absolutely intercultural 109 +++ go-out campaign +++ DAAD & BMBF +++ be prepared +++


Today I would like to introduce you to the “Go-Out” Campaign of the German Academic Exchange Service and the German Ministry of Education and Research.
Both institutions have formed an alliance to increase the percentage of German students who spend time abroad during their studies. The aims include studying abroad, doing an internship abroad, writing your Bachelor or Master thesis abroad or following language courses abroad. One of the aims is also to encourage students to look beyond Europe and spend some quality time in Asia, Latin America, or Africa in order to round off their studies in Germany. Please visit the web page of the Go-Out campaign at www.go-out.de. Please have a look at the profiles of former outgoing students such as Birgit and Siegfried who studied in Israel and China.

absolutely connected
Today I will invite you to listen to students from the University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz, RheinAhrCampus, who have already been abroad or are planning their stay but also to professionals from the international office who share their experiences with us and can perhaps whet your appetites for such a stay abroad.
How should you prepare for your stay abroad? Why do German employers think that if you have spent some time abroad you will be a better employee? Let us try to find out why your stay abroad will be a unique opportunity. A stay abroad during your studies is certainly a valuable extra for your career planning. Your experience abroad, whether study or internship, will help you develop and round off your personality but will also provide impressions and insights which perhaps others will envy you later. Many job advertisements nowadays list the requirement “experience abroad”, even if the job itself does not seem to require international contact.

absolutely representative
Before and during their stays abroad students are often not really aware of what the real benefits of their experience will be. This will only show years later. And sometimes students unfortunately give up their plans because they cannot imagine where they should get the extra money from, whether they can survive with their basic English, or whether they should really leave their friends and family behind for several months. When you have these doubts, you should not give up but ask for help from your university. In this category I spoke to Andreas Faulstich who is responsible for the language program at RheinAhrCampus of the University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz. I asked him how many of his students do actually go out to study or do an internship abroad. And what keeps those who decide against it from seeking that valuable experience? Is it always the extra costs that students may have to shoulder?

absolutely prepared
So let us turn to our next step, the preparation for a stay abroad. Some time ago I interviewed Carsten just before he went to Great Britain to do his practical training He is from a little village near the university and put a lot of effort into preparing himself for his practical training abroad and, as a consequence, managed to secure a scholarship for himself under a program called ERASMUS Placements. One of Carsten’s aims is to “grow up” through new personal experiences.

absolutely shocked
How can students find out what exactly needs to be prepared before they take their decisions and hand in their applications? At every university in Germany students will find help with these questions in the international office. In our last category I asked Barbara Neukirchen who works for the international office how early she needs to get in contact with students to prepare them strategically for their stay abroad.

The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 28 May

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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

absolutely intercultural 105 +++ Didgeridoo +++ lifelong learning +++ power distance +++

absolutely nominated
Our podcast has been nominated for the European Podcast Award – please help us win the prize by voting for us. Just click on the German and the Danish  flag and vote for Absolutely Intercultural. The address is http://www.european-podcast-award.eu/ and basically all you need to do is to give us a star rating for both content and design and then click the Vote button and that’s it.  Thank you in advance!

absolutely down-under
As I am preparing to leave Australia soon, in my mind I am trying to compile a collection of lasting impressions that I gained during my stay in down-under. Now, for this podcast my challenge was – to capture one specific sound that would be emblematic for Australia. For me, personally, this would probably be the incredible bird sounds that I have already shared with you in previous shows. However, I have a feeling that for others the sound of the didgeridoo captures the Australian spirit best. In a small country town of the Hinterland I was fortunate enough to meet a part-blood Aboriginal and his daughter, both, producers and players of these Yirdakis, which is the real name for these curious wind instruments developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia since at least 1500 years ago. In our first category, I wanted to find out what exactly you have to do to produce this typical sound and where the name “didgeridoo” comes from.

absolutely lifelong
We are still talking about learning – can you imagine going to school again for the rest of your life? And to sit in class and listen to what a teacher tells you? Or maybe there are other forms of learning out there?
Lifelong learning is often promoted by institutions of adult education, so we have interviewed Ulla and Beate, who both work for adult education institutions. Ulla works for the Folkuniversitetet in Sweden and Beate for Volkshochschule Köln, in Germany. I asked them whether there is a recognisable culture of lifelong learning, and what makes people want to carry on learning throughout their lives.

absolutely distant
It is incredibly rewarding to work with people who out of their own free will decide to improve themselves and constantly set themselves new challenges by integrating into new learning situations.
Two of these people are Jakub and Mariusz, two Erasmus students from Poland, who spent a summer semester at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen. In our last category they describe a stark difference between the student-professor-relationships in Poland and in Germany. Geert Hofstede describes the intercultural dimension behind this as “power distance”. It is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions (here the students) expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Now, the observation of the two students totally confirms Hofstede’s theory. Power Distance in Poland is much higher than in most other European countries and in particular than in Germany. So it was to be expected that Polish students found the idea of a German Professor as a colleague and a friend very disturbing. However, we started our interview with the Polish students’ observations about Europe. They report that while the European idea is still new and exciting in Poland the Germans do not seem to appreciate or even question it any longer because they simply take Europe for granted.

