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Central Alumni Newsletter

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hello friends of Central College Abroad! This newsletter, released the third Friday of every month, is intended to keep you in touch with what’s happening with Central College Abroad’s programs across the globe.

Study Dutch art and architecture through coursework and excursions
Study Dutch art and architecture through coursework and excursions
in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Find CCA at three conferences this fall

Central College Abroad is excited to announce that Shelley Cavaness, Paris resident director, and Cheri Doane, director of community-based learning at Central College, have been selected to present at a number of conferences this fall. Plan to attend the following sessions to hear from Cavaness and Doane:

  • Keeping students off the veranda: On-site service-learning and community partnerspresented by Cavaness and Doane at the European Association for International Education (EAIE) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The presentation takes place on September 15 and 16.
  • Mapping and assessing student intercultural awareness: Getting authenticity into the future of study abroad experience – presented by Cavaness and Scott Blair, CEA Global Education Academic Dean – France, at the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) conference in Dallas, TX. The conference is October 19-21.
  • Strategies and assessment of student intercultural awareness: How on-site community-based learning keeps study abroad students off the veranda   presented by Doane at the Council for International Educational Exchange (CIEE) conference in New Orleans, LA. The presentation is November 17.

Cavaness’s desire to see study abroad students succeed motivates her conference attendance.

“I believe attending conferences and collaborating is absolutely essential to staying current with the latest trends,” Cavaness said. “It is through professional training and working with other professionals that I gain insight and expertise that will help me guide students through their study abroad experience.”

Contact if you would like to meet with a Central College Abroad representative at the conferences this fall.

Don Jones

Merida visiting faculty announced

Central College Abroad is pleased to announce that Don Jones, Iowa Wesleyan College professor of art, has been selected as the Merida, Yucatan, visiting faculty member for the fall 2012 semester. As a Central College and Merida program alumnus, Jones is excited to return to Yucatan.

“Faculty mentoring by professors who encouraged me to expand my horizons was the beginning of a metamorphosis I had not planned for,” said Jones. “In the spring of 1969, I signed up to study abroad in Merida, and the rest is history!”

Jones brings a wealth of experience to the Merida program. After completing his MFA at the Instituto Allende, University of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Jones developed an Iowa Wesleyan short-term study abroad program in Mexico that has been operational for the past 32 years.

“I have returned to Merida several times and hoped one day to have an opportunity to teach on the Merida program,” Jones said.

As a visiting faculty to the Merida program, Jones will blend the disciplines of archeology, anthropology and art history.

“The cross-cultural experience will be one of affirmation,” said Jones. “Central nurtured my cross-cultural learning for 45 years, and I am pleased to continue my journey for life-long learning in Merida,” said Jones.

Merida is located in the Yucatan peninsula, and its central location is ideal for excursions to some of Yucatan's most treasured ancient Mayan ruins. Merida has become a popular destination for Mexican and American families alike because crime is not tolerated in Merida. The city has the lowest crime rate per capita in Mexico. Jones will join students and resident director Valerie Grimsley in this tranquil city.

Learn more about the visiting faculty program. Want to take classes from Professor Jones in Merida? Apply today!

Six study abroad tips from an alumna
By Chelsea Grieger

London alumna Chelsea Grieger is here to tell you what she learned
London alumna Chelsea Grieger tells what she learned from her time abroad!

Getting ready to go abroad this fall? Thinking about studying abroad in the future?

Not long ago I was in your position. In January 2010, I was getting ready to study abroad in London and I was nervous. I had been through the CCA pre-departure course, turned in my paperwork and gotten my visa and passport. When I arrived in London, I found myself thinking “I wish someone had told me that!”

As a seasoned pro, I’m here to give you a few insider tips from my study abroad experience.

  1. Extra, extra! Read all about it! CCA will tell you to read up about your program destination, and you should! Learn as much about your host country and city as possible. Also, read the CCA student survival guide. It helps!
  2. Cut those coupons. There are tons of discounts out there for students. Always make sure to travel with your international student card because that can get you some great discounts. Also, read local newspapers and magazines to find cheap shows or restaurants to visit.
  3. The art of blending in. Don't be too loud (Americans are notoriously known abroad as loud mouths)! Buy some clothing that fits with the host culture. Read up on what is appropriate to do in a business setting or how to act while eating out. (For example, is a tip required?) However, don't get rid of your American self; it's who you are! Just be careful not to be obnoxious. It can get you into trouble.
  4. Keep track of your money! Your credit card company or bank may charge you for every withdrawal or transaction, which can add up! I used my credit card to book trips, pay for travel expenses and for theatre tickets — all the big ticket items. For the small things, I kept to cash only.
  5. Don’t pack too much. The trick is to pack your bag and then get rid of half of everything in it. You will buy things while abroad. You don’t need to bring your whole closet, just pack basic items.
  6. If you don’t know, ask. The resident directors are there to help you. Try to figure it out on your own first, but if you need an expert’s advice, ask your resident director.

