Tuesday, June 20, 2006

the Challenges of Intercultural Dating

An exclusive report released in the Summer 2006 issue of Glimpse Quarterly utilizes feedback from a survey of hundreds of American study abroad students to explore the challenges and benefits of cross-cultural dating. Of the survey sample, 36.8 of male students and 44.3 percent of female students report that they dated locals while abroad. Of these students, 36 percent of males and 53 percent of females became involved in a serious relationship.

Students relate a wide range of experiences. Many women who spent time in France, Spain, Italy and Latin America initially felt daunted by the forward, aggressive ways in which local men pursued their romantic interests, as well as the prevalence of public displays of affection. Says University of Minnesota student Bonnie Folkestad, “Spanish men wanted to rush things. They had no problem telling a woman that they loved her, or that they wanted to marry her, or that she should not return home.�? University of Texas student Marcus Valerio comments that “the people in Mexico are more ‘hands-on.’ It is not uncommon to see a couple making out on the street.�?

Read more: Dating
Posted by Kwintessential at 2:41 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

engaging children in language learning

Imagine a primary school where children from 30 different races speak 28 different languages. The playground is filled with the excited chatter and colour of Zulu, Tagalog, Svetsi, Punjabi, Polish, Turkish, Somali, Ukranian and a myriad of other tongues, with English threading through and starting to tie this melting pot together.

Drove primary school is in the heart of Swindon next to the local red light district and in a centre of severe deprivation. Pupils come and go as their families move to the UK, then in and out of the area as they get established in this country. That equates to 54% of the school population changing every 23 months.

Read more: UK

vietnam sees rise in internet use to 15% of population

The number of Internet subscribers and users in Vietnam is estimated at 3.5 million and 12.5 million, respectively, accounting for more than 15% of the population, the Vietnam Internet Centre reported.

Read more: Vietnam
Posted by Kwintessential at 2:37 PM
Categories: Web Globalization

word of the day: clemency

clemency \KLEM-uhn-see\, noun:
1. Disposition to forgive and spare, as offenders; mercy.
2. An act or instance of mercy or leniency.
3. Mildness, especially of weather.

He put in a strong plea for clemency, begging the king to spare the alchemist's life. -- Janet Gleeson, The Arcanum: The Extraordinary True Story

The commission . . . hinted that many of those on death row in Illinois deserved clemency. -- Jodi Wilgoren, "Can use of the penalty be cut back? Illinois study fuels debate", International Herald Tribune, April 17, 2002

Posted by Kwintessential at 2:34 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

Monday, June 19, 2006

cultural training - a rejoinder

TO THE EDITOR: Cultural training - a rejoinder

Mr Connolly might be surprised to hear that I agree with him on a number of points. Yes, cross-cultural training can be a waste of time; it depends on those who take it and their trainer, as well as on the methodology. Yes, reading a good book on culture can be enough to understand a lot about the subject and equip the reader with the knowledge necessary to reduce the discomfort that one often feels abroad. Once you have acquired that knowledge, you are less likely to think that “these people here do everything the wrong way, so they have got to be crazy�?. The thing is that many managers do not have the time or patience to read good books on culture, which are few and far between anyway, and prefer a concise face-to-face presentation plus a lively discussion.

There is cultural training that tries to go beyond that. It attempts to achieve a deeper change of outlook and philosophy by means of games, role- playing and other methods, some of which are reminiscent of psychoanalysis or group therapy. If that is what we are talking about, I share Mr Connolly’s skepticism. However, there are people who not only get a kick out of such activities, but also claim that they find them effective, although observers might disagree that any behavioral change has taken place in the observed. It is a lot like the effect of homeopathy; you can believe that it has cured you of a disease, despite physical evidence that you still suffer from it. If your idea of good cultural training is swallowing something that makes you imagine you are in nice shape, well, nobody can stop you from taking it and relieving yourself, or your company, of a good deal of money.

Read more: Sofia Echo
Posted by Kwintessential at 4:01 PM
Categories: Cross Cultural News

doing business in china - mind the culture gap

Rebecca Bardes went to China to teach English and see a new part of the world. She came back with a husband, a consulting firm and, most important for us, a trove of useful information and strategies about doing business in and business with the world's newest economic superpower.

"Everything I read before I went seemed not to be true," Bardes says of her preparations before her first trip to China almost three years ago. "The tour books are especially bad and outdated. So I started making notes about what was really going on and how things really work. It's become the basis of all of the services we offer at Bamboo Suitcase," Bardes' consulting firm.

Read more: Bardes

conference: "Diversity in Law Firms"

Description One Day Conference: Tuesday 25th July 2006
One Day Masterclass: Wednesday 26th July 2006
Exploring how broadening access and attracting a diverse workforce impacts on your bottom line.

Diversity in the legal profession is an issue on everyone’s minds at the moment. With companies such as Barclays set to follow US-style trends for corporate responsibility in demanding diversity statistics from external counsel, UK firms are facing up to the challenge of getting their diversity policies in order to win business.

Read more: Conference

chinese: the world's new second language

It's Friday night in Ikebukuro, a Tokyo entertainment district full of cheap bars and pachinko parlors. As the office workers head to their favorite watering holes, three salarymen split from the crowd and enter a decrepit building that stands between a karaoke lounge and a tavern. Ignoring the sounds of sirens, drunken crooning and breaking glass outside, Hidetoshi Seki, Takashi Kudo and Yuji Yano huddle in a tiny room just big enough for a table for four, and open their Chinese textbooks. For the next 50 minutes the trio, all from a small trading company, practice describing their favorite foods and hobbies in Mandarin. Despite their crumpled shirts and five o'clock shadows, they are having a blast.

The young female instructor at B-Chinese Language School indulges them as they crack jokes and make fun of each others' muddled pronunciation. Their language classes are the first lessons that any of them have taken since childhood, says Yano, 39. "We sort of unanimously agreed that Chinese would be a useful skill to acquire."

Read more: Japan

language and the brain

How does a polyglot's brain work when it is juggling different languages?

An international research team, including a group from Kyoto University, has identified a region of the brain that acts like a switch from one language to another.

The team published its findings in an article in the U.S. magazine Science. The team discovered the brain was less active when noticing a series of synonyms than noticing a series of antonyms because handling of the former is easier than the latter.

Read more: Brain
Posted by Kwintessential at 3:51 PM
Categories: Language Learning News

word of the day: ephemeron

ephemeron \ih-FEM-uh-ron\, noun;
plural ephemera \ih-FEM-uh-ruh\:
1. Something short-lived or of no lasting significance.
2. ephemera: Items, especially printed matter (as posters, broadsides, pamphlets, etc.), intended to be of use or importance for only a short time but preserved by collectors.

And collections of correspondence will always reveal "a remarkable mind, grappling with everything from the ephemera of day-to-day life to the mysteries of the universe." -- John Bloom, "The 'Art' of the Review", National Review, May 21, 2002

The Sanskrit word for the world is jagati, while the word for changing or evanescent is jagat: the world's evanescent nature is actually built into the very definition of "world." Yet behind this shimmering ephemeron lies the deeper, sacred reality -- Brahman, the infinite, transcendent reality that covers and pervades all things. -- Pravrajika Vrajaprana, "Contemporary Spirituality and the Thinning of the Sacred: A Hindu Perspective", Cross Currents, Spring-Summer 2000

Posted by Kwintessential at 3:34 PM
Categories: Expand Your Vocabulary

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