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Central Alumni Newsletter

Tuesday, May 10, 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.

Camping out for the royal wedding
Camping out for the royal wedding.
From left: Ashley Kruger (Central College), Mary Schnoebelen (Central College),
Kristin Winter (Northwestern College), Rachel Schaffer (Texas Lutheran University) and
Sarah Shippy (Central College). Photo from BBC.

Exclusive invitation to meet Catherine Elwell at our annual NAFSA Conference breakfast

Catherine ElwellCentral College Abroad is pleased to announce Catherine Elwell, former member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Central College Abroad alumna, will speak at the annual Central College Abroad breakfast at this year’s NAFSA Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Wednesday, June 1. Elwell’s presentation is titled “On-site and on mission – 35 years in French-speaking Africa.”

During her 35 year career with the IMF, Elwell was fully engaged with French- and English-speaking African member countries both at headquarters and traveling on mission. Her mission travel included trips to Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), among others. Read Elwell’s full biography here.

Cooperating schools and partners of Central College Abroad have been invited to join this exclusive event. Limited availability. Learn more at

Look for Central College Abroad at NAFSA in Vancouver

Join Central College Abroad at the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 29 – June 3. We are excited to be a part of NAFSA’s conference on international education. Plan to attend the following sessions:

  • How to meet student learning goals through meaningful internships abroad – presented by Maria Hickle, coordinator of institutional relations, and Mark Simmons, resident director, London, England. The presentation is Wednesday, June 1, at 12:45 – 2:15 p.m.
  • Techno educators: Engage students in their world – presented by Brian Zylstra, manager of on-campus operations and student services, and Lisa Ellor Smith, territory representative. The presentation is Friday, June 3, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Visit us at booth #628 in the expo hall.

Other staff attendees include Lyn Isaacson (associate dean of global experiential learning), Jessica Klyn de Novelo (assistant director of institutional relations) and Whitney Longnecker (territory representative). Contact if you would like to meet with a Central College Abroad representative at the conference.

Front row seats to the Royal Wedding

London, England, was THE place to be a few weeks ago. Prince William and Kate Middleton were married on April 29 in what the media has deemed “the wedding of the century.” The royal wedding took place at Westminster Abbey, less than a half mile from the London program’s base at Vandon House.

The weeks leading up to the big day were filled with the hustle and bustle of preparation and anticipation.

“There were some Londoners who didn’t really care about the wedding, but everyone was glad to have the day off,” said Elysse Hillyer (St. Joseph’s College). “They built scaffolding to accommodate the media and visitors, and there were a lot of cleaning projects going on to make the city presentable, especially the areas around Buckingham Palace.”

“In every souvenir store there are a million-and-one things you can buy with a picture of the couple on it — from Union Jack flags to dinner plates,” noted Matt Daniels (Central College).

Many students camped outside Buckingham Palace the night before the wedding, determined to have a good viewing spot the next morning. Camping out paid off for Renae Mauk and Emily Ciha (both Central College students). When Prince William met the crowds outside the palace, Mauk and Ciha got to shake his hand!

Emily Ciha and Prince William.
Emily Ciha (Central College) and Prince William.

Catchy signs drew the media to Ashley Kruger (Central College), Mary Schnoebelen (Central College), Kristin Winter (Northwestern College), Rachel Schaffer (Texas Lutheran University) and Sarah Shippy (Central College). The group was interviewed by the BBC and featured on its website. Another picture of the group appeared on the Sky News website, and they were mentioned in the Springfield, Ill., State Journal-Register.

“It was such a historic event, and we were pretty lucky to be here for the occasion,” said Daniels.

London resident director Mark Simmons camped out with the students and shared their enthusiasm.

“It was one of the most exciting and demanding things I have ever done,” Simmons said. “A sleepless night on the pavement followed by nine hours standing completely immobile was VERY hard work and extremely boring!”

In the end, Simmons felt it was worth the wait.

“It was an incredible experience, and I am so glad that I did it,” said Simmons.

Emily Ciha (Central College), Mark Simmons (London resident director) and
Emily Ciha (Central College), Mark Simmons (London resident director) and
Renae Mauk (Central College).

Hillyer, an intern at This is London magazine, wrote several articles for a special royal wedding issue of the magazine. To read Hillyer’s articles in This Is London magazine, click here.

Learn more about study abroad in London, England.

