Welcome to Icaworld.nl

The e-learning environment for operational interns at Hotel Management School Maastricht. It helps you to exchange and learn from cultural experiences while living and working abroad. It is also a treasure trunk for anyone interested in cultural diversity and intercultural communication.


In this blog, our ICAR correspondent Oliver Heinzmann tells us about his experiences at the 200 th commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo. Read and enjoy!


Surely I cannot be the only one who has ever heard someone say, “Imagine if the Germans had won the Second World War, we would be speaking German now!” The fact of the matter is that they may  possibly be right. There is indeed a chance I would be writing this blog auf Deutsch, had things gone a bit differently 70 years ago. However, you rarely, if ever, hear someone saying “Imagine if Napoleon had defeated the British and their allies in the Battle of Waterloo 200 years ago, we would be speaking French now!” Well now that I think about it… would we? 200 years ago on the 18th of June 1815, after his escape from exile, Napoleon Bonaparte’s quest to reclaim his lost empire came to an abrupt end when he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington and his Prussian and Dutch/Belgian allies, changing the course of history… forever...

Seriously though, clichés aside, history absolutely fascinates me. I always try and imagine what it would be like to have lived in those times, or what it would have been like to fight in such a war… Well, I can assure you that it would have been absolutely terrifying because last weekend I got as close as you can get!  I had the privilege of attending the much-anticipated bicentennial commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo, which hosted a world record breaking reenactment of the battle, with a little over 6000 reenactors and 300 horses participating. The event was spread across four days, from Thursday, June 18th to Sunday 21st, with the reenactment taking place on Friday and Saturday.  It was mind-blowing.

Before I begin, let me ask you a question. Are you by any chance familiar with the phrase “Good things come to those who wait.”? Well they do. The four hours of traffic, queuing, and waiting we went through before we finally managed to get to our seats prove that they do.


A. Hoefnagels | 10-07-15 | 11:58 | Permanent Link

To prepare or not to prepare: that 's the question!

In this blog, Frederique Martens shares her thoughts about the road to the operational internship.


To prepare or not to prepare? That is the question about the upcoming operational internship, starting this summer for me. For the first time in my life I am going abroad for half a year and most of the time I will stand on my own. Unexpected things will happen to me, which I will have to deal with.

Of course, we all know preparing yourself is the best way to start an internship. But this subject does not pass me by without a few questions. What if you are too prepared? Or can’t you be too prepared? So you could ask yourself the following question: how explicitly do you prepare yourself? This question is running through my head all the time concerning my internship. Will I get an answer to this question or shall I have to find it out by myself?


A. Hoefnagels | 24-06-15 | 21:40 | Permanent Link

Will Arabic be the Latin of the future

Blog by Oliver Schafer


The end of this century could well see more than half of the world’s 7000 languages vanishing, according to National Geographic’s Disappearing Languages project. At a recent conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, alarm bells have started to ring that Arabic may well be one of them.

The Arabic language developed in the 6th century AD in many areas of the Middle East and North Africa. Today, the only official form of Arabic is called Modern Standard Arabic, which is utilised at formal occasions such as in government institutions or in the news. The language knows many different dialects and accents, varying from country to country, some varieties cannot be understood by others. Therefore, if one would address the linguistics of Arabic, it would likely to be
considered to include more than just one language. Measured as a single language, Arabic is spoken by approximately 280 million speakers worldwide.


Interestingly enough, although the language knows many speakers, fears are spreading in the UAE about the demise of Arabic in this modern era. According to The National, an English-language newspaper in the UAE, there is a very real threat to the future of this ancient language.


The National claims that


A. Hoefnagels | 21-06-15 | 18:37 | Permanent Link

The Cycle of Life: Returning to Belgium 15 years later.

Read all about the life story of 3rd culture kid Oliver Heinzmann


When someone asks you where you are from, I am guessing it’s not the type of question that makes you stop and think. Lucky you. For me, unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Maybe “unfortunately” is the wrong word, but I digress. It’s always been a question of where do I start? Do you mean “where were you born?” “Where did you grow up?” “Where are your parents from?” Do I give them the quick version or do I give them the full run through? A prime example of Third Culture Kid “problems”…


I was born in Belgium to a Belgian Father (don’t worry it gets more complicated) and a Cuban-American Mother (told you.) My mom is 100% Cuban but her family immigrated, legally of course and not on floating debris, to the United States when she was 14, and thus provided my brother and I with American citizenship. With American Citizenship comes an American Passport, and that
combined with my Belgian passport is like my master key to the world. Traveling is a breeze, especially when your dad works in aviation,  and I am very lucky to have travelled all over the world, but I digress, yet again.

So, I am Belgian-American on paper, and Belgian-Cuban by blood. Good, it’s settled. Now
we can move on to the next part of the story: where I grew up.


A. Hoefnagels | 13-06-15 | 20:44 | Permanent Link

Amos Yee: An exception to the rule of power distance in Singapore

Amos Yee is a 17 year old student from Singapore who regularly posts videos in which he satirizes the customs and practices of his home country. His most recent videoblog titled 'Lee Kuan Yew is finally dead' was a step to far for local authorities. Lee Kuan Yew is the former prime minister of Singapore who died last April. Yew was a very strict ruler who promoted the Asian values theory, meaning that individual freedoms and human rights are overvalued Western preoccupations, and that authoritarian regimes are ok provided they bring wealth and order. This notion fits in with Singapore's high power distance values. But then there is a young person who challenges it all. A person who refuses to be silenced. In his 18 minute blog, Amos called Yew a horrible person, a terrible leader who ruled as a dictator. The man controlled the media, abused the legal system to floor opponents and created a country in which unhappiness and inequality rule, people make the longest working days in the world and nobody dares to speak up. The public prosecutor immediately pressed charges againt Yee and he was arrested.


A. Hoefnagels | 16-05-15 | 17:03 | Permanent Link

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