More questions? Visit the Central College Abroad Facebook page to find more tips every Tuesday in August.

Fall 2011 CCA bloggers announced!

As a special distinction, Central College Abroad students are selected to Blog from Abroad as a way to reflect on their experiences and let you know what it’s really like to study abroad.  From funny language-learning mishaps to educational group excursions, these students tell all through pictures, text and video.

Congratulations to the fall 2011 bloggers:

  • Bangor, Wales: Megan Sterzinger (Carthage College)
  • Granada, Spain: Craig Newendorp (Hope College)
  • Hangzhou, China: Justin Russell (University of Iowa)
  • Leiden, the Netherlands: Elizabeth Norton (Morningside College
  • London, England: Sahara Scott (Buena Vista University) and Chelsea Johnson (Texas Lutheran University)
  • Merida, Yucatan: Leah Baldasare (Davidson College)
  • Paris, France: Clayton Larson (Central College)
  • Vienna, Austria: Lindley Fritze (Baker University)

Follow our study abroad students as they Blog from Abroad and get more updates on our Facebook page!

Crocodiles, octopi and turtles, oh my!

Internships are offered on all Central College Abroad program locations and provide work experience that is valuable for résumés and future job or graduate school options. Hear from Liberty Wickman, Central College biology major and Merida, Yucatan alumna. Wickman completed an internship like no other at the National Mexican University Coastal Research Center.

Wickman isn't afraid of anything, not even Yucatecan bats!
Wickman (far right) with a few of her internship research teammates.

Looking to the future: My internship was in Sisal, Mexico, a coastal town that brought me closer to all kinds of animals. My marine biology internship had me working side-by-side in the ecology lab with graduate students from all over Latin America. Most days I assisted the graduate students with fish analysis. This will be a great internship to list on my résumé when applying for graduate schools and jobs in field biology. 

Hands-on internship: Mostly I measured and dissected fish, but I also spent a lot of my time helping the students with their research. One of their projects included research on octopi, and I was able to work with turtles as well. There was also a night that the research group and I collected data on crocodiles in a coastal lagoon!

I had the opportunity to attend the week-long Mexican Ecological Society meeting in April with the research group. The theme for the meeting was “Challenges in ecological investigations of environmental problems,” and I listened to the research group as well as scientists from all over the world speak on the topic.

Merida immersion: I loved meeting people my own age and making friends with them. I plan on visiting Merida as often as possible. My friends down there are like family; I was welcomed into their homes to eat traditional meals, meet their relatives and live like a real Yucatecan. It was a wonderful experience! 

An internship in Merida awaits you! Learn more about Wickman’s time in Merida by reading the CCA Blog from Abroad.

Using your credit and bank cards while abroad

To protect against fraud, over 130 counties in Europe, Asia and Latin America have switched from magnetic strip credit cards to new smart cards with imbedded microchips. These new “chip-and-pin” cards are harder to duplicate and store all of your information on tiny microchips that make it more difficult for thieves to access your data.

Most American banks and credit card companies still use magnetic strip cards, and Americans have experienced problems accessing their accounts abroad. However, some American companies have started supplying patrons with new credit cards because the demand to keep up with foreign banks has reached its peak.

Don’t let your credit or bank card stop you for experiencing all that study abroad has to offer! Here are some easy ways to avoid the microchip hassle:

  1. Call your credit card company or bank before going abroad. Make sure the company or bank knows the time period you will be gone and to which countries you may be traveling.
  2. Ask about microchip cards. Many banks are in the process of sending out new cards. See if your bank is one of them, and ask if you can get a new card before going abroad.
  3. Know your bank’s international number. You’ll want to have the bank and credit card companies international phone number in the rare case you do have a problem. Using Skype to call the number may be cheaper than your cell phone.
  4. Don’t panic! If you are unable to get a microchip card, don’t worry. The majority of places still have ways of using your “old” card. For example, instead of using a machine to purchase a train ticket, you may need to visit the salesperson behind the counter.
  5. Make use of your resident director. Central College Abroad has on-site resident directors for a reason! If you have any questions about using your cards abroad, they are a great resource. This topic is generally covered in orientation.
  6. Carry a small amount of cash when traveling. Getting a small amount of money in the local currency is a smart way thing to do. If your card does not work, you will always have a backup.

When in doubt, contact your bank or credit card provider. Nothing should stop you from enjoying your study abroad experience, so take these steps now to avoid the hassle.

You’ll jump for joy after following these tips and avoiding the microchip hassles.
You’ll jump for joy after following these tips and avoiding microchip hassles.

Learn more about using your credit and bank cards abroad from MSNBC. Contact Central College Abroad if you have questions or concerns.

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

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