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The Merida program offers truly amazing opportunities for language and culture immersion through coursework as well as the homestay option, internships and service-learning.
– Valerie Grimsley
Merida program director

meet the director

Every Central College Abroad program boasts a resident director who plays a unique role in students' experience. Directors provide academic advising; teach a hands-on seminar, where students learn about the host city and then experience it first hand, and lead the cultural excursions connected to the seminar class. Central College Abroad takes pride in the personalized attention that it can provide students.

Valerie Grimsley

Valerie Grimsley, the on-site resident director in Merida since 2008, brings over 20 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge about Mexico, its culture and cross-cultural understanding. While an undergraduate student at Central College, Valerie studied on the Merida program. She describes her studies on Central's program as the pivotal experience of her life and strives to bring that same experience to today's program participants. 

While steeping her students in Mexican history, Valerie gets students to think about their future. She is a specialist in vocational rehabilitation, which comes in handy as she helps Central College Abroad students plan their careers. Based on that experience, she works to tie the entire Merida experience together, finding coursework that meets a student’s academic needs and language level.

As the on-site resident director, Valerie facilitates personal growth and learning by offering on-site support, academic advising and a complete on-site orientation to Merida, Yucatan and Mexico.

Academic credentials
  • Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, Central College
  • Master of Science in international business administration, Central Michigan University
  • ABD in health administration, Central Michigan University


You'll find Valerie...

In her office at the Central College Abroad House. Her responsibilities include everything from planning excursions and setting up internships to taking students to the doctor.