On our Absolutely Intercultural Facebook page we recently reached the 700 Likes milestone so thank you for that! Our 700th liker could have been Cécile Saint-Espès, Laurent Kazimotol or Selsela Arya. Thank you all.
In this show we’re going to look at different types of exchanges both study and work. So what effect does an exchange have on you?
And what’s the best way of preparing yourself to benefit from an exchange?
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In this show we’ll be hearing about a new online training for foreign interns and if you decide this could be for you then you have the chance to take part free of charge starting in March! And not only that, if you take part in the course you could be in the running for a free trip to Brussels in September.
My name’s Anne Fox and I wonder if you guessed correctly which of the stories we told you in the last show were true or not? Do you remember that we were asking students to imagine themselves in a future scenario where they take an internship abroad and some of them were true and some were not! This was a demonstration of the old adage ‘Fake it til you make it’ and we’re hoping that the effort that Younes & Philipp put into their stories will lead them to put at least some parts of their stories into practice anyway. You can read their comments about their plans on our Absolutely Intercultural Facebook page.
And it was through Facebook that I discovered that Professor Sugata Mitra who was featured in Show 72, has been awarded the TED prize for 2013. TED is a growing bank of short talks by inspirational speakers which are freely available on the Internet. Every TED speaker is asked to describe their dream and this year it is Sugata Mitra who gets to put his into practice. Mitra’s research shows that we are are all capable of learning wherever we are and he wants to apply these findings to provide education in areas where it is poor or non-existent. And now with the prize money he has a million dollars to start realizing his dream.
So we’re in the middle of a financial crisis; there’s high graduate unemployment so maybe it’s a good idea for graduates of any discipline to find out more about how business works? They can do this through sponsored internships but today we’re going to hear about asking the interns to also follow a course during their internship to really get them noticing these entrepreneurial processes. And you could join them! The first pilot has just ended and we’ll be hearing from two interns who took the course and if you like what you hear and are planning to be an intern by April then why not apply to join the second pilot? The application form is at the Unikey website or you can contact me through our Facebook page or here on our blog.
The project is called UniKey where we invite foreign interns to go absolutely entrepreneurial. We hear first from a couple of the project partners and their vision of the UniKey project, Christina Langsdorf and Professor Dr Carsten Müller who teaches business subjects at Fulda University. The UniKey course is aimed at foreign interns, who are based in small and medium sized organisations and also social enterprises and the course is based on authentic entrepreneurial situations. We also hear from Nina Raiss, a German doing an internship in France, about why she agreed to do an additional Unikey online course on top of her internship.
We also meet Collette Wanjugu Döppner, the UniKey course director who you will meet online if you decide to do the course.
And as if it wasn’t enough to be doing a course on top of an internship, we added a slight gaming element in the form of extra challenges which were not compulsory. But if you did do them, there was a chance of winning a trip to Brussels. I was able to catch up with two of the winners and asked them about their motivation: first Nina Raiss, and then Torsten Scheithauer who is doing his internship in Northern Ireland.
There are lots of other added touches to the UniKey course and one of them is the opportunity to meet with a different entrepreneur or expert in each of the seven modules and ask them questions. For example in the third module which looks at ethical dilemmas we meet Ilona Jehn who worked at Lufthansa Cargo.
So if you want to join the next course starting at the end of March then apply now! And full disclosure: I am a partner in the project which is why I know so much about it!
By the way I just added a resource to the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon store, a sort of do it yourself multimedia course in intercultural competence called Komunipass. If you buy through our Amazon store you don’t pay any more while we get a little bit of the price which helps to pay our podcast costs. You will find links to our Amazon store on our Facebook page also. If you know of an item which we should add then do let us know. There is a permanent link at the top of this blog page.
The next show will be coming to you from Germany on April 5th with Laurent Borgmann so until then stay tuned!
Our New Editor from Spain: Elena Colunga Caballero. Welcome to our team!
