Season 1

You can listen to each episode right here on this website!

Listen to our most recent episodes here!

Episode 019 – Nations Meet Through Dance [English]

In this episode, Dr. J interviews the co-owner of the Crescendo Conservatory, Christina Valdez, as well as two dancers, Ella Shan and Brooke Bluebaugh. The interview focuses on the biographies and cultural heritage of the dancers and how they come together through this art form.

 The episode is in English. Chinese and Spanish are also spoken about.

Episode 018 – From Opera to Teaching – an Interview with Carl Kanowsky [English]

Carl Kanowsky’s academic path and career have taken him from California, USA to Korea and then again to Hamburg, Germany. Whether singing opera or teaching, Carl has had some fascinating experiences around the world. The second part of the episode focuses on Carl’s teaching English through song lyrics. Carl also goes into detail about one of his class sessions based on the musical “My Fair Lady,” sharing not only great lessons about music and music history, but also about English vocabulary and vocabulary building. 

 The entire episode is in English.

Episode 017 – The Fabulous Crescendo Conservatory [English]

In this episode, Dr. J inteviews Michele Hamlett-Weith, the founder and co-owner of the Crescendo Ballet and Dance Conservatory, and discusses the multicultural aspect of ballet, from its French terminology and origins, to the Italian school, the Russian school, and the American neoclassical form led by George Balanchine. Michele, a former principal dancer and member of the Kansas City Ballet Company, shares stories about her upbringing, training, and career. She also explains her teaching methodology and the goals and ideals of the Crescendo Conservatory. In the second part of the interview, Dr. J speaks to one of Michele’s students, Kyle Price, who grew up taking classes at the conservatory, and is a successful and brilliant dancer and student. 

 The entire episode is in English.

Episode 016 – From In-Vitro to Solving the Problems of the World – An Interview with Dr. Gregory Starks [English]

In the first part of the episode, Dr. Starks speaks about medicine and medical education in the US. He delves into how medical knowledge is passed on in practice and into details about in-vitro fertilisation. In the second part, Dr. Starks joins Dr. J in trying to solve the problems of the world. Dr. Starks and Dr. J speak about technology, the overabundant use of screens, about plastic, general culture, work-life balance and more.

 The entire episode is in English.

Episode 015 – Saying Hello Around the World [English]

Making initial contact in a foreign culture is at the same time very difficult and very important. How we approach people whose language and culture we are not very familiar with sets the tone for the rest of the experience. In this episode, Dr. J explores the basics for Chinese, Farsi, Russian and Turkish. With the help of four amazing students from around the world, Dr. J tries to learn how to say hello and engage in basic conversation in these four languages.

 The entire episode is in English. Some Chinese, Farsi, Russian, and Turkish expressions are discussed in English.

Episode 014 – An Interview with Cypriot Filmmaker Marios Piperides [English]

Marios Piperides is a Greek Cypriot writer and filmmaker from the divided city of Nicosia. His feature film, “Smuggling Hendrix” has thrilled audiences around the world and has earned honors ranging from Best International Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival to Best Feature Film at the Montenegro Film Festival and at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. The first part of this interview was recorded during dinner at an Italian restaurant. While the sound quality suffers slightly, the conversation is up-close and personal, and offers great insight into the “Cyprus problem,” which is at the center of Marios Piperides’ light political comedy about the absurdity of borders and a little dog getting caught up in it. The episode includes excerpts from the Q&A session held after the premiere of Smuggling Hendrix in Hamburg, Germany. Marios Piperides and Dr. J wrap up the episode with thoughts about language and identity, and play a sound bite from the movie, that answers the question: “Do you know how a dog barks in Dutch?” 

The entire episode is in English.

Episode 13: Spanish Lessons with the Instituto Cervantes [English / Spanish]

This episode deals with teaching Spanish, the diversity of the Spanish language, the beauty and the richness of the language, how best to learn the language, and the differences between Spanish from Spain and Latin America. Joined by Verónica Guijas Gento, Dr. J interviews the director of the Instituto Cervantes in Hamburg, Pedro Eusebio Cuesta as well as Víctor Gonzales Sanches, professor in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid, Spain.

The interview is in Spanish, but the episode is narrated in English.

Episode 12: Medicine in the US: An Interview with Dr. Tom Franey [English]

Dr. Tom Franey graciously answers Dr. J’s questions about studying medicine in the US and explains the most important aspects of the US medical system. Dr. J is joined in this episode by her husband, Dr. Hendrik Runte, who is a German physician, specialized in anesthesiology. The second part of the episode goes into a more in-depth comparison of day-to-day working practices in Germany and the US, and into discussing treatment protocols for ailments ranging from breast cancer and thyroid cancer to operations of the gall bladder and hernias. Finally, Dr. Franey talks about being a Kansas City doctor and about his personal attachment to Kansas City, Missouri.

Languages spoken in this episode: English

Teaching Resources

Episode 11: Meet Our Diplomats: Darion Akins (Consul General, USA) [English]

Consul General Darion Akins and Dr. J speak about what it means to be an American diplomat and a Texan at that! Darion Akins talks about his college years at Texas A&M, his experiences as a volunteer in the Peace Corps and about his travels to Zambia and Japan. The central message of this episode is that with a little effort, constructive and positive communication as well as mutual understanding can take place everywhere around the world.

