Paradox of Freedom +++ Freedom vs. Safety +++ Artistic Freedom +++ Absolutely Intercultural 293 +++

Hello, dear listeners, and welcome to episode 293 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today, we’re exploring the “Culture of Freedom.” We’re asking a big question: Is there such a thing as too much freedom in some cultures? We’ll look at how freedom affects our own cultures but also how our own cultures have an influence on the freedom we are granted. We will focus on aspects of safety, creativity and even romantic relationships. This is the Absolutely Intercultural Podcast –my name is Laurent Borgmann, and I’m here to guide you through this journey around different aspects of freedom.

Is true freedom about choosing whatever we want, or is it simply about creating a good life within agreed limits? What is the role of freedom during a war, an outbreak of repeated terrorism in a country or a world-wide pandemic? Will total freedom really spark our creativity, or is it the boundaries and limitations that actually fuel our most innovative ideas? Is choosing your own life partners the ultimate freedom, or do arranged marriages offer a kind of family safety net, deeply valued in many cultures?

absolutely safe

In our first story, we will listen to Xavier from Australia. He shares with us how he thought a lot about the paradox of Freedom vs. Safety during the Corona Crisis down-under where the freedom of movement was much more rigorously restricted than in most parts of Europe. When faced with extreme challenges, Xavier noticed in himself that he actually preferred lockdowns over predicted anarchy, no matter how strict and unprecedented the new Corona regulations were

absolutely independent

In our second story, we will listen to Raghavan from India. He talks about his niece in the United Kingdom who, like many young Indians abroad, is now enjoying an unexpected window of freedom to build a career and find a life partner by herself. These young expats often have the opportunity to choose someone they love, a freedom they would perhaps not have in their own country. However,if they can’t find someone quickly, their parents will jump in and help by arranging their marriage, even from a distance of 8.000 kms.

absolutely creative

In our last story, we will listen to Figo from Turkey who does not feel free to express his artistic freedom. He feels that social biases and narrow-mindedness discourage him from sharing his music, particularly on social media.

What are your thoughts on freedom? Do you think we have all gone too far with personal freedom? Or do you think more freedom would make your country a better place? We’re eager to hear your perspective.

Share your story with us via comment or email, and you can feature in one of our upcoming shows. For more information and previous episodes, visit our website at absolutely-intercultural.com. If you enjoyed the show, please give us a thumbs-up on Facebook.

And did you know we’re also on iTunes, Apple Podcasts and Spotify? You can subscribe for free, leave a rating, and drop a comment there. 

Our next show, hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark, will be out on 3rd May.

Until then – find out whether there can be TOO much freedom in a culture!  and

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors: Sebastian Berg

 

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Online learning+++ NILE +++Absolutely Intercultural 292+++

 

Norwich Institute of Learning Education
Norwich Institute for Language Education

Welcome to Absolutely Intercultural show number 292 on World Futures Day. My name’s Anne Fox and this show is coming to you from Denmark, but when you’re online, does it matter where I am? In this show we’ll be looking at some of the issues that can happen in online courses. Yes, believe it or not, online learning existed long before the Covid 19 pandemic and for this show I decided to ask some of my colleagues at NILE in Norwich about some of the things that can happen when you are teaching online.
We’ll hear from Robert about a joke gone wrong, from Eva about how to organise a mixed gender group so that the genders are never mixed and what happened in Neil’s Zoom session that so upset the rest of the group?

absolutely separate

So let’s start with Eva and go absolutely separate about how to organise a mixed gender group so that the genders are never mixed.

absolutely funny

In our next segment we’ll be talking to Robert about something that he experienced when he was facilitating a very diverse group from around the world. Is it absolutely funny?

absolutely real

And in our final segment, we’ll meet Neil who lives in Spain and works for NILE teaching aviation English where we’ll learn how online learning can be absolutely real. But first the dilemma of adjusting meetings to meet other cultural norms.

Neil’s story about his student in Kiev reminds me that this week on several TV stations simultaneously, a new series called “In her Car” tells the story of a Ukrainian woman who volunteers to drive people in Ukraine during the current conflict.

If you have any stories about intercultural challenges with online learning then  let us know here on the blog in a comment.

And if you enjoyed the show, please like us on Facebook too.

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

The next show will be coming to you from Germany with Laurent Borgmann on the 5th of April.

