Can't see the newsletter? Check it out on our Web site:

Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

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.

Enjoy sunshine and crisp, blue skies from Bangor’s pier!
Enjoy sunshine and crisp, blue skies from Bangor’s pier!

Successful Coop Council Conference

Central College Abroad welcomed visitors from across the globe for our annual Coop Council Conference March 31 - April 2. Of the nearly 40 attendees, many were members from our cooperative council throughout the nation. This year’s conference theme, “45 Years: Putting the experience in global learning,” provided a foundation for the sessions and meetings.

Central College Abroad resident directors spoke on behalf of their programs and the exciting new developments in experiential learning opportunities. Study abroad alumni joined us to share the impact study abroad has made on their careers, and informational sessions demonstrated how to utilize technology to maximize community integration abroad. Central College President Mark Putnam spoke at the conference, expressing a dedication to international education that is inspiring as we look to the future.

Central College Abroad distinguished guests recognized during Coop Council
Distinguished guests recognized during the Coop Council Conference.
From left: Ken Weller, Don Huffman, President Mark Putnam, Larry Mills and Barb Butler.

The conference provided wonderful opportunities for all who attended. Members from cooperative institutions received professional development including ideas and strategies to take back to their own campuses. The conference also serves as a crucial opportunity for Central College Abroad to grow through the feedback received from our partners.

Central College Abroad extends our sincere thanks to all who attended and made this conference a success.

Learn more about the Central College Abroad Cooperative Council at

On the Bangor team

The Bangor, Wales, program was an obvious choice for Shireen Jahedkar (Austin College). As a psychology major, she was attracted to Bangor University’s first-class psychology program, and as an adventure-seeker, Jahedkar considered the Outdoor Pursuits class an opportunity not to be missed.

“The Central College Abroad brochure promised adventures such as gorge scrambling, surfing, mountain biking and sea level traversing,” Jahedkar says. “Even though I didn’t recognize half the activities listed, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience a side of Wales that not many people get to see.”

Her desire for a unique experience was also fulfilled by another program feature. All Bangor Central College Abroad students are required to join a university club or student group to further their integration with the student body. This requirement provided just the nudge Jahedkar needed to attend the Bangor University lacrosse team’s first training session.

“I had only played lacrosse for a year before coming to Wales,” Jahedkar says. “I was nervous about trying to play for the team here. However, the Bangor University lacrosse club welcomed me with open arms. Within the first week of training, I was awarded a nickname: ‘Machine.’”

The name stuck and was printed on her official Bangor University lacrosse club hoodie. Jahedkar originally planned to study in Bangor for just one semester but ultimately decided to stay for the spring 2011 semester. She credits her teammates with her decision to continue her studies in Bangor.

In addition to her participation on the lacrosse team, Jahedkar also plays for the university volleyball club.

“The best thing about the volleyball team is the amount of playing time,” says Jahedkar. “I have already been to three tournaments, two of which were in Liverpool.”

Jahedkar's experience as a member of the Bangor University teams has enriched her study abroad semester and helped her realize the importance of trying new things.

“The most important lesson I have learned from studying abroad would be to get out of my comfort zone,” Jahedkar says. “None of this would have been possible if I had not gotten out, met people, made friends, and agreed at times I might have politely declined before. I don’t regret a minute of it.”

Jahedkar bouldering in Bangor
Jahedkar bouldering in Bangor.

Explore Bangor, Wales.

At Home in England

Central College Abroad London has partnered with the HOST Program to provide more opportunities for student integration and immersion. Students have the opportunity to spend an extended weekend with a British family. Students select the type of family they would like to stay with and are paired with families throughout the UK. The partnership began in fall 2010 with seven students participating. This spring, 12 students took advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

Christine Dau (Central College) wrote about her home-stay experience:

On a cold November morning I found myself sitting on a train leaving London, with just my backpack and as many warm clothes as I could find in my closet. I was headed toward my host family’s house in Malmesbury, England. I had been in contact with my host, bought my ticket, and was now headed to the English countryside. All I knew was my host family included John and Fee Knowles, and that Malmesbury is the oldest borough in England, being established in 880 A.D. I researched the best and cheapest way to get to Malmesbury. According to the website, if I was looking to go directly to the town by train, I was “45 years too late!” So I picked the station called Kemble and hoped that Fee hadn’t forgot she had to pick me up.

Fee and John Knowles, Dau’s host family
Fee and John Knowles, Dau’s host family.

Fee and I had e-mailed a few times, and she assured me this train station was so small that if I blinked I would miss it. She was absolutely correct! As I stepped off the train in Kemble station, I kept looking around for the rest of it. It looked straight out of an old-timey romantic movie with its brick building and the tiny ticket office. At least I wouldn’t have a problem finding Fee! She was literally parked right next to the exit looking anxiously for a young college age girl. Her eyes lit up when she saw me, and she grabbed my bag as she gave me a hug. “I feel like I already know you!” she exclaimed, and I felt relaxed for the first time since leaving London. Fee is a thin, cheerful woman with short silver hair and intelligent eyes.