So what should we be listening to in this podcast:
How do you personally try to gain authentic information about a country and culture that you are interested in? Do you trust the official view of the foreign office website? Or do you go straight to Wikipedia? How about listening to some real people from that country? This way you will get the unofficial story from the citizens themselves. Perhaps it could be interesting to listen to a father of two children who can tell you what it is really like to take the two on public transport or to a restaurant? This is inside information that you may not find in any of the official publications of the country. Under a system which is called Rotation Curation Movement, Karsten Kneese will host the twitter account of I_amGermany for a week starting next Monday.
Let us explore what you, the listeners can find out about his culture if you follow him during that week. In our first category “absolutely twitter” I asked Karsten how the Rotation Curation Movement has developed since it started in Sweden last year. If you are interested, please find “I_amGermany” on Twitter on Monday and follow Karsten around for a week. This is grass-roots journalism on Twitter that I think you should not miss. You have the opportunity to find out the real story from real citizens without having to travel to the country.
I spoke to a group of students from the German-Jordanian University who jumped in at the deep end and decided to spend a whole semester in Europe. In our second category “absolutely stereotypical” I asked them what their parents and friends had warned them about before they left.
In our third category “absolutely international” I am talking to a young but very well travelled person. After spending all her holidays abroad since she was 15 she has also studied in France and has now started doing her practical training in the department of Languages /International Affairs at the University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz. I asked Elena from Spain what her friends and family had said when she was planning her big step.
Let us now return to the group of Jordanians who told me that in their country it would be very unusual for a lecturer to go to the university by bike, because there seems to exist a bigger “power distance” between lecturers and their students. We also learn that in Jordan, if you get invited to dinner you have to refuse several times in order to be polite before you finally accept. So one of the students politely said “No” to a dinner invitation in Germany but then learned the hard way that here you only get one shot, and he was not invited again. In our last category “absolutely different” I asked the students to explain major cultural differences which they have observed during the first weeks in Europe.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 2nd of November from Anne Fox in Denmark.
Today I would like to pick up the topic of your last show. We talked about CSR which stands for “Corporate Social Responsibility”. In times of global markets and increased business competition, Small and Medium sized Enterprises must find a way to increase their competitive edge. Therefore they often try to save costs as a result of competitive conditions and market instabilities. However, maybe a cultural change in companies will give them a competitive advantage? Implementing and practicing CSR may lead to increased costs and you may not see the benefits immediately. So why do successful companies go in that direction? Apparently around 50% of American and European SMEs believe that CSR-activities are somewhat effective for their business. SMEs can change their company culture and provide significant benefits by investing in small, efficient projects in society to increase their own visibility in the community. Some companies may do something good for the environment or donate money and others might start working in close cooperation with Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organizations. This time I would like to approach the topic from a different angle. CSR is becoming more and more important in business life and thus future managers should have a solid knowledge about it. In previous shows I talked to CSR specalists such as lecturers from different European universities and employees of companies which have implemented CSR in their business plans. Our focus was to find out how CSR work changes the culture within the company but also the contacts between a company and its stake holders. Today my focus is on students and what they learn about CSR during their studies of Business Administration. I interviewed students from Hungary, Russia, and Mongolia who dealt with corporate culture and CSR in their last semester at RheinAhrCampus in Germany in one of my courses called “International Business Simulations”.
absolutely young In our first category I asked Katalin Perjési from Hungary what she thinks about CSR and what she learnt on the course. She will tell us about a project where the students designed and implemented their own CSR projects for the university. They invited school children to the campus to teach them about respect and diversity in the community. Some said afterwards that they walk past the university every day but had never dreamed of spending a day inside before they reach their A-levels. As these were school children who often get taught in classes with many national backgrounds it was not so surprising, how much they already knew about diversity, respect for different cultures and dealing with other children who do not have the same first language.
absolutely green I interviewed Nadya Kokareva from Russia. She will tell us about the vague ideas people have about CSR and gives us some examples of how a university could practice CSR. This is not exclusively about institutions “going green”, which means saving the environment. Nadya also took part in the course and participated in another project. This time, the target group were not the children in the community, but the elderly people who live in a nursing home just 800 metres from campus. In spite of the proximity, the students who took part in the project had never visited the home.
absolutely courageous Oyunbileg is an exchange student from our Turkish partner university in Izmir. However, she is originally from Mongolia and is currently doing her Erasmus semester abroad. In our last category she will talk about her theoretical lectures on stakeholder relationships and relates the theory to the practical CSR projects she was involved in last semester. Finally she gives us an idea of the cultural differences she experienced moving between Mongolia, Turkey and Germany.