Until then – stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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Futures Studies +++ Georgia +++ India +++ Absolutely Intercultural 291 +++

 

Image of hiker in misty mountains from Pixabay
Stereotypical image of future

Imagine the future. What do you see? I think I could safely bet a lot of money that what you’re seeing now in your mind involves high tech, humanoid robots, and metallic high-rise cities! Can we be more imaginative about the future? And how do you see your personal future? Welcome to show 291 of Absolutely Intercultural coming to you from Denmark. My name’s Anne Fox and in this show we’re going to talk about the future, or rather, futures. Futures?

absolutely plausible

We’ll start with finding out more about what Futures Studies is, or are, by talking to Thor Svanholm Gustavson of the Copenhagen Futures Studies Institute and no, it’s not about predicting the future but about the possible, the preferred and the absolutely plausible. So what are Futures Studies?

absolutely specific

Thinking about the future is good for societies but let’s explore the personal level. Now let’s be absolutely specific and find out what Viktoria from Georgia told Mariam about her views of her future.

absolutely educational

In our next segment we hear again from Thor in Copenhagen. Let’s go absolutely educational and find out why Futures Studies should be on the school timetable. Thor’s final point makes me want to run a competition to draw a vision of the future that doesn’t include high tech, robots and flying cars. But maybe that’s for the future… 

absolutely predictable

Now we’ll hear from Raj, from India, about the role of parents in writing their children’s future. There’s a clear example of the present influencing the future when Raj goes back to India and aims to promote sustainability.

So who’s writing the story about your future?  You? Your parents? Society? Do you feel limited by the number of futures that are presented to you or do you, on the other hand have too many possible futures and you need to start thinking about your preferred future? What pictures of the future do you have? Are they all high tech? You can let us know here on the blog at absolutely-intercultural.com  where we have links from the organisations mentioned in the show.

And if you enjoyed the show, please like us on Facebook too.

Thanks to Mariam for interviewing our two RheinAhr Campus students.

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

And talking about predicting the future it is very likely that the next show will be coming to you from me in Denmark on March 1 which by sheer coincidence is World Futures Day!

Until then – stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Co-host: Mariam Bilge

Links mentioned in the show:

UNESCO https://www.unesco.org/en/futures-literacy

Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies https://cifs.dk/

Teach the Future https://www.teachthefuture.org/

Image: Pixabay

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Media Consumption +++ Infotainment +++ Fake News +++ Absolutely Intercultural 290 +++

Hello dear listenersand welcome to show 290 of our podcast“Absolutely Intercultural”. Today’s topic is all about the impact of our media consumption. I am Laurent Borgmann, your host, and as I am over sixty years old, I feel obliged to start with a bit of media nostalgia. Back in the good old times, yes, in fact,more than 50 years ago, every house in our street got a newspaper on their doorstep before 5 am every morning. Subscription was the rule. People would read it during breakfast, and this seemed as essential as the first cup of coffee in the day. In our city, we had two papers to pick from, but honestly, although one was slightly more left and the other slightly more right-wing they were like twins separated at birth. They sometimes even shamelessly used the same pictures on the front page. At school I learned that they were actually produced in the same printing house. And the effect? In the 1960s, when you caught up with the neighbours over the garden fence, it was like a big gossip party. All neighbours knew the same news stories and were ready to outraged by the same scandals. The update in the evenings was also the same–at 8 o’clock, families all over Germany tuned in for the TV news, and you could bet most people were watching the same news show–Die Tagesschau! Of course,even then people had different takes on the same news, depending on their political affiliations or demographic backgrounds. But we could all still join the chat because everyone had the same input. Those were the good old days.

absolutely informed

In our opening story, “absolutely informed”, we’ll tune in to Emanuel from Germany. As a young adult in Germany, Emanuel is interested in what is happening around the world. However, finding out which news reports can be trusted and which are only an opinion for the bubble they are meant for, seems a constant challenge for us nowadays.

absolutely independent

In our next part “absolutely independent”, we’ll hear from Rozana, who is from Albania and now she works as a guest lecturer in Germany. Rozana shares with us her concerns about potential government influence on the contents of the news.

absolutely positive

In our final story, “absolutely positive”, we’ll hear from Krishna, originally from India and now an exchange student in Germany. Krishna does not like to follow the news as he prefers to keep his surroundings positive.

Now, we’re curious about your own experiences with Media, are you a keen news reader like Emanuel or do you keep negative information out of your life like Krishna? Are you good at detecting fake news and do you ever report any?

Share your story with us via comment or email, and you can feature in one of our upcoming shows. For more information and previous episodes, visit our website at absolutely-intercultural.com. If you enjoyed the show, please give us a thumbs-up on Facebook.

And did you know we’re also on iTunes and Apple Podcasts? You can subscribe for free, leave a rating, and drop a comment there. 

Our next show, hosted by Anne Fox in Denmark, will be out on 2 February.

Until then – look out for fake news!  and

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors: Mariam Bilge, Sebastian Berg

 

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Hidden history +++ Our Story +++ Absolutely Intercultural 289 +++

Fatima Al-Fihri
Fatima Al-Fihri – founder of the first university in the world in Morocco

Welcome to show 289 of Absolutely Intercultural.

