For Fun

The following is a list of OIS Staff recommendations for different, cross-cultural entertainment and experiences.  These are personal opinions of the staff.  If you have recommendations to add or for us, please email Kati Von Lehman.  Enjoy!


  • Agora (Spain) - It is based on the true story of the life of a female astronomer in Alexandria who was teaching her scientific beliefs to a class of male students. It depicts the conflict of the astronomer between scientific and superstitions in ancient times. It was part of my final project while I was studying in Spain.  -Yagmur Usta-Cater
  • Aguirre, The Wrath of God (Germany) - This Werner Herzog film is interesting, about a group of 16th c. conquistadores and their unhinged leader travelling the Amazon looking for El Dorado. All shot on location, kind of haunting, perfect for a 2am screening.  -Jay Evick
  • Animal World (China) - This movie is very violent, but it is a story of how Rock, Paper, Scissors can be a life or death game and Michael Douglas is randomly in it!  -Kati Von Lehman
  • Bon Cop Bad Cop (Canada) - This is my favorite film because it pokes fun at the cultural differences/stereotypes of Quebec and Ontario.  -Caitlin Dawson
  • Cinema Paradiso (Italy) – A post-WWII story about friendship, love, and art. An Italian classic. -Sarah Geisler
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (China) - I saw this for the first time at a movie theatre in Nicaragua, so to be honest, I had a hard time following exactly what was going on, due to the Mandarin audio and Spanish subtitles. I was blown away at the elegance of the action scenes.   -Richard Sherman
  • In the Mood for Love (China) - I like the scenery and music. It's a classic.  -Lou Deemer
  • Leto (Russia) - It is based on the Russian band Kino's lead singer Viktor Tsoi and other Soviet musicians from the Leningrad underground rock music scene. The soundtrack is incredible with music from the Talking Heads, T. Rex, Iggy Pop, Kino and more. There is even a scene where they have a fake music video with superimposed graffiti effects and break the fourth wall to tell you the scene "didn't really happen".  -Rachel Vandevort
  • Life is Beautiful (Italy) - It's a hard movie to watch, but I loved "Life is Beautiful".  Very poignant. -Sara Jones
  • Pan's Labyrinth (Spain) - The film is set in Spain during the brutal Franco era. It's called a fantasy horror but it's one of those movies that tries to make you understand history in a visceral way. If you haven't seen it, you really have to! -Jean Wenner 
  • The Double Life of Veronique (France) - This is one of my favorite French films. It was directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski and focuses on the the duality of his own immigrant identity (he immigrated to France from Poland).  -James Courtney
  • The Intouchables (France) - It’s funny, emotional, inspiring. Definitely tugs at the heartstrings! Watch it once and you’ll never forget it.  -Kaylee Burns
  • The Orphanage (Spain) - A horror film that still gives me the creeps all these years later.  -Matt Morehead
  • The Weasel's Tale (Argentina) - It has an acid humor with an incredible final.  -Cintia Benitez

Family Favorites

  • Dangal (India) - This was a great story about a father coaching his daughters to become wrestling champions.  My whole family loved this movie! -Kati Von Lehman
  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Malawi) - Another family movie based on a true story about how a boy created windmills to save his village from famine. -Kati Von Lehman

TV Shows

  • 1899 (Germany) - 1899 is about a group of immigrants traveling to America from Europe. It starts off as a kind of haunting mystery that forces people to work together (who don't speak each others languages) to figure it out. But there's a Sci-Fi twist at the end so right in my wheelhouse!  -Jean Wenner
  • Babylon Berlin (Germany) - German neo-noir historical crime series. Beautiful settings and costumes.  -Richard Sherman
  • Chernobyl (UK) - It was a 2019 series on HBO released right before shut down, so well done and thorough. -Matt Morehead 
  • Contra las Cuerdas (Mexico) - super fun Netflix show about a recent convict trying to win her daughter's respect as a luchadora in Mexico City. -James Courtney
  • Derry Girls (Ireland) - It follows a couple teenage girls in Northern Ireland during the troubles era. It's super funny, despite its setting. -Lou Deemer
  • High Seas (Spain) - This is a period murder mystery set on a luxury liner crossing the Atlantic.  -Kati Von Lehman
  • Into the Night (Belgium) - This is a sci-fi thriller series- is about the survival story of a group of people when radiation from the sun causes a global disaster on Earth.  -Yagmur Usta-Cater
  • Money Heist (Spain) - it is a thriller that make you want to watch next episode each time. It is about professional criminals that have a plan to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. -Cintia Benitez 
  • Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience (Canada) - Canadian comedies about two hilarious families.  -Sarah Geisler
  • Verano Azul (Spain) - an early 80's Spanish series, it was a "coming-of-age" series about Spanish kids growing up in a post Franco era.  -Matt Morehead