Our next show will again be coming to you on 7 of September.
Today I am going to talk about the exciting decisions of those students who broaden their horizons by studying abroad. Furthermore we will talk to an expert who helps these students get the right information and financial support for fulfilling their dreams of living and studying in another country. Last but not least I would like to share an urban myth about an intercultural incident on a British Airways flight complete with a happy ending (at least for some of the people involved!)
In Germany it is normal for about 20% of students at universities go abroad during their studies. However, Anne Gründer, is rather special in many ways. She studied Biomathematics and chose to spend a semester studying abroad at EWHA Woman’s University in Seoul, South Korea. And because she enjoyed her time so much she actually extended her stay for a second semester. Anna also successfully learned the language with the Asian symbols that look so unfamiliar to the western eye. Now that she is back in Germany she looks back on the cultural differences she experienced and shares how she benefited from her stay. In our first category she will start by telling us why she chose South Korea as her destination for her semester abroad.
absolutely courageous If one of our listeners is toying with the idea of coming to Germany, our interview will be particularly interesting for you. Kata Perjési is an Hungarian student. After spending a study semester abroad in Finland, she had planned to do her internship in Finland too. However, luckily for us she ended up being our new intern here at RheinAhrCampus. Kata is from Corvinus University in Budapest and will stay here for six months. In our next category she is going to tell us, why she chose Germany as her destination and what benefits she expects to get out of her stay abroad.
Our last guest for today is Wolfgang Kräft. He is working for the “German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD”. Together with his team, one of Wolfgang’s jobs is to travel through Germany and to inform German students how they could study abroad and which financial support they can get. They stop in bigger cities with their go-out mobile bus and provide students with a lot of information. In our last category Wolfgang will tell us what the ideal study abroad student should look like, how students can receive information about a semester abroad and finally he will give us advice on how your stay abroad could be the most productive time of our studies.
Let me finish today with an intercultural urban myth about a black man and a white woman – a story has turned into a well-copied piece on the internet over the last decade. According to different versions this incident would have happened on about 17 different Airlines which is not very plausible but the story is nice enough to be re-told here:
“A 50- year old white woman on a British Airways flight arrived at her seat and saw that the passenger next to her was a black man. Visibly furious, she called the air hostess.
“Whats the problem, ma?” the hostess asked her
“Cant you see?” the lady said – “I was given a seat next to a black man. I can’t sit here next to him! You have to change my seat”
– “Please, calm down” – said the hostess
“I think, all the seats are occupied, but I`m still going to check if we have any.”
The hostess left and returned some minutes later.
“Madam, I spoke to the captain and he confirmed that there isn`t any empty seats in the economy class. We only have seats in the first class.”
“Look, it is unusual for our company to allow a passenger from the economy class be upgraded to the first class. However, given the circumstances, the captain thinks that it would be a scandal to make a passenger travel sat next to an unpleasant person.”
And turning to the black man, the hostess quickly said:
“Which means, Sir, if you would be so nice to pack your hand luggage, we have reserved you a seat in the first class…”
And all the passengers nearby, who were shocked to see the scene started applauding, some giving standing ovations.”
Today our show will be all about work and will focus on different work situations. You will first listen to an interview with Kyle Hickman from California who did an internship with a German newspaper, then to Mathew Dunne, a plumber from New Zealand, who worked in England and who is currently working in Munich, Germany. Also, I interviewed Judi McAlpine, an American manager who quit her job to found a non-profit organization in Tanzania. Adelheid Korpp will tell us her reasons, why Facebook will never play a role for her, neither in her working life or her private life.
