university internship to a career as an intercultural trainer we’ll be talking
to people at both ends of their career in show 244 of absolutely Intercultural.
My name’s Anne Fox and this show is coming to you from Denmark.
First, Gabrielle Lachance, a French Canadian Masters student interning with a consultancy company in Denmark, tasked with getting a good response rate to a survey about electrification in southern African countries. But what are the chances of getting a good response when you send an email asking for complicated technical information to people that you have no connection with?
And then I
talked to Iris Schneider who I met at the SIETAR congress in Belgium in June
who is an intercultural trainer based in Bonn Germany. How did she get her first
intercultural trainer job? She applied as a relocation expert and then this
What is a virtual exchange? Maybe not what you think. We’ll be digging deeper into that in this special edition of Absolutely Intercultural coming to you from Denmark. My name’s Anne Fox and this is show 232. Today’s show is mainly about promoting dialogue between different groups of people. So what is dialogue? And can you tell the difference between dialogue and, for example, debate?
In today’s podcast we hear from people who have traveled and are sharing their interesting and diverse experiences. We listen to Michael, a French student in Germany, telling us a story of how he was welcomed in Germany.
Then we listen to Audrey, she tells us how surprised she was after attending a German wedding and experiencing the customs and traditions of a typical German wedding. In the last part of the podcast we listen to Maris from Latvia who tells us the tale of “5 minutes”, information that every tourist should learn before traveling to Egypt.Continue reading “Absolutely Intercultural 203 +++ Traveling +++ Diversity +++ Time Management +++ Culture and Traditions +++”
What are the pictures that you have in your mind when you think about “volunteer work“? Do you think of people travelling to developing countries and teaching people the right way to do things? Is “volunteerism” the new “colonialism” dressed up in 21st century social responsibility? Or could it be a way for the volunteers to learn some new skills? And, do you even have to go abroad or is it possible to volunteer and learn new things through volunteerism in your own hometown from other cultures? In this episode we will talk to Elena Colunga Caballero and John Kaethler from Brock University in Canada who will demonstrate that volunteering is much more about learning than about teaching.
absolutely reciprocal Elena is from Spain, where the majority of people are Christians. Through her international volunteer work she has developed an intercultural sensivity and awareness of different traditions and ways of thinking. She tells us how she embarked on this intercultural learning journey thanks to her parents, who encouraged her to get involved in a volunteering project at high school. Later she collaborated in an association called “Kala – Encuentro en la Calle”, located in her city , Córdoba, in the South of Spain whose aim it is to support children and young homeless and unprotected migrants from the Northern and Sub Saharan Africa. Also, a couple of years ago she was nominated to participate in a workcamp in the region of Kurdistan, in South Eastern Turkey. She is convinced that volunteering is a great recipe for reciprocal learning.
absolutely inexperienced Some time ago I interviewed John Kaethler from Brock University in Canada who told me that he had volunteered for two years as a development worker in Nigeria and again for two years in Papua New Guinea a long time ago. He points out that the international volunteer workers need to understand that THEY are the ones who are learning a lot and are growing in the process…
absolutely open-minded In our last category “absolutely open-minded” we will come back to the intercultural learning process triggered by international volunteer work. Elena tells us about a situation during which she learned about the frictions between the Kurdish and Turkish people and how the exposure to this conflict helped her accept the coexistence of different opinions on the same reality. This seems to be the key to intercultural open-mindedness. She also shares her first experience of Ramadan in a region with a majority Muslim population. We also learn that typical international volunteers seem to have some characteristics in common and finally she gives us some advice of how to start a volunteering experience through the European Voluntary Service.
Would you like to share with us your own experience as a volunteer in your own country or abroad? If so, we would be delighted to hear both positive and negative aspects of it, so don´t hesitate and share your intercultural experiences with it with us on our Facebook Page.
If you want even more background as to broader issues behind our intercultural stories in this podcast then you might consider visiting the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon store where we have both classics, basics and specifics for sale, a small proportion of which goes to us to support the costs of maintaining this podcast.
Our next show will be coming to you on 3 May from Anne Fox in Denmark.
In this show we’ll be looking mostly at languages in the US and how that helps or hinders intercultural understanding.
We’ll start with Louis Michot, one of the prime movers behind the Cajun Punk band the Lost Bayou Ramblers. In show 144 we heard about their music and what it meant to the band members as well as its cultural roots. Another topic that we talked a great deal about was the status of the French language in Louisiana. I made a trip to Louisiana many years ago and I have to say that the language was not really evident but when I talked to Louis I discovered that this was because it was mostly hidden. So the question is why would anyone in Louisiana want to hide the fact that they can speak French? And do people in Louisiana still learn French? Is it absolutely francophone?
So there’s a lot of sensitive history behind the survival of the French language in that part of the United States. Then a few weeks ago, my eyes and ears in Florida, Kole Odutola alerted me to a Communiqué sent out by the Southeast African Languages and Literatures Forum on October 2nd, which read: We, the members of Southeast African Languages and Literatures Forum (SEALLF) at the second annual conference of the forum held at the Chapel Hill Campus of the University of North Carolina, acknowledge that in view of the internationalization of the curriculum at many American colleges and universities, there is the need to increase the number of American undergraduate and graduate students engaged in the study of critical languages of Africa.
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks many US universities beefed up their foreign language requirements in recognition of the fact that to understand another culture it helps greatly if you know a bit of the language. So here was a Communiqué suggesting that the foreign language requirement should more often lead to the learning of an African language such as Yoruba. But why? To find out more I spoke to Dr Désiré Baloubi of Shaw University in North Carolina, the Chair of the Forum behind the Communiqué. And during the course of our conversation I also learned a new acronym, HBCU, which stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. So why does an English teacher start a campaign to promote the learning of African languages?
absolutely illegal The issue of language just doesn’t go away and after finding out how and why Louis Michot learned French, I spoke to his father Tommy Michot to find out more about attitudes to the French language in the recent past and discovered that at one point it was absolutely illegal! We’ll start by hearing as Tommy Michot sings in French a snippet of La Valse de la Meche Perdue with his band Les Frères Michot.
