container-home +++ sustainability +++ self-sufficiency +++ Absolutely Intercultural 241 +++

In this show, we will find out what life in a container home in the most spectacular countryside in Queensland is like. We will discover how an industrial container from Hamburg has become the home for two Germans, Uwe Terton (lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast) and Katrin Terton (media artist). They have chosen a very simple and sustainable lifestyle, free from water or electricity bills, far from the busy and “stressful” life in the modern cities. Dr. Uwe Terton, our guest in this show, will share  the details of his decision to live in a minimalistic life, up on the hill with a stunning 360° view.

First, Uwe will explain the details of the fauna and flora around the container-home. In the second part, we will go inside the container and we will discover how to use smart ideas to live comfortably but in a sustainable way. And finally we learn how the couple used recycled materials in the construction of the container-home.

Continue reading “container-home +++ sustainability +++ self-sufficiency +++ Absolutely Intercultural 241 +++”

Australia +++ Scumbags Barbershop +++ hair dressing +++ political correctness +++ Absolutely Intercultural 240 +++

Tomi the Barber

In this show, we are going to immerse you in the “culture of barber shops” which means you can expect to meet rough guys with motorcycles, full beards, dirty boots and, of course, a beer can in their hands.

First, we will listen to Tomi, perhaps the happiest barber in Australia, who shares his daily life as an employee in Scumbags Barbershop. Rashad, our exchange student from Azerbaijan is our second guest and will tell us his points of view about the barbershop culture.  And finally, we will go listen to Tomi again, and this time he will tell us about the Scumbags philosophy.

Continue reading “Australia +++ Scumbags Barbershop +++ hair dressing +++ political correctness +++ Absolutely Intercultural 240 +++”

absolutely intercultural 175 +++ Australia Day +++ can-do attitude +++ the lucky country +++

Please put your headphones on and listen to Show 175 from Australia! If you like the podcast then please also LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!

John Major, Bush Poet at Australia Day NoosaToday our show will take you to the “Lucky Country“,  where the inhabitants with distinctive multicultural backgrounds have developed a positive “can-do”- attitude and try to give everybody a “fair go”.

Listen to my interviewees in Australia.  On the last weekend in January we celebrated Australia Day, and I took along the microphone to share my impressions with you.

absolutely immigrated
Let us listen to two typical Australians whose ancestors came over from Europe. I met Vivian and Wayne in Sydney Harbour over coffee and with the beautiful view on the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and when I was conducting the interview I wished we had a video podcast so I could have shared with you a perfect hot summer morning in late December.

absolutely Aussi
Three weeks later I had left New South Wales and was back on the Sunshine Coast. Let us see whether in Queensland being Australian is also about football, meat pies, and BBQs. I asked some colleagues from the University of the Sunshine Coast how they were planning to celebrate Australia Day. Bishnu told us that when he first moved to Australia he did not really like eating lamb but now it has turned into his favourite dish. Talk about successful integration!

absolutely aboriginal
I am following up this topic of the first owners of the land and asked how the attitudes of ordinary Australians towards Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders have changed over the years in society and in education.

absolutely multicultural
Every year the Australian of the Year is elected and this person will give important public speeches during that year. This year I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to the speech of the outgoing Australian of the Year talking about attitudes to indiginous people and to multiculturalism in general. You could really see on Ita Buttrose’s face how happy she is that her ancestors came over to Australia in the 1850ies.

absolutely original
On 26 January I visited Australia Day in Noosa, Queensland, in search of examples and explanations of the”can-do” attitude, the “fair go” and the “Lucky Country”. I did not have to search long because the first person I met, John Major, “Bush Poet” and former farmer, explained to me in his own words what these Australian concepts are all about for him.

And do not miss the brass band at the beginning and the end of that interview!

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 7 March 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

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absolutely intercultural 151 +++ Australia Day 2012 +++ multilingualism +++ patriotic celebrations +++ BBQs and Barbies +++

Laurent hugging a Koala

absolutely down-under
Like my last show, episode 151 also comes to you from Australia. You can listen to how I get woken up by exotic birds outside my bedroom window every morning because  I thought I should record my introduction at this time of the day to share this experience with you because this has become my regular Australian alarm clock. As I live just metres from the national park I assumed they must have some kind of noisy monkeys in that park but then I discovered, it was birds, such as cockatoos, kookaburras, and some very colourful small parrots that I cannot identify. After a month in the country I finally manage to sleep through this incredible noise, and if I didn’t, I would have to get up at 4:30 every morning when this dubious concert starts. This week my class and tutorial at the University of the Sunshine Coast will not take place because of Australia Day 2012, a national public holiday. So I started asking people what this national day is all about and I received many, but sometimes contradictory answers because while this day is meant to promote and celebrate national unity it seems that every year it is accompanied by the criticism that instead of promoting multiculturalism this day commemorates the 26 January 1788 the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove where English settlers put up their flag. So opponents tend to call it “Invasion Day” and propose to change the national public holiday to another date. Let me share with you what some Australians told me about Australia Day. (If you want to find out more about Australian Identity you may want to revisit Anne’s show 76 on “mateship” and if you want to check out what my own life in Australia sounds like, check out my own last show 149.

