Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Traveler Spotlight--Nate and JD

Written by: Krista Baum

While walking through the HI-Chicago second floor lounge, I saw two guys playing pool, and they were almost done with their game. They looked like cool guys and would have some very interesting stories to share…and they did! *This is why travelers should meet and mingle on the second floor lounge because there are so many great people to talk to :)

Nate is 23 years old, and from Fort Wayne, Indiana and J.D. is 19 years old and from Goshen, Indiana and they have traveled to many great places around the world!

Nate has been all over Central and South America, and has lived in Argentina for 13 months and recently got back from his 10 month stay in China. While living in China, he also traveled to nearby countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

JD has traveled around the United States, been to Canada for two weeks and just recently got back from his 10 month stay in Bolivia.

So how did Nate and JD meet?

Nate and JD met through the Radical Journey program, which is a program through a Mennonite Mission Network that is based out of Indiana. When they said Radical Journey, I had no idea what that program was, so I asked them to elaborate. They said that Radical Journey is a program for men and women between 19-30 years old, and they do a year of service in a foreign country. The service that these people are providing varies on need, but some examples are: construction work, teaching English or tutoring children.

During their travels both Nate and JD had some surprises…

Nate learned that his house sister in China went to the United States for a year and met his Argentinian fiancĂ©’s best friend. Nate was pleasantly surprised to find out about this later, and really thought that this was a real life example of how small the world really is J

For JD, he had a less pleasant surprise when he encountered some passport problems in Bolivia. Due to this experience, JD recommends that all travelers get their passport work done as soon as possible!!

From surprises to shocks... What was the biggest culture shock for these guys while abroad?

Nate thought that the family life was a big culture shock for him. When in China, everyone in the family was really close, and friends were treated like siblings. He also learned that it was normal for a 33 yr. old and a 32 yr. old to live at home, versus in the United States when everyone starts leaving home at around 18 years old to go to college or work.

JD thought that language was the biggest culture shock while in Bolivia. Within the first couple days he wanted to continually greet people in English, however after 10 months there, he was conversing in Spanish every day, and now back in the United States he feels that he wants to greet people in Spanish. The switching between languages so fast can definitely result in some excellent Spanglish!

So what brought Nate and JD to Chicago?

For both these guys, Chicago was the reorientation city. After their recent experiences abroad, Nate living in China for 10 months and JD living in Bolivia for 10 months, their program chose Chicago as the place for all their participants to initially return to when coming back to the United States.

JD actually just arrived in Chicago this afternoon and said that he was in Bolivia this morning! How cool is that!?!

Their program thought that Chicago was a good fit because it is culturally diverse and it would be a nice transition from being in another country for so long. Both Nate and JD are enjoying their stay in Chicago and are readjusting to life back in the United States.

So where do they plan on going in the future?

Nate plans on going to Argentina, so that he can then bring his fiancé to the United States so they can get married. Then they will move back to Argentina for a while.

JD plans on going to Goshen College in Indiana so he can study Spanish and French, and he also says that he wants to study abroad in Spain for a year!

No comments: