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Central Alumni Newsletter

Friday, February 8, 2013

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

Engineering an Opportunity

Making study abroad a part of your college career is not always an easy task, especially as an engineering student. However, Paige Engelhardt demonstrates that study abroad is possible with any major.  

As soon as she entered Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., as a freshman, Paige Engelhardt mapped out a plan that would allow her to complete her engineering degree and study in Granada, Spain, for a semester. She would focus on courses in her major while in the United States and save her core requirements to complete abroad. To get ahead in classes, she has dual-enrolled at Bradley and a local community college. Although it has been a challenge, she says “it is without a doubt worth the opportunity to study abroad in Spain for a semester.”

Refusing to let her Spanish proficiency slip away, she has been studying Spanish workbooks and interactive online learning activities in her spare time. Her desire to explore Spain and her love of the language propels her forward.

After all her hard work, Engelhardt is excited to immerse herself in the Spanish culture and practice her speaking skills. She knows that not only is she enhancing her resume, but she will be creating experiences that will impact her life forever. In the future, Engelhardt hopes to find a career that will allow her to use both her engineering skills, as well as her love for the Spanish language and culture.

Make your dreams come true with Central College Abroad!

Music is the International Language

Megan Sterzinger, of Carthage College in Wisconsin, studied in Bangor, Wales, in fall 2011.

Music has always played a substantial role in Megan Sterzinger’s life. But she never knew how much music would impact her experience abroad.

 “Basically any memory I have from the semester involves music,” Sterzinger said. She found music on street corners in the Netherlands, pumping out of pubs in Ireland, wafting out of Morrison’s grocery store and whispering down High Street. Music was even a part of Outdoor Pursuits, the adventure course that teaches rock climbing, kayaking and sailing, along with leadership and communication skills. (Sterzinger and a friend serenaded the group with Disney’s “A Whole New World” during a camping trip.)

Sterzinger at Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal) in Snowdonia National Park

Sterzinger encountered music not only in the streets but also back on campus. She was part of the Bangor University Chamber Choir during her time in Wales and took multiple classes at the Music School of Bangor University to complete her music degree.

To pay homage to her experience in Wales, Sterzinger decided to incorporate a Welsh lullaby into her senior recital. She said of singing the lullaby, “It meant the world to be able to share a tiny piece of my experience with my friends and family. I will never forget my semester spent in Bangor, nor will I forget the music that is locked in my heart.”

Megan Sterzinger sings Suo Gan, a Welsh lullaby.

Accepting applications for summer and fall 2013!

Do you find yourself sitting around with nothing to do? Are you longing for a chance to see the world and experience something new? Then start your application to study abroad! Grab your chance to experience unique culture, language and internship experiences that await our abroad students! Earn academic credit, build up your resume AND have the time of your life! Our eight personalized programs across the globe offer great opportunities for any and all students. Take advantage of our fully online application—it’s fast, easy and best of all, FREE!

The summer application deadline is March 1. The fall deadline is March 15.

Students learn the right steps in Austria

Once a year, the Presseclub Concordia, an organization of Austrian journalists and foreign media representatives, organizes a summer ball for the Austrian public. It is held in the splendid ceremonial rooms and arcaded inner courtyard of the Vienna City Hall.

The Concordia Ball has, over the years, become a highlight of the Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen), attracting both Viennese and foreign guests. Among the participants are journalists and leading figures from the worlds of business, science and the arts, all of whom dance and socialize until the early hours of the morning in the splendid rooms of the City Hall, or under the stars in the courtyard. The famous flamenco dancer Juan Polvillo from Seville performed at the opening session, Venenciador Jesus Delgado artistically served Sherry and "Paellero" champion Juan Gomez prepared a gigantic dish of Valencian paella.

From left to right: Nathan Snippe, Kayla Hohl, Chelsea Ford, Helen Hohnholt,
Megan Seymour, Jessica Jessen and Lucas Fillmore

This year, the Presseclub invited Central College and Fulbright students to partake in the 115th Concordia summer ball, "Compania Flamenca,” by helping open the ball with young Spanish dancers and the traditional “Jungdamen/Jungherren-Komitée“ (Young Women/Young Men's Committee).

Throughout the semester, students attended ballroom dancing lessons and were introduced to the world of Viennese balls. Dressed in white evening gowns and black tuxedos, they opened the ball by dancing to Spanischer Marsch and the Morgenblätterwalzer, performed by The Vienna Opera Ball Orchestra. Both the songs were specifically composed for the Concordia Presseball by Johann Strauss.

Take the right step and sign up to study abroad today!

Double the Fun

Central College senior Greg Ellingson didn’t want to study abroad once, he wanted to study abroad twice. After growing up in Pella and going to college in his hometown, the political science and economics major was excited about the chance to experience true independent living outside the U.S.

“I knew I wanted to go to London for sure,” said Ellingson, who was attracted to the internships available at CCA’s London, England, program. Although countless placements are available around the city, the political scientist in Ellingson was attracted to a Parliamentary internship.

Ellingson realized he had a window of three semesters—from the beginning of his sophomore year through the middle of his junior year—in which to complete his two semesters abroad. Despite being initially drawn to London, he decided to study in Leiden, the Netherlands, during the first semester of his sophomore year.

