In our show today we look at Geert Hofstede’s statement of “Culture as the Software of the Mind” and will try to explore that metaphor to the extreme. We will be asking ourselves how we get to learn about a piece of new software and whether this experience can really be transferred to learning about a new culture. What, for example, can be done in the classroom to raise the intercultural awareness of students who prepare for their stays abroad?
In a round-table discussion with Berit Wiebe and Karsten Kneese we asked ourselves: “Where do we get our culture from? Do we get if from our parents like a new version of Photoshop for Christmas? Or do we get it from our peers like we would get new software if we illegally shared a programme with our friends? Or does the cultural learning rather work like the spell check in Word, which learns from us and improves because of the way we use it and add new items to it?
Audrey Fernandez-Diehl, who was born in Malaysia, studied in Australia and New Zealand, lived in Switzerland for a while and now teaches intercultural communication at university level in Germany tells us about her concept of culture, whether she thinks culture can be taught and about a very disturbing cultural game called Rufa Rufa. As Audrey teaches intercultural awareness, she says that her training is both, for foreign students who come to her university but also for her own students who prepare for going abroad.
On this last day of Christmas I would like to say that Anne and I have enjoyed another year of being in intercultural contact with you, the listeners, through our show. We appreciate your response, please keep it coming. Now, if you have not made any new year’s resolutions yet, maybe you could share your thoughts about the shows a little more with the other listeners on this blog using the “comment”-function. This show has given Anne and me many opportunities for having conversations about intercultural topics with experts and ordinary people which otherwise we would probably not have had. So, the two of us would also like to thank you, the listeners, for keeping us going and looking at intercultural issues from different angles on a fortnightly basis.
The next show will be coming to you on 9 January from Anne Fox in Denmark.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the Greenlandic way of referring to the ptarmigan bird. So how realistic is it that someone working in Greenland will learn Greenlandic? Jens Nyeland worked for three years as a scientific advisor regarding the sustainable use of seabirds and talks about the difficulties of the Greenlandic language.
You couldn’t go anywhere.
Regitze Nyeland describing the effect of the Greenlandic winters which she otherwise
found very easy to live with. How did she fare with the Greenlandic language in her
job dealing with youth problems in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk?
Picture credit: The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in Greenland by Jens Nyeland
The Host of this show is: Anne Fox