absolutely intercultural 71 +++ Chinese food +++ types of cultures +++ intercultural awareness +++

Mingxia

In our show today we will be asking ourselves how we can learn about culture and what can be done in the classroom to raise the intercultural awareness of students who prepare for their stays abroad. As an example culture we have chosen China and in particular the Chinese and their food.

absolutely culture-general:
Jack Lonergan tells us how you can teach intercultural communication when you teach a classroom full of learners who have, in fact, the same cultural background and even the same language. Jack gives some very interesting examples of how you can explore a culture in depth even in monocultural classrooms.

absolutely different:
I took the opportunity to ask Mingxia Zhou, one of my business students from the North East of China whether what we call Chinese Food in Europe and what real Chinese people eat in China are more or less the same thing? Mingxia talks about the delicious food in her home country and that the so-called Chinese Food in Europe is not a real substitute. While eating out in Europe can be quite expensive and is seen as a kind of luxury, we find out that eating restaurant food in China is so much cheaper and part of everyday life there – so ordinary people can dine out or order restaurant food to their homes, simply because of the heat or the bad weather outside.

absolutely aware:
We return to Jack Lonergan and listen to how he explains intercultural differences. In his project called The Intercultural European Workplace he makes sure participants perceive intercultural differences by understanding concrete examples. He talks about how a little bowl of soup available at sundown and offered by the university canteen can make all the difference for Muslim students during the fasting period called Ramadan.

absolutely adventurous:
Carina Mayer, who did her internship in Hong Kong working for the Olympics this summer, aimed for a cultural change and new experiences which she would not have been able to experience in Europe. She gives us some insight on her experiences with the Chinese cuisine and seems to have been very unafraid to try everything that the Chinese put on her plate. We hear that in China she often went out to enjoy the vast variety of the real Chinese cuisine with the whole department of the office and this gave her colleagues the opportunity to get to know her more informally than at work.

The next show will be coming to you on 12 December from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

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

absolutely intercultural 70 +++ Turkmenistan +++ international charity +++ Peace Corps +++ Nicaragua +++

In this show we go from a European base to Turkmenistan, Kenya, the United States and Nicaragua.

absolutely African:
Signe Møller is a Chaos Pilot who decided to take a career break and ended up setting up her own charity helping children in Kenya. We’ll be learning more about the innovative social business and project management Chaos Pilot course in a later podcast. Meanwhile Signe’s groundbreaking approach called 100 percent to the children is based on allowing donors to choose whether the money they give supports the Kenyan projects directly or whether it helps to pay for the administrative back-up needed to keep the whole enterprise afloat. This new way of approaching charity work earned her the title of Fun Fearless Female 2008 organised by the Danish edition of Cosmopolitan magazine. How did Signe end up in Kenya in the first place?

absolutely intercultural:
You go to stay at the home of a family in Turkmenistan and you notice that you never see the older daughter. She is always in the kitchen cooking or doing housework and she does not eat together with the family. Why is this? Is it because

a) the family do not want their precious first born daughter to mix with foreigners

b) the first daughter is always the least favoured in Turkmen families or

c) it is traditional for the eldest daughter to do all the household chores

The next question is would it be possible for you to get to know her better? Find out the answer as Zohre Ovezlieva who has been organising Peace Corps placements for many years explains what to do in this situation.

absolutely ethical:
When people who don’t have enough to survive are confronted by groups of strangers with access to seemingly unlimited amounts of resources, the problem of corruption often arises. Is this a problem Signe Møller of 100 percent 2 the children recognises and how does she deal with it?

absolutely American:
Zohre has been looking after American Peace Corps volunteers for many years and decided that she would like to find out what it feels like to be a foreigner by going to the US for a month. How did she fare?

absolutely interconnected:
Nicaragua is a small country with a population roughly the same as Denmark’s but with much lower living standards partly as a result of the civil war in the 1980’s, so when Nicaragua’s ambassador to Denmark, Mr Ricardo Alvarado Noguera paid a visit to our school in Grenaa his perspective was very much that we are all connected.

The next show will be coming to you on 28 November from Dr Laurent Borgmann, Germany.

So long…stay tuned!

