April 13, 2010

Freedom of communication

Hello to everyone! My name is Xenia and I’m student of Khabarovsk Academy of economics and law. I major in international management. I thought a lot about what to write and finally the inspiration came:) I haven’t traveled so much, I have visited Japan and China. It is so easy to meet people there. They show a great interest in foreigners and don’t feel confused to start talking. For example, there in Japan I woke up early morning and ran to the sea, every Japanese I met greeted me and bowed, then on the beach girls and guys didn’t feel any difficulties in asking “Hi! Where are you from? What is your name?” and just stay and chat:)
Here in Russia situation is not the same. We have some kind of barrier to start communication with a stranger, but after this barrier is overcome we can discuss any theme you offer:) Beginning from our childhood we were taught not to talk with a strangers, because they could hurt us. Our country went through severe global wars and it affected our perception. We used to protect ourselves by creating barriers around, but when someone wakes up our trust we open our hearts and ready to listen and to help.
If you look attentively you can find great friend, open-hearted and cheerful person in every Russian. Now we hide strongest sides of our nature, but time flies and the stereotype about morose Russians will be damaged soon:)

April 06, 2010

Character of Russian women

Hello!!! My name is Julia! I am from Khabarovsk. I want to tell you about the character of Rissian women!

Continue reading "Character of Russian women" »

March 31, 2010

Something deep in our minds…


Greetings everyone!! We are students of Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law, Zhuravlev Alexander and Demyanov Alexey. We are very pleased to see the foreign students’ interest in Russia, in Russian people and in Russian habits also. Therefore, we are going to discuss the problem, the stereotype that foreigners usually hold about Russia and Russian people. It is ALCOHOLISM.

Continue reading "Something deep in our minds…" »

March 29, 2010

Adults who are fighting!?

Hello everybody! My name is Petter Krantz and I’m a rhetoric student from Örebro in Sweden. I was recently in USA and Canada to visit two of my friends who are living there. Since they play hockey and I’m a big fan of that it turned out naturally for me to watch a lot of NHL-games live when I was there. While I was watching these games, one thing hit me that´s totally different in the reaction of the audience in Sweden compared to North America. That’s when it comes to fights between two players, one from each team. For you who watched hockey in North America you know that this is nothing uncommon. It’s fights almost all the games there. In Swedish hockey it’s rarely fights.


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March 24, 2010

Large inequalities, we must help each other

A house, an income and a family who loves you - that's what many of us today maybe take for granted? Sweden currently has approximately 9.3 million inhabitants. Many of these people lives in a very good cultural lifestyle. But of those 9.3 million, there are about 8 440 people who do not really have it that way, not even close to having it that way. Homeless people struggling for their daily lives and who have been forced into a cultural environment where every day is a fight for survival.

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March 23, 2010

Prejudices between two world´s

being a teenager, being from Iraq and live in Sweden.

All how live with two cultures know how difficult it is to fit in at home and in society without worlds collide. How do you handle living with two cultures, trying to adept to the culture that exist in the community you live in but also maintain the values that you grown up with? Especially if we’re talking about two cultures that are so different from each other as the Swedish and Arabic.


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March 22, 2010

"Nice pass"

Brapass ill.jpg
Hello! I'm Christer Ekholm, studying Rhetoric at Örebro University. I've written a paper about linguistic relativity in practice.

When it comes to sports, cultures are different, just as in so many other things. Few sports are as characterized by different views on the game as ice hockey. There is, according to tradition and the experts, a “Swedish” way of playing ice hockey. The Swedish way is supposedly a more disciplined and organized approach to the sport, with focus on teamwork rather than individual players’ efforts. The alternative view is that of the North American teams (or, as our hockey community like to call them, the ‘transatlantic teams’). With these teams there’s an emphasis on a more physical play with a more direct charge towards goal to disrupt the goaltender. Nowadays there are so many Swedish professional players in the NHL that these differences are much smaller than they once were.

Now, if there’s a difference in how the game is played between countries, there ought to also be a difference in how the game is perceived and spoken about by the players. This is the basis of my paper “Bra Pass”. I’ve compared interviews with Swedish and North American ice hockey players made immediately after games played in the recent Vancouver Olympic games to try to find similarities and differences. The Sapir-Whorf theory of linguistic relativity, which claims that our perceptions of the world around us are inevitably formed by the language we speak and think in, made me think that I ought to be able to find differences in what and how players thought decided a game. And I did.

Continue reading ""Nice pass"" »

Saudi Arabia and Sweden

The following text/article is about the differences between the culture of Sweden and the culture of Saudi Arabia, in a women perspective. What differences do the women of each country have each day, and what things that seem so normal for the Swedish women are strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia?

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Saudi Arabia and Sweden

The following text/article is about the differences between the culture of Sweden and the culture of Saudi Arabia, in a women perspective. What differences do the women of each country have each day, and what things that seem so normal for the Swedish women are strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia?

Continue reading "Saudi Arabia and Sweden" »

The translation art - or ”How to achieve a burn-out in one afternoon”

ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 22 21.49.png

(sorry for the tiny image, but the blog would crop it funnily otherwise)
Have you ever been in the position where you have to translate a longer text to another language in order to get your point across – without google translator, mind you. In my own experience, the more personal a text is, the harder it is to translate. You try every single trick in the book in order to preserve your intended message in every way possible and then some – just to realize that you’ve still failed because your readers don’t make the same connotations you do.

In the end, I usually try to teach my English-speaking friends the Swedish language, rather than drop a good idea just because it can’ be properly translated. It is sad, but the thought is affected by the language used. The word that expressed your intentions perfectly is perhaps nothing but “meh” in another language, even if you use a direct translation.

Continue reading "The translation art - or ”How to achieve a burn-out in one afternoon”" »

4 stereotypes about Swedes, do you agree with them?


We decided to write about different stereotypes about Sweden, or more exactly, the Swedes, that exists in other countries. The main reasons for our subject are partly that we think stereotypes in general are one of the most important things to be aware of, to be able to avoid preconceptions, and also because it’s fun and fascinating to see how the different preconceptions differ from country to country.

The author Jonas Stier defines a stereotype as a common, simplified and mostly degrading view of a group of people. The groups can be everything from nationalities to social groups or people with a certain looks. In our text however, we only took a closer look at the thoughts of Swedes we found in the minds of other nationalities, and we will tell you shortly about four of them here.

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Communication between men and women at work

I have been writing about communication between men and women and the complications that can be the effect when different ways of communicating meet at work. My starting point has been that men and women speak different languages although brought up in the same town our even in the same family. They have been socialized into different cultures, a male and a female culture. This would mean that communication between men and women is intercultural communication. Intercultural communication is in fact the subject of my studies at the University of Örebro, at this moment, although we have been focusing on communication between people from different countries so far.

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To clash with the law – A reflective study of intercultural complications in Swedish courts

Hi everyone!

My name is Linus Pentikäinen and I’m primarily a Law School student but I also take extra courses in rhetoric and it is as a rhetoric student I now write to you. With that knowledge my choice of research material should be less surprising. I wanted to combine my two current fields, intercultural rhetoric and law, and the result was a paper which hopefully is an interesting read.

