Online learning+++ NILE +++Absolutely Intercultural 292+++


Norwich Institute of Learning Education
Norwich Institute for Language Education

Welcome to Absolutely Intercultural show number 292 on World Futures Day. My name’s Anne Fox and this show is coming to you from Denmark, but when you’re online, does it matter where I am? In this show we’ll be looking at some of the issues that can happen in online courses. Yes, believe it or not, online learning existed long before the Covid 19 pandemic and for this show I decided to ask some of my colleagues at NILE in Norwich about some of the things that can happen when you are teaching online.
We’ll hear from Robert about a joke gone wrong, from Eva about how to organise a mixed gender group so that the genders are never mixed and what happened in Neil’s Zoom session that so upset the rest of the group?

absolutely separate

So let’s start with Eva and go absolutely separate about how to organise a mixed gender group so that the genders are never mixed.

absolutely funny

In our next segment we’ll be talking to Robert about something that he experienced when he was facilitating a very diverse group from around the world. Is it absolutely funny?

absolutely real

And in our final segment, we’ll meet Neil who lives in Spain and works for NILE teaching aviation English where we’ll learn how online learning can be absolutely real. But first the dilemma of adjusting meetings to meet other cultural norms.

Neil’s story about his student in Kiev reminds me that this week on several TV stations simultaneously, a new series called “In her Car” tells the story of a Ukrainian woman who volunteers to drive people in Ukraine during the current conflict.

If you have any stories about intercultural challenges with online learning then  let us know here on the blog in a comment.

And if you enjoyed the show, please like us on Facebook too.

By the way, did you know we are also  on Apple Podcasts and now Spotify? You can subscribe to us there for free and give us a rating and a comment.

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on the 5th of April.

Until then – stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox



Apple podcasts


Gender Roles +++ Gender Equality +++ Men & Women in the 21st Century +++ Absolutely Intercultural 283

Hello and welcome to show 283 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today, we are going to talk about the different cultures men and women live in – we are looking at different Gender Roles. No matter how progressive our parents think they are, all of us are confronted with gender roles from a very young age. As kids, in our still binary world we learn the concepts of “girls” and “boys” from our parents, grandparents, kindergarden and school teachers, etc. Later, these assumptions develop into a set of gender roles of “men” and “women” that we bring to our adulthood, our relationships, our workplace, and again pass on to our own kids. Our international guests, today, grew up in the United States, the Czech Republic and in Germany and share their own personal experiences and views regarding gender roles. What worries young men and women nowadays? What kind of new challenges do they face? How do they deal with it? 

absolutely manly

In our first category, “absolutely manly”, we will listen to Jacob from the United States. Jacob tells us that the attitude “A real man does not cry” is still very present in everyday American male culture and even school boys will do anything not to be seen crying in front of other school children.

absolutely divided

In our second category “absolutely divided”, we will hear from Teresa. She believes that everyone, man or a woman, should be free to make their life choices independently of cultural gender expectations. However, Teresa also shares her worries, that more and more difficult choices between mother and career can put women under even more pressure.

absolutely unfair

Finally, in our last category “absolutely unfair”, we listen to Sebastian from Germany. Even though we have managed to achieve more gender equality in the 21 century, Sebastian noticed that some women still look for traditional men as a partner and some men, prefer to to be in a relationship with a traditional woman. And why shouldn’t they? However, Sebastian observes that, quite unfairly, it still seems acceptable for a woman to expect a man to pay for her dinner but it will be considered sexist of a man to expect a woman to cook for him.

What about you? What is your opinion about male and female cultures? Do you perhaps find this binary thinking hopelessly “old school” and 1980ies? Do you have examples where gender roles are determined by the culture of the family, the community or the country you grew up in? Have you personally ever been stereotyped because of your gender? How did you feel about that? Write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. On our web page,, you can get more information about this show and previous episodes, and you can also leave comments. And if you enjoyed this show, please like us on Facebook too. 

Please write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. On our web page,, you can get more information about this show and previous episodes and you can leave comments. And if you enjoyed the show, please like us on Facebook too. 

By the way, did you know we are also on iTunes or Apple Podcasts? You can subscribe to us there for free and give us a rating and a comment. 

Our next show will be coming to you on 5th of May.

Until then – embrace gender equality by appreciating each other’s work – and Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors: Sonam Tashi, Teona Tepnadze




Apple podcasts



LGBTQ+ Community +++ Queer Culture +++ Cultural Diversity +++ Absolutely Intercultural 265 +++

Hello and welcome to show 265 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today we talk about the LGBTQ+  or the “queer” culture – the culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals. Unlike the French or the Australian cultures the queer culture is a non-geographically determined culture. We spoke to enthusiastic supporters but also to passionate critics of the movement.

