absolutely intercultural 46 +++ Chile +++ Rivus +++ Australian Christmas +++ competition +++ Budacast +++ Palabea +++ Economist

Chocolate Easter bilbyThe main feature today is about a teacher exchange between Denmark and Chile which started with a bottle of wine! We’ll be hearing how traditional symbols are being adapted the Australian way. And finally we’ll be visiting Budacast, the podcast of one of our regular listeners, Drew Leifheit, who knows more than most about Budapest and the area around.

absolutely musical
Here in Denmark Christmas preparations are in full swing. Not everybody celebrates Christmas but the atmosphere is making us feel generous and so we will send a copy of the latest CD of Rivus, the 3 piece band from the Czech Republic we featured in June, to the first person who can send us a mail telling us the name of the third instrument played by the band in addition to violin and double bass. We can accept either of the two names that this third instrument is known as. Send a mail to contact@absolutely-intercultural.com together with your name and an address we can send the CD to. And in the meantime let’s give you a reminder of what the instrument sounds like… perhaps you know the tune? Did you recognise the tune as Elvis Presley’s Love me Tender? There are a few more cover versions on the CD all given this unique Czech twist and the rest of the tracks are traditional Czech songs.

absolutely educational
So let’s start with something absolutely educational by hearing about a teacher exchange which is not the usual run of the mill ‘visit your neighbour’ type of exchange. I am not belittling those exchanges. In fact I did one myself many years ago when I still lived in the UK and taught at a Belgian school for 3 weeks. My exchange was easily arranged by the European Union but what about forging contacts yourself? How could that be done? I talked to Vibeke Stenberg, a teacher at Ryomgaard Realskole, just back from an exchange between Denmark and Chile. What I like about this story is not just that Vibeke’s school has built a relationship with a school in an untraditional part of the world for Europeans but also that this experience shows that exchanges can arise out of all sorts of different ways.

absolutely traditional
You may remember that I talked with Michael Coghlan and his daughter, Alison Waye, in Australia back in July. What you don’t know is that we carried on talking and then the topic of a southern hemisphere Christmas came up and I discovered something surprising. And you can see a picture of one of those chocolate bilbies at the top of this page. Do you have any other examples about how traditional symbols have been adapted? If so then leave us a comment here on the blog.

absolutely addictive
Drew Leifheit has been a faithful listener from the earliest episodes and has often left thoughtful comments but did you know that he has his own podcast called Budacast all about Hungary, its capital Budapest where he is based and surrounding countries. If you find yourself with a little extra leisure time over the next couple of weeks then why not give Budacast a listen? This snippet is about the clean rooms which are to be found in the Hungarian part of Transylvania. Do you have a clean room I wonder? Let us know here on the blog.

absolutely debatable
If you are a university student then there is a good chance you may be thinking of doing part or even all of your course abroad. It seems that universities all over the world are competing for foreign students and this must be a good thing for everybody if there is a cultural exchange. But not everybody agrees and if you would like to take part in a debate about this then the Economist magazine is holding an online debate about this until December 28. You can read the different views, add your own view and vote on whether foreign student placements are a good thing or not.

absolutely linguistic
One last little present in this show is to point you in the direction of a new language learning website called Palabea which you can use absolutely free of charge and which includes audio and video facilities so that you can meet with native speakers of the language you want to learn. According to the Palabea people ‘Access to language is one of the first steps to cross-cultural empathy.’’ To which I say ‘Hear hear!’ As ever you can find the link on our blog.

The next show will be brought to you by Laurent Borgmann in Germany on December 28 and don’t forget to mail us with your competition entry to contact@absolutely-intercultural.com if you know the name of the third instrument played by Rivus. So Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it and stay tuned won’t you?

The host of this show is: Anne Fox


absolutely intercultural 28 +++ Does culture still matter? +++ Gypsy music in the Czech Republic+++

Just in time before the Easter holidays – Report from the conference “Does culture still matter” – Gypsy music in the Czech Republic


Absolutely yours: We get birthday congratulations and an idea for a new show.

Absolutely educational: Chris Saenger reports on some of sessions he attended at the ‘Does Culture Still Matter?’ conference hosted by the Intercultural Management Institute of Washington DC. First Chris recounts how an activity involving holding two water-filled cups of water can show you various aspects of how you react in an unknown situation. Later he tells us about how former US ambassador, Prudence Bushnell, adopted various strategies to enable a woman’s voice to be heard in patriarchal cultures.

Absolutely musical: On a recent trip to the east of the Czech Republic, the Rivus trio play traditional gypsy music in which the cimbalom or hammered dulcimer instrument (pictured) plays a leading role. This is not a music podcast but music can have an important role to play in culture.

The next show will be coming from Germany on April 20.

The Host of this show is: Anne Fox