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Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 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.

Central College Abroad fall 2009 photo contest entry
Central College Abroad students at Stonehenge

Save the Date! Central College Abroad Cooperating Council

Please join us for Central College Abroad’s annual Coop Council meeting! Events will run Thursday through Saturday, April 8-10, 2010. Join us on Thursday in the afternoon and on Friday, April 9, to hear first-hand updates from our on-site program directors and participate in educational sessions. On Saturday, we invite you to stay for our morning pre-departure orientation for students and their parents. A formal invitation will follow, but clear your calendar today and plan to attend an informative and fun program with Central College Abroad.

For more info on the Cooperating Council, visit:

Intern with an artist in Leiden

Sydney Williams with Moritz Ebinger in Leiden, the Netherlands

Leiden offers a vibrant cultural and arts atmosphere. Sydney Williams is currently experiencing the artistic atmosphere of Leiden with her internship.

Who: Sydney Williams
Double Major: Environmental studies and art, Central College
Semester Abroad: Leiden, the Netherlands, fall 2009

About my internship: I am interning with artist Moritz Ebinger. I am working with him to complete work for an exhibition this December at Museum Boijmans in Rotterdam. I help with organizing his work, prepping materials, contacting participants and providing input for the exhibit. I have also done a lot of work in InDesign, putting together different pieces for the exhibit.

How this will help me in the future: This internship not only gives me an inside look to the lifestyle of an artist, but allows me the opportunity to interact with Moritz and learn about the work that goes into putting together an exhibition for a museum. I have enjoyed working with Moritz and experiencing his creative, enthusiastic attitude towards art. Since I work in Moritz' studio, which is next to his house, I have been able to interact with his family as well. Eating dinner with his family and joining in conversation allowed me to gain a sense of home while studying abroad.

Working with Moritz has made me realize that as an artist you should be well rounded, and experiment with different kinds of mediums. It doesn't matter what kind of work you make, as long as it challenges you in a good way, and you have fun.

For more information on internship/service-learning visit:

For more information on the Leiden program visit:

Cooperating with Central College Abroad: Drake University’s Story

Jennifer Hogan, Drake University study abroad director, in Hangzhou, China
Since the first Central College Abroad program opened in 1965, schools across the nation have chosen to work cooperatively with Central College through our Cooperative Council. Jennifer Hogan, study abroad director at Drake University, is one of Central’s most committed partners. An average of 150 students at Drake participates in study abroad each year, with many of those students choosing a Central College Abroad program.

When we asked Hogan why she and so many Drake students participate with CCA’s programs, she gave a four part answer, “Strong academic component with personalized choices, diversified experiential learning opportunities, dedicated staff domestically and abroad, and language learning at all levels.”
The future is bright for study abroad at Drake according to Hogan, “There has been study abroad growth in light of the country’s current economic situation and we’ve been compiling data from the last 10 years in order see where we’ve been and where we might be headed.” One of the directions they’ve chosen to head is administering the GPI (Global Perspective Inventory) in order to “Get an idea of the effects of study abroad and how students view the world.” The GPI is an assessment tool that gauges students’ global understanding, and Central College Abroad was one of the first schools to use this tool.

Since partnering on the study abroad front, Central and Drake have found that cooperation is key. As a cooperating institution, Drake has benefited from CCA’s hallmark services such as regular campus visits, professional development opportunities, travel grants, such as Hogan's recent visit to the Hangzhou, China program, and even visa advising sessions at the Drake campus. Likewise, CCA has been shaped by the valuable programmatic input Hogan and her staff have provided; not to mention, the dozens of excellent Drake alums who have become ambassadors of Central College Abroad.

We commend Hogan and her staff on the excellent work they have done on behalf of their students and the betterment of study abroad.

For more information on Central College Abroad cooperating institutions visit:

Get to know the director

Shelley Cavaness, Paris program directorShelley Cavaness, Paris program director, is a vital part to student’s experiences in Paris — she helps students adapt to the culture, experience new things and develop a unique and individualized program. Cavaness has been with Central College Abroad for three years. She earned a B.A. from the University of South Florida, an M.A. from Columbia University, received a D.E.A from the University de Paris-3 La Sorbonne Nouvelle and a Ph.D. from New York University.

When asked what she liked best about study abroad, Cavaness emphatically said, “Les étudiants! I’ve said it before and I repeat it again — the students, the students, the students!!! I get some amazing students who study in Paris. I have great students this semester and I had great students last spring. I’m truly fortunate.”