I’ve choose to focus my paper on intercultural meetings in Swedish courts. My paper very much argues that An increased knowledge about intercultural communication amongst the courts legal staff will greatly benefit the Swedish legal security/rule of law.

If this sounds interesting and you want to find out how I got to this conclusion feel free to click the link to continue reading.

Justita - the goddess of justice in roman mythology. Often used as a symbol of the law in many cultures. Wearing the blindfold to represent objectivity. Equipped with a sword, that represent power and punishment, and a scale pan, representing the reflected decisions that is required to achieve justice.

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March 21, 2010

"A friend in need is a friend indeed"

Hello! My name is Ruslan Borodin. I’m a student of Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law. I am in class of intercultural communication, and would like to contribute to the blog exchange by sharing with you about some specific features of Russians.

Continue reading ""A friend in need is a friend indeed"" »

March 20, 2010

Cultural aspects of handicap


”A new patient has arrived.” I look out through the window, and I can see a young man slowly approaching the building. His arms are strong, and he is actually using them when he walks, or rather crawls, on the ground. I can see how his weak and tiny legs are being trailed through the mud. Mr Richard gets the things ready: plaster of Paris, water bucket, a knife and a strip of metal to cut against. We have to make a good casting work, in order to make him good orthoses. The orthoses must lock his joints and support his weak legs. If he got proper training he will hopefully be able to stand and move upright. Hopefully he will be less handicapped, also in the eyes of society. Being a handicapped in Sierra Leone is not easy. Probably this man lives outside town, in the place that is reserved for people like him. Who dares to approach him? What kind of curse is he carrying, that man who crawls in the mud?

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March 19, 2010

Where intercultural communication comes in, stereotypes go out!

I went to Vivallaskolan, a school in Örebro, a school that politically correct would be called a multicultural school. Over 85% of the pupils have routs in other countries. You will find Pupils from Iraq, Somaliland, Kurdistan and Lebanon to mention a few. They speak over 70 different languages. And over 60% of them don’t have Swedish as there first language in school.


Continue reading "Where intercultural communication comes in, stereotypes go out!" »

March 18, 2010

Prejudice of Swedish-dialects

Hi my name is Therese and here is my summary of my paper about Swedish dialects and prejudice about them.
In Sweden we don’t only have prejudice of people from other countries we have prejudice against our own people. The ones who live in northern Sweden are “silent and dumb”. The people in Scania or Skåne (as it is called in Swedish) should “swallow their oatmeal”. They speak in a way that makes people who don’t speak scanian or “skånska” (their dialects name) think that they still have food in their mouth. It’s a diphthong-sound a+o “ao” instead of the Swedish å. In my paper I’ve looked at how people talk in different parts of Sweden and the expectations on these people, positive and negative. In this blog you are going to find out if the prejudice is true about the biggest dialects in Sweden; Stockholm, Scania and the West-dialects.

Continue reading "Prejudice of Swedish-dialects" »

March 16, 2010

Two different genders and two different worlds

Culture clash is something that we always encounter and will encounter wherever we go. Therefore have I chosen to write about issues and ideas that I have had a long time, but never received a response.

Continue reading "Two different genders and two different worlds" »

March 15, 2010

Is the glass half-FULL OR half-EMPTY?


“Is the glass half-full or half-empty, Tod?” – I asked once my icq friend from US.
As you might know optimist would answer “It’s half-full! :)”, opposite to pessimist who would gloomy say “It’s half-empty (-_-)”. What did my friend answer? I’ll tell you later :)
Zebra thing. What’s that? Here in Russia we often think in a “zebra” way which means that life is striped. Black stripe, when life seems a disaster (for example when you failed an exam or when you are expelled from university). You see that the street is grey, and the rain is falling and all these will never ever end. Than comes white stripe when your studying and private life is perfect, you do feel that the sun is shining and there are colorful butterflies flying around you.

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March 14, 2010

Flowers in Russia

Hey, everybody! We are students of Khabarovsk state academy of economy and low, Marina and Elena, and we’d like to talk about interesting russian tradition – flower-giving.
You can only once visit a Russian school on the 1st of September to understand the great impact that gift-, and more importantly flower-giving has in Russia. Hundreds of pupils stand around waiting for the first bell of the year, all with bouquets of different flowers gripped tightly in their little hands. They’re doing this because it is a tradition, and their elder siblings, parents and grandparents all went through the same ritual for many years before them. Gift- and flower-giving in Russia has an incredibly deep meaning to it on account of the many years that this tradition has lived in the Russian spirit and mind.

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"You can't understand Russia by your mind"

Hello! We are the students of Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law – Anna Skorobrekha and Darya Slobodenuk!!! We major in international economy. We would like to discuss the topic of Russian patriotism and some inner traits that originate from our history and culture.

Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin said: “Of course, I despise my motherland, but it’s disappointing for me, if a foreigner feels the same…” So we try to understand whether it is true and what the reasons are.

Russian culture has a long history and tradition and Russians are very proud of it. We always say with pride – “We are Russians”. This phrase means that Russian culture is non-individualistic. During Soviet times there was a well developed system of community work. People that were doing community work were given benefits (free or discounted travel, ability to buy deficit goods, ability to receive a better apartment from the government for free etc). This system does not exist more, but Russians still have that great community spirit. And we are used to say "One is not a soldier in the battlefield".

Continue reading ""You can't understand Russia by your mind"" »

March 13, 2010

“I’ll do it tomorrow”, “Call you back later” or just “Time and Russia”

Hello, dear friends! We are Marianna and Nastya - the students of Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law. We are glad to have an opprtunity to exchange our posts on this blog! We look forward to meeting you at the videoconference!
“Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back”.
It’s true, that time is one of the most expensive resources we have in life. Time is what we have to grow, to develop, to learn more, to stand out, to express our individuality. But it’s amazing how differently people in different countries perceive this notion. “Time is money that should be saved” – Americans would tell you. “If you respect yourself and your partner, respect your and his/her time - don’t be late for a meeting or date” – German people say.
In Russia you can often hear the following sayings: “The morning is wiser than the evening”, which means don’t worry now about what you’ve got to do, relax, and fresh ideas will come to you in the morning; or “In order to work well you need to have a good rest” – especially it is used among the students before the exams.
We are late very often! We may be late for classes, for some meetings, for appointments, for dates. However, our being late never means we don’t value others’ time or don’t respect other people. It just means that we “take our time” or are not used to managing it.

Continue reading "“I’ll do it tomorrow”, “Call you back later” or just “Time and Russia”" »

Polar bears in Sweden?

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

Hi everyone!
Since I was sick during the actual lecture/seminar on debunking stereotypes my blog entry arrives a little bit late. Hope some of you still will have the time to read it though.

I have chosen to look a bit on a phenomenon that in my opinion seems far to usual. At least 5 times I have been asked by Americans if we got much problems with polar bears in Sweden during online conversations. And when our rhetoric class had a video conference with some American students from the Wichita State University a couple of weeks ago, the question arose anew. I don't know why but it seems as some Americans really have the stereotypical view that we have polar bears in Sweden.

polar bear.jpg

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March 12, 2010

Russians: questions and answers


Hello, everyone!!! We are the students of KSAEL: Alexandra and Sveta.
What do you, foreigners, think of us? What questions do you ask when first meet our people?
Oh, those strange Russians…
We’ve questioned two students of Khabarovsk who’ve been to different places over the world. They were asked to tell about foreigner’s most common stereotypes (except vodka and matrioshkas) of Russia and agreed to share their experience:

Continue reading "Russians: questions and answers" »

Guys! Do we explain the same things differently?


