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Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, July 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 programs across the globe.

Drawing in Leiden is just one of Central College Abroad’s art
Drawing in Leiden is just one of Central College Abroad’s art
course offerings in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Central College Abroad welcomes new director for Hangzhou, China, program

Central College Abroad is pleased to announce the appointment of a new resident director for its Hangzhou, China, program. Li Shumin started her position officially on July 1, but has been working with the former director, David Purnell, for the last two months as she transitions into her new role. Purnell will resume his faculty responsibilities on Central College’s Pella, Iowa, campus after leading the Hangzhou program the last two years.

Li Shumin received her bachelor’s degree in English for science and technology and holds a master’s degree in linguistics and applied linguistics from Shanghai Institute of Mechanical Engineering. She is currently working toward completion of a doctorate degree in linguistics from Shanghai University of International Studies.

Central College Abroad’s new China resident director, Li Shumin (left).
Central College Abroad’s new China resident director, Li Shumin (left).

Li Shumin comes to the position with ample experience in international education and a good understanding of U.S. students. She was a visiting scholar at Central College for the 2001-2002 academic year teaching Chinese language and culture. Since 1993, she has worked at Zhejiang University, our affiliate school in China, as an English professor within the School of International Studies. She has also directed the Graduate English Teaching Group, led the student affairs section of the graduate class and has been assistant to the dean of the International College, where Central College Abroad students take their Chinese language courses. She is excited to welcome her first group of Central College Abroad students this fall.

Learn more about Central College Abroad in Hangzhou, China.

Alumni Spotlight

As part of the required course in Leiden, The Netherlands and its European Context, students participate in an activity or a project in an area of their interest as a way to further integrate into Dutch society. Here we highlight past student, Peter Siegenthaler, as he shares about his Pater Siegenthaler painting his muralintegration project — painting a mural in Leiden.

Who: Peter Siegenthaler
Major: Art; Roger Williams University
Semester Abroad: Leiden, the Netherlands; fall 2008
Integration project: Painting a mural at a local art center

When I came to Leiden, I noticed that there was a fair amount of public art already installed; I was interested in painting a mural. I was able to contact the curator of the Kunstcentrum, an old public school building housing artists and their studios. She agreed to let me paint in the school's former gymnasium, now in use as a theatre space for children.

I drew the mural freehand and projected it on one wall of the space. It took me two and a half weeks to complete, maybe 30 hours spread out over that time. The mural is in four parts — a humanoid emerging from geometric forms.

I met locals, all artists and talked with them about what I was doing. They would visit while I was painting during the day. I would visit the studios throughout the building as well, and if the owners were there, would look to see what they were making.

Learn more about Central College Abroad in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Peter Siegenthaler’s finished mural of a humanoid emerging from geometric forms.
Peter Siegenthaler’s finished mural of a humanoid emerging from geometric forms.

Students experience theatre from theory to production in Vienna, Austria

Vienna is the cultural capital of Austria so it’s no wonder it is a perfect location to learn about theatre. Central College Abroad’s Vienna program offers an experiential based course, Theatre in Theory and Praxis, where students are introduced to European theatre traditions. Each semester five plays are chosen by Frau Mag. Eva Andreewitch, who has taught the course for almost 20 years. Even with her years of experience she still views each performance ahead of time to guarantee students see a high quality show. Performances are selected from venues around Vienna — from the national theatre to small independent theatres — to expose students to Vienna’s theatrical variety.

“I really enjoyed [the theatre course] because I felt like we covered all aspects of a play — we would read it first; discuss how it could be brought to the stage, talk about the author, the time and culture it played in, and all the little details of the piece,” said Heidi Sundstrom from Calvin College who took the course spring 2009. “After seeing the play, we would then discuss it and compare our notes with those of the critics. It was a very thorough analysis of each piece.”

Students enrolled in Theatre in Theory and Praxis attending an evening theatre production in Vienna, Austria.
Students enrolled in Theatre in Theory and Praxis attending an
evening theatre production in Vienna, Austria.

At least once a semester the class has the privilege of discussing the play with a stage director, production assistant, cast member, costume or stage designer or another member of the production. Rounding out their understanding of European theatre, students also visit a workshop where stage sets are constructed and receive a back stage tour of the national museum.

During the course of the semester, students learn about the major historical periods influencing European theatre as well as how to analyse and critically approach theatre. They also obtain a higher level of proficiency in oral and written expression in German as the course is taught entirely in German.

“I would recommend this course, even if someone is not particularly interested in theatre. It's a good introduction [to theatre], and if nothing else, getting to see theatre pieces in some of the oldest theatres in Vienna is definitely worth the experience!” Said Sundstrom.

Learn more about Central College Abroad in Vienna, Austria.

Event planning internship in London

London internship photoWho: Erin Gehlsen
Major: Marketing and Management, University of Iowa, May 2009
Semester Abroad: London Summer 2007

Memorable internship: I interned with an event planning company that organized a wide variety of events, ranging from charity awards dinners, sales incentive trips, three-day business seminars, and holiday events for businesses, located near London Bridge and the Borough Street Market. I worked a lot on the logistical aspects of events such as arranging accommodations, booking venues and ushers, confirming reservations and writing scripts for event ceremonies. I was able to attend many of the events I worked on and also some of the great venues including the posh hotel, Savoy, in Central London.

How going abroad has helped: This internship gave me the opportunity to jump out of my comfort zone, immerse myself into a foreign culture, and meet so many great people. I am currently still in contact with the company I interned for. After graduating in May with a degree in marketing and management, I hope to go back to London and obtain my MBA in International Marketing.

Learn more about Central College Abroad in London, England

Two cities, one program! Intensive language and culture preparation in Tours, France

On Central College Abroad’s Paris program students get to experience the big city life in Paris, but they also get a glimpse into the slower paced side of French life in Tours, France, allowing for a broader understanding of the country and French culture.

This intensive language and culture preparation offers many highlights, from the opportunity to see French family life first-hand through home stays to studying at the prestigious Institute of Touraine. Students are in Tours for four weeks in the fall and two weeks in the spring earning them three summer term or two January term credits before the start of their semester in Paris.

Students also receive cultural orientation from Paris resident director, Shelley Cavaness. The orientation is supplemented by informational meetings, comparative cultural discussions and excursions tailored to students’ interest. Nestled in the Loire Valley students visit the many well known castles, stop at a local vineyard and take a cooking class. Also during orientation students get an insider’s look at French cuisine with a four course meal at a local culinary school prepared by young French students.

Students enjoying their time in the Loire Valley in front of Chambord Castle.
Students enjoying their time in the Loire Valley in front of Château de Chambord.

“Tours was an awesome start to the program. My host family even called it ‘une petite Paris’." Said Sarah Hamilton from Central College who studied in Paris spring 2009. “Starting small allows you to focus more on learning the customs, getting to know the others in your program before you're separated in the city, as well as starting to facilitate interaction with the locals without the interference of the sometimes-overwhelming amount of things that you're suddenly dealing with in a bigger city. Tours was kind of like the training wheels on the big French bike, so to speak.”

Tours offers many opportunities for students to explore on their own, visiting the old cathedrals, markets, attending festivals or even bike riding on the river front.

“Tours has the advantage of being slower than Paris, and it is a manageable size to adjust to in the first weeks. By the end of the sojourn our students feel ready and are excited to take on Paris,” says resident director Shelley Cavaness.

Learn more about Tours intensive language and culture orientation.

Contact Us

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

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812 University
Pella, Iowa 50219