Adulthood +++ Independence +++ Responsibilities +++ Absolutely Intercultural 275 +++

Hello and welcome to show 275 of our podcast “Absolutely Intercultural”. Today we are going to talk about “Adulthood”. Is adulthood about our age and the national law in the country we live in, or is it about our maturity – our social or financial status? Is it just a number on your passport or our level of responsibilities? Does it have anything to do with the fact that we perhaps still live with our parents? I am sure that each and every one of you has your own unique answer- as do our guests today.

absolutely unfair

In our first category, “absolutely unfair”, Leo from Germany is sharing how disrespectfully he was sometimes treated by other people because he was just a kid. Leo could not wait to become a legal adult, in Germany this is at the age of 18 years old, and finally, be taken seriously by people around him. 

absolutely misjudged

In our second category, “absolutely judged”, we hear from Huriye, a caring mother from Turkey who was judged by a dentist in Norway for accompanying her 16-year-old daughter to the dentist’s appointment. Poor Huriye looked like a helicopter mother in the doctor’s eyes because she treated her daughter like a child. 

absolutely independent

In our last category, “absolutely independent”, Eleonora from Bulgaria tells us how proud she is of making independent adult decisions on her own, for example studying in a foreign country. Her parents had taught her how to be independent since she was a child and they allowed Eleonora to find her own way in life, like a true adult.

What about you? What does it mean to be an adult in your culture? At what age do you become an adult in your culture? Feel free to share your story with us.

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,, 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 July.

Until then – no matter how old you are, allow yourself to make grown-up decisions and –

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell! 

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Chief Editor: Natalia Obikhod

Assistant Editors:  Carlos Fuch, Lars Felder, Shelbi Ankiewicz 




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absolutely intercultural 169 +++ intensive programs +++ Izmir +++ Turkey +++ nudity +++ money exchange abroad

If you like the podcast then please also LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

Flags in airport_small
During the past months our international exchange students have experimented with “Citizen Journalism”. They tried it out as a preparation for an intensive program in Izmir, Turkey. This seminar looked at journalism from different perspectives. One of the aims was to develop strategies for working efficiently in intercultural teams with students from several different European countries. In the end the students even created their own “intercultural newspaper” which was presented on the last day. Have you had the opportunity to work in an intercultural team yourself? Including absolute strangers from different cultural backgrounds? Do you think such intensive programs could be helpful for your future career? Improving your intercultural people skills?

absolutely diverse
Last semester, some of our international exchange students created an intercultural blog in order to try their hands at “citizen journalism”- as a preparation for a two weeks Erasmus Intensive Program in Izmir, Turkey. The seminar was about “journalism”. Lecturers and students from five different countries meet in one university, learn and work in international groups and spend their free time together for two weeks. Both, teachers and students have the chance to develop internationally and improve their social skills by working in teams with people from different cultural backgrounds.

absolutely shocked
So the students tried out citizen journalism as a preparation for their joint seminar in Turkey. As a preparation the group produced short audio files which describe their intercultural experiences in a foreign country. They were quite shocked by some conventions in these countries.

absolutely Erasmus
You may be asking yourself how these international seminars can be financed in times where all universities are hit by severe budget cuts. You are right, such complex international projects can be quite expensive. 25 students and lecturers have to travel by airplane and trains to the partner university and once in the foreign country they need accommodation and food, too. The costs for this international experience could be an insurmountable problem for students. In order to lower that hurdle students who are interested in intercultural experiences are supported by funding programs like the European Erasmus Program, which covers a part of the costs. What is your opinion about subsidizing international student excursions with European taxpayer’s money? Is this money really well spent? Matthew, Tehlia, and Lucy are going to give us some reasons why such study trips should be sponsored.

absolutely helpless
Even with the European funding, of course, the participants of the seminar in Turkey also needed to exchange money from Euros to Turkish Liras. In our last category “absolutely helpless” one lecturer shares how something simple like exchanging money can turn into an intercultural learning process, too. Reka, from Corvinus University in Budapest, Hungary, shares her trouble in a bank.

Would you like to share with us your own intercultural experience in foreign countries? If so, we would be delighted to hear both positive and negative experiences, so don´t hesitate and share your intercultural experiences with it with us on our Facebook Page.

