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 39 +++ international family life +++ bi-lingualism and bi-culturalism +++

Is it always an advantage to grow up with more than one language? And what happens if a child does not speak the language of one of its parents? To answer these, and many other questions, we have interviewed four people from very different backgrounds, who all have in common that they grew up either bi-culturally, bi-lingually or both.

absolutely bi-lingual
First you’ll hear about a woman whose parents had grown up speaking English and German, who of course herself grew up with these two languages and now raises her little daughter the same way.
Then Peter from England talks about what it was like to grow up with an Austrian mother and an English father in England. And how that changed the whole look and feel of their house in England.

absolutely mixed
Right after that we go south to Italy, where Manuel, whose father is Italian, tells us why he had to take a beginners’ course in the Italian language a few years ago, and what, as a young boy, got on his nerves when he was visiting his family in Italy.
And for the last part of the show we go even further south to Brazil. Stefanie also doesn’t really talk the language of her mother’s family, but she does love to visit them in Brazil.
The next show will be coming to you on the 21st of September from Anne Fox in Denmark.

So long…stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited and co-hosted by: Karsten Kneese

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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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absolutely intercultural 21 +++ We won the Edublog Award +++ Image Projection +++ Internships and practical training abroad +++

Image projection and internships abroad – We have a winner for our frappr-map-competition – And hey! We won the Edublog Award!

Image projectionBelieve 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.

So let’s start with our first column ‘absolutely German!’ where Vera Klopprogge will tell us more about her internship at the World Health Organisation in Denmark.

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!

The Host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited by: Karsten Kneese

oedbAnd 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. =)

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‘absolutely intercultural!’ – Show #2


Thanks to all of you for your numerous comments after the first show – we were overwhelmed by your response! In our second show we ask ourselves: Can intercultural awareness be taught in a classroom? Can it be taught in online courses?

We start by giving you some quotations from the 17 comments of feed-back on the first show. Fernando, a Spanish student who is doing his internship in Germany explains how surprised he was to hear Germans discuss different olive oils as if they were wines. Alexandra gives examples of how you can teach intercultural communication by facilitating intercultural experiences between participants of different countries. Ana shares her experience of an intercultural business simulation between her university and universities in Sweden and Lithuania.

And then we ask you, the listeners: Have you got any experience with intercultural classes? Perhaps even online? How can we gain intercultural awareness? In our gossip column Tommy from Denmark tells us how the Mohamed-cartoons crossed his holiday plans in Egypt and in our look at our favourite podcasts with cultural contents we hear about solar radio for coffee traders in Ruanda.

The Hosts of the show are: Anne Fox and Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Karsten Kneese (the pod-Karsten)

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