Hello everyone. I would like to thank one more time all participants of the videoconference, which took place on March, 2. It was really great to see and hear you after we have exchanged blog posts. And you know, participation in this conference made me think about our differences in decision-making process (you remember the game) and in expressing our ideas.
I found out that sometimes it wasn’t very clear for you what we tried to explain, and it was sometimes difficult for us to respond to your concrete questions. I tried to analyze it and I think I understood why we did not coincide in the discourse of our discussion. And you know what?...

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March 11, 2010

How are you?

How are you? This is one of the most popular and simple questions around the world. But the answer is not always so simple. If you ask an American or an Englishman or somebody else, then their answer will be short and mostly positive. For example: "I'm fine" or "I'm normal" or something like that. This question is a greeting part and so the answer should be short as everybody has their own problems and doesn’t want to listen to problems of other people, but this rule doesn’t work in Russia.
For Russians it is possibility to share their problems with someone. If we look at the structure of Russian conversation we can see that the greeting in Russia is completely in the words "Hello" or “Hi”, even a simple nod of the head equals the greeting. All other words are related to the main conversation, therefore, a person who asks the question is really interested in your affairs, whatever they were, so to maintain, you should give a more eloquent answer, instead of just one word. Russian people do not need too many words to say hello. But believe me, every of Russians sometimes want to feel somebody's care about him or her. Russians found a way to show interest and care in such small and simple question.
Koshatko Ksenya, Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics & Law

A midsummernigths dream

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

What kind of stereotypes do you have about the Swedes?

We love to make fun of ourselves, in our example we have a swedish company that in their marketing in another country choose to make fun of their heritage, the most sacred part of swedish culture, midsummer celebrations. These stereotypes are most likely coming from germans visiting Sweden, a popular choice for a lot of germans so of course they will have gotten some form of image of Sweden and our holidays.

Continue reading "A midsummernigths dream" »

The cold Swedes

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

In Sweden we have a lot of stereotypes about our own people. Blond and stupid – “she’s so blond”. Fjortis witch means 14years old with an attitude, and they are not so smart.
“People from Stockholm are snobs”, “People from Gothenburg is happy all the time” (it comes from how they speak) but how does the rest of the world see on us? We have heard that people from other countries think that Swedes are cold people who are afraid of strangers. Why is that?

Continue reading "The cold Swedes" »

Girls, girls, girls

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

The Swedish girls are often the stereotype of Sweden. They are blonde, have blue eyes and are very naive. And its true women in Sweden are blond. The hair bleech companies are doing well in Sweden. Its not true that all women here are blonde, but you see many blonde girls so the myth is a little bit true. The hair colour is not the same as a behavior, just a nice colour.

Continue reading "Girls, girls, girls" »

Swedes ponder stereotypes

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

The Jewish stereotype

Written by Staffan and Melita

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Svensson way of life is a stereotype!!

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

The Svensson way of life, just a stereotype!
Our previous post on the blog was about a Swedish way of living called the ”Svensson life” we will now tell you why this is just a stereotype, and what we feel is wrong with this picture of the Swedish people.


Continue reading "Svensson way of life is a stereotype!!" »

A Midsummer Night's Dream

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

We have chosen to debunk the stereotype presented in an IKEA commercial. The commercial was made for German television for a special midsummer campaign. IKEA:s board of directors in Sweden found that this commercial presented the folk feast of Swedish midsummer in a non- suitable way, it was therefore banned by IKEA.

Please watch this video before reading on.

Continue reading "A Midsummer Night's Dream " »

Have you ever heard of a Swedish culture?

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

Hello! Ida and Jennie speaking again! This time the topic is stereotypes. We had to discuss for a while before we were able to find a Swedish stereotype. We thought the Swedes are thought of as being calm, quiet, pale and blonde but then we thought, well that’s just the way it is… Well, that may not be true for everyone. We hope that other people from our class are de-bunking those “stereotypes”! Instead we where thinking about Swedish stereotypes that we hold for ourselves as the truth. Perhaps this is not known outside Sweden. But the stereotype we choose says that Sweden lacks culture. Swedish people look at themselves as cultureless. They are simply modern and not in need of a culture. As we pointed out in our last blog post we see ourselves as open to change. Life is about improvements and change for the future. We like to learn from others. In our minds we are not in the present, and definitely not in the past, but planning and preparing for the future.

Immigrants arriving to Sweden are not really introduced in Swedish culture, as we are tolerant people, open for all new influences and not forcing culture on others. Swedish people don’t want to offend others by having national church or even religion, and we are careful when and how we use the flag. Let’s just delete culture!

So, this is our stereotype: Swedish people have no culture. But is that really true? Are we lacking a culture, and are we instead free, modern people living only with multiple and changing influences?

Continue reading "Have you ever heard of a Swedish culture?" »

Livers versus hillbillies in Sweden

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

When we first sat down in the group, we toyed with the idea of using an American stereotype. That is, until we noticed that the group consisted of two “livers” (I looked it up in the dictionary, it’s slang for town-dweller, right?) and one hillbilly of sorts. A village-dweller at the very least. At any rate, we started to compare stereotypes of livers and hillbillies and got ourselves quite a laugh through it all. The blog post is divided into the stereotypes livers have towards hillbillies, then the hillbilly answer to said stereotypes and after that it’s the same but the other way around. To make it all a lot easer, we marked out whose POW it is ;)

Continue reading "Livers versus hillbillies in Sweden" »

Fat-ass or fighter pilot?

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

There is, generally speaking, two major stereotypes about Americans in Sweden. They tend to be opposites.

Continue reading "Fat-ass or fighter pilot?" »

"Love only comes around ones a year"

This post was written by students in the class of Anders Eriksson at Orebro University, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

This stereotype a friend of us wrote in her travelblog from Thailand. She got a question if she had a boyfriend at home and then the discussion about the Swedish dating-system started. The Thais comprehension was as follow: If Swedes don’t find themselves a partner during the summer, they just have to wait a whole year until the next summer. Because, during the winter, the Swedes lock themselves in their houses because it’s so cold outside. During the winter the Swedes are asocial and don’t meet a new partner to love.

Continue reading ""Love only comes around ones a year"" »

March 10, 2010

What do different nations think about Russians?

