From Iceland to the 3D College to Chernobyl to Seattle.
In this show we are going to hear from a number of people who have found themselves in a different culture for a short period but they haven’t just been on holiday.
Our first guest is Anne Würtz Petersen, a Danish scientist who found herself on a scientific expedition in Iceland examining the threatened Greenland White-fronted Goose in a group consisting mainly of British colleagues. How did she cope with the technical language and the speed of native speaker language? Tony Fox, one of her colleagues on that trip, tried to find out.
absolutely animated 3D college in Denmark trains young people from the age of about 16 or 17 in this fast growing industry and as part of their studies these students all make several study trips one of which is to Seattle in the USA where they can learn from some of the best in the world such as animators from Disney. Do we see so much American TV and cinema that we all have the feeling that we already know the place before we even set foot there? I talked to Mads and Tobias about the trip and about some of the pictures in an unofficial blog of their travels which has lots of pictures.
At least Mads and Tobias were able to communicate with their host families as they had English as a common language. But what if you went away for a month to stay in somebody’s house where there was no common language at all? Could that work? That was the situation faced by some old friends of mine, Nicky Penford and her son Adam in Aberdeen Scotland when they agreed to host two boys from Belarus for a month, earlier this summer. Belarus was badly affected by the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 and the whole country is still polluted by radiation which affects people’s health. The Chernobyl Children Lifeline charity offers Belarusian children a month’s homestay in countries around the world since it turns out that a month spent in a place with clean air and food can add as much as two years to a Belarusian’s life expectancy. But the Belarusians speak Russian and my friends and their son speak only English. So how did it go? BabelFish was a useful tool for giving the boys an idea of each day’s programme.
I was looking for information about the theories of Stephen Pinker when I came across a couple of really interesting tests which you can take to help his research. The tests are not explicitly about intercultural communication but are trying to find out how people express themselves in difficult or awkward situations. So if you are quite good at English go to http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/ and click on ‘participate in a study’ which will take you to the first test and then suggest you participate in a second study run by one of his colleagues. I am not allowed to say more about the content otherwise I’ll spoil the research. But I will say that both tests raise all sorts of interesting intercultural situations and it is worth thinking about how people from other cultures might react to the same dilemmas.
The next show will be coming out on the 7th of September and will be coming to you from Germany.
This show has been recorded outdoors because everything seems to happen outdoors at this time of year in Denmark including cooking programmes on the TV as well as weather forecasts.
Don’t forget to add yourself to our Frappr map on the blog. It may be interesting for us to talk to Vox Appeal from Rennes in France for example, who says he’s interested in podcasting in or about minority languages.
This show will be about children because child-rearing norms are deeply culturally bound and serious problems can occur when parents from one culture rear their children in a different culture.
We hear from Collette Döppner who in an earlier show told us about her pregnancy in Germany as a Kenyan woman. Now that her child has been born, things have got no easier as Collette attempts to carry out the Kenyan tradition of sleeping with her baby. Her grandmother provides wise advice and support when the new family visit her in Kenya.
Collette has been able to work out what she wants in discussion with her husband but what happens when you are mother to the new Prince of Denmark, you come from Australia and Danish norms dictate that young children spend much of their time in kindergarten? The press has a field day for certain especially the Australian magazine Woman’s Day, but are Australian and Danish norms so far apart or is this just tabloid journalism? I talked to Michael Coghlan and Alison Waye in Adelaide to try and make some sense of this scandal.
Finally we talk about slightly older children of about 4 or 5 years old. Does it make a difference whether what they are attending is called a school or a kindergarten? This topic arose when I was talking to Ewan McIntosh about something else at the Reboot conference in May and I suddenly began to wonder if we weren’t talking at cross purposes. In the process you will hear what is surely the shortest curriculum in the world, the Scottish school curriculum which is summed up in eight words as ‘Successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors’. A succinct and positive note on which to end.
The next show will be coming to you from Germany on August 10th.
In this show we talk to some of the people who attended the Reboot 09 conference in Copenhagen in late May. Reboot traditionally focuses on the Internet and online applications and tends to attract businesses and programmers but it is far from as technical as it sounds. The theme of the conference was ‘Human?’ and touched on issues such as achieving the ideal work/life balance, integrating children into a career, what happens to your blog when you die and how can cyber organisations which belong to no physical location motivate people all over the world to fund their activities?
Absolutely Educational: ‘Universities should be a place where you get it wrong.’ As part of his French studies at university, Ewan McIntosh spent some time teaching English in a French university. How did his students, used to the traditional academic French approach, react when he cleared away the desks and asked them to rank their own performance?
Absolutely generous: ‘Cheques are still free in France.’ Delphine Ménard, a French woman living in Germany works for the Wikimedia Foundation whose projects include Wikipedia. She talks about how such an international organisation can reach out to different cultures to secure the funding they need to continue their work.
Absolutely ideal: ‘It’s not the most practical thing but it’s not hard at all!’ Fred Oliveira from Portugal has decided what his priorities in life are and explains how he has managed to set up a cutting edge company without needing to remain in the Bay area of California.
Absolutely expert: Our very own PodKarsten, Karsten Kneese was invited to speak on an expert panel at the Podcast Day in Cologne on June 20th. So make sure you tune into the next show on July 13 to find out much more about it.