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Central Alumni Newsletter

Friday, October 21, 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.

Enhance your résumé this summer with a business internship in Yiwu, China.
Enhance your résumé this summer with a business internship in Yiwu, China.

Coop Conference session proposal deadline extended

The Coop Council Conference session proposal deadline has been extended to Nov. 1. The conference is scheduled for April 12-13 in Pella, Iowa, and the topic is “Facilitating Student Learning Abroad: Before, During and After.” The conference will reference global experiential learning goals as a basis for discussion and session topics. We encourage you to share your knowledge and expertise in the area of student learning as a session presenter.

Session proposals should be submitted online and are due Nov. 1. Learn more about the co-op council conference and session proposals.

Vienna alumna receives Fulbright scholarship

Christina Kenny conquers the slopes while studying abroad in Vienna.
Christina Kenny conquers the slopes while studying abroad in Vienna.

When Christina Kenny heard about Central College Abroad from Hartwick College international programs director Jenifer Chambers, she didn’t realize study abroad could lead to a Fulbright Scholarship.

“I studied abroad on the CCA Vienna program because I really wanted to develop my German language skills,” said Kenny. “I was an exchange student in Germany in high school and my host family took me skiing on the weekends in Austria. I loved this introduction to the country and wanted to experience more of the Austrian culture.”

Kenny completed intensive language classes at the Goethe Institut in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, before heading to Vienna to continue language coursework and complete an internship at a primary school.

During her internship, Kenny acted as a translator of sorts, assisting in physics, geography and physical education classes.

“The internship was great because my supervisor gave me free rein of the classroom which made me realize I want to be a teacher,” she said. “I gained confidence in the classroom and great teaching experience during my internship.”

Kenny would not have applied for a Fulbright scholarship without the urging of her internship supervisor. 

“My supervisor told me about the opportunity and helped me through the application process,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without her support.”

Kenny received a Fulbright Scholarship and will teach English and pronunciation classes at a college in Eisenstadt, Austria. She feels Central College Abroad gave her an advantage in the Fulbright application process.

“There were two things that prepared me for the Fulbright: language skills and teaching experience,” she said. “The language classes I took at the Goethe Institut were some of the best German classes I’ve ever taken and my internship in Vienna gave me the classroom experience I needed.”

Kenny began her Fulbright teaching position in late September. Learn more about the Vienna program.

Join CCA at NAFSA regional conference in Cedar Rapids

Central College Abroad staff members Lyn Isaacson (associate dean for global education), Brian Zylstra (manager of on-campus relations and student services), Jennifer Larson (senior coordinator of institutional relations), Maria Hickle (coordinator of institutional relations), Lisa Ellor Smith (territory representative) and Whitney Longnecker (territory representative) will attend the NAFSA regional conference Nov. 12-15 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Larson and Stephanie Loncarich, St. Ambrose University study abroad advisor, will present a session titled “Maximizing University/Program Provider Relations,” Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 8:30 a.m.

Contact us at if you’d like to meet with a Central College Abroad representative at the conference. CCA will also exhibit at the conference.

Semester turns into year abroad for Roberts

Jocylen Roberts of Susquehanna University planned to study abroad in Granada for just one semester. However, she fell in love with the city and Spanish culture and ended up staying for the academic year. Hear from Roberts as she describes her time in Granada, Spain.

Jocylen Roberts hiking in the mountains near Granada.
Jocylen Roberts hiking in the mountains near Granada.

A year in Granada: “I learned about Central College Abroad from the Susquehanna cross cultural studies office. The beautiful pictures of the Alhambra and the city caught my eye along with the many courses and excursions CCA offers.”

“I initially planned to stay for just the fall semester but after speaking with the Susquehanna language department, I realized I could complete most of my Spanish major courses if I studied abroad in Granada for the academic year. Upon hearing this news, I was thrilled because I knew I would be able to experience more of the culture and further improve my Spanish.”

Spanish language development: “Before college, I had never taken any Spanish language courses. After two years of Spanish at Susquehanna, I knew I wanted to pursue a Spanish major. I learned a tremendous amount in Granada. My classes taught me about the culture and improved my speaking ability.”

“In Granada I took classes including Islamic Culture in Spain, Variations of Spanish Language, Contrastive Spanish/American English Phonetics, the Granada Seminar and more. Some of these classes included lectures while others involved a lot of speaking and writing. I enjoyed my grammar, conversation and composition classes the most, not only because my Spanish dramatically improved, but also because I was able to constantly practice reading, writing, listening and speaking.”

Excursions: “My favorite excursion was the trip to Morocco. We stayed for four days and visited several cities including Asilah, Rabat, Chefchaouen and the countryside. A family hosted us for two nights in Rabat. Not only were they warm and welcoming, the family prepared wonderful meals and showed us around the city. The intricately detailed architecture on the inside of their house was beautiful, which I would have never guessed from the outside. I will always remember my visit to the Hammam, an Arab bath, because it was a new and interesting cultural experience.  Chefchaouen was completely different from Rabat in that it was rich in color and had endless streets of shopping. The landscape was gorgeous and I enjoyed a morning hike up the mountains to view the city below.”