Fee was like the fairytale grandmother, so kind and considerate. We had a half-hour drive from Kemble station to their home in Malmesbury, so our conversation wandered over many subjects. She’s the perfect person to have a conversation with because she asked a million questions about me and all I had to do was respond. I’m not sure what I even asked her about; I was busy watching the beautiful wild landscape flash past the car. I hadn’t seen this much green since I left Iowa! Everything was beautiful to me, the tiny road only big enough for one car, the gloomy gray of the sky, the worn wooden fence traveling alongside me.

To keep reading, visit the Central College Abroad Facebook page.

Two countries, One program

The Vienna program is a language immersion program open to students of all majors. Students have the opportunity to participate in intensive language classes at the world-renowned Goethe Institut in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, before heading to Vienna. The Vienna program offers internship and service-learning opportunities, as well as numerous cultural excursions and activities.

Brie Elzinga (center) and friends during an excursion to München with the Goethe Institut.
Brie Elzinga (center) and friends during an excursion to München with the Goethe Institut.

Who: Brie Elzinga
Major: Psychology
Minor: German
Home institution: Calvin College

Why she choose Vienna: I've always been fascinated by the German language. I've studied German for several years and decided the best way to continue learning was to put down the textbook and experience it for myself. I chose Central College Abroad Vienna because it offered opportunities to experience Germany and perfect my language skills at the Goethe Institut as well as engage in the Austrian culture.

First reactions to Schwäbisch Hall: The Goethe Institut is such a wonderful institution! It offers a truly unique experience by merging language learning and cultural excursions, while introducing students to both local and international students. One of the best parts of the Goethe Institut is the opportunity to speak German with students from around the globe. It's a truly amazing feeling to share a second language as a commonality. The town itself is vibrant, rich in history, and filled with helpful native-speakers who are patient and excited to share their language and culture.

Immediate differences: Adjusting to the 24-hour clock and the timely culture has definitely been difficult! My first brush with German punctuality was a shock; I was three minutes late for an excursion to a local art museum and the group was gone--absolutely out of sight! After a couple of such timing issues, I definitely started being more punctual!

Meeting new people: The variety of people I've been lucky to meet at the Goethe Institut is staggering. Aside from the wonderful German natives I’ve met, I've also become close friends with a student from South Korea. Students at the Goethe Institut come from all over the world--as far away as Brazil, China, Japan, France, Australia, and yes, even America!

Advice to others: I can only suggest that no matter where you choose to go, make the decision to study abroad. Even in the short time I've been part of this culture, it already feels like home. There's absolutely no experience like leaving everything familiar behind and immersing yourself into an entirely new language, history, and set of traditions. You'll surprise yourself in how much you learn and the personal growth experienced, and the friendships made in the process are definitely worth it.

Learn more about study abroad in Vienna.

Internship Spotlight

Van featured in the Zhejiang Legal News
Van (left) featured in the Zhejiang Legal News.

While studying abroad in Hangzhou, China, Teigha Van (Central College), an East-Asian studies major with an interest in law, completed an internship with the Zhejiang Hangzhou Law Firm. In November, Van was featured in the Zhejiang Legal News and described as “the popular girl” at the law firm. The article also noted Van’s fearless enthusiasm for her work, despite having no prior experience with the Chinese language.

“It was hard,” Van admits. “However, my internship advisor was very nice and taught me important Chinese legal terms, which helped me better understand what was going on. Since China is now one of the predominant nations in the modern world, I think that learning Chinese will put me ahead of the game.”

Though her elementary Chinese language skills limited her duties in the office, Van learned about the Chinese legal system through Xu Yuling, a lawyer at the firm. Xu took Van to court hearings and acted as both an interpreter and teacher.

“I loved learning about the differences between the United States and Chinese legal systems,” Van says. “Going to court and interpreting claims made to the law firm was very interesting to see and learn.”

To visit the Zhejiang Legal News website and read the original article, go to A translated version of the article can be found on the Central College Abroad Facebook page.

Learn more about internship opportunities in Hangzhou, China, at

Visit us at NAFSA booth #628

Catherine ElwellCentral College Abroad will attend the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 29 - June 3. Please join us in the expo hall at booth #628. The following staff members will be in attendance:

  • Jessica Klyn de Novelo, Assistant director of institutional relations
  • Maria Hickle, Coordinator of institutional relations
  • Lisa Ellor Smith, Territory representative
  • Brian Zylstra, Manager of on-campus operations and student services
  • Mark Simmons, London resident director
  • Lyn Isaacson, Associate dean of global experiential learning

Contact if you would like to meet with a Central College Abroad representative at the conference. We are excited to be a part of NAFSA’s conference on international education.

Central College Abroad Quick Links for Faculty & Advisors:

Contact Us

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

Reply to to unsubscribe from this email.


Still accepting applications for
fall 2011!

Contact Central College Abroad for details

April 15
Fall 2011 and 2011 academic year scholarship deadline


May 29 - June 3
Central College Abroad at NAFSA, Vancouver

Visit us at NAFSA booth #628

Refer a friend today!

812 University
Pella, Iowa 50219