This post was written by students in the class of Olga Kovbasyuk at Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law in Russia, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

Hello, everybody! My name is Krivenko Yulia. I am a third-year student. And I’d like to share some interesting stereotypes about Russians with you.
One day I was surfing the Internet and found out that every nation has its own stereotypes about Russians. Actually there are a lot of different stereotypes about Russians that exist in different spheres of life. I try to pick up the funniest stereotypes.
About family. The Russian family in France is the family where there are more than 3 children.
The Russian family in Poland is the family where a husband is alcoholic and rowdy but a wife stands it and doesn’t dare to divorce.
The most interesting variant is in Australia. There the Russian family is the family where a husband has a mistress and doesn’t conceal it or when a wife makes love on the side.
About bride. In Germany the Russian bride is a classical girl without a dowry, whose family is good but not rich.
In Spain the Russian bride is a woman who has already been married but now she is a widow.
In Sweden and Denmark the Russian bride is girl who gets married only because of money her bridegroom has.
In the USA the Russian bride is girl with whom a bridegroom meets through the Internet. And it doesn’t matter where she is from, from Norway, Portugal and so on.
About sex. In Chine the Russian sex is the sex on the first date.
In Brazil the Russian sex is the long sex spree, when the lovers turn off the telephone, draw the blinds and have sex for 3 days. Compare, the American sex in Brazil is considered to be something on the back seat of the car.
About food. In Serbia the Russian lunch is when there is soup or solyanka or any first course.
In Norway the Russian lunch is lunch when you drink ardent spirits.
The Russian salad in Saudi Arabia is a salad where there are a lot of mayonnaise and potatoes.
The Russian tea in England is a tea with lemon.
I hope that this article is interesting for you to read. And if you have any additions or commentaries, please share your ideas.

March 09, 2010

Break Stereotypes About Russian Women

This post was written by students in the class of Olga Kovbasyuk at Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law in Russia, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

When talking about foreign culture and customs, most of us follow the so-called common truth. But stereotypes are man-created and sometimes can be outdated or incorrect and very misleading.
For example, the laziness, drunkenness and bear-like zeal of Russian men, or the long-suffering, domesticated, stunning Russian women. These attributes, along with bad roads, dense forests, balalaikas and Russian wooden dolls (martrioshkas), are how people generally view the Russian culture.

Continue reading "Break Stereotypes About Russian Women" »

March 08, 2010

Who are Russians?

This post was written by students in the class of Olga Kovbasyuk at Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law in Russia, for a focus on "Debunking Stereotypes. The purpose is to present a cultural stereotype and then try and challenge it, in order to reduce negative stereotypes."

Pushkin, Chehov, Vatcheslav Tretiak, Yuri Gagarin, Mayia Plisetskaya and other great russians are famousall over the world. But who are russians in reality? What is russian mentality? What are the stereotypes of russian people in the world? And, of course, how to break these stereotypes. Let me start the discussion on this topic. Sadly, but for many people, Russia - is only single words like "Vodka", "Moscow", "bears on the streets", "drinking people", "balalaika". So what it is? Lack of information or smth,else?

Belaya Alisa, Khabarovsk State Academy of Econimics&Law

March 07, 2010

Khabarovsk-Stanford videoconference: Results Of the Game "Create a Leader"

This post was written by students in the class of Olga Kovbasyuk at Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law in Russia, in response to the Khabarovsk-Stanford video conference on March 1, 2010.

Копия 3 копия.jpg
The leader made by Stanford.

Копия 4 копия.jpg
The leader made by Khabarovsk.

Continue reading "Khabarovsk-Stanford videoconference: Results Of the Game "Create a Leader"" »

March 05, 2010

Russian holidays that you don't know about

Hi everyone!:) My name is Victoria I’m a third-year student in the Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law, I major in international management. First of all I’d like to say that I’m happy to have such great experience of communicating with people from other countries. I’ve learned much new information about Swedish and American cultures from your posts and hope I’ll have chance to apply this knowledge in future.
I decided to make a post about some Russian traditional holidays, because in my opinion they are the best reflection of our culture. Besides New Year’s Day and other holidays that exist in many countries in Russia there are holidays that aren’t official but are very popular among people.
* The 14th of January – “Old” New Year. Nobody out of Russia can guess what this strange name means and what it signifies. The answer is not very simple to explain, but I’ll try :) At the beginning of 20th century after revolution Russia changed its calendar from Julian to Gregorian. The difference between them is 13 days. So, now the 1st of January is 13 days earlier than it was before and people celebrate New Year first in the new style and then in the old one:) For Russians the most expectable and favorite holiday is New Year, Old New Year is not as great holiday as New Year is. On January 14th we watch New Year’s programs on TV, let off fireworks and just have fun:)
* 8 weeks before Easter and 1 week before Lent begins Maslenitsa. On this week we say goodbye to winter and welcome spring:) This is time of street festivities and making pancakes. On the last day of this week almost in every city a big festival is arranged. There people take part in different contests (for example men climb on a high post to get presents that are on the top of it) and burn in effigy symbolizing winter.
* The 7th of July – Midsummer Night, Day of Ivan Kupala. This holiday has heathen origin. At night young people go camping and have a good time together: light a campfire, jump over it, swim at the river. Also girls make wreaths and then send them across the surface of the water in the river. There is superstition: if someone’s wreath sinks this girl won’t get married in the near future. If it floats away the man who’ll find it will be her husband.
*All these holidays are informal, they aren’t celebrated by everyone, but still are very popular. At the end of my post I want to mention one official national holiday that is celebrated by all Russian citizens and is of great importance to us. This is May 9th – Victory Day. This is the day when Great Patriotic War ended. Each year in every city a parade is held where war veterans take part, military music is playing everywhere, people lay flowers on the Grave of Unknown Soldier. This year is the 65th anniversary of the victory; therefore preparations for celebration have already begun.
That’s all for now, hope you liked my post :) You are welcomed to ask any questions and tell about your traditional holidays:)

March 03, 2010

What is russian smile? And what is our attitude to our appearance?

This post was written by students in the class of Olga Kovbasyuk at Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law in Russia, for an activity on "Debunking Stereotypes"

Hi guys, My name is Olesya, and i´m from Russia, khabarosvk. Looking through blogs I learnt so many interesting things about other cultures, and now want to write about two things about Russians. I think it may be interesting for you. When i´ve been to America I was always asked one question: What happened to you? Are you depressed? Why are you sad? Or even: Are you mad at me? I was always confused hearing such questions, because I was ok, my mood was quite good and I did give any reason for people to think that something was wrong with me…but the problem was that I was not smiling all the time with reason or without it. I was explaining all the time that I’m ok, and have no problems…but Americans did not believe me, just because I was ( as It seemed to them) serious. So, if you come to Russia, you will not see smiling people everywhere…I’m not saying that we do not smile, we do smile, but only with people we know well( friends, relatives) We never smile to strangers, to passers by. Sometimes it’s even better to be serious, for example at work, or at school. Here if you are serious it means that you are smart, thinking about something … ( of course if you are serious it does not always mean that you are really smart, sometimes person just want other people think that he is smart).If we look aggressive or violent it’s not so, we just have different attitude to smile. And I was really laughing when I red opinion of one guy, that Russians eat people and may kill a person if they do not like this person…probably that stereotype was born just because of our “not smiling a lot” …but be sure, we do not eat people, and do not kill them if we don’t like them.
Another thing I want to tell is about clothes. Russian girls, mostly girls tend to look beautiful all the time. It does not matter whether you are on some meeting or just cleaning apartment or training in gym. We get up 1-2 hours earlier just to get dressed, to make make-up, to do our hair…We always think how we look like, how we are dressed….I’ve heard many times from foreigners that this is weird, and they even think that Russians are crazy….well, in some way we are crazy, we like not to follow rules and so on, but that is another topic. Some people even joke that Russian girls will never go to thow away the trash without make up, even if the trash bin is just behind the door, and there will be no person for sure. So, if you come to Russia be ready to face it, and be ready that people will expect from you the same attitude to your appearance.
Hope it was interesting for you, maybe you have questions about any other topic, I’m ready to answer them with a big pleasure.