Our next show will be coming to you on 6 September from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Until then –

Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann


Editor: Younes Jaber




absolutely intercultural 165 +++ volunteering +++ European Voluntary Service +++ workcamps +++ West and North Africa +++ Southeast Turkey +++ Ramadan

If you like the podcast then LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!



What are the pictures that you have in your mind when you think about “volunteer work“? Do you think of people travelling to developing countries and teaching people the right way to do things? Is “volunteerism” the new “colonialism” dressed up in 21st century social responsibility? Or could it be a way for the volunteers to learn some new skills? And, do you even have to go abroad or is it possible to volunteer and learn new things through volunteerism in your own hometown from other cultures? In this episode we will talk to Elena Colunga Caballero and John Kaethler from Brock University in Canada who will demonstrate that volunteering is much more about learning than about teaching.

absolutely reciprocal
Elena is from Spain, where the majority of people are Christians. Through her international volunteer work she has developed an intercultural sensivity and awareness of different traditions and ways of thinking. She tells us how she embarked on this intercultural learning journey thanks to her parents, who encouraged her to get involved in a volunteering project at high school. Later she collaborated in an association called “Kala – Encuentro en la Calle”, located in her city , Córdoba, in the South of Spain whose aim it is to support children and young homeless and unprotected migrants from the Northern and Sub Saharan Africa.  Also, a couple of years ago she was nominated to participate in a workcamp in the region of Kurdistan, in South Eastern Turkey. She is convinced that volunteering is a great recipe for reciprocal learning.

absolutely inexperienced
Some time ago I interviewed John Kaethler from Brock University in Canada who told me that he had volunteered for two years as a development worker in Nigeria and again for two years in Papua New Guinea a long time ago. He points out that the international volunteer workers need to understand that THEY are the ones who are learning a lot and are growing in the process…

absolutely open-minded
In our last category “absolutely open-minded” we will come back to the intercultural learning process triggered by international volunteer work. Elena tells us about a situation during which she learned about the frictions between the Kurdish and Turkish people and how the exposure to this conflict helped her accept the coexistence of different opinions on the same reality. This seems to be the key to intercultural open-mindedness. She also shares her first experience of Ramadan in a region with a majority Muslim population. We also learn that typical international volunteers seem to have some characteristics in common and finally she gives us some advice of how to start a volunteering experience through the European Voluntary Service.

Would you like to share with us your own experience as a volunteer in your own country or abroad? If so, we would be delighted to hear both positive and negative aspects of it, so don´t hesitate and share your intercultural experiences with it with us on our Facebook Page.

If you want even more background as to broader issues behind our intercultural stories in this podcast then you might consider visiting the Absolutely Intercultural Amazon store where we have both classics, basics and specifics for sale, a small proportion of which goes to us to support the costs of maintaining this podcast.

Our next show will be coming to you on 3  May from Anne Fox in Denmark.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

And please visit our Facebook page.

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann


absolutely intercultural 15 +++ Practical training, internships and studies abroad +++ Culture as the software of the mind +++

Go abroad! And why not to Germany?
You will hear reports, stories and even some advice of people who went abroad to do an internship or to study at a foreign university.

Marie from Sweden for example has done both. First she did an internship in Germany and then, because she liked it so much, she came back about a year later to study here at the RheinAhrCampus for a whole semester.
Karsten tells us a little about what he experienced during his time in Sweden, where he did both, work and study at the University of Umea at the same time.
Alessandro La Blunda gives us some insights into his six months internship in Shanghai, which he just recently finished.
And Professor Mert Cubukcu from the University of Izmir, Turkey, tells us why he recommendes studying in Germany to all of his students.

Right after that we return to one of our regular columns: “Culture as the software of the mind”. Inspired by one of your comments we take a look at the question: “Where do we get our software from, how does it get installed in our minds- and how can we eventually de-install it if we need to”. We had a little round table talk with Jean Lennox, an Irish-English friend of ours.

And in the end we once again try to answer the question: “What is culture?” And this time the answer comes from Roxanna and Nils, two students from the USA and Germany, who took part in the Hessen Global Summer Internship Program organized by the institute inter.research and the Universities of Hessen/Germany.
The Host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

Edited by: Karsten Kneese