Just as much as Achill seems to have become part of the annual calendar so does the Intercultural Management Institute conference each March. 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the Washington conference and promises to be the best yet so if you haven’t already booked your place then I suggest you hurry. We’re hoping to be able to bring you some highlights from the conference in a few weeks but to get the full flavour you really ought to attend in person.
We’re not talking about green souvenirs or drinking a pint of Guiness. Instead this is about about the Irish language, Gaelic, whose future is hanging in the balance. All over the world people are learning English mainly for practical economic reasons. But could something be lost if English is at the expense of the local language? Tom Johnston is a former teacher in Achill on the west coast of Ireland where Gaelic has been the native language. What is the situation now? Réka and Kerstin, two of the Borrowed Identity students went to find out.
Pride is an important element in keeping a language alive, and so, it turns out, is music. You may recall hearing the haunting song, The Island, on this podcast last year. It is not traditional but it was written by an Irishman and one of the activities for our visiting students this year was to learn this song from Kate so that they could perform it at our final evening event. As we’ll hear later, music is a way of maintaining and passing on traditions…so let’s go absolutely musical and hear how they’re doing.
absolutely Irish 2: So what can be done to preserve a language? Let’s find out more from Tom Johnston who tells us about the Conradh na Gaeilge, the organisation promoting the use of Gaelic. Do you live in an area where the native language is threatened? Is anything being done to save your language? Should we be saving languages in the same way that we try to preserve animal and plant species? If you have any comments about this or any of our other content then do let us know.
The next show will be coming to you on 20 March from Germany.
So long…stay tuned!
The host of this show is: Anne Fox
Editor: Jan Warnecke
absolutely student-centred Picking up the subject of our last podcast, today we try to look at another aspect of the same Intensive Programme “Borrowed Identities” which took place in Achill Island, Ireland and brought together 40 learners from all over Europe. We asked two of the students about how the international mix in their cottages and workshops contributed to their intercultural learning. Assja Tietz from Germany and Emma Cuevas from Spain share their experiences about international leadership and teamwork in a community project in internationally mixed teams under time-pressure and in an foreign environment and tell us what they took home from Achill Island for their professional and personal future.
Maria Koehnen recently returned home from her second stay abroad this time studying at Lessius Hogeschool in Antwerp, Belgium, and tells us that a semester abroad is not only about learning a new language, but above all about making personal experiences which can change your whole life. We learn how her fellow students benefitted from the opportunity to try out a completely new life style during a semester abroad and how important it is to learn the lesser learned languages such as Dutch.
Going abroad, whether as a student or as an intern, requires a lot of preparation and both, independent work and professional help. Barbara Neukirchen, an expert in coaching students with their scholarship applications or their semester abroad tells us how the university can help a student to find the right scholarship and what a perfect application should contain. She stresses that the overall picture that the student projects is often more important than just a list of good academic achievements.
When you go abroad personal support from your friends, your family or your partner is propably as important as professional advice about scholarships, learning agreements, or visa regulations. We hear from Peter Kron how he helped his girlfriend with her preparations for a semester abroad in China and how this process influenced his own educational future. He seems to have been infected by the “virus” and is now planning his own stay at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas
absolutely linguistic In her new and hopefully regular column, Maria Koenen explains, how a simple litte booklet and a pen in your pocket can be a real help when you are in a foreign country and try to improve your language skills.
The next show will be coming to you on the 4 April from Anne Fox in Denmark.
Absolutely Educational The main part of this show is devoted to the impressions of two of the teacherswho facilitated workshops as part of the ‘Borrowed Identities’ project which brought over 30 students together from Hungary, Germany, the UK, Spain and Lithuania on the west coast island of Achill in Ireland. How did the teachers manage these multi-cultural groups? Were there language problems? Listen as Scott de Francesco from the USA and Dainora Maumevičienė from Lithuania describe the progress of the groups as the week wears on. You can find out more about the project and what went on by reading the online travelogue produced by another of the project workshops.
Absolutely Musical A feature of island life is that people are multi-talented. One outstanding example of this is Kate O’Malley who works at the Achill Cliff House Hotel who also has a magnificent singing voice. She was persuaded to sing on our last night on Achill so we have included an extract from the haunting song ‘The Island’ which really made the hairs on the back of our necks stand on end.