Family Favorites


  • Aloha Got SoulMusic from and about Hawaii can be as breezy and light as you'd want it, especially for summer. A couple of labels I follow re-release hard-to-find gems from the past depending on genre, location, etc., so plenty of goodies out there! -Jay Evick
  • Behemoth - Polish pagan black metal, my favorite music to listen to at the grocery.  -Matt Morehead
  • Eurovision! - not a specific artist or anything – but its cool to look through the back logs from the competition and find some good jams from random participating countries. I'm super salty about La Zarra not winning.   -James Courtney
  • DJ Sama’ Abdulhadi - for all the techno people!  She is a beast.  -Lou Deemer
  • Gillian Hills - an English singer but was born in Egypt and spent a number of years in France so she sings a lot of her songs in French. She’s so fun and groovy!  -Kaylee Burns
  • João Gilberto - seminal voice of Bossa Nova from Brazil. -Richard Sherman 
  • Julieta Venegas - She is a Mexican singer whose albums I seem to listen on repeat. Limon y Sal is my favorite song from her. -James Courtney
  • La Bottine Souriante - old timey Quebecois folk music. Sounds very close to bluegrass/Appalachian music to me. I love it. -Caitlin Dawson
  • Lykke Li - I love this artist.  She is a Swedish pop singer. She has a really haunting sound to her music. -Rachel Vandevort 
  • Pat ThomasI love his voice, his live performances really showcase the energy and love he and his band really put into their music. -Jay Evick
  • Piazzolla - tango music that is great to listen to while working.  I always start with Adios Nonino. -Cintia Benitez
  • Renee Martel - the QUEEN of French-Canadian country music.  -James Courtney
  • Youssoupha - Youssoupha is a French/Congolese rapper.  I love how lyrical his Francophone rap is. -Kati Von Lehman

Family Favorites

  • Animal Playground by Putumayo Kids (Various) - This is a fun collection of songs from different countries and in several languages that people of all ages will dance to.  -Kati Von Lehman


  • A Culture Story - The purpose of A Culture Story is to highlight guests’ stories speaking about their personal cross-cultural experiences.
  • Rough Translations - Rough Translation focuses on “stories from far off places that hit close to home”; these are stories that are from around the globe but hold relevance to U.S listeners.
  • Generation Travel Radio - This podcast shares the stories of people from diverse backgrounds whose lives have been changed – academically, professionally, personally – from their international experiences.
  • Culture Flow - Culture Flow discusses how “culture moves us and informs how we move through the world” with the purpose of supporting listeners into becoming Global Citizens.
  • Under the Same Sky - This podcast features conversations centered around diversity, inclusion, and social justice through the perspectives of both experts and those who have undertaken significant intercultural journeys.
  • As Told by Nomads - As Told by Nomads features interviews focused on how to be better and more inclusive global leaders featuring diverse changemakers, global nomads, Third Culture Kids, and entrepreneurs.
  • Cross-Culturally - This podcast features a weekly guest from a different country and highlights different perspectives and ways of life.
  • Culturally Attuned - Through featuring stories and lessons for working in unfamiliar cultures, the Culturally Attuned podcast hopes to answer how people can work effectively across the world’d culturally divides.
  • Making Global Learning Universal - This podcast features conversations within higher education focused on diverse perspectives, collaboration, and problem solving.
  • The Salad Bowl Recipe - To increase intercultural competence, The Salad Bowl Recipe podcast gives listeners a tour of diverse cultures to answer whether we are actually interculturally sensitive, or do we just think we are?
  • The Sporkful -  This podcast provides conversation about the many angles – science, history, economics, race, culture – in which we engage with food.
  • Seeing Color - Seeing Color discusses the white-dominated art world by talking with artists of color and cultural workers speaking on topics that shift between art and race.