March 02, 2010

Russian friendship

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March 01, 2010

After the Russian-Stanford Videoconference

I want to say thanx to Stanford students for the wonderful videoconference! We really enjoyed it. I think your researches are very interesting and deep, so sometimes we can't even answer your questions!)
Did you enjoy the conference?

-Dmitry Galenko

Preparing for Russia-Stanford Videoconference

Here at Stanford, my class on Rhetoric & Global Leadership is preparing for the video conference with Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law. The workshop page is ready and students are composing questions for each other in teams!

February 28, 2010

Collectivism Developed on the Ice


There is no secret, that Russians are people with a strong team spirit. “Everyone supports everybody and everybody supports everyone” – is one of the main slogans manifesting collective spirit of the culture. This spirit influences all spheres of life in Russia, including national sport.

Russian team of ice hockey is one of the strongest in the world and it often wins the World Cup. But not everybody knows that the present ice hockey stars started their career when they played in small grounds in the yards. 8 year old boys at that time were far from being professionals and far from being ready to play in large stadiums. They just played on small grounds outdoors in winter, and dozens of people would take part in these games, simultaneously.

We call this kind of sport as “Russian hockey” just because many young amateur participants really love to play this game, and they support each other, while the places and the conditions for these games are very simple, indeed. They are small grounds located in the yards between houses, and lots of children can play hockey there. They play hockey with a small ball instead of a traditional hockey puck. And this game is extremely popular in our country.

As I think, this collective spirit is developed when boys play hockey in a team, which contributes also to the development of leadership skills as well.

How do leaders co-exist?

There are always leaders in every group. Of course, it is impossible to avoid the situation when the leaders face with each other. We are really interested in a question: how can leaders can coexist and can there be several leaders in a group?

Types of Co-Existence

Kseniya Pekar:

There are a lot of situations, where leaders face the leaders. And they have to work together in everyday life. It can be school, college or university where professor can give a task to work in a group. It can be a project or a thing that leaders cannot do alone and they have to help each other in order to get desired results. It is just impossible to imagine leaders - workers, that don’t contact each other in a company or corporation. And of course, types of coexistence varies a lot.

There are three main types of coexistence. First of all, it is cooperation. “We Cooperate, or We Die”: so said Terry Pratchett’s writing about sustainable coexistence. This type involves 2 or more leaders in the decision making process (determining what to do and how to do it).

However, some people consider this type as a sign of weakness and use other type of coexistence – confrontation. This type is used by leaders who prefer to tell other participants of the group what they want to be done. The third type is absence of all relationships and absolute indifference and ignorance. Using this type, leaders don’t connect each other while every of them do his/her own job.

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Stereotypes about Russia


Russian culture includes lots of things. Guys have already said Russians are hospitable, risk-taking, warm-hearted. Besides all that stuff there are some stereotypes about Russia.

When I’ve asked my foreign friend what are his stereotypes about Russia, he told me: “Communism, beautiful girls and vodka.” There are also some more things, but I just have to say that most of them are not true.

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February 24, 2010

Leaders of the new Russian cinematography


Hi everyone! My name is Victor Klementiev, I’m a second-year student in the Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law and I am major in international relations and world economy. I’m going to tell you about Russian cinematography and its leaders which contribute to high-speed development of making films industry.

Really exciting, high-quality, talented and commercially successful films are the new phenomena of Russian culture and business of the latest years. What are the reasons of such kind of unique breakthrough? Who are that leaders, driving Russian cinema industry to the new global level? What traits do they have to be capable to make such kinds of movies?

I’m not a great fan of movies, but when I started to make this small research, I become very interested in this topic. So, I hope, you will share with us some information about movie making process, remarkable directors and producers in your countries. And, of course, I will be glad to answer all your questions.
Let’s begin!

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February 22, 2010

Russian "desert"

Hi everyone, my name is Valya, and I am from Khabarovsk. Nobody abroad has reacted on the name “Khabarovsk”, that’s why I always simplify it as “a border with China”. Most of my foreign friends suspect that in such a primeval forest there are tigers stepping over scarce wires. Frankly speaking, the citizens of our capital hardly ever know about existence of something futher than Siberia.

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February 20, 2010

Sport in Russia as a Reflection of Cultular Peculiarity

No risk – no fun, both in sports and in life


Hello, my name is Marianna Sidorenko, I am a third-year student in the Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law. I major in world economy and international relations. I am very glad that we have an opportunity to share our cultural peculiarities with you. I decided to write about a trait that many foreign people notice in us – being risky.

“He, who doesn’t risk, doesn’t drink champagne” – this is a Russian saying, that you can often hear, and it reflects one of the traits that characterizes many Russian people, sometimes we are even called “thrill-seekers”.

Continue reading "Sport in Russia as a Reflection of Cultular Peculiarity" »

Hospitality (the warmth of Russians’ hearts)

Hello! Our names are Dmitry and Elena, we are from Khabarovsk, Russia. We want to tell you about one feature of Russians - Hospitality.

Some people say Russia is a cold country with lots of snow, and where the temperature goes far below normal. Well though it is partially so (though it’s very hot in summer), it doesn’t make our hearts cold. We want to tell you how hospitable we are, how ready we are to warm up the strangers with our hearts. If you ever come to Russia you’ll surely experience the warmest way of treating the guests.

So how do we express our hospitality? It is usually seen in the way we welcome strangers, in our willingness to talk and provide them with all they may need.

Traditionally, Russians welcomed guests, even when guests arrived without a notice, so to say, unexpectedly. Most of Russians nowadays are still open to the people who need their help. For example, if someone needs assistance when visiting our city or needs a home stay for some people, it is easy to find people willing to help.

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February 04, 2010

Sweden says: Sure... (but do we agree?)

There is a saying which we Swedes think and say about ourselves. The saying is: “Swedes are afraid of getting into arguments”, and especially with strangers or people we don’t know well. Therefore, to be able to communicate with Swedes in a successful way, there are a few things you probably need to know.

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Swedish doxa-de fattar du väll


This is Staffan and Melita writing in an attempt to present some of the Swedish doxa.
In case you don’t recall doxa is a term referring to something that´s accepted as an obvious truth by a certain group. Something that everyone´s excepted to know this stuff showing lacking knowledge in anything doxa related will result in an “de fattar du väll”. It basicly means that you’re stupid for not knowing that.
Doxa can refer to assertions regarding everything from religion to social interaction, we will be focusing upon the latter.

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Swedes - creating lines since childhood.

In a part of the course Cross-culture rhetoric we shall study our own doxa and point out some typical swedish stereotypes. In this blog entry we will discuss a typical swedish behaviour; The Swedish Queue-system. Presented by Hanna & Jens.

Continue reading "Swedes - creating lines since childhood." »

Strict and rational dancers are changing Sweden


This is a little story about two Swedish students who study rhetoric at the University of Örebro. Our names are Jennie and Ida. This morning we shoveled the snow away from our doorsteps, scraped the ice off the car windows and saw our breath disappear like smoke in the cold air. We met at the University in order to discuss what could possibly be interpreted as typically Swedish culture. Right now we are taking a course in intercultural communication and we try to look at ourselves from new perspectives. A lot of things we just do without even reflecting on why. We will try to explain a little bit about our mentality, our way of living, and believe it or not, how crazy we are about dancing!

