vienna photo
I really enjoyed the Austria in Context course that each student takes in Vienna. It offered a great mix of excursions around the city to actually see the things that we were learning in the classroom!
– Nathan Mundell
Cornell College

about us

Established in 1965, Central College Abroad is a nationally recognized study abroad
provider attracting students from across the United States. Colleges and universities choose Central College Abroad to offer rich global opportunities for their students. International educators tell us that Central College's programs provide their students stronger academics and more opportunities for cultural integration. Students tell us they benefit from our personalized approach and continual exposure to the local culture.

Central offers distinctive programs in eight locations worldwide, including semester, year-long and summer options, and we seek to shape students’ global perspective by integrating the areas of academic study and experiential learning, as highlighted by our hybrid program model:

The hybrid model

Central College Abroad combines the best of both worlds -- our own courses with qualified faculty AND opportunities to enroll at local institutions. This allows for more integration into the international culture and more support from the resident staff than others can provide. Research shows that hybrid model participants develop a greater interest in the host culture than participants in a direct enroll program. The benefits of this model are significant and include:

  • Dedicated, professional resident directors, offering greater on-site support and assistance
  • On-site orientation that's specific to each Central College Abroad location
  • A blend of courses at local universities and our own courses, creating a well-rounded academic experience
  • Tailored programming and personalized attention that maximizes a student's experience
  • Excursions and cultural activities that give context to the abroad experience
  • Structured integration through internships and service-learning placements, immersion activities, language partners and housing options
  • Health and safety support

.Academic quality assurance

Central College Abroad’s strong academic foundation comes from being a part of Central College, a well-respected, private liberal arts college in Pella, Iowa.

From our mission to the daily operations of each program site, Central College Abroad is woven into the academic rigor, tradition and vision of Central College. Each component of our program is carefully reviewed by an academic body on Central’s campus:

  • Off-Campus Policy Committee approves changes to programming
  • Curriculum Committee approves courses and gives designations
  • Faculty liaisons work with each resident director on academic vision, program development and course offerings

Central College Abroad also maintains a commitment to ongoing assessment through on-site program reviews, evaluations and assessment of student development using the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI), a 64-item survey that measures how a student thinks, views herself as a person with a cultural heritage, and relates to others from other cultures, backgrounds and values. The GPI is given to students when they arrive on-site and again at the end of the term. Partner institutions have access to data from each program. More information about the GPI can be found at

Mission statement

Central College Abroad fosters cross-cultural appreciation and foreign language development through high quality study abroad programs. Because study abroad is integral to an undergraduate education in an increasingly global society, Central College Abroad is committed to providing experientially and culturally intentional, tailored programs with personalized service to a wide range of students and institutions.

Student learning goals

Students will:

  • Expand their language proficiency and knowledge.
  • Demonstrate awareness, knowledge, and understanding of international and cultural groups other than their own.
  • Demonstrate an ability to see their own cultural group from a different perspective.
  • Demonstrate an ability to interact ethically and responsibly with local, national, and international communities.
  • Demonstrate growth in the areas of emotional intelligence and personal development.

Program locations


Central College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, Iowa Department of Public Instruction, AACTE, National Association of Schools of Music and the American Chemical Society. For more information regarding Central's accreditation visit the College Accreditation page.

Professional Memberships

Central College is a member of:
AAPLAC (Association of Academic Programs in Latin America & the Caribbean)
AASAP/UK (Association of American Study Abroad Programs UK)
APUNE (Association of North American Programs in Spain)
APUAF (Association of American University Programs in France)
Forum on Education Abroad
IIE (Institute of International Education)

Central College Abroad staff hold individual membership with:
NAFSA (Association of International Educators)