absolutely intercultural 151 +++ Australia Day 2012 +++ multilingualism +++ patriotic celebrations +++ BBQs and Barbies +++

Laurent hugging a Koala

absolutely down-under
Like my last show, episode 151 also comes to you from Australia. You can listen to how I get woken up by exotic birds outside my bedroom window every morning because  I thought I should record my introduction at this time of the day to share this experience with you because this has become my regular Australian alarm clock. As I live just metres from the national park I assumed they must have some kind of noisy monkeys in that park but then I discovered, it was birds, such as cockatoos, kookaburras, and some very colourful small parrots that I cannot identify. After a month in the country I finally manage to sleep through this incredible noise, and if I didn’t, I would have to get up at 4:30 every morning when this dubious concert starts. This week my class and tutorial at the University of the Sunshine Coast will not take place because of Australia Day 2012, a national public holiday. So I started asking people what this national day is all about and I received many, but sometimes contradictory answers because while this day is meant to promote and celebrate national unity it seems that every year it is accompanied by the criticism that instead of promoting multiculturalism this day commemorates the 26 January 1788 the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove where English settlers put up their flag. So opponents tend to call it “Invasion Day” and propose to change the national public holiday to another date. Let me share with you what some Australians told me about Australia Day. (If you want to find out more about Australian Identity you may want to revisit Anne’s show 76 on “mateship” and if you want to check out what my own life in Australia sounds like, check out my own last show 149.

absolutely diverse
I would like to introduce you to my neighbours here in Australia. Simone and Leonardo from Switzerland. Their background is so multicultural that it would perhaps be difficult for them to be nationalistic. I got interested when I noticed that mother and son were using several different languages even between them during an ordinary day.
Believe me I was very confused I when I saw Simone and Leonardo for the first time. From where I was sitting I thought I could distinctly hear about five or six people talking in three different languages but when I looked up I could see only two and had to realize that these two were actually using all three languages between them.

absolutely nationalistic
Australia Day is an opportunity to celebrate what is best about Australia including vegimite, BBQs, and cricket but some people are also critical of the fact that the image which is projected on this day is a very “white perspective” where the indigenous people do not really play an important role. I took my microphone into the classrooms to find out what it means to be Australian and what the day actually celebrates. Let us first listen to Mark from England and Meredith and Josh who are Australians. I also asked three international students what they knew about Australia Day and whether they could draw parallels to national or patriotic celebrations and movements in their own countries. I talked to Daniel from Sweden, Martin from the Netherlands and Clement from France.

absolutely barbie
My mate Len shares with me the secrets of the most Australian of all institutions which no Australia Day can do without. The BBQ or the “Barbie”. I had never thought about the unifying factors of this very male-dominated cooking experience. It is true that every house I have seen so far had a fixed BBQ and there are even public BBQ places in every scenic spot on the coast so that families can have an outdoor experience and bring their own food and drink.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 2 March

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

absolutely intercultural 25 +++ Borrowed Identities +++ 40 people, 5 countries, 1 island +++ The lifeblood of Europe +++

Borrowed Identities – European Student Now! Project meeting on Achill Island and in Dublin, Ireland.

Welcome to episode 25 our Silver Jubilee of absolutely intercultural, which is absolutely Irish!
Laurent and I have just been on an excursion to Achill Island and Dublin in Ireland within the framework of the EU funded Intensive Programm “Borrowed Identities – European Student” now, and in this episode you will hear many different voices from many nationalities, but one in particular – Agnes Dus, a student from Corvinus University Budapest in Hungary has helped us a great deal with doing interviews and creating the concept for this episode, so thank you very much Agnes.

As a preparation for the proposed “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008” our project “Borrowed Identity” aims at creating an intercultural learning environment based on virtual and real mobility. The project is targeted at Business, Technical and Humanities students in Germany, Sweden, Spain, UK and Hungary and focuses on combining computer-mediated academic work, face-to-face meetings and intercultural communication.

This combination provided students with a new perspective of their own cultural identity as students, and the cultural identity of their foreign fellow students and hosts in Ireland.

So a short while ago 40 people from 5 different countries and actually 8 different nationalities met for 12 days in Ireland, to work together on a variety of academic workshops and to attend several intercultural lectures.

Now, to give you an idea of what the personal aims of the participating coordinators and teachers were we have asked some of them what they wanted to get out of the project, personally and for their professional life, and if their expectations were actually fulfilled.

We have also interviewed old friends like Sean and Margaret Cannon, who are a part of our “European project family” for more than 10 years now. And we have met new friends like Stephen Manning, who has just recently settled down on Achill after quite an exciting period of his life.

This episode is also a part of the general documentation of our whole project, and you can also follow a day-by-day travelogue of the excursion, written by the students themselves. Check it out – they have done a really good job!

A lot has happened during our time in Ireland, and we hope to give you a good impression of what our students have achieved, what the whole project is all about and what a good time we had on Achill Island.
The next show will be coming to you on the 9th of March from Anne Fox in Denmark.
So long…stay tuned!

The Host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited and co-hosted by: Karsten Kneese


absolutely intercultural 23 +++ Preparation for a stay abroad +++ bi- & multilingualism +++

How to prepare yourself for a stay abroad // multilingualism

languagesabsolutely abroad
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

absolutely bilingual
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.

absolutely endangered
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.

So long…stay tuned!

The Host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited and co-hosted by: Karsten Kneese