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Central Alumni Newsletter

Friday, November 11, 2011

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

Understand Ghana's history, formal traditions and cultural issues through
Understand Ghana's rich history, culture and formal traditions through
performing arts in Accra this summer.

Do we understand each other?

Central College President Mark Putnam visited four Central College Abroad programs this fall and recently blogged about his fascination with language and how it’s reshaping the way we experience the world today.

“This fall I’ve had the privilege of traveling in Spain, France, the Netherlands and China, visiting our international programs. Spending time with students in these settings was especially helpful to me as I consider the future of global experiential learning. It’s an odd term but one that has helped me to see beyond the boundaries of a single program or activity and envision what it means to embrace global citizenship. Students seem to understand this better than the rest of us, as they have enough curiosity and courage to explore.”

Continue the conversation and read more from Mark: my words. You can read President Putnam’s personal narrative of his fall program visits in the December newsletter. 

Central College President Mark Putnam (left) watches as students imitate the
Central College President Mark Putnam (left) watches students imitate the
Nine Dragons in Beijing during a recent program visit.

French immersion through music and service-learning

Service-learning, music and art are unique options in Paris, and Kacey Kennedy of Culver-Stockton College is making the most of her semester abroad by taking advantage of these opportunities. Hear from Kennedy as she describes immersion in Paris.

French language development: “I took four years of French in high school, two of which were college level. When I arrived in Paris, I was surprised by how much French I actually remembered, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t notice a change. I completed a two-week intensive language and cultural orientation at the École Étoile French language institute in Paris. The language courses were what I refer to as a ‘crash course’ in French, reviewing what I’d learned in high school and learning new things.”

“I have seen the biggest change in my vocabulary because I am learning many new words and new uses for words I’ve already stored in my brain. I have also seen a change in my ability to listen. At the very beginning, I tried to listen to every word being said. Now I am at a point where I understand context, even if I don’t know each word.”

A different side of Paris: “My service-learning placement is in Paris’s 20th arrondisement at Centre Socioculturel Etincelles. I help middle school-aged students with their homework once a week. I like to help with English homework, because it gives me a chance to practice and check myself in French.”

“Through my placement, I’ve seen a very different side of Paris. Another student in the program also goes to the Centre, and we only speak French in the 20th arrondisement. I am seeing a less tourist-oriented part of Paris where people work for the lives they have. It is a little more ‘real’ here.”

Academic service-learning gives students the opportunity to connect course
Academic service-learning gives students the opportunity to connect course
concepts to France and French society.

Music lessons in Paris: “I absolutely love my French horn (cor d'harmonie) lessons. I am studying horn techniques with professional horn player Mr. Padieu Emmanuel. I practice in my foyer and also have practice spaces available to me at the Erik Satie Conservatory. I am excited to bring what I have learned back to Culver-Stockton, where I take horn lessons and perform in several ensembles, as well as incorporate what I’ve learned into my future curriculum as a music teacher.”
Goals for the semester: “Before the semester ends I would like to visit the Catacombs as well as a few museums I haven’t been able to see yet. I love that the national museums are free for students under 25. Every day I try to learn a new word or use a sentence structure I am not comfortable using, all with the hope of becoming more fluent. Most importantly, I want to take every day as it comes. I don’t know when I will ever get to do this again, so I am going to cherish every moment and experience as if it were the last.”

Learn more about music opportunities and service-learning placement in Paris.

See you at the NAFSA regional conference in Cedar Rapids

Central College Abroad will attend the NAFSA regional conference Saturday, Nov. 12 - Tuesday, Nov. 15 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The following CCA staff members will be in attendance:

  • 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)
  • Whitney Longnecker (territory representative)

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

CCA will also exhibit, so please visit the institutional partner fair in the Ballroom. Contact us at if you’d like to meet with a Central College Abroad representative at the conference.

Leiden students explore Den Haag

One of the highlights of studying through Central College Abroad is the number of cultural activities and excursions included in the program fee. Students in Leiden recently explored Den Haag (The Hague) taking in sites like the United Nations International Court of Justice at the Peace Palace. Laura Zeismer of St. Ambrose University found Den Haag to be much different than Leiden and enjoyed visiting the city with her program-mates and on-site resident director Steef Eman.

Leiden is a university town and Den Haag is much larger with more high-rise and political buildings,” said Zeismer. “During our excursion to Den Haag, we toured the Paleis Noordeinde, which is the working palace of the Queen. We also saw the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights), the oldest building in the city. The queen visits the Ridderzaal once a year to begin the Dutch Parliament’s political year.”

Laura Zeismer (right) and Samantha Duncan of Roger Williams University
Laura Zeismer (right) and Samantha Duncan of Roger Williams University
outside the Peace Palace.

Students also visited Panorama Mesdag while in Den Haag.

“The panorama is an old form of entertainment before films and theater,” said Zeismer. “The room is painted to set the scene and a story is told while you take in the painting.”

Recent excursions that connected Leiden students with Dutch culture included Amsterdam, Rotterdam and a three day trip to Belgium with two days in Brussels and one day in Brugge. Optional trips are frequently offered, including a canoe tour through Leiden’s canals and a three day trip to the Dutch island of Texel.

