April 13, 2011

Preparing Future Global Leaders – OWN

Kristin Hayden is my heroine of the day. She is the founder of OneWorld Now! (OWN), an organization committed to developing the next generation of global leaders. They provide language skills, leadership training and study abroad opportunities for youth. We need more people with Kristin’s vision and dedication. She understood a long time ago that “if Americans are going to engage with the rest of the world better, they have to start with young people. Language is a gateway to communication and understanding. Travel is transformative.” Mandarin and Arabic are important languages that are largely ignored in U.S. public schools. Jerry Large, columnist for The Seattle Times, explains more about the program and Kristin’s mission in his article “Program gives kids global connections, understanding”. Click here to read the full article. On a side note, I have often wondered why, in addition to French, German, British and American schools, we don’t have Chinese and Indian curriculum schools for expats. Nothing wrong with those in place, but if we are to keep up with the world and its growing population, we should be offering more. Not only are more Indian professionals going abroad, but we know that their school systems turn out highly educated graduates.

May 25, 2010

Please to make you laugh

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:09 pm

Just thought this was a lot of fun and wanted to share it. The New York Times‘ article “Strange Signs from Abroad” in the travel section is a hoot and a half. You can spend half a day going through these images, all sent in by readers, ROFL. When you’re stressed or need a break, check it out! One of my favorite websites when I really want to laugh is www.engrish.com. This one is another take on it, focusing on sign verbiage. Kudos to NYT for featuring some humor about getting lost in translation!

May 3, 2010

Telling them apart – cultural differences in Asia

If you haven’t been to various countries in a region, you may be forgiven for thinking that they are all the same. Some “westerners” have the impression that Asians can be lumped together because they can’t tell them apart. This is due to lack of exposure. But that is fast changing.

The truth is, there are huge differences from one Asian country to another, and even more differences between provinces, cities, internal ethnic groups… and the list goes on.

The Los Angeles Times ran an article last week called “Without Words, Speaking Several Languages”. Min Byoung-chul, a professor at Konkuk University in South Korea is researching the differences among Asian social customs.

An excerpt: “He has made an avocation out of cataloging [social] differences. He’s a cross-cultural interpreter whose terrain is the delicate, often undefined line where cultural mannerisms clash.

Min has written three guides that, country by country, highlight the differences between American culture and the social customs in South Korea, China and Japan.

The time has come for such a book, he says, because the improved political and economic climate throughout northeast Asia has translated into more regional tourism and business travel.

“South Korea is becoming more diverse with more interracial marriages,” he said. “All cultures have their differences. And if Koreans can’t grasp those differences, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble.”

His research, … led Min to conclude that the language barrier is but one hurdle between cultures.

The 2002 World Cup and the influx of English-language teachers here have brought more Westerners to South Korea, introducing additional opportunities for tension.”

So with more and more “westerners” becoming exposed to various Asian cultures, and with more and more Asian cultures becoming exposed to each other, it’s no surprise that there is a need for more cross-cultural awareness and information.