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Central Alumni Newsletter

Friday, March 9, 2012

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.

February photo contest winner in the "A New Adventure" category submitted by Liasor
February photo contest winner in the "A New Adventure" category submitted by Liasor
Dima of St. John Fisher College. Dima is studying in Granada this semester.

Attention students! Fall application deadline March 15!

You still have time to apply for fall 2012 and academic year 2012-13 programs! All application materials, including transcripts, essay and recommendations, are due Thursday, March 15.

Don't forget about scholarships! Scholarship applications are also due March 15. Learn more about your scholarship opportunities

Where in the World?

Central College President Mark Putnam has set into motion an intense year of planning, and campus leaders have been charged to think about how to change the landscape of higher education at Central College. Watch this final installment of our three-part series describing the planning year at Central College as Dr. Putnam speaks about student development and global, experiential learning.

Join the Civitas conversation about where in the world Central College Abroad should be.

Did you miss the first two videos? Listen in as Dr. Putnam describes the Central College planning year with a special emphasis on partnership with our cooperating institutions and faculty development abroad.

Advisors and faculty: Take note!

2012-2013 pricing announced

Central College Abroad has announced program fees for the 2012-2013 academic school year and fees are now listed online. Program fees include all of the following:

U.S. Department of State Travel Warning Update: Mexico

As of February 2012, the State Department has changed the way information is presented about Mexico. While the travel warning remains in effect, safety information is now given on a state-by-state basis. The states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Chiapas, which is where program activities take place, have all been labeled: No advisory is in effect. Learn more about safety in Yucatan.

Register today! 2012 Coop Council Conference

We invite members of our Cooperating Council to register for the annual Central College Abroad Coop Council Conference April 12-13 in Pella, Iowa.  This year's conference features a highly anticipated keynote address from international education expert Dr. Madeleine Green and session presentations from international educators across the field, as well as program updates from international resident directors. 

This is a great opportunity to engage in important conversations within the field of international education and to glean information that will truly benefit your students.

Learn more about the conference and register today. We look forward to seeing you in April!

Home away from Home in France
By Heather Williamson of Central College

I decided to study in Paris, France, last fall semester to immerse myself in the French language and culture. I was up for a challenge, and that’s exactly what I received in Paris! I had already taken some French language classes in high school but soon realized this was nothing compared to what I was learning in France. You really don’t know a language until you’re in that country, speaking it every day to everyone around you. My language skills improved immensely during my semester in Paris, thanks in part to my roommate Aude.

Before going abroad, I was a little nervous about having a French roommate. Aude was very quiet at first, but as time went on, I got to know her and we became friends. We spoke in a mixture of both English and French, or what I like to call “Franglish!” Aude was also nice about helping me with my homework when I didn’t understand.

In France, it is a big deal to be invited into someone’s home because the French keep their personal lives to themselves. Aude was kind enough to invite me to her home located an hour’s train ride away in Normandy, France. I did so many things that weekend, including visiting Omaha Beach and the memorial cemetery, eating a three-course meal at a restaurant, watching a French movie and walking along the rocky beach.

From left: Aude's mother, Aude and Williamson at Omaha Beach in Normandy.
From left: Aude’s mother, Aude and Williamson at Omaha Beach in Normandy.

The family dynamic between Aude, her siblings and parents was similar to that of my own family because they did many things together. I felt very welcome in her family and was glad to have had this experience with Aude and her family.

Learn more about Paris.

Exciting London Housing News

Beginning fall 2012, students on the London program will live in Woburn Place located in Bloomsbury, the heart of London’s academic district. Students will be just a short distance from the West End theatre district, eclectic Camden Town as well as a short walk from the British Museum and the British Library. The area is well served by public transportation and our location also gives students easy access to the University of London Student Union, where they can join clubs, organizations and sports teams and meet local students.

Woburn Place living arrangements include:

  • double rooms with shared bathroom facilities
  • common room with TV and DVD
  • internet connection via in-room data ports and Wi-Fi internet in all bedrooms and common areas
  • laundry facility
  • full kitchen and dining room
  • bike storage
  • secure door entry with CCTV
  • 24-hour staff and reception
  • vending machine
  • wheelchair accessible

Meals: While a meal plan is not provided, all students have access to a communal kitchen on their floor. This is a great opportunity to meet other students and enjoy the camaraderie of Woburn Place. We encourage students to take advantage of shopping for food at the nearby outdoor markets and supermarkets within easy walking distance.

The Central College Abroad London Center: Starting fall 2012, the CCA London center will move to Store Street in Bloomsbury. This office space is conveniently located just minutes from the residence hall and will serve as a gathering spot for students. It includes library space, a small seminar room where classes are taught and a lounge. The director and assistant director's offices are also housed here.

A word from Mark Simmons, London resident director: “I am genuinely excited about CCA London’s move to Bloomsbury. It is in the heart of London’s academic district and is a calm, green oasis in the very center of the city. Students will have a vast array of educational and recreational facilities literally on their doorstep. It is without doubt the best location in London for a student to live and study.”

Study abroad in London.

Dutch immersion through University coursework

Every student wants their study abroad experience to be unique and this extends to the classroom. In Leiden, the Netherlands, the chance to customize the academic experience is enhanced by the wide-ranging courses available through two affiliate institutions: Webster University and Leiden University.

While courses at the Central College Abroad center offer an introduction to Dutch language and culture, as well as the opportunity to delve into history and art, the course catalogs at Leiden and Webster universities make students’ options almost limitless. And with all instruction in English, it’s viable for every student.

