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Central Alumni Newsletter

Friday, May 9, 2014

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

“Central College Vienna class of '80-81. Awesome memories! A bunch of us still
keep in touch. And yeah, we haven't changed a bit!” Jeff Salino

Attention Advisors: Travel grant applications due May 15

As noted by the Forum on Education Abroad, formal site visits for study abroad professionals are essential for providing accurate and important information to interested students. Central College Abroad is proud to provide such an opportunity to cooperative council member institutions. Each year, our office awards travel grants to visit one or more of our international program sites.
Travel grant applications are due Thursday, May 15, 2014. Please contact us for more information about the travel grant program and application.

Central College Abroad celebrates the career of Tecwyn Vaughan Jones

Proud to have counted him among its ranks, Central College Abroad will bid a fond farewell to Tecwyn Vaughan Jones, resident director in Bangor, Wales.

During his 14 years as resident director, Vaughan Jones guided the program through periods of growth and transition, none more important than the move from Carmarthen to Bangor. At Bangor University, the breadth of the academic program was broadened to better suit the interests of students of the liberal arts. To ensure that nothing was lost in transition, Vaughan Jones arranged for the program’s signature course, Outdoor Pursuits, to be offered against the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park, one of Bangor’s many geographical advantages.

Vaughan Jones joined by a few students currently on the spring 2014 Bangor program

As a result of Vaughan Jones’ guidance, Central College Abroad has entered into closer partnership with Bangor University. Each year a cadres of Bangor students studies on Central’s Pella campus, sharing their love of rugby and their uniquely British perspective. On Bangor’s campus, Central College Abroad students integrate with the university community through clubs, student organizations and life in the residence halls. As students involved in these programs will attest, the impact of Vaughan Jones’ support as a mentor, confidant and role model is enduring and profound.

Since replacing a legend can be difficult, Central College Abroad is grateful that Vaughan Jones’ will help the program’s next resident director to pick up right where he leaves off. After retiring at the conclusion of the summer 2014 program, Vaughan Jones will continue to teach at Bangor University.

50th Kickoff event a success

In March, Central College kicked off a yearlong celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of Central’s study abroad programs. The kickoff event was held after our annual study abroad fair on Wednesday, March 26, with the campus community, student alums, on-site resident directors and the Central College Abroad staff. Central College President Mark Putnam recognized past employees who greatly influenced study abroad at Central College.

Granada, Spain, resident director, Veronica Garcia Montero, joins student
alumni for a photo at the kickoff

Alumni receptions with on-site resident directors were also hosted in Minneapolis with Bangor resident director Tecwyn Vaughn Jones, in Chicago with Vienna resident director Ruth Verweijen, and at a luncheon event with the director of study abroad, Blaire Modic, and all seven resident directors in Des Moines.

The theme for the yearlong 50th celebration is “A Year of Global Citizenship” with anniversary events continuing throughout 2014 and 2015.

Central College pledges to join Generation Study Abroad initiative

Central College has pledged to join the Institute of International Education (IIE)’s Generation Study Abroad initiative to double the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. Central is building on its already strong commitment to study abroad and will work to increase the number of undergraduate students who study abroad to 65 percent of each graduating class.

Currently, approximately 50 percent of Central students study abroad, most for a full semester, compared to a national average of 14 percent. The goal of 65 percent, while more ambitious than many schools participating in the initiative, demonstrates Central’s strong commitment to international experiences for students.

“For 50 years, Central College has been a national leader in providing opportunities for undergraduate students to study abroad,” said Dr. Mary Strey, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “We look forward to expanding our global footprint during the next half century while continuing to provide students with a high quality, high impact education.”

Two of Central College’s five strategic academic goals, endorsed by its Board of Trustees in 2012, focus on global experiential learning: to become an international community of global learners and to develop a portfolio of programs to reflect Central’s commitment to global and community engagement. Central College continues to emphasize global perspectives in its curriculum, actively promotes international experiences for students and creates a climate of global awareness on campus. The recent pledge with IIE is merely the latest step in the college’s decades-long leadership in this area.

Communications professor Shelley Bradfield named visiting faculty member in Merida, Yucatan for spring 2015

Dr. Shelley Bradfield, assistant professor of communications studies at Central College, will be the visiting faculty member in Merida, Yucatan, during spring 2015. As a world traveler and international media scholar, Bradfield is interested in experiencing new cultures. Her previous research in South Africa also has connections to Mexico’s television industry, and she plans to begin a new research project while teaching abroad.

