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Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hello friends of Central College Abroad! This newsletter, released the second Tuesday of every month, is intended to keep you in touch with what’s happening with Central College Abroad’s programming both here in the U.S. and around the world.

Central College Abroad cooperative council conference

Central College Abroad hosted its annual Cooperative Council Conference April 2-4, 2009, on the Central College campus in Pella, Iowa. Twenty-seven representatives from 19 cooperating institutions were in attendance along with the Central College Abroad Pella staff and Central College Abroad international resident directors.

Barbara Pieroni, assistant director of study abroad at University of Evansville, and Tecwyn Vaughn Jones, Bangor, Wales resident director
Barbara Pieroni, assistant director of study abroad at University of Evansville,
and Tecwyn Vaughn Jones, Bangor, Wales resident director

The conference proved to be a successful opportunity for cooperative study abroad representatives and/or faculty to meet Central’s resident directors, attend educational sessions and roundtable discussions, as well as network with colleagues in the field. This year's conference featured a highly anticipated workshop on the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI), led by GPI co-author, Larry Braskamp, professor emeritus at Loyola Chicago University and Central College alumnus. The GPI is a quantitative survey that measures a person’s global perspective.

Central College Abroad Leiden resident director, Steef Eman, presented a session on the Leiden program’s new cultural integration requirement. Jon Stauff, from Cooperating Institution Radford University, led a session on re-entry titled “Unpacking and Repacking the Bag.” Roundtable discussions were also lively as participants discussed the economic impact on study abroad, pathways to language immersion and the role of experiential learning within study abroad.

On a personal note, the Central College Abroad staff expresses their appreciation to all those who attended and thank them for their insight, suggestions and thoughts as we strive to provide meaningful study abroad experiences to students across the United States.

“The Thursday afternoon workshop was a great addition to the Coop Conference this year. It was helpful to learn about this assessment tool (the GPI) and to be able to discuss its potential applications with colleagues in the field. The interview technique demonstration in the “Unpacking the Bag” presentation was also very useful. It’s a great idea, and it will be relatively easy to put a version of that into practice for our returning students next fall. Another benefit of the annual meeting is the opportunity to hear from the program directors about new developments and to speak with them individually, most especially to speak with them about ‘my’ students.”

- Barbara Pieroni, University of Evansville

Learn more about becoming a cooperating institution at http://www.central.edu/abroad/coop/coop.cfm


Central College Abroad Annual Breakfast at NAFSA L.A. May 28

We’re excited to host a breakfast reception again at this year’s NAFSA Conference in Los Angeles on Thursday, May 28. Our annual breakfast is an informal gathering at the NAFSA conference for members of the Central College Abroad Cooperative Council and friends of Central College Abroad to meet and speak with our staff and to learn more about our programs. This year, Eric Sneddon, our director of international operations, will also be in attendance. Please watch for more information to come by e-mail.


Fashion in London

“The London College of Fashion has also been immensely helpful in instructing me specifically in fashion journalism, areas of public relations and fashion photography. I am delighted to have had this opportunity, as it will open so many doors for me in the future.”

- Martha Pierce, a current London student from Drake University.

From classes in Fashion Drawing and Illustration, Character Costume Design or European Apparel Studies to opportunities to gain firsthand experience through internships, the Central College Abroad in London program offers unique ways to get involved in the fashion scene in London. Students can choose from a variety of courses at one of our partner institutions, the London College of Fashion. Classes are just a short tube ride away from Vandon House (students’ residence) and provide the opportunity to learn from real experts in the field.

In addition to many unique course opportunities, students can intern with several local fashion organizations, benefiting from hands-on experience and perks like attending London Fashion Week as a front row spectator! Current students interning in London are active attending and reporting on fashion shows, making contacts for press releases, trying out new samples of beauty products and conducting interviews.

“The reason I came here was to gain some fashion experience,” says Kate Baratta, a Drake University student who’s interning in London this semester. “And that’s exactly what my internship, as well as London College of Fashion, is doing. Being involved in this world of fashion and being able to be on both sides of journalism — magazines and PR — I’ve really begun to see how the two work together and coincide with each other. All of this will help me in the future when I move to New York City to find a job after I graduate.”

Regardless of a student’s interest in fashion, from designing to journalism, Central College Abroad London provides one-of-a-kind opportunities.

Learn more about studying abroad in London, England.

Kata Baratta poses at her internship placement inside the showroom.
Kata Baratta poses at her internship placement inside the showroom.


Central’s Cheri Doane finalist for role in community-based learning

Cheri Doane, director of community-based learning at Central College, was one of five national finalists for the first annual Leadership Award for Campus and Community Engagement. The award, sponsored by Campus Compact, is for campus staff members who work to bring students and their communities together through service. Richard Harris, director of community service-learning at James Madison University (Va.), was the recipient of the inaugural award.