The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 02. April.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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

absolutely intercultural 91 +++ Stephen Spillane +++ Anna Lindh Foundation +++ Erasmus Programme +++ Andreu Claret +++

workshop result of the bloggers meetingToday we will focus on the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Euromed Bloggers Training on Intercultural Dialogue, where you can listen to a short summary of the event by Andreu Claret, the executive Director of the ALF and also to interviews with the participants.

absolutely online:
I met Stephen Spillane and during the last breakfast I managed to interview him and ask him about his impressions. It was interesting to hear that in his life, beside the “normal” culture where he meets people face-to-face he manages to also lead a life in the digital culture meeting friends in cyberspace. He says that if you get to know someone new in this online world – sometimes it is better not to meet the person face to face, but to keep the mystery online. For him the Euromed Bloggers Meeting was the first time that he met so many different cultures in one room and Stephen was impressed how different and yet how similar the Euro-Mediterranean cultures can be.

absolutely separated:
Kyle Hickman is an American student from California doing his internship at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), one of the biggest newspapers in Germany. Dr. Joachim Birzele is a professor at RheinAhrCampus University in Remagen who has just come back from a tour of several North-American universities. They told us about their work experiences in German companies and institutions and about the most obvious differences in social life between the two countries.

absolutely erasmus:
Apparently it is not so easy to integrate in the host country as most of your work colleagues already have their circle of friends and may be concentrating a little more on their own families. So how can you break through this invisible barrier? How can you convince people that although you are only staying in their country for a short period of time they should spend some quality time with you? I talked with some Erasmus students who had the courage to spend six months in a completely foreign culture. Marina and Lora were in the same situation as Kyle and had to overcome some psychological barriers on their way to integration. How can you make friends in a “low context culture” when you have grown up in a “high context culture” One of their secrets is to host a party at which they introduce the guests to their home country and culture. Check our Marina’s and Lora’s experience reports about their studies at RheinAhrCampus

absolutely tiny:
Andreu started by giving a short summary of the contents and the output of the bloggers meeting in Luxemburg, about the experience he had while he was in Cairo when Obama made his famous speech at the university, about the intercultural dream of the Anna Lindh Foundation and of the relatively small window of opportunities, open to politics in the Middle East.

You will hear more from the meeting in Luxemburg in our show 93, where we will feature more bloggers who took part in the meeting. In fact, there will be an important campaign ”Restore Trust, Rebuild Bridges” which will be happening online around September 11 with the help of many of the bloggers who came together in Luxemburg and we will report about this in future shows. Please check out Carmel Vaisman’s  and Stephen Spillane’s very touching postings about the bloggers meeting in Luxemburg.

Our next show, however, will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 18 September.

So long…stay tuned!

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

 

absolutely intercultural 87 +++ internship in Germany +++ American vs German culture +++ studying and working in Germany +++

signpost04--Ursprungsphoto-Today we are a little student-centred and try to solve the question whether from the cultural point of view it makes more sense to study abroad or to do an internship abroad. If you want to participate in this debate, please feel free to post your opinion. I am sure we can pick it up in one of our future shows.

absolutely serious:
I have Kyle Hickman from California in the studio. Kyle is doing an internship with a big national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine  and tells us a little about the cultural differences he has noticed between California and Frankfurt in Germany over the last couple of months. For example, he seems to have detected a difference in attitude towards interns who are doing a practical training in a company. While he expected to be exploited as cheap labour – making coffee, copies or “cold calls” he noticed that his present internship in Germany is really centered on the development of the intern – often even based on the intern’s personal interests. So, from the beginning Kyle has been trusted with what he calls “real work” and has been able to contribute to the success of the newspaper. However, he also found out that smiling too much could be seen as negative and has adapted his behavior in this respect. He did not find it difficult to integrate as he jumped at every opportunity to be social with his co-workers. Listen out for what Kyle shares about eye-contact and how he had to adapt to a different cultural approach because I think eye-contact and smiling are two pieces of mostly intuitive behavior we need to think about every time before we visit another culture.

absolutely cultural:
When students come to my office and express an interest in going abroad one of the first decisions to be taken is usually whether they want to study at one of our partner universities or find a workplace abroad to do an internship. Personally, I find it difficult to assist in this decision as the two are so different and both have their advantages and disadvantages.
I interviewed Marie Nielsson, a Swedish student who has been to Germany twice, once as an intern and then as a student. You may remember her from Episode 7? During her internship she seemed to have learned a lot about the German working style in an office but she thinks that as an Erasmus student it was easier to find out more about the foreign culture as she had closer contact.

absolutely fabulous:
When you sit in any university restaurant anywhere in Europe, you will often hear students complain about their own university. “There are too many lectures, too much too learn for the final exams and sometimes there is even a queue for the food in the Mensa. However, a couple of weeks ago I heard completely different opinions at a neighboring table. One student sounded more positive than the next. Enough to get me interested and in our last category today we listen to some students who are praising their own university, RheinAhrCampus in Remagen as if they were paid for this. So what has happened? Have times changed? Why are these students so positive about their campus? I asked one of the students, Christian Gauglitz, and it turned out that he was, in fact, the minder of a student-led marketing activity. The students had developed a flyer and an audio file highlighting the strong points of RheinAhrCampus. He told me how they had worked and what their aims had been.

The next show will be coming to you on 24 July from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

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