absolutely committed In our first category I talk to Kyle Hickman from California. At the time of the interview, Kyle was doing an internship with a big national newspaper in Germany, the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“, and told us a little about the cultural differences he had noticed between California and Germany. For example, he seems to have detected a difference in attitude towards interns who are doing a practical training in a company. While he expected to be exploited as cheap labour – making coffee, copies or “cold calls” he noticed that his internship in Germany was really centered on the professional development of the intern – often even based on the intern’s personal likes and interests. So, from the beginning Kyle was trusted with what he calls “real work” and was able to contribute to the success of the newspaper. However, he also found out that smiling too much in the work place could be seen as suspicious in his host country and adapted his behavior accordingly. He did not find it difficult to integrate, though, as he grabbed every opportunity to be social with his co-workers. Listen out for what Kyle shares about eye-contact and how he had to adapt to a different culture.
absolutely careful In our second category I talk to Adelheid Korpp. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus. Students from our partner universities who have been in contact with her often want to add her as a friend to their Facebook accounts. However, Adelheid is suspicious of being part of this biggest virtual community in the world. Well, she is probably right because life was difficult and complex enough before we had to check Facebook and Twitter. Sharing your personal information and pictures on the internet can, indeed, sometimes perhaps be harmful for you and for your career. So let’s find out, why she doesn’t want to take part in the big social media hype.
In our third category I interviewed Judi McAlpine from the US when we both met in Cambodia earlier this year. Judi was a very successful manager for a huge company in the US. But then she transferred all her resources into a 2-years stay in Tanzania, where she lived in the villages with indigenous people and founded a charity. JUAF is a registered non-profit charity located in the Kikwe village of Tanzania. In partnership with indigenous women, Judi founded a village with resources for vulnerable women and children to empower them to fight poverty. This is done through micro financing, education, and support. Check out their blog for more information. But why would someone like Judi give up her well-paid job in the US to move to third-world-country?
In our last category I Interview Mat Dunne who is a plumber from New Zealand. He has travelled a lot around the world for his work. He worked in Canada and in England. Right now he is living in Munich, Germany. In every step of his life he experienced different cultural situations. In the interview he will tell us about the differences in reputation between “tradies” in New Zealand and craftsmen in Europe. It is, indeed, true that the same profession may have very different prestige and reputation in different countries. I was personally surprised during my time in Australia to find that “tradies, unlike their often bourgeois German counterparts would mostly be very good-looking guys with a cool hair- and life style and a surfboard on their cars so that in between two customers they would hop on their boards and enjoy the surf. On page 3 of cheap newspapers you would sometimes even find the picture of a shirtless “tradie of the month”.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 14 October
Today, we present a show which is going to focus on the European Program called “ERASMUS”, named after Eramus of Rotterdam. However, the name also stands for “EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students”. So, University students can apply for ERASMUS grants when they want to study abroad withinin Europe. Therefore we will hear different opinions about this mobility program and the opportunities students gain by studying abroad within the ERASMUS framework. Nowadays it is more and more important for students to internationalize themselves during their studies. This means they have to leave their comfort zones and broaden their horizons by studying abroad. In order to initiate this process, the European ERASMUS program was founded almost 25 years and has been giving out grants for the internationalization of students.
absolutely basic In our first category Adelheid Korpp is going to tell us, what the program is about and which preparations students have to make. She is an expert on the ERASMUS program. She is responsible for the so-called “incoming students” at RheinAhrCampus and she knows a lot about the grants. She will tell us which countries in Europe take part in the ERASMUS program and what benefits student can expect if they decide to go on an ERASMUS exchange. For good Europeans it is essential to understand each other better particularly in context of the recent discussions about financial solidarity between the European member states.
In our second category Timo Schneider will share his experiences with us. He is back from his stay in Worcester, England, where he studied at a partner university of RheinAhrCampus. He will tell us how he heard about the program, what motivated him to put in an application, and of course which benefits he got from his stay. Timo also shares some of his intercultural experiences in sports where he noticed that his previous stereotypes really did not help. He will also give us a very useful advice.