Doane has been director of community-based learning at Central for 10 years and has been very involved with the development of service-learning on campus, as well as on all of Central College Abroad’s international programs. Her work to connect students with community partners in such a way that they learn from each other helps both the community and the students. Personally visiting nearly all of Central College Abroad sites, Doane has aided resident directors in implementing service-learning opportunities so every student has the ability to broaden his or her community-based learning. Because experiential learning and cultural integration are key components to CCA’s programming, it has been vital to have Doane’s involvement in implementing the same standards for placements abroad as there are for our U.S. placements.

Cheri Doane, with husband Marty, during their visit to the Leiden, the Netherlands program.
Cheri Doane, with husband Marty, during their visit to the Leiden, the Netherlands program.

“I look forward to continuing to work with our CCA directors to expand opportunities for college students to complement their classroom learning through international community-based experiences,” said Doane. “Working with service-learning, both in Central Iowa and at our CCA host cities is incredibly rewarding.”

Learn more about becoming a coop school.


Chamber of Commerce Internship Program in Paris

Who: Sundance Visser
Major: French, linguistics; Central College 2006
Semester Abroad: Paris, France; Academic year 2004-2005
Current Job: Museum attendant at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in Fairbanks, Alaska.

“My internship was by far the best thing I did while studying abroad. My language skills improved tremendously, I gained valuable work experience, and I took advantage of some very unique opportunities.”  -Sundance Visser
“My internship was by far the best thing I did while studying abroad. My language skills improved tremendously, I gained valuable work experience, and I took advantage of some very unique opportunities.” -Sundance Visser

Memorable internship:
I took six weeks of business classes at the Chamber of Commerce (la Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris), then had the internship. With no prior business experience but a strong curiosity and willingness to learn, I spent eight weeks interning at the Société Nationale de Chemins de Fer (S.N.C.F.), France’s national train company. I worked in the human resources department and spent my days buried up to my elbows in files at a computer in the corner of an office shared with two quiet Frenchmen. I processed the applications of prospective French student interns once the S.N.C.F. had accepted or rejected them.

I also got to do a lot of fun things while interning. The people I worked with wanted their first foreign intern to have a well-rounded experience, so they sent me on several field trips. I never would have been able to tour a train repair shop in the U.S. or in France otherwise. My coworkers spoiled me with regional specialties and let me try various food and drink at the office. Even the daily act of swiping myself through that unassuming door in the train station waiting area made me feel secretly important.

The grand finale of field trips, though, was the day I rode with the engineer in the front of a high speed train. I traveled from Paris to Nantes and back in the cockpit of a train surrounded by buttons and flashing lights. I struggled to grasp the new vocabulary involved in driving a train and watched the scenery flash by at 300 kilometers per hour. I listened horrified to stories of hitting birds and cows crossing the tracks, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I spent the afternoon feeling like a giddy little kid.

How going abroad has helped:
Even though French isn't the most common second language amongst Americans, it has helped me to communicate with French tourists here at the museum in Fairbanks and to give them a better experience. I think knowing a foreign language well shows motivation and discipline, because it's not easy to learn one! I get nervous at job interviews and with starting new jobs, but knowing that I went through that whole process in a foreign country and a foreign language has helped to give me more confidence. Studying abroad has also opened some doors to opportunities abroad like teaching English in France, something I hope to do next year.


Central College Abroad in Granada, Spain, announces new excursion
to Morocco

Students share a meal with a Moroccan family.
Students share a meal with a Moroccan family.

“The trip to Morocco was phenomenal. What we saw, who we talked with, where we traveled – all opened my eyes to a completely different world. I reveled in the amazing colors and scents in the marketplace, and enjoyed how unique this world is, even though it is only separated from Spain and Europe by 14 kilometers of sea.”

- Stacey Martell, Pacific University

Beginning this spring, the Granada, Spain, program has added an exciting four-day excursion to Morocco as an official part of the semester program. The Morocco Exchange program, facilitated by cross cultural experts, offers students the opportunity to get an intimate view of life in this Islamic country. Previously an optional excursion, it is sure to be an experience filled with many cultural activities that students will never forget.

Students’ experiences in Morocco include opportunities to speak with local students and professors about Moroccan culture, evenings spent with warm, welcoming host families, and a chance to see the areas less traveled in Morocco such as a small mountain village. A very popular activity among the students is the chance to try new form of transportation — riding a camel, while admiring the coastline!

Students benefit from the many discussions during the trip that challenge them to gain a new perspective on Morocco and other Islamic nations’ role in the cultural, political and economic world. Before they leave and certainly after their return, students in Granada are reminded daily how important Islamic culture has been in the city — from looking up to Granada’s famous Alhambra to enjoying mint tea in the local teterias, Moorish tea rooms, and experiencing the unique local architecture. The Morocco Exchange provides an excellent way for students to see the origin of these things firsthand.

Learn more about the Central College Abroad program in Granda, Spain.


Laura Link, shown here outside of Granada, is pursuing a Master’s of Education, bilingual/bicultural education in hopes of teaching in Nicaragua.Alumni Spotlight — Granada, Spain

Who: Laura Link
Major: Spanish and psychology; DePauw University
Semester Abroad: Granada, Spain; spring 2007

Current Job: Student. I am in Chicago pursuing my master’s degree in education, bilingual/bicultural education at DePaul University in the hopes that I may be able to teach abroad and always be connected to the Spanish language.