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the Swedish whining culture

Hello, I’m Helena (19) probably (hopefully?) the only one from the Örebro class that writes alone. Mainly because I manage to catch a cold just in time for the assignment and don’t want to put my fellow students’ health at stake. I’m a countryside gal who dreams of being a well-known writer of exceptional fantasy with my own hand-made illustrations, but out of a more realistic perspective I honestly don’t have any idea of what I will be. I stalk the internet frequently…

I thought I’d put something up about our special way of talking. You see, through the middle of Sweden there is a “belt” where the dialects tend to sound whiny and (compared to some of the other dialects) rather annoying. The phenomena is said to be centred in Örebro, but I couldn’t tell. I think I speak normal and it’s those oddballs in Stockholm that can’t talk like people…

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Maybe you have got the wrong picture of Sweden?

Hello, Russia and the USA!

My name is Anna and I am 21 years old. At the moment I am sitting on a train home to Örebro from a town in the southern part of Sweden called Växjö.
A little irritated because I should have been in Örebro previous night. But thanks to all this wonderful snow became my train set and I may go home today instead… My mood is on top!

What do you think of when you think of Sweden?
Maybe you have got the wrong picture?

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What the hell are you doing?!

This is Linus and Olof, breaking the unwritten social rules of the swedish mentality. We're going to try to highlight a very peculiar part of the swedish cultural behaviour and values. We pride ourselves in being tolerant, just and openminded people. Yet when faced with a chance to practice what we preach, we rather keep our heads down and stick to ourselves.

Swedes are very protective of their personal sphere. We have our very cozy comfortzone which we rarely leave and we definately don't want people getting too close, entering our little sphere. In the entry below, we're going to give you some examples of this!

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May I ask a question Mr. Eriksson?

Our names are Alex, Rebecka and David. Alex is 26 years old and is from Karlskoga, which is a minor city in the middle of Sweden. Rebecka is 19 years old and is Fino-Swede from Åbo Finland, who in August moved here to Örebro. David is 38 years old from Hällefors, wich is an even smaller town then Karlskoga. But we are all now currently living in Örebro because we all study the rhetoric-program and now we are studying intercultural communication, wich is very interesting. We are very excited to have international contacts to the US and Russia. This is going to be very much fun!

Over here in Sweden we are currently fighting the snow and a cold winter weather. But in this blog post we will not talk about weather, but our rather unusally habit of not adressing people with formal titels. We think it is fundamental for our belief that all people are equally worth. It is not a sign of disrespect, it is just the way we act. For exampel we do not adress our teacher by professor or doctor or Mr
Eriksson, he is simply Anders. We still have respect for the teacher but we do not show this respect with names or titels but by acting respectfully.

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The weather dilemma

Hello Russia and USA!

We are two guys who are studying the rhetoric and communication management program here in Örebro university. David Fernhed is 25 years old and he loves music and politics. He plays electric guitar in a band called The mischief. Petter Krantz is 25 years old and he´s a real globetrotter. He´s been playing icehockey in France, Norway and, of course, Sweden. He likes cooking and long walks in the forest. He´s soon going on an Amercia trip including New York, St. Louis and Toronto.

Petter and David

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Summertime Blues

Hi! We are Johanna and Mattias from Sweden.

At the moment, winter has got a strong hold of all of Sweden, we are experiencing one of the worst winters in 25 years. The snow is whirling outside the window and all we can do is wait and try to remember warmer days. Summer suddenly seems very far away, very hard to reach. Do we even remember how summer feels? We try to remember the warmth, the smell and the cool summer nights. We wait, we endure and we hope for sunnier days.

Since the Swedish summer is quite short, the sun and warmth is something that the Swedish people really value. You have to enjoy it while it lasts. People want to make the most of their summer by staying outside even though it might not be as sunny and warm as you could wish. To put it more precise, people try to make the summer last longer to be able to endure a long and cold winter. Swedes attempt to start it earlier, sometimes as soon as the beginning of April and extending it to as far as October. One clear sign of this is that Swedes sit outside at restaurants, cafés and pubs even though it’s freezing outside.

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February 03, 2010

The "Svenssons" way of life

Hello, we are three girls Jennifer, Erica and Malin, writing to you from Örebro University on this winter morning. The snow has now reached about 1 meter, and forcast for this weekend says about -15 degrees.

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A typical Swed, what is a typical Swed? To answer that question and to give you a hint of who you are dealing with we would like to introduce you to a saying in Sweden, “Svensson”. We hope that this will give you a general idea about the Swedish culture. A Svensson Family consist of a mother and a father. Both hardworking people, that take great pride in their work. They usually have two children, hopefully a boy and a girl. Born two years apart.
They live outside a ”normal” sized town in a ”normal” sized terrace house, of course a red one, with white linings around windows and corners.
Apart from the above, there are a few other things they need to possess to be called a Svensson in Sweden;

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What does it take to get a date around here?

Hi everyone,
This is Breanna and Noura writing from Stanford University in the beautiful and sunny California (though it's a little cloudy today)!

Stanford overall is the perfect place to be: rolling, green lawns, shimmering lake, brilliant professors, fun and interesting classes, and accommodations for our every basic need...except for dating-- for, while the sun shines down on us, in this atmosphere romance finds it hard to bloom...

Meeting People
College is known for excessive hookups and casual acquaintances, but real romantic connection is hard to find. The problem is often kairos - your options for meeting people are 1) your dorm 2) a party 3) class and 4)random occurrences.

The Dorm
The dorm is not known for its romantic atmosphere. Instead, you'll typically find bags of cheezits, people in sloppy clothing, and empty beer cans and caffeine induced finals studying. Gone are the candles and faint music of a budding love affair. Hookups within the dorm are dangerous at best - once it's over, it's awkward to pass by your one-night honey or ex-boyfriend in the corridor, in the bathroom, in the dining hall, in the lounge, everyday for the rest of the year.

A Party
While on the surface, a party seems like a great place to meet new and interesting people, loud music is not great for conversation. And alcohol should probably not be associated with anything long term.
Parties are fun, but just don't expect to make a great connection with a new boyfriend/girlfriend.

Yes, you do have interests in common with the people in lecture with you, and it would seem that the small class sizes at Stanford would be great for building connections, but somehow people don't think fighting to ask the next question in section is conducive to lovin'.

Random Occurrences
Often the best experiences, but emphasis on the word "random"...treasure them when they come around because they don't happen frequently.

Apparently, 75% of Stanford students end up marrying a fellow student...we wonder how this is possible in such an adversarial dating world.
In the attempt to break the stereotype, Breanna has a blind date next week - wish her luck!


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Shotguns and Movie Stars

Hi we are Rassy and Eliza. Rassy is a 20 year old student of Latin American History at Stanford University. She is from Houston, Texas. She is currently researching the rhetoric that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez uses when addressing American audiences. Eliza is a 19 year old student, also at Stanford, studying International Relations. She is from Palo Alto, which is only about 10 minutes from the Stanford campus. Her current research project focuses on the diplomatic rhetoric of Madeleine Albright, who was the U.S. Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001.