In our last category Carsten Ritterath a student of business administration reports about his preparation for an internship in England. His football coach helped him find the English organisation where one of his tasks was to compare English and German approaches to health management in companies. Carsten managed to get a grant from ERASMUS-placements and he tells us what he needed to do in order to apply for this. He wrote a letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae, he took part in an intercultural seminar and he had to pass an English test. I took this interview with Carsten some time ago so in the meantime he is already back from his very successful ERASMUS stay.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 16 September
This show is all about the life of students here at RheinAhrCampus in Germany! You will gain an insight into the daily life of Lucy Warren, an exchange student from Australia. She shows us what the life of an exchange student is like and what specific things you can do in Remagen: e.g. editing the international exchange students blog – supervised by Adelheid Korpp. And you will have the chance to get the the latest news of the “National Youth Orchestra of Iraq” and how our students are involved in that project.
The students at RheinAhrCampus know that “intercultural experience abroad” which is documented on their CVs can be a competitive advantage when they are looking for a job. This means they have to leave their intercultural comfort zones and broaden their horizons by studying or working in a different country. It may seem a huge step but it really helps students understand intercultural differences, learn other languages and prepare themselves for their future business lives where they will have to deal with different cultures in different situations. So it seems like a “must have” to go abroad and that is what Lucy Warren, an Australian Student from the University of the Sunshine Coast did. She has spent a whole year away from home at the German partner university doing a combination of studying and internship abroad. Before she left she documented one of her typical days Let us listen to how she starts her day, what helps her clear her mind and which free time activities she indulged in during her stay.
If in our audience there are students who want similar experiences, please feel free to contact us because we like to have international students on campus and we are always looking for interns, too. So go out and internationalize yourselves!
absolutely ambitious part I
The Russian student Nadya Kokareva, who also likes to take risks and jumps in at the deep end, came to our university less than a year ago. She enrolled on one of my courses – International Business Simulations. There we simulated a company called “oRACle” which helped Paul MacAlindin and his “National Youth Orchestra of Iraq” promote their work. Nadya is the president of that company and she will tell us what she experienced during the course, what she learnt from the experience and how this course helped her prepare for her future working life
In our next category Adelheid Korpp will tell us, how the exchange students at RheinAhrCampus document their experiences and their daily lives on an exchange students’ blog – so that everyone who is interested in their progress, can follow them online with text and pictures. It is a useful exercise for every exchange student to share their experiences with their friends and families on the world wide web. The students are talking about their travels in Germany and Europe, about their academic experiences at RheinAhrCampus and of course about events they experience during their stays, like for example the famous Karneval in Cologne.
absolutely ambitious part II
Lucy Warren is going to tell us more about her job in the simulated company “oRACle”. While Nadya is the CEO of that simulated company which is helping the “National Youth Orchestra of Iraq” to promote their visit to Bonn this autumn through social media, Lucy is actually the PR manager of that same company. Lucy tells us what her main tasks have been and how this practical experience may be a little different from learning the theory of PR work from a textbook.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 19 August
How to prepare yourself for a stay abroad // multilingualism
What can you do to prepare yourself for a semester or a stay abroad? Is reading up on the country you’re planning to go to or getting information from the Internet enough? Ariane Curdy, an intercultural trainer and teacher, gives us the answer.
And if you’re interested in learning more about how to prepare yourself, or your students, for a stay abroad, then you might like to know more about a European project called LIPS. LIPS stands for Linguistic and Intercultural Preparation of Students for the workplace and the aim of the project is to identify key situations in collaboration with potential employers and students and develop an innovative media-based learning community. You can find more information about LIPS at www.eu-lips.de
What is it like to raise four children bilingually? Elisabeth is from Austria, but followed her husband 33 years ago to England. The children have been speaking both, German and English at home, and we also asked her son Thomas, what it was like for him to grow up with two languages at the same time.
Christina Cunningham talks about how the working language of the Commission has changed since the last enlargements of the Union, and what is being done to give the less spoken languages, like Danish or Lithuanian for example, more visibility and a stronger impact in the daily work of the Commission.
The next show will be coming to you on the 9th of February from Anne Fox in Denmark.
Image projection and internships abroad – We have a winner for our frappr-map-competition – And hey! We won the Edublog Award!
Believe 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.
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!
And 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. =)