How going abroad has helped: Being abroad brought me amazing experiences. Some of those were living within another culture and also the immersion into the Spanish language, which I left Granada loving and wanting more of. It is also relevant that I have played an active role in a mission in Nicaragua called Nueva Vida. I have been going there regularly to work at an orphanage and help build their new facility and a medical clinic. But living in Granada definitely gave me the sense that I could live abroad again and for longer periods of time. It opened my eyes to other opportunities in the future. For example, I hope to teach at a school in Nicaragua after I graduate.

 


A Wales Tradition — brought home

All Central College Abroad programs provide opportunities for students to get involved in the local community. Students studying in Bangor, Wales, have the distinct advantage of being able to take part in the vast organizations and clubs that are set up through the Bangor University Union. More than 70 clubs and societies offer opportunities for students to get involved in the areas of their interest. From opportunities to join a sports club and play well-known sports such as volleyball and soccer to more non-traditional sports like windsurfing and ultimate Frisbee or options to get involved in one of Bangor Universities many societies like the Fair Trade Society, the Christian Union and the Photography Society — the opportunities to get involved are endless! While studying in Wales in the spring 2008, Central College student Jeremy Swafford attended the organizational fair at the beginning of the semester. Swafford saw the rugby table and commented, “Knowing that rugby is the national sport of Wales, I had to play.” So Swafford persuaded his fellow Central College football players, David Cain and Korey Van Wyk, to join in the team as well.

The men enjoyed a successful season learning a great deal about the game. They quickly became friends with many of their fellow Welsh teammates.

“Playing over there – it was a blast!” Swafford said. “I really tried to learn as much about the game as possible. I scored 7 tries in 3 games and became the first/only American to score for the club.”

Upon return to the States, Swafford “couldn’t get enough rugby.” He noticed one day in Central’s student union that there was once a rugby club on campus, but it had been inactive for quite some time because of a lack of leadership. Swafford, Cain and Van Wyk united their friends, both study abroad alumni and some students that have never played before, and started practicing three times a week. They were thankful to get some sponsorship and now are competing competitively. The new Central College rugby team even won their inaugural game on Saturday, March 6, 2009, against the South Central Iowa league!

Learn more about studying in Bangor, Wales.

The Bangor Rugby League team poses for a picture after a win.
The Bangor Rugby League team poses for a picture after a win.


Central College hosts AAPLAC annual conference

Association of Academic Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (AAPLAC), celebrated its 20th anniversary by holding the annual conference at Central College in Pella, Iowa, Feb. 19-21, 2009. This year’s conference was titled “The Role of Study Abroad in Preparing the Next Generation for the New Global Century.”

AAPLAC was founded by former resident director of Central College Abroad in Merida, Mexico, George Ann Huck. The organization facilitates and supports programming among Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. institutions of higher learning and organizations dedicated to the promotion of cross-cultural, academic-based experiences.

This year’s conference focused on changes that have occurred in the last 20 years in study abroad and also looked forward to changes coming with the new global century. Valerie Grimsley, current resident director of Central College Abroad in Merida, Mexico, and president of AAPLAC, facilitated many of the sessions held throughout the conference and presented a session titled "Different Programs, Different Countries, Different Resources: Meeting the Needs of Disabled Students Studying Abroad."

Several Central College faculty members also held a panel session about their experiences teaching on the Merida program for a term titled “Preparing the Next Generation by Teaching in a Study Abroad Program in Yucatán, México: Goals, Reflections and Insights.” Central College Abroad in Merida invites a faculty member from Central College or our Cooperating Institutions to teach for a semester on the program. For more information on the Central College Abroad Cooperating Council, please visit http://www.central.edu/abroad/coop/coop.cfm.

David Timmer, professor of religion; George Ann Huck, former Central College Abroad Merida, Mexico, resident director; Mary Stark, professor of English; Ken Weller, former president of Central College; Jann Freed, professor of business management; Valerie Grimsley, Central College Abroad Merida, Mexico, resident director pose for a picture after one of the sessions.
David Timmer, professor of religion; George Ann Huck, former Central College Abroad Merida, Mexico, resident director; Mary Stark, professor of English; Ken Weller, former president of
Central College; Jann Freed, professor of business management; Valerie Grimsley,
Central College Abroad Merida, Mexico, resident director pose for a picture after
one of the sessions.


Contact Us

Central College Abroad
812 University Box 0140
Pella, IA 50219
800-831-3629
Fax: 641-628-5375
http://www.central.edu/abroad


DATES TO REMEMBER

Still accepting applications for fall 2009!
Contact the Central College Abroad office for details


April 15, 2009
Fall 2009 scholarship deadline


October 15, 2009
Spring 2010 application deadline


March 1, 2010
Summer 2010 application deadline


March 15, 2010
Fall 2010 and 2010 academic year application deadline


EVENTS

May 28, 2009
Central College Abroad Annual Breakfast at NAFSA L.A.


812 University
Pella, Iowa 50219
1-800-447-0287
studyabroad@central.edu