Did you know that the richest man who ever lived was an African from Mali in the fourteenth century whose wealth exceeded that of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates put together?

Did you know that the first university in the world was not in Milan, Italy but in Morocco started by a female refugee, Fatima Al-Fihri?

In this show we’re going to find out more about a publishing company called Our Story aimed at young children and their teachers, and why this might help intercultural understanding.

My name’s Anne Fox and I’m based in Denmark and for this show I’m working with Mariam in Germany.

In this show we are going to meet Fahad Siddiqui, a Londoner, living in Brazil, who thinks that we should all know more these people who have faded from history.

absolutely historical

Let’s go absolutely historical and meet Fahad Siddiqui who created the Our Story company to share these stories with children.

absolutely multicultural

As well as being interesting in their own right, one of the aims of the Our Story materials is to introduce children to different cultures so let’s find out more about that and go absolutely multicultural with Mariam.

absolutely charitable

One of the features of the Our Story books is that every time you buy one of the books, the company makes a donation to the charity, CAMFED, which supports the education of girls in a selection of African countries. Let’s go absolutely charitable to find out how and why.

I loved finding out more about the many facets of the Our Story books and I know that our conversation left Mariam thinking hard about her home country of Georgia and whether there would be a candidate for one of the books from her cultural history. And maybe you know of one from your culture too?

Share your story with us via comment or email, and you might feature in one of our upcoming shows. For more information and previous episodes, visit our website at absolutely-intercultural.com. 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 5th January from Laurent Borgmann in Germany

Until then – stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

Co-host: Mariam Bilge

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Why Denmark? +++ Iceland +++ South Africa +++ Masters +++ PhD +++ Absolutely Intercultural 287 +++

Peter & Úlfar in Iceland

Welcome to Show 287 of Absolutely Intercultural coming to you from Denmark. My name’s Anne Fox and Denmark is where I have lived for almost thirty years. It is a small country of nearly 6 million people which has 8 universities. Compared to Germany’s 380, or the USA’s seemingly too many to count, but let’s settle for over 4000, eight Danish universities seems like a very small pool to choose from. So why would anybody come to Denmark for their university studies? This is what we’re going to find out in this show. We will be talking to Peter from South Africa who has a complex family history that is reflected in the languages spoken at home and Úlfar from Iceland who’s noticed something about Denmark.

absolutely uncertain

In our first segment, “absolutely uncertain”, let’s find out how Peter came to Denmark, to study in Danish, after being brought up in South Africa and having done his schooling in German.

absolutely engineered

In our next segment, “absolutely engineered”, let’s hear from Úlfar, an Icelander who had limited options for his Masters back in Iceland and chose Denmark.

So maybe small is beautiful after all. Family history and colonial ties seem to count greatly in addition to any global ranking that Danish universities may also have. Just for information DTU is number 165 globally or, when we’re talking specifically engineering and technology, 3rd after Stanford and MIT, while Copenhagen is 107 globally. And Iceland has seven universities which is only one less than Denmark, but it’s something to do with size! What about you? Did you ever consider studying in a small country like Denmark? Get in touch, feel free to share your unique story with us here on the podcast.

Write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. On our web page, absolutely-intercultural.com, 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 November from Laurent Borgmann in Germany.

Until then, stay tuned!

The host of this show is: Anne Fox

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Discussing discrimination +++ Why We Discriminate +++ Learning From Discrimination +++ Absolutely Intercultural 285 +++

Hello, dear listeners, and welcome to episode 285 of our podcast, “Absolutely Intercultural.” Today, we are going to discuss a very sensitive topic: discrimination. Have you ever wondered why people discriminate against each other? Whether it’s occasional or regular, intentional or unintentional, spoken aloud or merely in our thoughts, people from different cultures have a tendency to single out others. Whether it’s a social bias or a so-called “harmless”stereotypes, those who experience discrimination may easily feel hurt and marginalized. In this episode, we aim to discuss the topic of discrimination openly. We will hear personal stories from individuals with diverse cultures, backgrounds, native languages, skin colors, genders, and so on. Together, we will explore the reasons behind discrimination, and understand how people feel when they experience it, and most importantly, learn from the experiences of our interview partners.

absolutely sugar free

In our first story, “absolutely sugar free”, we will hear from Jana, a German guest who has lived with her genetic diabetes since her childhood and has often faced discrimination because people think she got it because of eating too much sugar as a child

absolutely confronting

In our second story, “absolutely confronting”,we will hear from Sandie, a lecturer from Australia. Sandie recalls one day in her teaching career when she had to stand up for one of her indigenous students, that means an aboriginal Australian student, who faced discrimination during Sandie’s class.

absolutely forgiving

Finally, in our last category “absolutely forgiving”, we listen to Thinley who comes from an Asian country -Bhutan. This is a story about the bias that many people in the West have -“Do All Asians look Chinese?”