Shelley Bradfield

While in Merida, Bradfield will teach two courses relating to media, concepts of identity and globalization. In her course “Evaluating Contemporary Media” students will learn how the media constructs and reinforces particular identities as well as incorporate their own observations of Mexican identity construction into classroom discussion. Her other course “Engaging Telenovelas: Globalization, Representations, and Social Change,” will have students follow a telenovela in Spanish and complete a research project on audience reception of the program. This course will fulfill both the Global Sustainability and Social/Behavioral Inquiry core requirements for Central College students. Neither of these courses have prerequisites.

See you in San Diego at NAFSA!

Central College Abroad will be attending the NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo in San Diego, California, May 26 – 30. The following staff members will be in attendance:

  • Blaire Modic, director of study abroad
  • Maria Rohach, senior coordinator of study abroad

Central College Abroad will host our annual NAFSA breakfast with guest speaker, Arnd Wächter, founder and managing director of Morocco Exchange and Crossing Borders Education.
Contact if you would like to meet with a Central College Abroad representative at the conference. We are excited to be a part of NAFSA’s conference on international education and look forward to seeing you in San Diego!

Central College student receives Gilman scholarship

David Norton, a communication studies student at Central College, is one of more than 1,100 American undergraduate students from 358 colleges and universities across the U.S. selected to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Norton will study abroad on our London, England, summer internship program this summer 2014.
Learn more about scholarship opportunities.

Impact of service learning lasts a lifetime

Central College Abroad alum David Vonnahme is a prime example of what it looks like to catch the travel bug. Vonnahme studied through Central’s London program in fall 2007, and right away he knew he wanted more. The next fall he decided to study abroad for a second semester—this time in Merida. This experience ended up being a pivotal point in his life, and he recalls a certain service opportunity in particular. Resident director Valerie Grimsley encouraged Vonnahme to volunteer his time teaching an English literature course, and he claims the rest is history.

Vonahmme (center) surrounded by his students in China.

After graduating in 2010, Vonnahme went on to work for Wells Fargo in Des Moines where he maintained a connection to his study abroad experience by volunteering as an English teacher at a local church. Yet this wasn’t quite enough. In January 2012, he dropped everything to move to Rio de Janeiro, a destination he’d been dreaming of for years. He spent four months there, volunteering and traveling. In August of the same year, Vonnahme joined The Center for Teaching and Learning in China (CTLC) where he began teaching English at a public high school in Shenzhen. He continues to work for CTLC today as an associate on-site coordinator.

As with most travel bug cases, the itch hasn’t stopped. During his time off work for the Chinese Spring Festival, Vonnahme explored other parts of Asia and the Middle East, starting with a few weeks in India before moving on to Jordan and Israel. While in Jordan, he visited the historic city of Petra, a destination that would cap off a significant quest. At the age of 25, Vonnahme has now seen all seven of the New Age Wonders of the World.

Apply to find out how service learning will impact your life! 

Alumni tour to Paris to celebrate 50th anniversary

Central College is celebrating the 50th anniversary of study abroad at Central with alumni tours to all current semester-long program locations. The first tour will be to Paris, France, in June 2015. Paris was the first study abroad program at Central, making it a great place to start the alumni tours.

Students taking a coffee break in Paris, circa 1960s 

The custom-designed tour will allow alums to take in familiar places as well as experience the Paris of today. After arriving in Paris the group will travel to Caen for a few days to see the countryside and visit the beaches of Normandy. They will then make their way back to Paris to explore the city, reminisce about study abroad memories and make new ones. The group also hopes to meet with current Paris resident director, Shelley Cavaness and the first Paris resident director, Inge Drappier. Anyone who studied abroad with Central College Abroad (or wished they had!) is invited to join the tour.

If you are interested in learning more about the trip to Paris or other program locations, contact director of alumni relations, Kathy Thompson at

Spring Applications!

Applications to study abroad spring 2015 are due October 1. Use your summer break to learn about the opportunities that are available through Central College Abroad and find out which program is best suited for you. Why wait? Take your first steps toward a semester or year abroad and apply today at:

Central College Abroad Quick Links for Faculty & Advisors:

Contact Us

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

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