Missing “home”: “What I miss most about Spain is the city of Granada. I enjoyed every city I visited in Spain, but I especially loved Granada. It is a beautiful city and perfect in size. The Alhambra is breathtaking, both during the day and when it is lit at night. I also miss being able to speak Spanish all the time because in Granada is where my ability to speak and write blossomed.”

Develop your Spanish language skills in Granada.

Keep up with Blog from Abroad

Wonder what it’s really like to study abroad? Read for yourself on our Blog from Abroad. Keep up with our bloggers across the globe as they comment on their study abroad adventures. Whether it’s gorge scrambling in Bangor, grammar classes in Paris, or excursions to the Van Goph Museum in the Netherlands, these travelers have many tales to tell. Here’s an excerpt:

Flamingo paradise in Celestún.
Flamingo paradise in Celestún.

“Celestún was beautiful. This was my first encounter with the clear turquoise water and white sands that you see in pictures and movies. A man who works at the reserve took us on a boat and we cruised a long way out to where the flamingos eat. I had never seen a flamingo before. They are such a funny mix of elegant and awkward! Then our guide drove us into the swampy side of the inlet and into a forest of mangroves. It was incredibly beautiful. We ate at a restaurant right on the beach with glass windows. They served seafood soup with octopus tentacles! (Yes, Mom and Dad, I did eat it.) Then we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on a gorgeous and virtually empty part of the beach.”

Read more from Leah in Merida and the other CCA bloggers.

Friends and festivals in Hangzhou

China may seem like a far-off, mysterious country but Kelsey Tulon of Simpson College is settling into her new home in Hangzhou by taking advantage of every opportunity afforded her including the pengyou program and cultural events like the Mid-Autumn Festival.

“Going to China has always been something I've dreamed of doing because of its long history, fascinating architecture and unique lifestyle,” said Tulon. “I am most excited about the opportunity to study Chinese in depth. Everybody I see provides an opportunity to practice Chinese and my classes teach me a lot of new vocabulary and grammar.” 

Tulon is settling into her new home in Hangzhou with the help of her pengyous (Chinese for friend). The pengyou program connects Central College Abroad students with native Chinese Zhejiang University English students who have volunteered to help with cultural transition and linguistic exchange.

“The pengyous have been really great about giving us invaluable insights into Chinese life,” said Tulon. “We have discussed family values, opinions on government, stereotypes and much more.  For example, I have begun to understand how deep family ties have influenced current Chinese thought patterns and behaviors. My understanding of China is becoming clearer as I spend more time with my pengyous and it’s been very rewarding to cultivate these friendships.”

Tulon has enjoyed practicing her Chinese and exploring Hangzhou with her pengyous.

“It has definitely been helpful and interesting having my Chinese friends show me around town,” said Tulon. “They’ve taken me to visit museums and bookstores, eat in new restaurants, climb a mountain, get a foot massage, sing karaoke and go bike riding.”

Kelsey Tulon (second from left) and friends hiking in the hills near Zhejiang University.
Kelsey Tulon (second from left) and friends hiking near Zhejiang University.

Students in Hangzhou celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with their pengyous, sharing Chinese and American foods and playing games at the Central College Abroad center.

“The Mid-Autumn Festival is an ancient holiday created to celebrate the harvest season full moon,” said Tulon. “In Chinese philosophy, the moon has a very sentimental meaning and is a reminder of home, family and friends. Today, Chinese people typically celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival by getting together with friends or family and eating a sweet, round desert called a mooncake.”

Tulon plans to experience more of the Chinese history and culture during the remainder of her semester in Hangzhou.

“I am very interested in martial arts and I've already found three different martial arts classes to attend,” said Tulon. “By going to these classes, I not only get to learn about ancient Chinese martial arts but also meet a lot of people who share my interests. Even though my personality leans toward the shy side, my desire to make the most of this opportunity draws me out of my shell to talk to new people and do as many new things as I can. Studying abroad is a great way to grow intellectually, mentally and emotionally.”

Learn more about the pengyou program and cultural excursions in Hangzhou, China.

Photo contest voting begins Monday

Spring 2011 photo contest winner. Submitted by Greg Ellingson of
Spring 2011 photo contest winner. Submitted by Greg Ellingson of
Central College and taken in Leiden, the Netherlands.

The fall photo contest is underway! Beginning Monday, Oct. 24, cast your vote for the October winners.

The photo contest is open to students who studied abroad in 2011, including students currently abroad this fall. You can submit new photos every month to be entered into a grand prize contest at the end of the semester. Contest details are as follows:

  October November December
Photo Submission Oct. 1 - 21 Nov. 1 - 21 Dec. 1 - 21
Contest voting Oct. 24 - 28 Nov. 23 - 29 Dec. 23 - 31
Prizes customized photo luggage tags customized photo desk calendar customized digital photo keychain

Photo contest categories include:

  1. The Real World: Do you have pictures of yourself or others at your internship or service-learning placement? Show us what the real world looks like on your CCA program.
  2. Local Flavor: Festivals, excursions, cultural activities, clubs and organizations, oh my! What is unique to your host city?
  3. Famous (You) Marks: Pausing to capture a moment? Share photos that show us 'you were there.' This category is all about you and your friends at famous landmarks.
  4. Where in the world is CCA?: Wear your CCA t-shirt and take a photo to show us your adventures. 

Learn more about the photo contest and enter your photos today.

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

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