Fall 2011 Leiden student Elizabeth Norton of Morningside College, who studies political science, history and international affairs, was drawn to the Netherlands because of its connection to the United Nations and its status as a European Union nation.

Understand Mexican healthcare services through site visits
Leiden University and Webster University coursework diversifies student opportunities.

The Leiden University course History and Economics of European Integration gave Norton the chance to study the EU from a European perspective. “As Americans, we think of the EU as a strictly political entity,” she explained, “but they see it as a significant part of their modern history and something that is tied in with their national identities.”

Norton’s program-mate Nicole Ferguson of Central College also wanted to individualize her schedule. “I needed to take a biology class for my minor,” she explained. With its strong reputation for science and research, Leiden University was an ideal choice, and she enrolled in Ecology II. But as a general studies major, Ferguson’s academic needs were far-reaching. She also took a course through Webster University. Recognized for its business and accounting programs, Webster was a natural place to take Introduction to Statistics.

The value of Ferguson and Norton’s classes, however, extended beyond the classroom. One of the biggest opportunities afforded by affiliate university courses is the chance to study alongside local Dutch students. “It was my interest in delving into the culture that really made me want to take a Leiden University class,” Norton said. “I wanted to get a complete picture.”

She took advantage of her experience and did just that. Relationships she formed in a study group turned into friendships. Soon, people who started as classmates were the friends she spent her time with outside of class.

Norton and Ferguson both credit their Dutch university courses with helping them better understand local culture. A first-hand look at the education system was part of that. “Their system is very self-driven,” said Norton. With less time spent in the classroom compared to American courses, the Dutch system emphasizes students’ responsibilities. “It’s up to you to do what is expected,” Ferguson said.

While initially intimidated by a course graded on just a handful of assignments, Norton says she now appreciates the skills it helped develop. “I had to be more critical about the way I was thinking about my assignments,” she explained. “I had to interpret things myself and choose what parts of the readings were more significant.”

Despite the differences, Ferguson found that the Dutch system didn’t leave her completely on her own. “I was able to communicate with the professors when I needed to,” she said. She took advantage of the chance to meet with professors and to ask questions, much as she would in the U.S.

Both students claim their university courses changed their experience and gave them a perspective of Dutch culture they would not otherwise have gained. “Taking the Leiden University class really enhanced my experience and gave me a fuller picture of the Netherlands,” Norton said. 

Click to learn more about affiliate universities in Leiden.

See you in Denver

Please join Central College Abroad at the Forum on Education Abroad conference Wednesday – Friday, March 21-23, in Denver, Colorado. Plan to attend the following session:

  • Overcoming Barriers in Using Data to Improve Study Away Programs – presented by Brian Zylstra, manager of on-campus operations and student services at Central College Abroad; Kelly McLaughlin of Yale University; Michael Zoll of Semester at Sea; Kevin Kehl of Abilene Christian University; Cheryl Young of Miami University of Ohio; and Larry Braskamp of Central College. The session will take place Friday, March 23 at 10:45 a.m.

Jennifer Larson, senior coordinator of institutional relations, and Whitney Longnecker, territory representative, will also be in attendance.

Please visit the conference website for details and full session descriptions. Contact if you would like to meet with a Central College Abroad representative at the conference.

Student connections in Granada

Having the opportunity to speak with locals is a major benefit of studying abroad on a language immersion program. Through homestays students speak with their host families all the time; however, sometimes it is difficult for students to venture outside of their comfort zones and speak to people their own age.

Veronica Garcia Montero, Central College Abroad’s Granada, Spain, resident director, saw this as an opportunity to enhance the program by putting CCA students in contact with local students studying English. “The purpose of the intercambio [program] is to put University of Granada students and CCA students in contact, enrich the knowledge of their respective cultures and support the language skills of both groups. By communicating with people their own age, CCA students will learn more about and be immersed in the Spanish culture.”

The program was piloted during the spring 2011 semester and has turned into a program highlight. C.J. Newendorp of Hope College studied abroad in Granada fall 2011. Here Newendorp takes a few minutes to share about his intercambio experience.

Bangor students prepare for an Outdoor Pursuits high ropes course.
Newendorp and his intercambio partner Trini out to tapas.

Can you tell me about your experience with the intercambio program?

  • “I had my intercambio with a student named Trini. I found it to be a great way to connect with someone Spanish. Plus, I had a lot of fun experiencing the culture with a local and getting the opportunity to learn about life in Spain from their perspective. I was excited about this program because at first, I was unsure how to meet locals who were my own age.”

Did you feel like the program gave you more opportunities to use your Spanish with native speakers?

  • “Absolutely. I found myself speaking the most Spanish with the intercambios, and in the most conversational way. Since they were our own age, it was much more natural to talk about topics pertinent to 'student culture,' like relationships, music, sports, etc.”

How beneficial was it to learn about the Spanish culture from someone your own age?

  • “I found it to be very beneficial. Sometimes professors and directors like Veronica, as much as they'd like to share certain aspects of the Spanish culture with us, simply can't or don't know the present state of the youth in Spain. It was awesome to talk with someone about their life in Spain as a 20-something and compare it to my American lifestyle.”

What activities did you do together?

  • “Our first activity was going to tapas together and then we went hiking. We also went to a teteria (little tea/smoothie shop). We also had Thanksgiving dinner with our intercambio group.”

Learn more about Granada.

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

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