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 57 +++ teaching culture +++ international teamwork +++ intercultural seminars +++

Teaching Culture Logo

Working in internationally mixed groups can offer a number of unexpected benefits, but also tremendous intercultural challenges. In this show we concentrate on how you can prepare yourself or other people to master these challenges. 

absolutely un-teachable?:
Thomas, an international project manager from Slovakia talks with Nicole who worked for the European project “Teaching-Culture”. In this project Alexandra Haas from VHS Rhein-Sieg together with 13 European partners developed a training course for intercultural awareness aimed at teachers of adult education in Europe. Nicole, one of the developers from Austria, tells us about her experiences in international teamwork situations. Even the culturally-determined differences of the daily agenda for meetings (e.g. meal times) turned into one of many challenges the international group had to master, because cultural differences influence teamwork and sometimes even the team spirit. We often think we are aware of these challenges, but in fact in international teamwork they often get in our way. However, the question remains whether culture can really be taught or can we only learn by experience?

absolutely essential:
Keith Warburton from Global Business Culture helps clients from all over the world to develop levels of cultural awareness and understanding so that they can operate more effectively and profitably within the global market place. He can look back on a very long international career, working in several countries for over 18 years. He remembers the mistakes companies made when they started to work globally and explains  how difficult it still is to convince a complete company to participate at intercultural training seminars. Today, everybody in a company, from the most senior top manager to the junior part-time admin staff is supposed to communicate effectively with clients and suppliers from other cultures. As Keith says, a company is only as strong as its weakest link so intercultural awareness training is essential at all levels of the company.

absolutely explorative:
We wanted to know how experienced intercultural trainers attempt to teach culture. Do they use facts and figures and simply imform the participants about the different customs and habits of other cultures, such as how to present your business card in the Asian context? Or do they go outside the company with a whole group and make them explore the differences in case studies and simulations? We asked a group of intercultural trainers what the perfect intercultural training seminar would look like, how the learning group should be motivated and which exercises they would propose.

The next show will be coming to you on 30 May from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Peter Kron

Download
Podcast-Feed
iTunes-Abo