Why is being diverse seen so differently across the globe today? Are the new, more liberal ideas about gender identity a step forward, or are they just another factor which will soon divide our societies?

absolutely unorthodox

In our first category, absolutely unorthodox”, Giorgi, a student from Tbilisi, reminds us that his Christian religion cannot and should not accept homosexuality. He criticizes the emerging LGBTQ+ movements, because they openly support behaviour which the church for the last 2000 years has called a “Great Sin”.

absolutely un-lady-like

In our second category, „absolutely un-lady-like”, Irina, also from Georgia, tells us how a man in the street openly challenged her appearance. She explains how much easier it is for her to show her same-sex affection for her girlfriend in Germany than in countries like Georgia or Portugal.

absolutely equal

Finally, in our last category, “absolutely equal”, Luka, also from Georgia, but studying in Germany right now, demands that queer people should be treated like everybody else. He shows his supportand understanding towards gay people and believes in equal human rights for everybody.

What about you? Are you also struggling with this topic? Do you have any views on what we heard today? Write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up with you in one of our next shows.

Our next show will be coming to you on the 3rd of September.

Until then – stay as diverse as you are – and

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Esjona Musta 

Assistant Editors: Giorgi Sulaberidze, Alina Vor, Natalia ObikhodNatia Nikvashvili.




Apple podcasts



Intercultural Stereotypes +++ Gender, Age and Nationality +++ Absolutely Intercultural 262 +++

Hello and welcome to show 262 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today we will talk about cultural stereotypes. We have all experienced situations where people tried to stereotype us, probably without even being aware of it. But what is it that makes a stereotype different from a personal opinion? Are stereotypes always harmful to the culture that is stereotyped or do they help cultures to stick together?

In our show, three students tell us a concrete situation, where they were the objects of stereotyping and how those stereotypes affected their personal lives. 

absolutely blonde

In our first category, “absolutely blonde”, Mona tells us about being stereotyped as a woman by a heating technician who assumed that she, as a young woman, would be “dumb and silly” and have no knowledge of the mechanics of the heater in her apartment.

absolutely unsuitable

In our second category, Lars tells us how he got stereotyped as “absolutely unsuitable” by an elderly gentleman in his seventies, simply because of his outer appearance.

absolutely African

Finally, in our category, “absolutely African”, Andreas remembers a story where even his own friends unintentionally stereotyped him.

Listen to it and share with us one stereotype you have heard recently!

Our next show will be coming to you on 4th June. 

Until then, 

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Giorgi Sulaberidze

Assistant Editors: Alina Vor, Natalia ObikhodNatia NikvashviliEsjona Musta.




Apple podcasts



Gender Stereotypes +++ Gender Roles +++ Keeping Tradition +++ Absolutely Intercultural 257 +++

Hello and welcome to show 257 of Absolutely Intercultural, Gender Roles, coming to you from beautiful Remagen in Germany. We are talking about what life is like as man or woman in different countries. Have you ever been the victim of inequality because of your gender? If you had a wish – what would you change? Well, in today’s episode, we interview students from three different countries about gender roles in their cultures and how those may differ from the views they are confronted within Germany. Continue reading “Gender Stereotypes +++ Gender Roles +++ Keeping Tradition +++ Absolutely Intercultural 257 +++”

gender issues +++ Palestine +++ IATEFL +++ Absolutely Intercultural 238 +++

I’m sitting here in Denmark after having attended the annual IATEFL conference in Liverpool in the UK. There are always people from all over the world at this conference, which is one of the biggest gatherings of teachers of English as a foreign language in the world and this year was no exception.
One really nice surprise for me was to meet up with We’am Hamdan who I had recently worked with virtually. I love working online but it’s always nice to meet people face to face and We’am had travelled a long way from Palestine to be in Liverpool where she was leading a session for the IATEFL Global Issues special interest group. We’am was talking about a really interesting and universal topic so we have decided to devote this whole show to it.