absolutely diverse
I would like to introduce you to my neighbours here in Australia. Simone and Leonardo from Switzerland. Their background is so multicultural that it would perhaps be difficult for them to be nationalistic. I got interested when I noticed that mother and son were using several different languages even between them during an ordinary day.
Believe me I was very confused I when I saw Simone and Leonardo for the first time. From where I was sitting I thought I could distinctly hear about five or six people talking in three different languages but when I looked up I could see only two and had to realize that these two were actually using all three languages between them.

absolutely nationalistic
Australia Day is an opportunity to celebrate what is best about Australia including vegimite, BBQs, and cricket but some people are also critical of the fact that the image which is projected on this day is a very “white perspective” where the indigenous people do not really play an important role. I took my microphone into the classrooms to find out what it means to be Australian and what the day actually celebrates. Let us first listen to Mark from England and Meredith and Josh who are Australians. I also asked three international students what they knew about Australia Day and whether they could draw parallels to national or patriotic celebrations and movements in their own countries. I talked to Daniel from Sweden, Martin from the Netherlands and Clement from France.

absolutely barbie
My mate Len shares with me the secrets of the most Australian of all institutions which no Australia Day can do without. The BBQ or the “Barbie”. I had never thought about the unifying factors of this very male-dominated cooking experience. It is true that every house I have seen so far had a fixed BBQ and there are even public BBQ places in every scenic spot on the coast so that families can have an outdoor experience and bring their own food and drink.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 2 March

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann
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absolutely intercultural 149 +++ Queen and Obama in Australia +++ Day in the life of Laurence +++ Master in International Marketing +++ EXlites solar lighting +++ stereotypes French-German +++

kangaroo road sign near to the University of the Sunshine Coast (photo L.Borgmann)Hello Mates and G’day, this is show 149 of our podcast absolutely intercultural. And it is coming to you all the way from down-under, Queensland, Australia where I am teaching and doing some research for one semester. Two months ago, in October 2011, the Queen of England visited Australia. Only a month later, in November by the President of the United States came to Australia, too. And now, in December I started my summer term as a visiting academic at the University of the Sunshine coast (LOL). So who am I? My name is Elmar-Laurent Borgmann and after all these important state visits which were widely reported about in the Australian media I would today prefer to concentrate on more mundane,  everyday aspects of life in Australia as experienced by a European. And yet, I hope we will be able to surprise you with some stimulating intercultural findings. Our interviewees today are from France, from Germany, and of course from Australia.

absolutely down-under
Let us look at an ordinary day in Australia. Some people back in Europe listened to my absolutely down-under reports during my last stay in Australia. They had heard about a “Tropical Christmas by the Pool”  or a “National Australia Day” which I described both in previous shows and learned a lot about intercultural differences.  However, some of them asked me to concentrate more on a the normal, regular, everyday life in Queensland. And they are right – we do expect holidays and celebrations to be different in different countries – but how about a regular university day? Hmm, what a challenge. I had thought this was too boring to record but maybe not? So, I followed myself with the microphone and recorded my intercultural impressions one morning from getting up at 7 o’ clock until I arrived at the University of the Sunshine Coast at 9. You will notice from my comments how much I like this part of the world – except for the first minutes after waking up – I admit, I am not a morning person. In the podcast you catch me waking up with my windows wide open to the tropical forest. In a second part later in the show I continue my intercultural report about a regular Australian morning going to work on the Sunshine Coast in my car. I would like to share some thoughts about beautiful landscapes but also of rather masculine-looking cars and trucks in this country before I arrive at the University of the Sunshine Coast where finally I see some wild kangaroos, not on a road sign but in real life and much closer than I expected …

absolutely business-like
I will also take you into the university, where international students from Europe will describe how in their International Marketing Class they did some work for an Australian Business. The round-table discussion was recorde after an exam situation a couple of weeks ago right at the start of the summer semester 2011/2012. To me summer 2011/2012 still sounds rather weird as in Europe only winter semesters could span two calendar years. So this is just another reminder that we are in the southern hemisphere. But back to the classroom. I was invited to sit in on the exams of students on the Master of International Business program. Apart from myself as external examiner, there was of course Dr. Leone Cameron, the regular lecturer but also, Mike Arieni, Managing Director of EXlites, a regional business for whom the group of international students had done some research about solar Energy in Europe. I asked the group how this combination of international students, an interculturally trained lecturer and a local business person enhanced their academic progress. Leone’s Master course the students had the chance to get in touch with a real business man and help him prepare his business plan for entering the European Market. Just like Mike, I, too, was impressed by the depth of the students’ research and I had a feeling that Mike took very good notice of the opportunities and challenges that the students presented for the different European countries. In a second part we will also hear from Waldemar Schneider and Clément Slastan about some of the stereotypes the international students confirmed when they lived together in shared apartments. Clément seems to have noticed a certain “lack of flexibility” in the Germans.

Once you have heard the show, please go to our “write us an email“-button in the right margin and tell us whether you liked these slightly unusual intimate insights into my own life down-under and whether you would like to get more such personal reports.