What about YOU? Do you have any experience connected with the discrimination? Get in touch, and feel free to share your unique story with us here on this podcast.

Write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. On our web page, absolutely-intercultural.com, 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 1st of September

Until then – try hard to embrace the diversity around you – und

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors: Sonam Tashi, Teona Tepnadze

 

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Ecological Grandparents +++ Woke or Wise +++ Grandma’s sustainability lessons +++ Absolutely Intercutural 284 +++

Hello dear listeners and welcome to show 284 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today we explore the cultural dynamics between generations and their impact on our environment. What is the difference between the sustainability practices of our elders and the younger generations. Two different cultures “woke” vs. “wise”? This cultural distinction raises the question – can we connect the different cultures between the old and the young and combine the collective knowledge and experience to combat climate change? In this episode, we explore (and promote) the role of intergenerational knowledge exchange in creating a sustainable future. Join us as we dive into Grandparents’ sustainability lessons for their eco-activist grandchildren.

absolutely inspired

In our first category, “absolutely inspired”, we will listen to Mariam from Georgia who admires her grandma.  Mariam is not so proud of her own carbon footprint but she thinks that grandma is “the best environmentalist ever”!

absolutely vegetarian

In our second category “absolutely vegetarian”, we will hear from Nils in Germany whose grandparents are rather worried that their grandson is a vegetarian and they are convinced that he is not nourished well without meat. 

absolutely aware

Finally, in our last category “absolutely aware”, we listen to Anjana from India, where thinking or talking about sustainability has not been a high priority as it is for example in Germany. Paradoxically, her grandparents might not be aware of “sustainability” itself, but they do know how to ration and be mindful of natural resources in their home.

What about YOU? What did your grandparents teach you? Or what can you teach them? Maybe you have had an eye-opening experience on your own which raised your awareness for sustainability? Get in touch, and feel free to share your unique story with us here on this podcast.

Please write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. On our web page, www.absolutely-intercultural.com, 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 7th of July!

Until then – learn from your grandma and make her learn from you as well!   – and Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors: Teona Tepnadze, Sonam Tashi

 

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Gender Roles +++ Gender Equality +++ Men & Women in the 21st Century +++ Absolutely Intercultural 283

Hello and welcome to show 283 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today, we are going to talk about the different cultures men and women live in – we are looking at different Gender Roles. No matter how progressive our parents think they are, all of us are confronted with gender roles from a very young age. As kids, in our still binary world we learn the concepts of “girls” and “boys” from our parents, grandparents, kindergarden and school teachers, etc. Later, these assumptions develop into a set of gender roles of “men” and “women” that we bring to our adulthood, our relationships, our workplace, and again pass on to our own kids. Our international guests, today, grew up in the United States, the Czech Republic and in Germany and share their own personal experiences and views regarding gender roles. What worries young men and women nowadays? What kind of new challenges do they face? How do they deal with it? 

absolutely manly

In our first category, “absolutely manly”, we will listen to Jacob from the United States. Jacob tells us that the attitude “A real man does not cry” is still very present in everyday American male culture and even school boys will do anything not to be seen crying in front of other school children.

absolutely divided

In our second category “absolutely divided”, we will hear from Teresa. She believes that everyone, man or a woman, should be free to make their life choices independently of cultural gender expectations. However, Teresa also shares her worries, that more and more difficult choices between mother and career can put women under even more pressure.

absolutely unfair

Finally, in our last category “absolutely unfair”, we listen to Sebastian from Germany. Even though we have managed to achieve more gender equality in the 21 century, Sebastian noticed that some women still look for traditional men as a partner and some men, prefer to to be in a relationship with a traditional woman. And why shouldn’t they? However, Sebastian observes that, quite unfairly, it still seems acceptable for a woman to expect a man to pay for her dinner but it will be considered sexist of a man to expect a woman to cook for him.

What about you? What is your opinion about male and female cultures? Do you perhaps find this binary thinking hopelessly “old school” and 1980ies? Do you have examples where gender roles are determined by the culture of the family, the community or the country you grew up in? Have you personally ever been stereotyped because of your gender? How did you feel about that? Write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. On our web page, absolutely-intercultural.com, you can get more information about this show and previous episodes, and you can also leave comments. And if you enjoyed this show, please like us on Facebook too. 

Please write a comment or mail us, we could do a follow-up interview with you in one of our next shows. On our web page, www.absolutely-intercultural.com, 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 5th of May.

Until then – embrace gender equality by appreciating each other’s work – and Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors: Sonam Tashi, Teona Tepnadze

 

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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

 

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