Continue reading “gender issues +++ Palestine +++ IATEFL +++ Absolutely Intercultural 238 +++”

absolutely intercultural 162 +++ South Africa +++ UniKey +++ Mhadi A Thavha +++ Hlokomela +++

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If you like the podcast then LIKE US ON FACEBOOK HERE!Murals painted in gender equality workshops

The sound we started with was an instrument made by Thomas Kubayi who sculpts, drums and plays music and who gave my daughter a sculpting lesson when my family stayed in the Limpopo region of South Africa last year. It just so happens that I am working with a South African partner in a European project, the Uni-Key project, so I was very excited to meet  Marié-Tinka Uys on her home turf when she showed me round some of the many projects which abound in her region of South Africa which is centred on Hoedspruit just outside the famous Kruger National Gamepark. The UniKey project is about supporting university interns who choose to do their internship in small enterprises rather than the large well-known companies. This means that the interns have a better chance of working with the founder of the company and get a better feel for the entrepreneurial skills needed to run a company. Europe is starting to send interns outside the EU, for example to South Africa, and there are plans for promoting exchanges in the other direction too with South Africans able to do internships in Europe. The UniKey project has developed an online course for the interns to follow and what we needed from our South African partners was some feel for how well our online course would travel outside of Europe. For example when we talk about marketing and partnerships in the UniKey course, is our definition wide enough to encompass the African way of doing things? What about our definition of business even? Marcelle Bosch, a Dutch woman and former aid worker, has her sustainable tourism lodge business, Madi A Thavha where we stayed a few days. Can you make a living employing the former farm workers that gained their livelihood from the land that you just bought? I also spoke to Costas who works for a clinic supported by the farms, which in South Africa, are huge concerns employing thousands of workers who often live on site.  This is very different to farming in Europe which is highly mechanized with very few employees. And while we in Europe depend on a universal health service paid for through taxation, South Africa is facing the HIV and Aids epidemic which affects mainly adults in their prime, so health projects are often centred around the workplace as in the case of the Bavaria farm I visited near Hoedspruit where the clinic is financed partly by the employers and partly by community efforts. We’ll also be hearing a new perspective on how to improve the status of women and how European experts can’t always cope with the differences they meet in the African context. Welcome to Melina, Akos and Omar who are the latest people to like our Facebook page.

absolutely sustainable
So let’s start at Madi a Thavhi by seeing how we can be absolutely sustainable in the Limpopo region of South Africa on a former farm near Louis Trichardt or Makhado as the town is also known. And by the way, why towns have two names in South Africa is a whole other story which we could discuss on the Absolutely Intercultural Facebook page if you want to know more.

absolutely positive
So that was an example of how to look after your employees in a small scale business and now you can hear the sound of my daughter having a go at sculpting wood with renowned local artist, Thomas Kubayi. While I was in South Africa I had the chance to discover that there is a wide range of community organisations working hard with the big employers to provide all sorts of health, education and other benefits for their employees. So this means that instead of local government or public sector provision, there is a much more local and volunteer based-coverage in South Africa. In the Hoedspruit area the two businesses I heard most about were the game lodges and the farms. So my next visit was to a clinic based on a fruit farm which treats mainly HIV and AIDs patients through the Hlokomela project. In speaking with Costas I learned that when you are HIV positive, a key indicator you need to look at are your CD4 levels and I also learned that, at least on this farm, the disease can be managed so that there are reasons to be absolutely positive!

absolutely equal
As I was driven around the projects by Marié-Tinka Uys my eye was drawn to a set of murals painted on the wall of the Bavaria farm showing desirable male behavior such as not drinking and not using physical violence against your wife. When I asked Marié-Tinka about these she gave me a surprising solution about how to affect gender roles.

absolutely tasty
Marié-Tinka also talked about another part of the Hlokomela project which is an organic herb garden which has been started to supply the many game lodges in the Hoedspruit area. As we were talking she mentioned why interns should come alone and gave one example where the foreign expertise just could not cope with the differences experienced in South Africa.

Thanks to everyone who was willing to speak to me in South Africa and especially to Marié-Tinka Uys who introduced me to the wealth of activity going on in her area. She literally opened doors and gave me a peek into so much, which, as a tourist I would never have experienced.  Thanks also to the UniKey project for giving me the opportunity to wonder about how people do business in other parts of the world.  Who knows? This might even be the start of your own African internship adventure?

absolutely Amazon
And if you want even more background as to broader issues behind what people were telling me about in this podcast then you might consider visiting the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon store here 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.  You don’t pay any more to buy them through our store and every purchase contributes a little to the running costs of the podcast so if you’re thinking of buying, consider using our new store. There is a permanent link at the top of this blog page.

Our next show will be coming to you from Dr. Laurent Borgmann on February 1st so stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Editing done with the help of Hindenburg Journalist Pro