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Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010

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.

Granada program students on a camel ride in Morocco.
Granada program students on a camel ride in Morocco.

Starting off on the right foot

College students around the county are adjusting to new dorm rooms, new schedules and even new roommates. Ever wonder how students abroad start a new semester? Here’s a glimpse into what September has in store for a few Central College Abroad programs:  

Granada, Spain – a warm welcome
Students are welcomed by resident director Veronica Garcia Montero at a local hotel where they meet and socialize with other students on the program. In a matter of hours, students meet their host families and settle in to their new surroundings.

“I always hope students have a great experience in Granada,” says Montero. “I consider it a goal that they don´t want to leave Granada and us at the end of their semester.”

China – cultural orientation
During their first few weeks on the program, students participate in orientations, day trips and a cross-cultural party celebrating with Chinese professors and students.

Students become familiar with landmarks by exploring the local area and take the time to register for classes and learn about internships.

"Once they get settled, it's time for many games of Mahjong," jokes resident director, Li Shumin.

Paris – living like a native
Once in France, students get acquainted with the culture immediately by having a dinner in a French Creperie. With full stomachs, the Paris group moves on to tourist activities such as visiting castles, exploring the Louvre, taking a cooking class, and bonding over a scavenger hunt.

“I love seeing my students’ reactions to new things,” said Paris director Shelley Cavaness. “They are so starry-eyed when they see their first chateau (castle) or their first real glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. By the end of the semester, they take living next to Notre Dame for granted!”

Wales – getting in touch with the surroundings
Once in the United Kingdom, students take a walking tour of Bangor with resident director Tecwyn Vaughan Jones. The group soon departs for two days of fieldtrips in north Wales before venturing to Ireland for six days where students explore another Celtic country.

“The unique thing about the beginning of the semester is the response of the students to the beauty of Snowdonia, a unique mountain and sea shore landscape which usually blows them away,” said Jones.

Learn more about these programs and others at

Resident director, Tecwyn Vaughan Jones, introduces students to Bangor, Wales
Resident director, Tecwyn Vaughan Jones, introduces students to Bangor, Wales

New – Online pre-departure course

Central College Abroad is offering a new online pre-departure course for all students starting fall 2010. In addition to preparing students for study abroad, this course helps connect program participants from across the country prior to the start of the study abroad experience.

Learn more about the fantastic opportunity at:

Internship Spotlight

The London summer program is an eight-week internship program offering students the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience while experiencing the vibrant culture London has to offer.

Who: Samantha Lisk
Major: English, Campbell University 2010
Semester Abroad: London, summer 2010
Internship Placement: This Is London Magazine

Memorable Internship: I did a lot of proofreading and editing of press releases for various events and attractions around the city. I also got to go to a press preview of an art exhibition, which was cool because the exhibition didn't open to the public until the next week. This internship gave me valuable work experience in areas that I will be able to stress as I look for a job.

Favorite assignment: My favorite work memory is probably when I was assigned by the magazine to go to the Jewish Museum in London and write a complete article on it by myself. This Is London is a quite high-end magazine in its demographic, and they wouldn't have given me the assignment if they hadn't thought that I could represent them and write at a level befitting the magazine. I was quite proud of that. The magazine internship allowed me to gain experience in doing what I want to do. So many people don't like their jobs, and this internship allowed me to get a foot in the door in the industry in which I actually want to work.

Valuable lesson: The most valuable thing I learned from working at the magazine is that you can't be shy in this field. Interpersonal communication is key and being shy is actually detrimental to the goals of a journalist. I was tempted to be very reserved since I was in not only a new city, but also a new country; however, I quickly realized that reserve wasn't going to cut it. So I became more open, and I had a better experience for it. 

Learn more about summer study abroad in London.

London summer intern, Samantha Lisk, at the Jane Austen Center in Bath, England.
London summer intern, Samantha Lisk, at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

Spring 2011 application deadline

Spring 2011 application deadline is only one month away! Complete application files are due Friday, Oct. 15. Open your account for FREE at

Our new online application is faster and easier than ever!

And remember, every little bit helps: Central College Abroad offers scholarships up to $1,000! Learn more about scholarship opportunities at

Apply now!

A word from the parents

Students’ study abroad stories and memories are often eagerly shared, but one story that seldom gets told is the parent story. Liz Urban, a senior at Central College, studied abroad in Merida, Mexico, spring 2009, and her parents, Bill and Norine Urban, shared some thoughts on Liz and their experience with Central College Abroad.

“First and foremost, Central's communication with us and Liz was outstanding,” said Norine. “The semester prior to leaving, Liz attended presentations by previous students who went to Mexico. They answered all of the questions Liz and we had, which lessened most, if not all, of our anxiety.”

During Liz’s final weeks on the program reports of H1N1 (Swine flu) emerged in Mexico. 

“I knew she was in good hands and would be well taken care of,” said Norine.“ We never felt Liz was in any danger. Phone calls home came immediately, and in the end, Central sent the students home early. Liz felt safe enough to stay, but ultimately decided to come home.”

Bill and Norine continue to recognize their daughter’s decision to study abroad was a life-altering one.

“The extra travel Central provided as part of study abroad was remarkable! She was able to experience the Mayan culture to its fullest,” said Norine. “[As a result of her internship experience in Merida], Liz spoke at a Health Consortium in Des Moines, Iowa. She continues to keep in touch with the friends she made in Mexico and would like to return to Merida and the Yucatan Peninsula.”

Learn more about resources for parents.

Bill and Norine Urban with daughter Liz, Spring 2009 Merida alumna.
Bill and Norine Urban with daughter Liz, Spring 2009 Merida alumna.

Paris’ charm lives on

Whether it is the smooth tranquility of the French language or the vibrant fashion expression witnessed daily, Paris captivates the heart. For Paris alumna Sally O’Dowd, it was not if she would return to Paris -- it was when.

O’Dowd, a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, studied in Paris in spring 1988. After studying through Central at the Sorbonne, her love for the French language bloomed.

“I love speaking French; it makes me feel great about myself. The only way I can describe it is this: speaking French makes my brain change color, probably purple. I am good at languages and think that neurons fire in an extra positive way when I am speaking French,” said O’Dowd.

Her language skills were not the only thing that developed.

“Studying abroad changed me period,” said O’Dowd. “I came back a different person -- able to speak a new language and able to conduct myself in an intercultural setting. I knew then I wanted to use my French professionally and that someday I would live in France.”

O’Dowd was determined to make that dream a reality.

“I came here Feb. 1 with the Irish/European passport. I have my own integrated marketing and PR company in Chicago. Ill., (Sally On Media Corp.) and continue to work for my American clients. Meanwhile, I am trying to find clients here or even a full-time job. I would love the experience of working at a French company,” said O’Dowd.

For more information on Paris, visit:

The iconic Eifel Tower.
The iconic Eiffel Tower.

Find us on Facebook

Are you thinking about studying abroad? Currently studying abroad? A study abroad alumnus? A parent of a student studying abroad? Then join the Central College Abroad Facebook fan page! Our fan page gives you easy access to the Central College Abroad website, applications, deadlines and upcoming events. Becoming a friend of Central College Abroad also provides students and alumni the opportunity to reconnect with old friends or make new ones!

For more information or to become a fan:

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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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Oct. 1, 2010
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Spring 2011 application deadline

Nov. 1, 2010
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