Self-Imrpovement Culture +++ Personal Goals +++ Social Expectations +++ Absolutely Intercultural 282 +++

Hello dear listeners and welcome to show 282 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today, we are going to talk about the culture of self-improvement.
One way or another, most of us strive to be better than we really are. We would love to look better, be more successful and feel better than we really are. Many of us constantly try to improve ourselves our working styles and our lives: taking care of our health, searching for our purpose in life, trying to make a difference in the World, developing our skills for the workplace, and working on our private relationships.
Let us assume that self-improvement is the way forward to feeling better about ourselves. But then, why do we feel so exhausted, trying to be perfect everywhere and all the time?

absolutely determined

In our first category, absolutely determined”, we will listen to Teona from Georgia. As she is clearly a member of the self-improvement culture, Teona already knows what she wants to have achieved in 10 years time and has identified which extra skills the “future-Teona” needs to be a member of this self-improvement culture.

absolutely risky

In our second category, absolutely risky”, we will hear from Beyza. She shares that in order to improve herself, she had to leave her cultural comfort zone and take the big risk of leaving her home country, Turkey.

absolutely aware

Finally, in our last category, “absolutely aware”, we listen to Johnson from China. He tells us how the Chinese self-improvement culture encourages a strong awareness of losing face in front of others and to keep up one’s dignity. In some cases, this fear of losing face may be stronger than the fear of death.

What about you? Do you have a truly personal approach to setting your own improvement goals? What do you think about the self-improvement culture? Is it the next fashion after the fitness boom? Do you think it can really make us happy as individuals? Get in touch, and feel free to share your unique story with us here on this podcast.

Our next show will be coming to you on the 3 of March.

Until then – check your personal goals against those of the cultural bubble you live in! – and

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors: Kyeong Jin Kim, Faisal Faisal




Apple podcasts



Intercultural Stereotypes +++ Nationality Stereotypes +++ Absolutely Intercultural 268 +++

Hello and welcome to show 268 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Sometimes we are the objects of other people’s stereotypes and sometimes, we are, in fact, the people who actively use overgeneralizations to simplify our social lives. When we use stereotypes, we instinctively categorize others using shared beliefs about a certain target group. But do cultural stereotypes really always make our lives easier, or do they sometimes ruin relationships and harm the relationship between two different cultures? Our mothers told us, not to use stereotypes, but then, some people tell us that stereotypes may be a great trigger for small talk ?Are cultural stereotypes the bridge that connects two cultures, or are they the reason why this bridge between two different cultures is never built?

In our show, three students tell us about concrete situations, where they were the objects of stereotyping and how those stereotypes affected their personal lives. 

absolutely Christian

In our first category, “absolutely Christian”, Berla, a student from Iraq tells us about being stereotyped as a Muslim by her fellow classmates before they had even seen her in her new school in Germany. They were in for a surprise.

absolutely secular

In our second category, “absolutely secular”, Erta tells us how a friendly bus driver in her university town wished her Eid Mubarak just because he knew that she is Albanian. In his mind all Albanians are Muslims.

absolutely white 

Finally, in our last category, “absolutely white”, Ali from Yemen remembers a story where a girl he met in a club was a little surprised by his skin color.

What about you? Have you been the object of a stereotype? How did you react? Do you try to use these situations to connect to others or do you just ignore them and move on?

Please write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. We could go deeper into other categories such as Heterostereotypes which we have about the others and Autostereotypes which we have about our own cultural group. On our web page,, you can get more information about this show and previous episodes and you can leave comments. And if you enjoyed the show, please like us on Facebook too. 

By the way, did you know we are also on iTunes or Apple Podcasts? You can subscribe to us there for free and give us a rating and a comment. 

Our next show will be coming to you on 3 December.

Until then – try to watch out for stereotypes – and

Bleiben Sie absolutinterkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Esjona Musta

Assistant Editors:  Natalia Obikhod,  Elene Mikeladze




Apple podcasts



absolutely intercultural 105 +++ Didgeridoo +++ lifelong learning +++ power distance +++

absolutely nominated
Our podcast has been nominated for the European Podcast Award – please help us win the prize by voting for us. Just click on the German and the Danish  flag and vote for Absolutely Intercultural. The address is and basically all you need to do is to give us a star rating for both content and design and then click the Vote button and that’s it.  Thank you in advance!

absolutely down-under
As I am preparing to leave Australia soon, in my mind I am trying to compile a collection of lasting impressions that I gained during my stay in down-under. Now, for this podcast my challenge was – to capture one specific sound that would be emblematic for Australia. For me, personally, this would probably be the incredible bird sounds that I have already shared with you in previous shows. However, I have a feeling that for others the sound of the didgeridoo captures the Australian spirit best. In a small country town of the Hinterland I was fortunate enough to meet a part-blood Aboriginal and his daughter, both, producers and players of these Yirdakis, which is the real name for these curious wind instruments developed by Indigenous Australians of northern Australia since at least 1500 years ago. In our first category, I wanted to find out what exactly you have to do to produce this typical sound and where the name “didgeridoo” comes from.

absolutely lifelong
We are still talking about learning – can you imagine going to school again for the rest of your life? And to sit in class and listen to what a teacher tells you? Or maybe there are other forms of learning out there?
Lifelong learning is often promoted by institutions of adult education, so we have interviewed Ulla and Beate, who both work for adult education institutions. Ulla works for the Folkuniversitetet in Sweden and Beate for Volkshochschule Köln, in Germany. I asked them whether there is a recognisable culture of lifelong learning, and what makes people want to carry on learning throughout their lives.

absolutely distant
It is incredibly rewarding to work with people who out of their own free will decide to improve themselves and constantly set themselves new challenges by integrating into new learning situations.
Two of these people are Jakub and Mariusz, two Erasmus students from Poland, who spent a summer semester at RheinAhrCampus in Remagen. In our last category they describe a stark difference between the student-professor-relationships in Poland and in Germany. Geert Hofstede describes the intercultural dimension behind this as “power distance”. It is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions (here the students) expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.
Now, the observation of the two students totally confirms Hofstede’s theory. Power Distance in Poland is much higher than in most other European countries and in particular than in Germany. So it was to be expected that Polish students found the idea of a German Professor as a colleague and a friend very disturbing. However, we started our interview with the Polish students’ observations about Europe. They report that while the European idea is still new and exciting in Poland the Germans do not seem to appreciate or even question it any longer because they simply take Europe for granted.

The next show will be hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark on 02. April.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
Editor: Dino Nogarole

absolutely intercultural 22 +++ artificial Zulu culture +++ clothes maketh the man +++ what do you call your teacher? +++

We are still waiting for Zanele Khumalo from Cape Town in South Africa to get in touch as the winner of our Frappr map prize.

Absolutely National: And we stay in South Africa to hear from Mark Anderson in Pretoria who explains the classification system of the old apartheid system and the beliefs this led to. Mark also explains how the Zulu culture may not be as old as we might think.

Absolutely Yours: Our feature on image projection in show number 21 struck a chord with Fernando from Spain who sent us an audio comment about what led him to discard almost his entire wardrobe of clothes when he had an internship in Germany.

Absolutely Educational: Anne has difficulty pronouncing Katarzyna Kubacka’s name. Katarzyna is a student teacher in Poland who was known as Kate during her time as a classroom assistant in Grenaa. Katarzyna was financed under the Comenius programme of the EU. Katarzyna talks about the differences in approach and mentions one thing which she found particularly shocking.

The next show will come from Germany on January 26 so … stay tuned!
The Host of this show is: Anne Fox