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

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

The host of this show is: Dr. Laurent Borgmann

absoutely intercultural 119 +++ Australian impressions +++ Erasmus life +++ Turkish challenge +++

Australian Intern Lucy Warren at RheinAhrCampusMerhaba, welcome, and iyi günler. Yes, I have learned some basic Turkish and took part in a beginners’ language course. Why did I do that? Well, here in Germany we have important Turkish communities in our big cities, so my idea was to learn more about their language and their culture.
G’day from down under! I also want to present Lucy! Lucy is one of our new members in the international team of the Rhein AhrCampus in Remagen. She is from Australia and over the next months we might hear more from her if she decides to help us with this podcast.

absolutely up-above
As you know, every year we have a number of international students, who visit us to spend a semester or two at our university. One of our newly arrived incoming students is Lucy Warren from the University of the Sunshine Coast. She is half Australian and half South African. So I asked her about the first impressions she had after her arrival and what differences she has noticed in Europe. Perhaps we will be able to convince Lucy to keep us up to date with her intercultural discoveries throughout her stay over the next months? In our first category she told me her stereotypes about Europe and the very first impressions she gained.

absolutely changed
I took an interview with Maria Koehnen. She spent a semester in Belgium where she met a number of international students from all over the world. She explained to me how to get an ERASMUS scholarship and stressed the advantages of a semester abroad. So, how can one semester abroad change you so much?

absolutely challenged
A couple of weeks ago I created my own challenge. I took part on an intensive Turkish language course at Netzwerk Deutsch in Cologne for one week. Many friends and colleagues asked me “Why Turkish?” and it is true that as I have learned English, Latin, French and Italian at school and at university, it would have been a little more plausible to learn Spanish for example. And clearly this would have been a lot easier for me! However, in our private and professional lives we are surrounded by people from all over the world, with different languages and different cultures. On my way to our supermarket I actually meet more people who can speak Turkish than people who can speak English as I live very close to a Turkish community in Cologne. So my aim was to learn more about this culture and now I am proud to say, that when I went to my Turkish corner shop last week, I managed to do the small talk in Turkish. I am amazed at the reactions, shop keepers immediately turn into friends. It is almost as if I was the first person they have met who has learned a little bit of Turkish just for my social life. I must admit though that learning Turkish was the hardest thing I have ever learned in my whole life and in our third and last category I talked with participants and the teacher of my Turkish course, and we tried to find out, why people choose or reject the challenge of learning Turkish.

Enjoy listening to our show no. 119

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 15.October

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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

absolutely intercultural 101 +++ absolutely down-under +++ borrowed identities +++ John Kaethler +++

Laurent hugging a Koala

absolutely down-under
Like my two previous shows, episode 101 also comes to you from Australia. As I get woken up by exotic birds outside my bedroom window every morning I thought I should record my introduction at this time of the day to share this experience with you because this has become my regular Australian alarm clock.  As I live only a couple of hundred metres from the national park I assumed they must have some kind of noisy monkeys in that park but then I discovered, it was birds, such as cockatoos, kookaburras, and some very colourful small parrots that I cannot identify. After a month in the country I finally manage to sleep through this incredible noise, and if I didn’t, I would have to get up at 4:30 every morning when this dubious concert starts.

I only learned this week that my class and tutorial at the University of the Sunshine Coast next week will not take place because of Australia Day, a national public holiday. So I started asking people what this national day is all about and I received many, but sometimes contradictory answers because while this day is meant to promote and celebrate national unity it seems that every year it is accompanied by the criticism that instead of promoting multiculturalism this day commemorates the 26 January 1788 the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove where English settlers put up their flag. So opponents tend to call it “Invasion Day” and propose to change the national public holiday to another date. Let me share with you what some Australians told me about Australia Day. (If you want to find out more about Australian Identity you may want to revisit Anne’s show 76 on “mateship”)

absolutely borrowed
Have you ever thought about your own identity? Or about borrowing another person’s identity to see what it is like to live the life of somebody else? Have you ever marveled about what your life would have been like if you had grown up in another culture? Well, let us talk about a European project which we finished last year together with students in Sweden, Spain, England, Lithuania and Hungary. Before starting the project I went to Brighton to plan this European project which was called “Borrowed Identities”. I got together with Vy, Lili, Jessica and Ross from the School of languages at the University of Brighton. We discussed whether it is possible to borrow an identity or not? And what identity really is? And how Ben Kingsley and Ghandi fit into this picture.

absolutely diplomatic
Have you ever been to a foreign country and criticized the system or the people of that country? Well, if you have not made the mistake yourself, I am sure you have seen your compatriots fall into this trap? I discussed with John Kaethler how we would react if a guest from a foreign country would criticize our home country and our habits. In our category “absolutely diplomatic” John suggests, that if someone asks you your opinion about politics, sometimes it may be better to keep your mouth shut, instead of sharing negative impressions about the host country.

Our next show will be coming to you from Anne Fox in Denmark on 05.02.

Until then –
Bleiben Sie absolut interkulturell!

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