Watch a short video to learn more about Leiden.

Fall photo contest underway

October photo contest winner in The Real World category. Photo submitted by
October photo contest winner in The Real World category. Photo submitted by
Emily Madsen of Drake University and taken in Merida, Yucatan.

The fall photo contest is underway—enter your photos now! The photo contest is open to students who studied abroad in 2011, including students currently abroad this fall. Submit one new photo per category each month to be entered into a grand prize contest at the end of the semester. Photo contest categories include:

  1. The Real World: Do you have any 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?: Are you out and about? Wear your CCA T-shirt and take a photo to show us your adventures. 

Contest details are as follows:

  November December
Photo Submission Nov. 1-21 Dec. 1-21
Contest voting Nov. 23-29 Dec. 23-31
Prizes customized photo desk calendar customized digital photo keychain

View the October winners and learn more about the photo contest today.

Year in Vienna: Helen Hohnholt's story

Helen Hohnholt (right) and friends visiting the Brandburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
Helen Hohnholt (right) and friends visiting the Brandburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

Helen Hohnholt of Austin College has made a significant commitment to international education by studying abroad in Vienna for the '11-'12 academic year. Hohnholt initially considered just a semester abroad but was swayed to stay for the year.

 “Originally I was only going to do a semester program, but then my brother brought home four foreign exchange students for Christmas,” said Hohnholt. “One of the exchange students was leaving just after Christmas and kept saying she wished she could say longer because her English was really improving. After Christmas, I spoke with my parents, and we decided a semester wasn't long enough for me to do all the things I wanted.”

Hohnholt’s study abroad experience began with a recommendation from her German language teaching assistant.

“My German TA completed the CCA Vienna program and had nothing but good things to say about his experience,” said Hohnholt.  “When it came time for me to consider study abroad, CCA was the first German language program that came to mind.”

Hohnholt completed a two-month intensive language program at the Goethe Institut in Schwabisch Hall, Germany, before heading to Vienna. In Vienna, Hohnholt continues her language coursework and is also taking two political science courses and ballroom dancing at the University of Vienna.

“The transition from Schwabisch Hall to Vienna was rather interesting,” said Hohnholt. “I was glad to go to a new place, but it also felt odd leaving quaint, little Schwabisch Hall. My Goethe Institut language instructor taught me a very good phrase when I left. In German, the phrase is ‘Ich gehe mit einem lachenden und einem weinenden Augen’ which means ‘I leave with one eye laughing and one eye crying.’ This phrase really sums up leaving Schwabisch Hall.”

Although leaving Schwabisch Hall was a bittersweet departure, Hohnholt is forging ahead in Vienna and working to complete her study abroad goals. She would like to become fluent in German and can already tell her language skills are developing.

“I took two years of German at Austin College before studying abroad and my language is becoming more colloquial,” said Hohnholt. “At the University I learn ‘Hochdeutsch’ or high German, and I’m also learning new words just being around and interacting with Austrians.”

An internship, meeting new people and exploring Vienna are on Hohnholt’s to-do list for next semester.

“Next semester I would like to intern at a school teaching English,” said Hohnholt.  “My favorite part of study abroad so far has been meeting new people and exploring Vienna and Europe. I love discovering what this city is all about and plan to continue making friends and taking in the sites next semester.” 

Learn more about study abroad in Vienna, Austria.

Harper returns to Bangor for graduate program

One of the first questions that pops into many students’ minds after returning from study abroad is: “When can I go back?” Molly Harper, a Central College graduate and Bangor, Wales, alumna, chose to return sooner rather than later. Just a year after studying abroad, Harper is back in Bangor taking classes at Bangor University and assisting Bangor on-site resident director Tecwyn Vaughan Jones. Hear from Molly about her return to Wales.

Harper (right) and friend enjoy a playful outing in Bangor.
Molly Harper (right) and friend enjoy a playful outing in Bangor.

Graduate work at Bangor University: “I am completing a 12 month Foundations of Clinical Neuropsychology master’s program at Bangor University. The University had many appealing aspects including access to an fMRI machine, exciting research focuses and, of course, a beautiful landscape.”

Coming “home”: “I was definitely excited to return to Bangor. It was like returning home after a long vacation. I feel I have become much more independent since returning to Bangor. Sometimes students do not realize how much paperwork and logistics Tecwyn and the Central College Abroad staff take care of in preparation for students’ arrival. Having to do the prep work all on my own was a great learning experience.”

Assistant to the director: “Since I am an alumna of the program, I have the ability to provide my perspective to many aspects of the Bangor program, including the Outdoor Pursuits course, where certain buildings are located on campus and where to buy groceries. I also help Tecwyn around the office. I’ve been working for about a few months now, and my favorite part is checking up with students to hear about their experiences in Bangor.”

Advice to interested students: “Now is the time to study abroad, so do it! I know students have worries that make them hesitant like getting homesick, finances and not graduating on time. However, students need to realize they are not the first to have these questions. Study abroad alumni, like me, have overcome these concerns, and I am thankful I did not let those worries hold me back!”

Study abroad in Bangor, Wales.

Central College Abroad Quick Links for Faculty & Advisors:

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

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