Rassy may be from Texas, but no one in her family owns a gun. She lives in the third largest city in the country alongside 4 million other people--not on a ranch (despite the stereotype).

Here she is while visiting Hearst Castle in central California:

Although she lives only a few hours from Hollywood, she has never met a famous movie star. And, no, she has never surfed to school in spite of being a California girl.

Here is Eliza:

We've come up with a list of things you should know if you ever visit the United States:
-Visit more than just New York and California. A lot of what makes the US interesting and unique comes from what we call "Middle America"
-There are a number of stereotypes within the United States as to how people in different regions behave--and in our experiences they tend to hold true. People from the East Coast are more private and reserved. People in the south tend to be friendly, welcoming, and expressive. West Coast people are relaxed and accepting. People in the north (what we call the Mid-West) are somewhat of a hybrid between the people from the East and West Coasts. They tend to be wholesome, hardworking people.
-We don't use nearly as much slang as some may think.

Hugs and Kisses?

Hey guys, we are Meka Este-McDonald and Sarah Medina and we are Stanford students. We're researching the rhetoric of global leaders, especially in the case of the US President Bill Clinton and Queen Rania of Jordan. Meka is looking at President Clinton's rhetoric of diplomacy and Sarah is researching Queen Rania's use of social media to affect social change (you can find her on facebook if you want) and her rhetoric on these devices.

Here on the Stanford, people are pretty laid back and accepting. It is very culturally diverse, and therefore there are not a lot of strict social norms regarding communication. We are very lax about house rules, things like taking your shoes off are not universally expected. At Stanford especially, we abide by the open door policy, which essentially means that when you are in your room you should keep your door open to be inviting to your dorm-mates. Here, when you greet someone handshakes are the general way to go about it. However, especially between guy/girl friends, hugs are often given. Kisses on the cheek are rarely given.

Stanford University: Slow Motion

This is Nina Chung and Linden Moot, writing from Stanford University in Northern California. We're pretty excited about this. So welcome! Hopefully we can help you learn more about American culture, even if you're all the way across the Pacific Ocean.
So. First things first.
We are in our second year of college, are 19 years old, and are in the midst of major research projects. Linden's working on the rhetoric of former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Henry Paulsen, and Nina's looking into the controversial rhetoric of Kim Dae-Jung, a former South Korean president.
But that's not the point of this blog.
We're here to tell you a little about life here at Stanford/in America.

1. Speed:
Life is fast-paced. And that's probably an understatement. At this point in the year, everyone's planning their summers, getting applications in, figuring out how they're going to save the world. We're in the quarter system, which means courses are 10 weeks long, and we have three quarters during the academic year. What does that mean? No getting behind. Obviously we do, though, and that's where the stress comes in. Here at Stanford, multitasking becomes an art, and most people get pretty good at it - or at least better than the average person in the real world. But this part of Stanford is probably good preparation for life after college, especially because people work so much in the United States. Overall, there's a big focus on being productive and working toward a career.
2. Working together:
There's a pretty big focus on teams, cooperating with other people, and sharing ideas. Human interaction. Making friends, in the workplace and in our personal lives. Stanford teaches us to value collaboration and networks. I guess this blog is a great example of this, because we're clearly connecting with students from far away!
3. Innovation:
Entrepreneurship is a MAJOR part of life at Stanford. This is definitely a university where new inventions and new ideas become reality. Students here are creating new energy-efficient resources, finding some obscure genome, and overall being unbelievably creative. It sort of seems like everyone just shocks each other. Because at Stanford, it's totally possible to find out that your roommate saved some random species of rare jungle bird from extinction... months after you meet them. Students here tend to have unbelievable accomplishments on their resumes that just don't come up in conversation all the time. Rather, we're meeting each other as regular people, approachable students, first. All of this innovation might have to do with where Stanford is - Silicon Valley, California - where Google, Apple and Facebook (and various other tech-y things) find their home.

Well! Now you know a bit about where we come from.
But class is over, so we have to go soon.
We hope that this has been interesting, and we'll talk to you again soon!
Hopefully. =)

Sincerely yours,
Nina Chung and Linden Moot

Hella Californian

Hey! Our names are Will and Grace.
Will: I'm a sophomore at Stanford University and am having a blast here as I settle more and more into the adventure we call Stanford. I am majoring in Human Biology and just turned 20. In our class on the rhetoric of Global Leadership we all have the opportunity to study a variety of conflicts and leaders. I chose to study a recent politician to grace the national stage, Sarah Palin. As you may know, she ran with senator John McCain in the 2008 election. Had she won she would have been the first female vice president, however she had many mistakes along the campaign trail that assisted her loss. I'm planning to analyze her rhetoric and examine what words she used to relate to the American people and why those failed.
Grace: I'm also a Sophomore at Stanford. I am majoring in Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations. In our class, the Rhetoric of Global Leadership, I have chosen to study Vladimir Putin, but specifically his rhetoric regarding Chechnya. I want to examine how his actions are supported by one group, the Russian people, yet so criticized by another, the Western world.

Things to know about Northern California:

We are both natives of Northern California, and are so glad to be going to school in this awesome area. We want to give you some information, so you know a little more about the true Nor-Cal scene.

1. We are not Southern California. The United States is an extremely diverse place, and even within states. The typical, flip flop wearing, surfing, Hollywood star is from Southern California (So-Cal). Northern California is much more laid back and we're hella cool. Hella is a slang word, meaning very, and used heavily by anyone who's heart lies in Nor Cal. Instead of spending money on expensive cloths like our Southern counterparts, we love to have our expression shine, and everyone has their own unique style.

2. We live in the Yay Area. The Bay Area, is often called the Yay Area. There is a very distinct culture, but one that is extremely diverse. We have natives from China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Africa, Italy, and everywhere else. Each person is diverse, and embraces the various cultures. We enjoy food from around the globe, and one of our favorite places to eat is the Spanish restaurant.

Bad Romance... Sexy Back... 3


Our names are Shruthi Baskaran and Natalia Rezai. We are students in the class Rhetoric of Global Leadership here at Stanford University. Today we are going to tell you about our personal projects and a little bit about something that is very prevalent in our Stanford student culture.

Shruthi's project is on understanding the rhetoric of Steve Jobs, who is the founder of Apple Computers. I am planning to look at his technical and business backgrounds to understand how he has become such an effective leader.

Natalia's project is about Hugo Chavez' Anti-American, Socialist and Catholic rhetoric. More specifically, how he changes his persona based on the composition of his audience and then tailors the platform of his speech in order to align his arguments with his audiences' beliefs and opinions. Basically, analyzing how social doxa influences his speeches and pointing out the rhetorical techniques he uses.

Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears are all artists whose songs have captured the interests of young students on our campus. An easy way to connect with students at Stanford is to be able to discuss pop music today. You almost always hear their songs in the dinning hall, in dorm rooms and at parties. These pop artists have also become the idols of many young students much to the dismay of their parents because their clothing, health and academic choices are not ideal example of exemplary life decisions.

We look forward to hearing about pop culture and student life back in your home country!

Shruthi and Natalia

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If a Tree and a Bear met in a dark alley, who would win? Duh! Tree!

Hello friends from around the world!

