On Learning which is designed to help students raise their intercultural awareness when they go on foreign internships or semester exchanges. Collette, in Germany responded with an update of the Hands On learning course which is now firmly established. So thanks both of you for taking the trouble to visit and leaving your comments. And if you have a comment about what you hear, a suggestion about what we could do in the future or even a complaint then just go to the website and leave us a comment. Better still you could record a comment and email it to us and we’ll include it in the next show.

absolutely bushed:
Today we’ll be delving into the concept of mateship, a word which I hadn’t heard before but which almost made it into the Australian constitution in 1999 according to Wikipedia. Kym Dixon is a teacher at Brighton Secondary School in Adelaide, Australia and he visited Denmark recently on a study tour to find out how we integrate ICT in everyday teaching here. One of the institutions he visited was Grenaa Technical School where he gave a talk to the High School students. One of the questions after the talk was from a student who wants to visit Australia and wanted advice about where to go. ‘Make sure you visit the outback and don’t just go to the cities.’ was Kym’s advice.

absolutely cultural:
March is the time for the Intercultural Management Institute conference in Washington on March 12 and 13. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the conference and it is set to be rather special. Looking at the program if I were able to go I’d definitely want to attend the ‘Making it Stick’ session about presenting interactive learning to a cross-cultural audience. I am also always attracted to the simulation exercises such as another one involving the unidentifiable Asian, Mr Kahn. Then there are sessions on the use of film in cross-cultural training and the intercultural aspects of medical tourism. In previous years we have tried to give you a flavor of the conference in one or two follow up podcasts and I hope that we will be able to do this again this year as long as we can find somebody able to wield a recorder close enough to the speakers.

absolutely delicious?:
Back in Australia, or rather with Kym Dixon in Denmark, we went through a ritual common to many intercultural travelers, that of establishing exactly what is on the plate.

The next show will be coming to you on 20 February from Dr. Laurent Borgmann in Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is:  Anne Fox
Editor: Jan Warnecke

absolutely intercultural 46 +++ Chile +++ Rivus +++ Australian Christmas +++ competition +++ Budacast +++ Palabea +++ Economist

Chocolate Easter bilbyThe main feature today is about a teacher exchange between Denmark and Chile which started with a bottle of wine! We’ll be hearing how traditional symbols are being adapted the Australian way. And finally we’ll be visiting Budacast, the podcast of one of our regular listeners, Drew Leifheit, who knows more than most about Budapest and the area around.

absolutely musical
Here in Denmark Christmas preparations are in full swing. Not everybody celebrates Christmas but the atmosphere is making us feel generous and so we will send a copy of the latest CD of Rivus, the 3 piece band from the Czech Republic we featured in June, to the first person who can send us a mail telling us the name of the third instrument played by the band in addition to violin and double bass. We can accept either of the two names that this third instrument is known as. Send a mail to contact@absolutely-intercultural.com together with your name and an address we can send the CD to. And in the meantime let’s give you a reminder of what the instrument sounds like… perhaps you know the tune? Did you recognise the tune as Elvis Presley’s Love me Tender? There are a few more cover versions on the CD all given this unique Czech twist and the rest of the tracks are traditional Czech songs.

absolutely educational
So let’s start with something absolutely educational by hearing about a teacher exchange which is not the usual run of the mill ‘visit your neighbour’ type of exchange. I am not belittling those exchanges. In fact I did one myself many years ago when I still lived in the UK and taught at a Belgian school for 3 weeks. My exchange was easily arranged by the European Union but what about forging contacts yourself? How could that be done? I talked to Vibeke Stenberg, a teacher at Ryomgaard Realskole, just back from an exchange between Denmark and Chile. What I like about this story is not just that Vibeke’s school has built a relationship with a school in an untraditional part of the world for Europeans but also that this experience shows that exchanges can arise out of all sorts of different ways.

absolutely traditional
You may remember that I talked with Michael Coghlan and his daughter, Alison Waye, in Australia back in July. What you don’t know is that we carried on talking and then the topic of a southern hemisphere Christmas came up and I discovered something surprising. And you can see a picture of one of those chocolate bilbies at the top of this page. Do you have any other examples about how traditional symbols have been adapted? If so then leave us a comment here on the blog.

absolutely addictive
Drew Leifheit has been a faithful listener from the earliest episodes and has often left thoughtful comments but did you know that he has his own podcast called Budacast all about Hungary, its capital Budapest where he is based and surrounding countries. If you find yourself with a little extra leisure time over the next couple of weeks then why not give Budacast a listen? This snippet is about the clean rooms which are to be found in the Hungarian part of Transylvania. Do you have a clean room I wonder? Let us know here on the blog.

absolutely debatable
If you are a university student then there is a good chance you may be thinking of doing part or even all of your course abroad. It seems that universities all over the world are competing for foreign students and this must be a good thing for everybody if there is a cultural exchange. But not everybody agrees and if you would like to take part in a debate about this then the Economist magazine is holding an online debate about this until December 28. You can read the different views, add your own view and vote on whether foreign student placements are a good thing or not.

absolutely linguistic
One last little present in this show is to point you in the direction of a new language learning website called Palabea which you can use absolutely free of charge and which includes audio and video facilities so that you can meet with native speakers of the language you want to learn. According to the Palabea people ‘Access to language is one of the first steps to cross-cultural empathy.’’ To which I say ‘Hear hear!’ As ever you can find the link on our blog.

The next show will be brought to you by Laurent Borgmann in Germany on December 28 and don’t forget to mail us with your competition entry to contact@absolutely-intercultural.com if you know the name of the third instrument played by Rivus. So Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it and stay tuned won’t you?

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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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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