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

absolutely intercultural 69 +++ digital world +++ communication via new media +++ media fashion +++

thirty-three-messagesSkype, SMS, Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and Second Life. Like the characters in Pirandello’s play “Six Characters in search of an Author” these applications seem to have been set loose on our post-modern society without a clear script or a destination.
We have all heard about these digital applications which promise to make our lives richer, more interesting and more “connected”. However, it is difficult to predict which of these activities will still be part of our culture in 20 years’ time. Will they replace old-fashioned communication channels like the telephone or email? Or are they just a passing fashion for digital geeks and flat rate junkies?
Today we want to look at the online culture and how we all manage to be part of it in our daily lives at work and at home.

absolutely private:
Some weeks ago at a teacher-training event I met Evi and Linda who had attended my seminar on integrating new media such as podcasts and twitter into their teaching. Later in the afternoon I had the chance to speak to the two to ask them about their general attitude towards new media for communication. I asked how essential mobile telephones are in their private lives and while Linda has had her mobile since she was 13 (which seemed normal to me) to my utter surprise I heard from Evi, a successful professional in her thirties that she only bought her first mobile phone four months ago and only because she had to …

absolutely connected:
Assja Tietz, one of our students, who has spent a lot of time in different countries during her studies speaks about her study period in Australia, an excursion to Ireland and her recent internship in Hungary. What with all her moving around her challenge is actually to stay in touch, both with family and friends at home but also with those new friends she met during her stays abroad. So rather than being overwhelmed by too much communication on different media channels she is constantly looking for the best ways to be “close to home” even when she is far away…

absolutely fashionable:
Katrin dares a prognosis whether the new technologies we hear so much about will become important parts of our communication or whether they are more like a fashion that comes and goes. Can you imagine that perhaps nobody will remember Facebook or Twitter in ten years’ time?

The next show will be coming to you on 14 November from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

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

absolutely intercultural 67 +++ teaching culture +++ South Americans in Germany +++ adult learners +++ women in adult education +++

Mauricio Virgens, Bariton, on his way up
In this episode we are going to have a look at adult education. Anne and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg by Alexandra Haas. We took part in a very stimulating workshop day for trainers inspired by Alexandra’s previous project “Teaching Culture!”.

absolutely learner-oriented:
Mechthild Tillmann, director of the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg, reports on 24 different work-shops in which teachers shared ideas about marketing, suggestopedia, podcasting in the classroom and other subjects related to their teaching. Following the idea of “teaching culture” and the “culture of teaching” the institution invited their own teachers to turn into learners and improve their methods.

absolutely bossanovarized:
We listen to Mauricio Virgens from Brazil and Andres Villamil from Columbia, two South American musicians who played music for us, and “bossanovarized” our busy lives a little. Mauricio speaks about his mission as a cultural ambassador for his native country Brazil and tells us how he keeps up his cultural identity through music. Of course, we also get to enjoy a bit of their music.

absolutely enjoyable:
Katrin, one of the new staff at the Volkshochschule Rhein-Sieg, tells us how previous learning experiences of the participants can a be challenge for the teachers. She has noticed that learners seem to expect the same “learning culture” which they got used to when they were learners for the first time – years ago. However, one aspect seems to be important to all learners – that they learn faster if they are having fun.

absolutely gendered:
Evi and Linda both work in adult education and explain to us how adult education creates its own culture. We also hear about their perspectives on gender issues and that adult education, just like health services, appears to attract women with a strong impulse to help.

The next show will be coming to you on 17 October from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Und bleiben Sie schön interkulturell!

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

absolutely intercultural 65 +++ working cultures +++ email writing styles +++ excursion to Poland +++ teaching staff mobility program +++

In today’s show, we put our emphasis on working cultures, both, in digital work contexts and in face-to-face team work.

Whether you prefer to work in a hierarchical context or whether you prefer to work collaboratively – we sometimes end up in workplaces which do not leave the choice to us. Are you aware of the working culture that surrounds you? Do you appreciate it or would you change it if you could? Do you notice that you have an impact on this culture, too?

absolutely structured:
We hear about different email cultures and discover that yes – your email may show your personal writing style – but that your email also says a lot about the working culture of your company or your institution. Our interviewees fill us in on their opinions regarding the perfect email. We learn that signals which indicate whether the message is well structured and can easily be read and dealt with are quite important and that preference is often given to those messages which have a “speaking” subject line.

absolutely international:
Different working cultures in face-to-face teamwork are explored. Jean Lennox of the University of Applied Sciences in Mönchengladbach, Germany, reports about an international excursion with university students to Posnan, Poland, which confronts them with the difficulties of working in groups of European students from various countries. We learn that intercultural tests of what we expect of the working cultures of other countries can bring up interesting results.

absolutely mobile:
Nora Müller, who is going to the Netherlands for her practical training, gives us some insights into her preparations for her stay abroad and tells us that she believes that going to a neighboring country in Europe is still a big step.
Dr. Cruickshank from Scotland and Clementina Poposka from Macedonia came to Germany as lecturers under the “teaching staff mobility” program. We get to hear what they hope to gain from their academic mobility and in which way universities in their home countries differ from what they experienced during their visit.

