We started in 2006 exactly ten years ago. We started in March 2006 and this… is our 200th show.
Along the way we have collected a few awards such as the Edublog award for best educational podcast in 2006 and the European Podcast Award for Denmark in the non-profit category in 2010.
So how to celebrate?
We thought it might be fun to get in touch with some of the people from our first year.
On this show (no. 123) we will hear from the US, from South Korea and from Lebanon in the Middle East. I think this mix promises your dose of culture shocks from around the world and insights into new ways of thinking.
Have you ever made the experience that you traveled in a foreign country and because of your preparation or knowledge about this country your head is spinning with ready-made clichés about the people in that country? Often, when we are well prepared we really have the impression that we know a lot about the country we visit and the people who live there – but are these preconceived ideas the truth? Are they even helpful? In our first category I talked with Yoav Wachsmann, an American professor (originally from Israel) who travels a lot and comes over to Germany regularly. He told me what he liked most about his time in Europe but also how he had to revise his stereotypes as he was getting to know the Germans. He tells us an interesting story of misinterpretation where he thought that his German students were always late for their class until he discovered that in German Academia there is a system which could be called “formalized impunctuality”.
In our next category Anne Gründer, a student from Rhein Ahr Campus in Remagen told me why she took South-Korea as her destination for her semester abroad and what her friends’ reaction were like when they hear about that. Let us listen to how she enjoyed her trip to a completely different world and culture and how she spent her time in Korea.
absolutely specialized Jennifer, an American professor who is teaching in Lebanon told me her story! She comes from Boston, in the US, is married with a Lebanese and is now living in Beirut. Many people back home are worried about her safety, because it seems to be dangerous living there, particularly as an American. But is it true? Is life more dangerous than in the US? In our last category Jennifer shared with me some stories, experiences she made in class and what she is missing most from the American culture.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 10. December
The Sunshine Coast is calling, and yes, I am leaving the German autumn behind to go right into the Australian summer. Today we start a new mini-series called “absolutely down-under”, the reason is that I am going to the University of the Sunshine Coast, where I will teach and do research at our partner university. This means that the next couple of shows will be coming to you directly from Southern Queensland. So our editor Dino Nogarole asked me for an interview, a new situation for me, because normally it is my role to interview the people on the show.
Lets now go on to our category “absolutely abroad” one of the stimulators for my stay abroad, who is working for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He was at RheinAhrCampus in order to present the Go Out! campaign, in which he motivated students to do an internship abroad or to study in a foreign country …
Some months ago, at the Anna Lindh Foundation’s Bloggers’ Meeting in Luxemburg I met Jessica Dheere, an American citizen who lives in Lebanon. In 2008 she started a project which is called social media exchange. You will hear that social media isn’t only Flickr, Twitter or Facebook, but also the ability to produce your own media, like mapping, blogging or podcasting. Her organisation offers training sessions which are specialised in social media exchange. The idea of it is to reach as many people as possible by using online tools or programms. Jessica trains young people how to use the social media. She explains why these net based tools are so important in Lebanon and why it is so difficult to spread your news through the national radio or through television. Her courses also help to bring different communities from different parts of the Lebanon together, for example the Christians and the Muslims. Jessica tells us that her advantage is that she is an outsider with inside views and that she uses the social media for social change as a kind of common ground for the peer-learning between the different intercultural groups.
The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 11 December
absolutely individualistic: We talk to Jennifer, an American professor for Eastern European Politics at a liberal arts college in Beirut, Lebanon. She tries to encourage her students to develop a more critical and individualistic attitude, which she has missed personally since she left the US. She wants her Lebanese students, but in fact students all around the world, to be at least a little bit more revolutionary, to question the status quo and to express their personality with a “benign whacky individualism”.
absolutely female: For women travellers to some Arabic countries often the most normal things can turn into an exciting cultural adventure. Emma travelled to Syria and Jordan with her sisters and shares with us some everyday occurrences for European women travelling in some Arabic countries. We are able to relive her anxieties at the check-in at the airport when she gets separated from her sisters, her problems getting served in a restaurant and even a confrontation with some seven years old kids with machine guns, apparently serving some kind of military service.
absolutely timeless: We learn from Maris, who went from Latvia to Egypt why time is less important in Egypt sometimes. He tells us, that every time you hear the very common expression “Insha’Allah” in an Arabic country you should try to remain as relaxed as the Arabs. This frequently-used expression means that everything will happen as and when Allah wants it to happen, and is a good explanation when a train or a bus come late and you will soon recognize, that life can be easier if you just accept this fact.