But it’s not just the students — it’s also their progression. Cavaness went on to say, “I love to see my students grow and progress during the semester. The easiest thing to chart is their French but it goes far deeper. For instance, one student told me that her time in Paris taught her to see the world in all of its shades of grey, and not just as black and white. Who would think that strong coffee and stinky cheese could change the way you see the world? They evolve in ways that makes me realize how truly important this experience — and my role — is to their personal development.”

For Cavaness, the benefits of working in study abroad are two-fold, “On the one hand, I get to interact with French people who are dedicated and interested in reaching out to other cultures. And on the other hand, I get to work with Americans who are curious about France and want to experience a different world from the one in which they are accustomed to living.”

Program directors have a challenging job with all the planning, procedures and responsibility — but it’s obvious that Cavaness’ positive and international outlook qualifies her in more ways than one.

For more information on Shelley and the Paris program visit:

Students enjoy Thanksgiving tastes from home in Merida

Traditional American Thanksgiving in the Merida house Central College Abroad’s home in Merida is a restored governor’s mansion, which lends itself to a distinctly cozy atmosphere. Program director, Valerie Grimsley, has seized upon the atmosphere to bring a piece of America to Merida. Every year Grimsley uses Thanksgiving as “ … an opportunity to say thank you in a uniquely American way to a number of people who are involved in the program, including our teachers, guides, internship/service-learning community liaisons, home hosts, representatives from our affiliated universities and families visiting over the weekend,” she said.

Grimsley makes no exceptions in making this an authentic Thanksgiving feast.

“I have been asking visitors from the U.S. to bring certain items that we can’t get here, such as pumpkin pie filling and cream style corn.” The intent is to bring the home atmosphere abroad and provide students with a great opportunity to unify over a shared meal.

With Grimsley expecting around 50 people this year — it’s obvious that the feast is a success. Tracy Boeyink, Merida alum, is returning this Thanksgiving to enjoy the dinner and expose her children to Merida, the Central house and the Yucatan. The excursions back to the Merida program are a true testament to the family feel and good-natured people leading the program. Thanksgiving is a time for thanks and sharing, and there’s no better place to do that than Merida.

For more information on the Merida program visit:

A traditional Thanksgiving meal celebrated in Merida, Mexico.
A traditional Thanksgiving meal celebrated in Merida, Mexico.

Alumni Spotlight

Students have the opportunity to personalize their experience on a Central College Abroad program. Andrea Montrone, Vienna program alumna, was interested in working with the international organization WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Ruth Verweijen, Vienna program director, counseled Andrea on the different regions of Austria and their accessibility, and with her director's guidance, Andrea's abroad experience was customized to fit her personal interests.

Name: Andrea Montrone
Semester abroad and where: Fall 07 and spring 08 in Vienna, Austria
Major: Philosophy and German studies, Central College

How was your abroad experience unique?
I worked on three different farms in Austria for several days each. The work differed, depending on the farm and what it produced, as well as the time of year. On my farms, I collected dandelions, replanted seedlings, built beehives, fed sheep, and helped sell produce in an Austrian market! I loved the opportunity to see the other side of Austrian life. Not all Austrians live in Vienna! At one farm, I was there for Easter and got to celebrate with the family. At another, I listened to an old couple remember the days after WWII when they were in the Russian zone of Austria. It was also a great way to travel cheaply, as the farmers provide meals and a place to sleep for the volunteers.

How will your abroad experience help in the future?
Working on the farms gave me a better rounded view of Austrian people and culture. Now I can talk about Austria and clarify whether my experience came from the country or the city, instead of making it sound like all of Austria is like Vienna. I also had a lot of fun!

For more information on the Vienna program visit:

Andrea Montrone and the Austrian countryside.
Andrea Montrone and the Austrian countryside.

Celebrating international education week using Skype!

In honor of international education week, Central sponsored an event for students at home to connect with students abroad, using Skype to virtually link students so they could share their experiences face to face. Students were able to ask questions and share experiences in a natural way, which helped bring the international experience home.

Central Student Johnny Jensen Skypes with an international student.
Central student Johnny Jensen talks with a student studying across the globe this semester.

Attention Students!

Bust the boring routine of your usual summer vacation and study abroad! Take advantage of the unique cultural, language and internship rich experiences waiting abroad while earning academic credit and building your resume. With seven programs, each offering a unique and interesting experience, you’ll be sure find a program that fits you. Act now, summer application deadline is Monday, March 1, 2010.

It’s never too soon to apply for study abroad. Plan ahead and apply now for the fall. Monday, March 15, 2010, will come quicker than you think. Save yourself the stress and apply now!

Central College Abroad Quick Links for Faculty & Advisors:

Contact Us

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

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