Languages spoken in this episode: English

Teaching Resources

Episode 10: Georgia on my Mind – An Interview with Teona Shanidze and Lasha Kerdikashvili [English]

Teona and Lasha speak to Dr. J about growing up in Georgia – the country in the Caucasus, not the US state. The episode paints a beautiful picture of Georgia – the language, the food, the sense of humor, the importance of friendships and relationships. Teona and Lasha also explain what led them to fall in love with Germany and in particular with the city of Hamburg. Lasha says towards the end of the episode, “My heart beats for Georgia and Germany.” His statement marks the underlying sentiment of this episode, filled with memories of childhood and questions about belonging.

Languages spoken in this episode: The entire interview is in English. The episode includes very brief exchanges in Georgian, Russian, German and Spanish.

Teaching Resources

Episode 9: At the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art with Director/CEO Julián Zugazagoitia [English]

Julián Zugazagoitia and Dr. J first discuss the linguistic and sociological effects and implications of being not only bilingual but multilingual. The conclusion is that speaking several languages can show people how life is nuance and how the many different ways of looking at the world are all legitimate.

The second part of the interview concentrates on the museum experience, and Julián Zugazagoitia draws on his intimate knowledge of many renowned museums around the world. The focus, however, is the amazing Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and how the museum represents the world in the heart of the Midwest with its fabulous and rich collections of art and its community outreach programs.

The entire interview is in English. The episode includes one brief exchange in Spanish, one in French and one in German.

Episode 8: At the Elbphilharmonie with Barbara Lebitsch [English / German]

This episode takes us to the amazing Elbphilharmonie (the Elbe Philharmonic Hall) in Hamburg, Germany where Dr. J interviews artistic managing director Barbara Lebitsch. Dr. J and Barbara Lebitsch talk about the incredible artists the Elphi hosts and welcomes from around the world and the richness of the cultures and artistic styles that are represented. Filled with anecdotes and stories, the interview also offers insight into the challenges of communicating with artists who come from such diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

The interview is in German.The narration and the interview summary are in English.

Episode 7: Meet Our Diplomats: Laurent Toulouse (Consul General, France) [English / French]

Consul General to France, Laurent Toulouse generously spends over an hour talking to Dr. J about his relationship with languages, his love of the German language, his personal international family background, the role English has played in his professional life, his work with the Institut français in Hamburg, and much more. A warm and intimate view into the life and work of a great diplomat.

The interview in this episode is in French. The narration and interview summary are in English.

Teaching Resources

Episode 6: Meet Our Diplomats: Pedro Villena Pérez (Consul General, Spain) [English / Spanish]

Consul General to Spain, Pedro Villena Pérez offers great insights into the variety of languages and dialects spoken in Spain. Dr. J and Consul General Villena Pérez explore the use of English in diplomatic circles and talk about the pros and cons of English as a world language.

The interview in this episode is in Spanish. The narration and interview summary are in English.

Episode 5: Language & Identity – An Interview with Nora Heaven [English / German / Hungarian]

One of the central topics of this podcast is cultural identity. In this episode Dr. J welcomes a good friend, Nora Heaven, to the podcast and focuses on the question of what it is like to juggle three languages and cultures on a daily basis. Nora’s parents are Hungarian, her husband is English and she was born and raised in Germany. Nora and Dr. J experiment with speaking English, German and Hungarian together to see how their voices, their body language and their general mood and attitude change with each language.

Most of the interview is in English, with one brief part in German and a short segment in Hungarian.

Episode 4: Saying Hello: The Roman Edition [English / Spanish / French / Portuguese]

Dr. J interviews students and educators from around the world about saying hello in Romance languages – specifically Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. Adita Gordillo de Buchacher, Verónica Guijas Gento and Melanie Lopez Flores speak about Spanish. Dr. J interviews a group of international university students about saying hello in French and speaks to Faustine Guillard about French in France and Belgium.  Arianna Rivero sheds light on speaking Italian, while Ricardo Filho and his students welcome Dr. J to their Portuguese class.

The interviews are in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. The narration and interview summaries are in English.

Episode 3: Meet the Artists: András Siebold from Kampnagel and the Band Sazou [English]

András Siebold is the Artistic Director of the International Summer Festival at Kampnagel, a well known theater in Hamburg, Germany. He joins Dr. J to talk about working with artists from around the world and the linguistic and cultural opportunities and difficulties this generates. András Siebold talks about Robert Wilson, Jonathan Safran Foer as well as many other artists and performers he has worked with, including La(Horde), Aszure Barton, Josh ‚Socalled‘ Dolgin, Vasya Run and Kuro Tanino.

The Hamburg band Sazou joins Dr. J for the second part of this episode and generously performs one of the songs from their recently released album.

Languages spoken in this episode: English.

Episode 2: Language Acquisition in Children and Adolescents [English / German]

Senator Ties Rabe starts off this episode with his views on teaching languages in schools. Senator Rabe and Dr. J tackle questions about bilingualism and multilingualism, studying abroad, and the role of parents in language learning. Dr. J then continues discussing language acquisition in children with several educators from Kindergarten to High School—elementary school teachers Esther Sydow and Dr. Tatjana Kuhn, high school teacher Rainer Pieper and kindergarten teacher Diana Cortés.

All the interviews in this episode are in German. The narration and interview summaries are in English.

Episode 1: Saying Hello: The Anglo-Saxon Way [English / German]

The topic of this episode is saying hello in English and in German. Dr. J speaks to three expats in Hamburg, Germany – Ben Feddersen from the US, Orla Mac Mahon from Ireland and Peter Witchalls from England – as well as to an international group of university students, producer Sarah and a retired Hamburg firefighter. The focus is not the words and vocabulary used in greeting somebody, but the intricate social and psychological aspects of starting up a conversation, whether you do so in your mother tongue or in a foreign language or culture.

Languages spoken in this episode: English. There is one brief interview at the end in German.

Teaching Resources

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