In this show we’ll be going to Ireland and asking if multi-culturalsim is dead then what should replace it? We’ll also be hearing from another Irish man, Robert O’Dowd, based in Léon, Spain about the added value of multimedia when doing online intercultural exchanges and from two of the current participants in the Podcasting course offered by The Consultants-E. I’ve been tutoring various online courses there and it has often struck me how intercultural these EFL teachers are and so this time I took the opportunity to find out more about them. For example I discovered one of the issues facing female Saudi students who want to study abroad.
absolutely failed But we’ll begin with Stephen Spillane in Ireland, a political blogger whose latest post made me want to find out more. Stephen was picking up on the backlash against multiculturalism which is spreading across Europe and made an interesting suggestion about what to replace it with. So let’s hear Stephen explain why multiculturalism has absolutely failed. Soon after I had spoken with Stephen my eye was caught by a recent report with the headline Employers looking for global awareness in young recruits, which is a kind ofpositive reply to the negative comment Stephen got to his post, and tells us that intercultural awareness is a sought after quality by employers. You can find the link to that report here.
absolutely global In my work with The Consultants-E helping English teachers integrate technology into their everyday practice I have met (virtually of course) many interesting people. Usually the teachers fall into two categories; either they teach gloriously mixed classes in their home country or they are the ones who have moved to teach in a new culture. So in our next category, absolutely global, we are going to meet two teachers from my current podcasting class as I thought it only right for them to experience podcasting from a different perspective. First I talked with Janice Ford, an Australian based in Sydney who has taught English to students from all over the world. Janice talked to me about some of the nice moments with her international groups. I then spoke with Samah Thabet, an Egyptian woman who has been teaching in Saudi Arabia or KSA, for the last four years. I was curious about Samah’s students also. In fact my chats with Janice and Samah and others from my course were much longer so watch out for more from them in later shows. If you would like to practice your English you can try the dictation based on a short extract from this category at Listen & Write.
absolutely social In our final category I am bringing you an extract from a free webinar offered by the Language Learning and Social Media project on the topic of social media and interculturality. Entitled Give interculturality a chance – Can social media make a difference?” I was one of the invited speakers and you can access my recorded slideshow at SlideBoom. The webinar featured Fred Dervin from Finland and Christine Develotte from France who presented some very interesting statistics about the use of social media and Liang Wang from the Open University in Milton Keynes in the UK who talked about the social media habits of Chinese students. The webinar also included a presentation by Robert O’Dowd based in Léon, Spain who talked about the multimedia exchange between his Spanish students and a group in the USA. Does multimedia help to raise intercultural awareness in an online exchange? So if Robert O’Dowd’s comments have whetted your apetite then you can find the link to the whole webinar here.
Thanks very much to everyone who took part in today’s show. We couldn’t do it without you! If you have any comments, criticisms or suggestions then please add a comment here on the blog.
Today the whole show is dedicated to the go-out campaign, of BMBF and DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service, which encourages young people to spend a semester abroad. I spoke to students and organisers and asked them how to plan your stay abroad, which skills are needed and what benefits we can expect to get out of it. They told me what reasons motivated them to plan this big step in their careers and but also in their private lives and which intercultural experiences they have made abroad.
Making intercultural experiences abroad is becoming more and more important for our working lives. It is generally agreed that students should pack up, leave everything behind, discover the intercultural world and learn about new cultures at least for one semester. I met a student who has done this more than one time. In our first category we hear how Tobias Pfanner went to Canada and after this experience he also did an exchange semester at our partner university in Australia. Right now he is applying for a scholarship to do his internship in China. But let us listen to how it all began during his first weeks on campus.
absolutely going out
In our next category I spoke with Wolfgang Kreft, from the go-out campaign of the DAAD, the German Academic Exchange Service. He told me how they tour from city to city – from university to university park their mobile stand with information in the middle of the campus they visit and try to convince students to make that big step and study abroad. I must say I am a great fan of the go-out campaign of the DAAD that reaches out to the students where they are – in the middle of their campus and sends out the clear signal that going abroad is not reserved to the best students and certainly not only to the richest students but should be an aim for everybody. On our campus this has inspired many students to find out more about our partner universities and scholarships and to visit the international office to get more information
In our next category, I interviewed David, a student who has made internationalization a priority and has studied and worked in Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Russia, and in Great Britain – no wonder he is strategically planning to join the diplomatic service after his studies.
absolutely german In our last category I did an interview with Dino, who is the student editor of this podcast and who has just come back from his experience abroad. He spent a semester at our partner university in Spain and told me what motivated him to make his own intercultural experiences abroad.
Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 23 July
In this show, we are revisiting the “tapas-trail” in León. I am taking you back to Spain where I visited our partner university in León some time ago. I wanted to have a look at the tapas culture there.
When you look up “tapas” in the English Wikipedia you will find that León is known for this culture. It says: “Spaniards often go “bar hopping” (Spanish: Ir de tapas) and eat tapas in the time between finishing work and having dinner. In León, a city in northwest Spain, an entire zone known as the Barrio Humedo is dedicated to tapas bars each serving their own unique dish served free with a corto (small beer) or glass of wine.”
In León, most bars still have the original Tapas culture which means that you buy a drink and get your tapas free without paying for them. It is interesting how this going “de tapas” or “tapear“, which are the Spanish expressions for this culture of walking about town, drinking un corto, a small glass of beer or a small glass of vino, eating tapas that come free with the drinks and meeting people all the time seems typical of the Spanish culture but would not work in colder climates simply because of the hassle of having to put on all these layers of clothes before walking out. So here we seem to have an example of how the climate has a strong influence on local cultural traditions.
We continue our series of round table discussions about Geert Hofstede’s comparison of “Culture as the Software of the Mind”. This time we listen to our studio guests Fernando and Karsten. I wanted to introduce the idea of sudden and unexpected updates and draw parallels between how we – the users – experience updates in computer software (for example the recent updates to Windows Vista and Office 2007) and how we experience similar updates in our culture. We concentrated on these “sudden updates”, not gradual updates, which run in the background, where we do not notice that we have a new version, but situations where someone comes into your office and says “Let me just install an update for you…” and then it takes you two weeks afterwards to get used to the new interface.
Some people use email purely for administrative matters or for organizing things. Others write emotional and personal messages with lots of emoticons, so even before you really read the messages you notice differences in style or culture. In a round table discussion with our studio guests Sophie, Maike, Julia, and Christina we discussed how email dominates our professional and private lives today. Even my students report that incoming email steals a lot of their time and some students from my Business English Course at RheinAhrCampus had given some good advice how to handle email-generated stress. They came up with ideas like reading every incoming email message only once before taking action; or making sure that the subject line is so clear that it catches the attention of the addressee straight away.
The next show will be coming to you on 6 February from Anne Fox in Denmark.
In our first show we take you along to Leon in the North of Spain. Some guest in a tapas bar tell us about the social aspects of the tapas culture. Dot from Sweden wonders when Spanish people ever get their sleep and Indre from Lithuania tells us the heart-breaking story of a Lithuanian basket-baller and his Israeli girlfriend who have different religions and whose wedding plans are overshadowed by gossip in their respective countries.