The next show will be coming to you on 19 September from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

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

absolutely intercultural 63 +++ studying abroad +++ ERASMUS placements +++ internships abroad +++ intercultural preparation +++ international week in Remagen +++ scholarships +++

logo of the \
In today’s show the emphasis is on students who decide to spend some quality time abroad. What are their choices, how do students need to prepare themselves, when should they start with their intercultural preparations? Most students, whether they take a Bachelor or a Master course, have the opportunity to go abroad for some time during their studies. Our interviewees tell us what the benefits of such a study abroad period can be.

absolutely welcome: 
At most universities the international offices try to highlight students’ opportunities for going abroad by celebrating an international week at least once a year. The university invites representatives from their partner universities who can then explain and advertise their study programmes and answer specific student questions concerning the best choice of courses, the credit points which students can gain during their stay abroad and also questions concerning accommodation or living costs in their countries. Listen to Prof. Henzler, president of the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz as she welcomes the delegations from the different partner universities on the first day of the international week. 

absolutely useful:
From the student perspective the presence of the foreign guests offers a number of opportunities. They can follow lectures in foreign languages, can get to know teachers and administrators from the partner university before they arrive there and make informed choices as to which university would be the best one to go to. We listen to one of the student representatives of the “go-out”-initiative (German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD). Gerrit tells us that he sees the main benefits of these periods abroad in the fact that they create new and unexpected opportunities to expand your own personality and that well-documented experience abroad is a great plus when you are looking for a new job – because it seems to be a strong signal to the prospective employer that you are motivated, flexible, and that you show initiative and speak foreign languages.

absolutely integrated:
Most universities have orientation weeks where all foreign students get together and get basic information or do excursions around the university in order to facilitate their integration. Some universities have “buddy programs” where the incoming foreign students are paired with local students whose task it is to integrate the newcomers as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Adelheid Korpp, who is in charge of the “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus tells us what the university offers to make sure that the students from the partner universities have the best start, get integrated quickly and, if possible, feel at home in their new surroundings right from the beginning of their stay.  

absolutely strategic: 
Students should prepare themselves interculturally for their stay abroad before they arrive at their new destination. Barbara Neukirchen, who looks after the “outgoing students” at RheinAhrCampus and coaches them during their application process for universities and scholarships tells us how students can plan a successful stay abroad if only they start the planning phase early enough.  

absolutely prepared:
In our last interview Carsten Ritterath a Bachelor 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 will be to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten has applied for a scholarship 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. We are keeping our fingers crossed for him to get the scholarship in the end because accommodation in London can be quite expensive.

Our next show will be coming to you on 22 August from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Und bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host and editor of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

absolutely intercultural 61 +++ stereotypes +++ prejudice +++ regional diversities +++ pre-fabricated phrases +++ national pride +++

\“Germans are all punctual but don’t have a sense of humor, people from Great Britain do and always have their tea at 5 pm in the afternoon, Italian men pick up girls all the time, the French eat baguette, cheese and frogs’ legs. Women can’t drive cars and men simply cannot listen, young people are irresponsible because they get drunk all the time and old people are terribly inflexible.” You could easily continue this list about any nationality, age, gender, political or sexual orientation. Stereotypes are pre-fabricated phrases to generalize about certain groups of people. But how are they generated? Do they have any practical use in daily life or are they just wrong and useless? Are their fixed for all time once they have been established or can they change over time? In this show, we try to find some answers to these questions about stereotypes.

absolutely Spanish:
Emma Cuevas-Saunders, who is an ERASMUS student from Spain, has been studying and doing a practical training in Germany for about a year now. She tells us about her experiences with stereotypes in Spain and how prejudices about Germans almost prevented her from going abroad. We also learn that Spain, known as a nation marked by national pride, actually is divided into many different sub-groups, which each have stereotypes about the other groups. However, as Emma says, this is a rather positive aspect, because it demonstrates Spanish diversity and these stereotypes are also used as a conversation starter. But first, she tells us, that all Spaniards have discovered a new pastime: They like to sit on the beach and guess the nationality of the tourists, but perhaps this is also a stereotype?

absolutely Mexican-American:
In our second category we talk with Susana, who has her roots in Mexico, lives in the United States and currently is studying in Germany for one year. Although she is probably the expert on this topic, we thought she tends to underestimate the popularity of her two “home countries”, thinking that they are not very much liked in the world. We learn that stereotypes really can change over time, if people like Susana have the courage to go abroad, make their own experiences and afterwards, tell people about it.

absolutely Austrian:
We speak to Dr. Nicole Slupetzky from “Volkshochschule Salzburg” (institute of adult education) about the challenges connected with harmful stereotypes and the opportunities of friendly ones. While friendly stereotypes can provide you with conversation topics and sometimes make these conversations run more smoothly, harmful stereotypes can be responsible for hate and racism. Nicole emphasizes that it is important to talk about these stereotypes, to learn about the affected groups and sometimes even to laugh about these statements together. We discuss that, of course, we shouldn’t believe every stereotype we hear, because they can be produced in many different ways, by the media, the family or even education.

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 25 July from Anne Fox in Denmark.

 

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.