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Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, June 9, 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 programs across the globe.

One of Central College Abroad’s Spring 2009 Photo Contest winner.
One of Central College Abroad’s Spring 2009 Photo Contest winners.
See all of the spring photo contest entries.

Central College Abroad Hosted Annual Breakfast at NAFSA

Central College Abroad hosted its annual NAFSA breakfast reception Thursday, May 28, 2009, in Los Angeles, Calif. 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 Central College Abroad staff and learn more about Central’s programs.

This year 27 representatives from 24 universities attended along with the Central College Abroad staff Eric Sneddon, director of international operations; Jessica Klyn de Novelo, senior coordinator of institutional relations; and Jennifer Larson, coordinator of institutional relations.

The Central College Abroad staff express their appreciation to all who attended and thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to connect with colleagues and learn more about Central College Abroad.

Learn more about becoming a cooperating institution.

Eric Sneddon and Jessica Klyn de Novelo, Central College Abroad; Stephanie Shaker, California Lutheran University; Julie Maddox, Valparaiso University; and Lisa Loberg, California Lutheran University at Central College Abroad’s annual breakfast at NAFSA in Los Angeles, Calif.
Eric Sneddon and Jessica Klyn de Novelo, Central College Abroad; Stephanie Shaker, California Lutheran University; Julie Maddox, Valparaiso University; and Lisa Loberg, California Lutheran University at Central College Abroad’s annual breakfast at NAFSA in Los Angeles, Calif.

New this summer—Outdoor Pursuits in Bangor, Wales

Can’t fit in an entire semester abroad?  Well, good news!  Central College Abroad summer programs are designed with you in mind.  Each summer we allow students to experience the very best of our semester programs through shorter, intensive programs.  This summer, we’re excited to welcome our first group of students to the Wales summer Outdoor Pursuits program. Outdoor Pursuits is one of our most demanded semester courses and, this summer, students will spend four weeks focusing on experiential learning through challenging outdoor activities.

“Bangor is the ideal location for outdoor pursuits being on the doorstep of the Snowdonia National Park which is famous for its training opportunities in outdoor skills,” says CCA Bangor resident director Tecwyn Vaughan Jones, who co-facilitates the program along with trained instructors. “Long summer days are ideal for being outdoors and students learn to engage with the natural environment for which Wales is so famous.”

During the outdoor pursuits course students are introduced to the skills, knowledge and attitudes appropriate to the safe and enjoyable conduct of a variety of outdoor recreational activities. On this program students experience an adventure of a lifetime. Activities include:

  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Gorge scrambling
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain scrambling
  • Raft building
  • Rappelling
  • Rock climbing
  • Sailing
  • Sea level traversing
  • Surfing

Students develop skills in problem solving, communication, group work, leadership and reflective thinking through these activities four days a week.

The program also introduces students to the history, culture and identity of Wales and the Welsh people, thus enabling them to better understand and appreciate the environmental and cultural context of their outdoor activities. Two excursions include visits to Norman castles in Wales and a tour of Anglesey archaeological sites which include sites of religious and historical importance. Students will also take a weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland, which allows them to do a comparative study between two Celtic countries, Ireland and Wales.

We look forward to welcoming our first group to Bangor this July.

Learn more about the Central College Abroad summer program in Bangor, Wales.

Blog Highlight

Every semester a student from each of Central’s eight program locations blogs once a week about his or her experiences abroad. They touch on everything from daily life and classes to weekend trips and excursions. Below is an excerpt from the last blog posted by our spring semester London blogger Michael Koscielny from St. Joseph’s College in Indiana. Here are his reflections as his semester in London comes to an end.

Farewell, London

Wow. I’m done. My final days of London behind me, I’m left with longing reflections of the greatest experience that has ever happened to me, and probably ever will. I’m still in disbelief that it is all gone and finished. Looking back now, this semester is without a doubt the greatest thing I’ve ever done. Anything bad that happened seems like a joke when put into perspective. I mean, I spent four-ish months living less than a mile from both Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. I would like to publicly thank everyone who made it possible: my parents for being entirely supportive of my dream; everyone at Central who accepted my application late and still gave me the opportunity to go, especially Mark and Lauren [Central College Abroad staff] who made London so amazing and put up with me and the rest of us students.

I’ve also collected a few tidbits of advice for any future abroad students who are headed to London. Maybe these quips will aid you in your travels. They’re not much, but they’re things that have been recurring in my head as things I wish someone would have told me.

Read Mike’s blog and see his great advice or see all of Central College Abroad’s bloggers.

London blogger, Michael Koscielny, had the time of his life while studying abroad.
London blogger, Michael Koscielny, had the time of his life while studying abroad.