Raised in a Dutch family and in a town that prides itself on its Dutch heritage, Ellingson was curious to experience the real thing. “It’s interesting because towns in the U.S. have held on to the Dutch past much more than the actual Dutch people,” he explained. “The real Netherlands isn’t like the Dutch heritage festivals you see here.” He was able to make the comparison his first weekend in the country, when he attended a family reunion hosted by his distant Dutch cousins.

Ellingson went abroad again in the fall of his junior year, at last heading to London. He said the differences between the two sites were noticeable immediately. “Leiden was a very Dutch experience, while London was more of an urban, international experience.” Each program location had its own personal flair, something new and interesting to experience.

Upon attaining his internship at Parliament, Ellingson worked alongside a Member of Parliament, tasked with assisting on local policies, including writing a policy paper on transportation. “It’s pretty incredible,” said Ellingson. “I wrote things that were actually used in their local government party policy.”

But after two semesters abroad, Ellingson said the academic insights were only part of the experience.. “So much of a study abroad experience is the people you meet,” he said. But in addition to the friendships, his world view has expanded immeasurably. After spending nearly nine months in two different countries, while taking trips to an additional 10 across Europe, it’s not surprising.

You choose…or study abroad twice! Study abroad in Leiden, the Netherlands, and London, England.

Look for Central College Abroad this spring!

This spring, we look forward to presenting new ideas and interacting with colleagues in international education across the country. Please look for us at these regional and national conferences:

  • Vermont/New Hampshire Study abroad Re-Entry Conference (Feb. 16): Central is proud to be one of a handful of sponsors for this conference! On Feb. 16, look for Maria Rohach, coordinator of institutional relations, at Norwich University, host of the conference. This is a great opportunity for returnees from study abroad  to share their experiences and learn how to capitalize on them to benefit their future. 
  • AAPLAC Conference (Feb. 20-22) : Hosted by Meredith University, Raleigh, N.C. Valerie Grimsley, resident director in Merida, Yucatan, and Jessica Klyn de Novelo, director of institutional relations, will be presenting a session entitled, “Building Communities: The Role of Host Families in Study Abroad.” We hope to see you there!
  • Education Abroad Programs in German-Speaking Europe in an Age of Globalization and Virtuality (Mar. 21-24): Join us in Atlanta, Ga. at the conference hosted by Emory University. Vienna program director Ruth Verweijen, assistant director Michaela Maschek and Central College German faculty Amy Young and Maria Snyder will be presenting a session entitled, “Personalizing Learning in a Small Liberal Arts Context: the Self-Directed Learner in Vienna.”
  • Forum on Education Abroad (April 3-5): See you in Chicago!  Many of the professionals from our U.S.-based staff will be in attendance, including Lyn Isaacson, assistant dean for global education; Jessica Klyn de Novelo, Maria Rohach and Lisa Ellor Smith from the institutional relations team; and Brian Zylstra, manager for on-campus operations and student services. In addition, Central College faculty member Dennis Doyle will be part of a team leading the workshop, “From A to Z: Developing an Assessment Plan to Promote Student Learning and Development” with Betsy Brewer (Beloit College), Nick Gozik (Boston College) and Kelly McLaughlin (Yale University). 
  • Please contact us at if you’d like to meet with a member of the Central College Abroad team. 

From Bangor with Love

Students have certain expectations when they go abroad: to get out of their comfort zones, try new, exciting things and travel to exotic locations around the world. Annie Wignall ’10 expected these things to happen while she was abroad in Bangor, Wales, but she didn’t expect to meet her future husband!

Wignall, along with five of her American travel companions, spent a lot of time together. “We would always meet at one of their flats because they had a great group of flatmates,” says Wignall. “It turned out that Will played field hockey, and realizing the fun we had together, he ended up spending quite a lot of time with all of us!”

It wasn’t love at first sight, but as the two spent more time together, their growing attachment was apparent to both of them.. Fearing that they would never see each other again, they decided to give long-distance dating a shot.

“The time difference did not make things easy, but the hardest part was having to say goodbye.” Through Skyping every day and visiting each other over breaks, they made it work. Little did she know, however, that yet another surprise was in the making.

On December 23, while visiting Will in England over Christmas break, Wignall was told that she and Will would be going out for a nice dinner. “He would not give me any details. I kept trying to ask questions but the only thing I could get out of him was that we were going to eat Italian.” Wignall was completely overwhelmed when Will led her by lantern to a garden room. “The room was lined with candles and a table was set up in the middle. He made home-made spaghetti and after eating he proposed!”

Currently, the married couple lives in Pella. Wignall remarks on the unexpected turn of events, saying “We did not foresee living in America. Our plan is to go with the flow and continue to enjoy being together!”


At some point in time, all students who study abroad wish to relive the memories and the experiences they encountered while overseas. For some alumni of the Accra, Ghana, program, this dream became a reality.

On Friday, Nov. 16, Sam Mate-Kodjo, the Central Director for the Ghana Program, hosted a Ghanaian dinner party at his house, inviting students who had studied in Ghana in the summer of 2012, along with faculty and staff who visited the program. Some students went to great lengths to make it to the dinner. One student made the drive all the way from Illinois State University to attend the Pella dinner party.

Traditional Ghanaian food was not the only thing on the menu. Walking down memory lane, the students, faculty and staff were able to see each other again and talk about just how much the program changed their lives. For just one night, it seemed, they were back in Ghana.

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

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