We are George Wang and Laura Lynch from Stanford University in sunny Palo Alto, California. George prides himself in calling the beautiful and green Portland, Oregon his home (not-so-secretly referring to it constantly as the most fantastic place on the planet). He is an Undeclared second year student, which really means he is studying whatever happens to catch his fancy on any particular day. He is very excited to learn more about other cultures around the world-especially about all their delicious foods!
Laura has probably taken a class from every department at Stanford. Also a second year undergrad she has finally decided on History as a major. For Laura, home is across the country, in a small town in the north of Georgia. She is super excited to learn about all of the cultural nuances that make each others' cultures unique.

Stanford Culture 101:
For a first glimpse of Stanford culture, we'd like to tell you about...
Big Game - We take a lot of pride in our school with friendly bashing on our rival school UC Berkeley. For a week, there are various activities to boost school energy and destroy the spirit of Berkeley. One such event is the ritual skewering of Oski the Bear (a teddy bear, not to worry!) on the Claw fountain. The week ends with a football game between our two teams -"Big Game." Go Cardinal!

Research Topics:
Buried under a pile of books that might get him in trouble with the US Government, George is going to analyze the rhetoric of Osama bin Laden. Specifically, he's analyzing his appeal to religion, anti-Americanism, and Muslim youths. George wants to explore the dark side of leadership through bin Laden's extremism.
Laura is looking at a topic a little closer to home. Intrigued by the unfortunate stalemate between the United States and Cuba, she is focusing on the origins of the situation that still exists today. Laura is looking at Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy and their rhetoric surrounding the cold war. She is hoping to understand how the two novice leaders established their ethos and what other factors were interacting to create the divide between the two countries.

Swedes and the post modern way of life

Hi there,

We are three of many happy students at Örebro University (authors know that there might be unhappy students at the campus, but identify themselves as belonging to the happy bunch) and our names are Anders, Malin and Sami. We are all majoring in rhetoric. It is, in the field of rhetoric, important to have understanding of other cultures doxa; these doxa might differ from our own.

Doxa can be defined as the beliefs of one group that the majority of people in that group accept as the unquestionable ”truth”. Doxa could be defined as the common cultural beliefs of that group. To put it simple: each culture have their own doxa and these doxa differ from each other.

According to several public opinion polls conducted by CBS, USA Today and Gallup throughout several years as many as 30-40 percent of the Americans believe that God created mankind ”as it appears today”; these Americans look upon themselves as creationists. This is the doxa of these people. In contrast to this it might come as a shock for many Americans to realize that the majority of people living in Sweden do not share this opinion. It’s almost a taboo in Sweden to say that the evolution theory is incorrect. Maybe the Swedes accept ”facts” as Darwinism to easy?

Even the vast majority of the Swedish community who regard themselves as having a religious belief would find a statement like this to be ridiculous (writers estimation). According to the Swedish doxa, having such an extreme view on the origin of life, creationism is considered to be fundamentalistic and would therefore be frowned upon by most Swedes.

In the Swedish curriculum we have a broad distinction between religious studies and science. Sweden is considered to be one of the most secularized countries in the world, and to teach students that the beliefs of one religion are superior to any other beliefs is considered to be wrong. And it would definitely not be suitable in science class. To teach creationism in science classes would be to disregard science and teaching religion according to the Swedish doxa. This is an example of teachers teaching facts and students not questioning ”facts”. Well, why do we not question facts more often?

Our conclusion is that Swedish government try to brand Sweden internationally as one of the most freethinking countries in the world. Even if the Swedish doxa encourages the citizens to question authority it only does so to a certain level.

February 02, 2010

Polar bears.

Hi, we are Emelie, Rasmus and Denise. As you probably already know we’re studying rhetoric at Örebro University. Emelie is 20 years old and is about to move to the capital of Sweden, Stockholm in a couple of months. Rasmus is 21 years old, and he recently moved to Örebro from another large town, Gothenburg. Denise is 19 years old and moved to Örebro with her older sister at the end of last summer.

This is a post about what not to do, and what to do, in certain situations in Sweden.

Take your shoes off

When you visit a Swede at their place, you always take your shoes off at the door. Otherwise the Swede could get annoyed. We often got a shoe rack in the hallway, and you’ll never see a person from Sweden walk indoors with shoes on. For most people in Sweden, not taking your shoes off inside is disrespectful, since we often vacuum just before our guests arrive. And having a clean house is important for many Swedes, or well, we just don’t want you inside our homes with your shoes on.

How are you?
In Sweden, if someone asks you how you are they really want to know how you are. The explanation is simple. When you meet someone that you’re not close with, you just say “Hi”, and keep on walking. But if you meet a close friend or family, you stop and ask them how they are. And you hope that they’ll say they’re fine.

Another important thing to think about when you’re talking to a person from Sweden is how far the distance is between you. Swedes tend to get uncomfortable when you stand too close to them. We like our personal space around us, and if you get too close we might find you annoying or just creepy.

And one more thing, don’t be surprised when you don’t run into a polar bear on the streets here. Swedes do find it funny when others ask us about this. We don’t have any polar bears, but the North pole does. We on the other hand got another strange animal. It’s called a moose, and the Germans pay a lot of money to see these animals when they’re on vacation in Sweden.

“The lonely wolfs of Sweden”- The doxa in Örebro


Hi! We are Therese and Emelie from Sweden. We’re both 21 years old and both studying the Rhetoric Program at Örebro University. This is a blog about the doxa in Örebro and Sweden, with some tips on what not to do here.

Continue reading "“The lonely wolfs of Sweden”- The doxa in Örebro" »

Introducing ourselves

To have intercultural competence is to be able to communicate effectively between cultures. One of the first steps is to be aware of our own cultural bias. January 28 the students in Örebro tried the online simulation called Cage Painting, see Rimmington Alagic Third Place Learning. The purpose was to become aware of the "cages" around us that block effective communication. This week, February 4, we are going to share some of the cultural bias we have discovered. In rhetorical theory this is called our doxa, our hidden assumptions, the things we take for granted. As we present ourselves we will also say something about our culture that will be important for a conversation partner from an other culture to know. So students at Stanford and Khabarovsk, when you collaborate with the students in Örebro, you need to know some of the following things about us and our culture.
Dr. Eriksson. Örebro University

Year two of this collaboration

One year ago, winter 2009, students at Örebro University, Stanford University and Khabarovsk State Academy of Economics and Law collaborated on this blog, using the Khabarovsk-Örebro-Stanford Blogging category. You can see some of last years entries below. This year 2010 we are going to continue the conversation on-line.

The students at Örebro University study a class on intercultural communication as part of a programme in rhetoric, having Dr Anders Eriksson as their professor. The students at Stanford are taking a class in the Program of Writing and Rhetoric focusing on political leadership, with Dr Alyssa O'Brien. The students in Khabarovsk are taking a class on Intercultural Business Communication with Dr Olga Kovbasuyk. The three professors met at the fifth International Intercultural Communication Conference in Wichita Kansas may 2008.

The collaboration is going to have several phases. The students from Örebro are going to present themselves and their cultural background on February 4, post reflections on stereotypes and why they are not true by March 11, and post an abstract in english of their research papers by March 18.

Dr.Anders Eriksson, Örebro University