Thanks to all those who took part and remember that if you’ve got a good idea for a show then get in touch and we’ll see if we can include it. We’re always on the look out for interesting people and ideas. Don’t forget to take a look at our webiste if you want to follow up on some of the people or issues we’ve looked at in this show. You’re welcome to leave us a comment about what you thought, a question or a suggestion.
Thanks for your support which got us all the way to a European Podcast Award last year. The nominations are open for this year’s competition and as part of the PR around the award I was interviewed about this podcast and what it meant to win the award. You’ll find a link to that podcast here.
Well it’s been a busy few weeks in which amongst other things I took part in the Managing Cultural Diversity seminar held every year at the Rhein Ahr campus. And this year there are pictures so here is a link to the Facebook Album. And as if this wasn’t enough, my co-host Laurent Borgmann is once again leaving for Australia for a few months. So in order to make things more manageable we have decided to go monthly. So watch out for the next show which will be coming to you from Down Under!
This show we will be mainly about storytelling as we meet the author of a book about intercultural communication and explore the art of story telling in Africa and as you will hear this does not just mean talking. We’ll be talking to the author of a new book on the grammar of culture and finding out the role of stories there and finding out some of the key features of story telling in the African tradition.
Natalia Pérez de Herrasti told us about the first volume of her new book called Grammatica del la Cultura, the grammar of culture. As you can guess the book is in Spanish. So why do we need to be aware of the grammar of culture? We discover that this is a way of making sense of the stories or critical incidents that are the starting point for so much intercultural training.
And now for the first time on Absolutely Intercultural you will be given a taste of African story telling. This is not just a case of ‘Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin’. This is absolutely participatory. Oluwatoyin Kole from Nigeria was invited to demonstrate African story telling technique to a University of Florida class on Social change through communication. So first came a bit of pre-session training. Then we’ll hear an extract from the story which concerns a couple who have long been married but have not been able to have children. The husband consults the local diviner who says… If you want to experience the full story then you will have to follow this link. We also hear the start of the discussion after the story had ended.
So you heard the man! Let’s hear your stories. If you have any stories of critical incidents which happened to you or which you heard about and which made a difference to the way you think about things then let’s hear them. You can add them as a comment to this blog or you can send us an audio recording which we can include in our next show or we can arrange to meet you online so that we get a more interactive version.
What pictures would you have in your minds when we are talking about people who are visibly different? Perhaps the difference could have something to do with their skin colour? In fact, today I present some exciting interviews for you with people who have children with a different colour.
Christiane Bainski, adopted a black youngster who was a pupil in her school class. Of course, this was not the typical way to adopt a child – the idea actually came from Busa himself, her pupil, who was taught by Christiane. Can you imagine how Busa convinced his teacher to adopt him? It was a big step for both, teacher and pupil – but the administrative side was less complicated than expected. Let us listen to Christiane’s report.
Iris Hansen, also a white woman has three beautifully coloured children. However, her husband is also white. So the obvious question is: “Where does all the colour of the children come from?” Sounds mysterious? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Iris’ husband likes dark chocolate as he sometimes jokingly suggests?
Paul Masson is also the father of a coloured boy. He tells us that Mathieu, his black son, sometimes misinterpreted stereotypes about black people he heard when he was young. For example one time he got really worried when at school he learned that black children do not get enough to eat …
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 29 April
We always try to find stories that carry a message either because they demonstrate strategies how we could make our own lives more intercultural or how you can develop a better understanding and heightened awareness of the intercultural needs and worries of those people around us who have chosen to or have to live between different cultures.
Today we ask the question: are expats always experts? When you live in a foreign country for a while, people expect you to know the language and at the same time they expect you to keep your native language on a high level. Apparently the same is true for cultures. When you have lived in a country for a couple of years people expect you to know about the politics, the everyday life or television shows in that country. However, they also assume that you keep in touch with your native culture and know what is going on there. Is it fair to expect these migrants to master two languages on a high level and even be knowledgeable in two cultures? Fair or unfair, we simply seem to expect these people to speak two languages and know a lot about our culture without ever losing touch with their own – because we will always see them as experts on their home countries.
I decided to discuss this phenomenon with a lecturer at our university, Jean Lennox, who has lived in Germany for a long time but is originally from England. I found out that she sometimes listens to Al Jazeera English radio station because they explain British politics from the outside which is easier to understand when you do not live in the country. I asked her whether the expectation that she should be knowledgeable about everything that is going on in Germany, but also in her original home country such as politics, television shows or even sports puts her under any pressure at all when she talks to friends in Germany or when she returns to her home town Manchester in England.
Many people notice that when they are far from home they are expected be able to talk intelligently about politics, geography and everyday life in their home countries, or in some cases even about the continents they come from. This also happened to Francis Benson, who is from Ghana in Africa. He left his country and went to live and work in Japan. At this distance everybody suddenly expected him to know things about the whole continent of Africa.
Thomas Brown grew up in the Austrian and British culture. He is a person who has actually managed “to stand up to the international expectations” and adopted not only two cultures, but also two native languages. Although his main language up until the age of five was German and he spoke German with his mother, brother and sisters he does not remember what it felt like to switch between the languages. He did not even notice that the language spoken at home was different from the one in the street and only started to appreciate bilingualism as a teenager when he first found out that his command of two languages could help him impress the girls.
The next show will be coming to you on 26 June from Anne Fox in Denmark.