Normandy 1944, an unforgettable learning experience

Central College Abroad’s London program is highly regarded for its successful internships, but many may not know of another experiential learning gem: Central’s own Normandy 1944 class. This unique WWII history course, popular among history majors and non-majors alike, is offered every spring semester and focuses on the preparations for D-Day, the landings themselves and the subsequent Battle of Normandy. What makes this course truly different is that students actually visit Normandy, France. During the three-day excursion students visit the Utah Beach Museum, Pointe du Hoc and the American cemetery at St. Laurent.

“The highlight of this course is undoubtedly the field trip to Normandy where everything students learn in the classroom makes much more sense,” says Eric Sneddon, director of international operations and course instructor. “In all of my years teaching this subject and taking students on field trips, this potent mixture of education, emotion and reflection never fails to move me. I believe this sensitivity helps the students engage even more vigorously with the academic content of the class.”

Erin Kraayenbrink at the American cemetery at St. Laurent in Normandy, France.
Erin Kraayenbrink at the American cemetery at St. Laurent in Normandy, France.

Before visiting Normandy students learn about the actions of the invaders, the defenders and the occupied French, and analyze the debates around the successes and failures of the commanders. The course is taught all semester long, however, it is clear that the weekend trip to Normandy touches students the most.

“I can examine facts and figures from the 6th of June [D-Day] for days, but nothing from this semester or throughout my life can better enhance my understanding of D-Day than the emotions I felt while in Normandy, France,” says Erin Kraayenbrink, spring 2009 Normandy 1944 student. “By standing on the beachfronts, visiting the Normandy museums, watching footage of the war recorded by soldiers, and visiting the cemeteries where the fallen soldiers now rest, I easily learned more in three days than I have ever learned from being in a classroom.”

Learn more about the Central College Abroad program in London, England

Alumni Spotlight

Who: Lexie Church

Major: Business administration and Spanish, Concentration — International Studies, Texas Lutheran University 2008

Semester Abroad: Granada, Spain, spring 2007

Current Job: Financial representative

Memorable internship:
While abroad I did an internship with Intermon OXFAM, a nonprofit organization that creates awareness for fair trade among third world countries. While interning I learned the different dynamics of how a company works in a foreign country. While being similar to North American views, European business lifestyle helped me open up my view on entering the business world.

How going abroad has helped:
Once I graduated I got a job with a bank as an internal auditor. You might think, where did my "international" experience go? But this bank is different. It is an international bank dealing with international affairs. I believe that my internship and my different views of studying and working in Europe helped me land the job.

Learn more about Central College Abroad in Granada, Spain.

Lexie Church, right, and friend enjoying a day at the beach in Spain during their semester abroad.
Lexie Church, right, and friend enjoying a day at the beach in
Spain during their semester abroad.

Freed and Huck to publish book on Yucatecan women leaders

Jann Freed, professor of business management and Mark and Kay De Cook Chair in Character and Leadership Development at Central College, and George Ann Huck, former Merida, Mexico, resident director, will have a collection of essays and photographs published later this year in a book titled Thirty Women from Yucatan Who Dared to Change their World. The book showcases the remarkable lives of women in the Yucatan who are making a difference for others.

Freed and Huck started working in 1998 on a research project in the state of Yucatan, where Central College Abroad’s Merida, Mexico, program is located.

“Both of us have always been interested in women leaders and social justice. This was a natural way to combine our interests and my interest in photography,” said Freed. “We wanted to put faces to the stories to make the stories come alive.”

They interviewed elected women officials and other community leaders who were advocating for everything from clean water for their village, light posts in their part of town and education for all children in the community. These women became a driving force for changes that desperately needed to happen.

“Most of them violated social norms that would have kept them in their ‘place.’ They took it upon themselves to lead the charge and dare to step out of roles to demonstrate courage,” Freed said.

For three years, Huck worked on transcribing, translating and writing individual essays, and Freed focused on creating a photography exhibit, Daring to Be: Portraits of Women Leaders. The exhibit has been displayed throughout Iowa as well as in Yucatan.

Two of the daring women featured in the exhibit shared these comments: Abigail Huc wrote, “I wish this exhibit could be seen by all women so that they could dare to be.” Dulce Maria Sauri said, “Most important: recognize in others what women are capable of accomplishing. It takes strength and perspective to confront future challenges, whether as individuals or for our gender.”

The book is expected to be published by December 2009 by McFarland Publishing.

“For me, the book being published is a gift to people I love so much and women who have shown George Ann and I how to be daring,” said Freed. “Their stories inspired us and kept us working hard.”

Both Freed and Huck have longstanding connections to the Yucatan and Central’s Merida, Mexico, program. Freed studied abroad in Merida, Mexico, in 1975 with Central College Abroad and then returned two separate semesters as a Central College professor. She has also recently served as one of the faculty liaisons for the program. Huck served as the Merida resident director for over 30 years. Central College Abroad congratulates them on this great achievement!

Learn more about Central College Abroad in Merida, Mexico.

Contact Us

Central College Abroad
812 University Box 0140
Pella, IA 50219
Fax: 641-628-5375

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Pella, Iowa 50219