absolutely basic: Cultural misunderstandings often arise from language barriers and a lack of cultural interests. Beatrice explains to us how you can make your journey to an Arabic country a lot more enjoyable if you learn only a few phrases of the Arabic language. You will not only open a lot of doors to the warm and friendly Arabic hosts, but you will also defuse culturally-based stress situations. Showing interest in the foreign culture will distinguish you from the ordinary tourists and people will start to invite you to their homes.
absolutely champion: Absolutely Intercultural has been nominated for a Danish podcasting award because every other AI show is produced in Denmark. If we are to have a chance of winning then we need more nominations before we get to the voting stage! So if you like what you hear then send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
Name of the podcaster(s): Anne Fox
URL of the podcast: http://www.absolutely-intercultural.com
Nominator’s name and email address (to take part in a prize draw of nominators)
Reason for nomination: optional but you can explain why the podcaster deserves the nomination
Deadline for this first round is May 12th. If your Danish is good you can read more at http://www.podcasterprisen.dk/
The next show will be coming to you on 2 May from Anne Fox in Denmark.
In this show we are going to look into which parts of our culture we have to re-think or even leave behind when we get married. We have entertaining stories from Lebanon, the United States, Hungary, and Spain and even from our own lives.
Our first guest is Stéphane Bazan, lecturer at the Université St. Joseph, who is French and got married to his Lebanese bride in Biblos near Beirut. He tells us about the cultural conventions preceding his wedding which turned into a happy cultural mix for him and his French and Swiss family but also for his new Lebanese in-laws.
Jennifer is an American university lecturer who got married to her Lebanese husband in the United States. She remembers thinking about what cultural clashes could arise from the different customs and attitudes of her Lebanese and American families. She even went as far as giving some private intercultural lessons to prepare her family and her Lebanese in-laws for the happy day.
absolutely Mars vs. absolutely Venus
Agnes Dús, Laurent Borgmann, and Mathias Knops had a round table discussion about “leaving one’s own culture behind” where they tell their own stories about how difficult it can get when two persons from different cultures decide to stay together for life. Finally they had to admit that sometimes it is not the national culture which creates problems, simply the fact that men and women come from different planets: men are from Mars and women from Venus.
absolutely Big Fat Wedding
In the last part of our show we will get back to Stéphane, who tells us what cultural challenges he had to face before his “Big Fat Lebanese Wedding” with 800 guests! During the process he sometimes felt a considerable cultural gap between his families, as if he was not from France but from the other side of the world.
Our co-host today is Agnes Dús from Budapest in Hungary, student of the Corvinus University of Budapest. You may remember her from the interviews she made in Ireland for show number 25. She will co-host the shows from Remagen until Christmas.
The next show will be coming to you on the 19 October from Anne Fox in Denmark.
One week before the current crisis started, I went to Beirut, to visit colleagues at the St. Joseph University in the center of Beirut. For the last couple of years we have developed a Master course at the University in Intercultural Mediation, and in early July I recorded several interviews with Stefan Bazan, who over the years has become a good friend of mine.
We’ve talked about all sorts of things, for example how he came to Lebanon six years ago, how he met his wife or why there are two different currencies in the country. Well, in the current situation of course these subjects seem very trivial, but we’ve decided to follow those interviews up and compare them to the reality now. I interviewed Stefan on the phone on Friday, the 4th of August, to see what had changed since the war began and I left Beirut.
Stefan will happily provide you with up to date information about the current situation in Lebanon. You can get in touch with him by writing him an email or by leaving a comment on his blog.
Stefan’s Emailaddress: stefan.bazan [@] usj.edu.lb Stefan’s blog in French
The war in Lebanon is unfortuantely not the only one in the world. There are many other conflicts and crises going on of which many of us only hear on the news. And don’t we all judge the situation by the little information we get?
Well, the “Games for Change” movement provides all of us with a new way of getting a better understanding, for example the crisis in Darfur or the complex situation between Israel and Palestine. At the end of the show you’ll hear a clip from the show ‘Video Games for a Better World’, produced by the “Here on Earth: Radio without borders” program at Wisconsin Public Radio in the United States.”
The Host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Edited by: Berit Wiebe & Karsten Kneese