Director Spotlight

Each Central College Abroad program boasts an on-site resident director who contributes immensely to students’ experiences abroad. For the Leiden program, Steef Eman warmly welcomes students to the Netherlands.

Eman is a highly qualified individual receiving Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts degrees from Vrije Universiteit – Amsterdam. Eman has a long history with Central College Abroad, with July marking his 13th year as the Leiden resident director. However, his work with CCA goes back much further. An art historian by trade, Eman began teaching the Dutch Art and Architecture course in 1990. Eman also assisted with program excursions and field trips prior to 1990 as a favor to his predecessor.

Over the years and especially post-9/11, Eman has helped the program adjust to changing ideas about study abroad. Eman most enjoys seeing students grow in their awareness of the world.

“There is a Dutch expression which goes ‘un-known makes un-loved,’” says Eman. “If you turn this around it could go something like ‘getting to know a place kindles the love for that place.’ This is exactly what I see happening with my students in Leiden. Students see the outside world as different from what they know. But different doesn’t mean it is scary or dangerous.”

Eman believes experiencing a culture first-hand is very beneficial to the learning process.

“I see students gain so much self-confidence by living away from home and finding they are perfectly capable to survive there,” says Eman. “Experiencing is what sets study abroad apart from learning about the world through the internet, TV or books. How can you truly convey a smell, the weather, or walking up a cobble-stone street through media? In short, study abroad is enriching on many different levels of living and learning, all at the same time.”

Leiden resident director.
Steef Eman, Leiden resident director.

Study abroad in Leiden and learn from Steef Eman.

The safe side of Mexico

In recent months, American media has been full of troubling stories about drug violence in Mexico. However, students interested in the Central College Abroad Merida program should not let the news get them down. In contrast to other regions of the country, the Yucatán is a safe and culturally rich corner of Mexico. The area has been recognized for its relative peace and security.

The Washington Post recently published an article about Merida titled “Mexico beyond the drug violence,” praising the city as a haven of peace and cultural pride:

Merida - slogan "city of peace" - is not one of the main routes for drug trafficking. Residents can't take credit for that, but they take pride in their urban culture and the low rate of violent crime. Meridians are deeply proud of their tradition of civility and "tranquilidad." What's dangerous in Merida, residents know and the tourists who come here learn, is eating too many habanero peppers or other good food.

Evelyn Nadeau, associate professor of Spanish and chair of the language and literature department (Clarke University), visited Merida in January.

"One of the reasons I wanted to visit the Merida program was because of the concerns I know students and their families have,” says Nadeau. “I wanted to be able to say that I'd been there and could absolutely assure everyone that it's safe. And, it is definitely safe!”

Nadeau brought her 14-year-old son to Merida for the visit.

“My son and I walked all over, even at night, and never had a bit of trouble or any feeling of insecurity,” says Nadeau. “My only advice would be to use the same common sense you use when you go to a big city like Chicago — be aware of your surroundings, suspicious of those who seem overly friendly too quickly, and don't do anything that compromises your awareness and alertness."

Read the entire Washington Post story at:

Learn more about Merida, Mexico.

Spring Photo Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to the spring 2011 photo contest winners! See below for a list of winners from each contest category.

Travel & Friends
1st Place: Abby Lukensmeyer (Granada)
2nd Place: Felica Shunk (London)
3rd Place: Carissa Pearlman (Merida)
1st Place: Bethany Wilson (London)
2nd Place: Sarah Paulson (Granada)
3rd Place: Travis Brooks (London)

Daily Life
1st Place: Lauren Iddings (Bangor)
2nd Place: Caitlin Dau (London)
3rd Place: Greg Ellingson (Leiden)

Daily Life winning photo, taken by Lauren Iddings
Daily Life winning photo, taken by Lauren Iddings
during the Outdoor Pursuits course.

To see all winning photos, visit Central College Abroad on Facebook.

Are you a Central College Abroad alumnus? We hope you’ll stay connected to your experience abroad and encourage others to set off on their own adventure. There are many ways to get involved, including submitting pictures, testimony, and video, referring a friend, and becoming a study abroad ambassador.

Learn more about alumni resources here:

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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June 1
CCA NAFSA breakfast event with Catherine Elwell

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

Visit us at NAFSA booth #628

October 15
Spring 2012 application deadline

Refer a friend today!

812 University
Pella, Iowa 50219