Archive for the ‘Study Abroad’ Category


Saturday, September 18th, 2010

G’day from New Zealand!  I should let you know I spent most of this Saturday enjoying a serene pine forest.  Lunch was lovely: a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich,a blueberry muffin, and cool, sweet, Christchurch water.

This is NOT me. ...Could be my mom....

I should probably mention however, that this particularly serene forest is named ADRENALINE!! When I wasn’t clinging to a tree trunk 20m (60+ft.) above ground, I climbed swinging logs or a highwire, with only a waist harness to catch my falls!  As the Kiwi’s would say, I’m not “too keen” on heights, and let me tell you, when the wind picked up in the afternoon, I may or may not have been freaking out…  When you can look across most of the forest and ALL the trees are swaying, notably the one you are ATTACHED to, the adrenaline does start up.  I was on a “Nepalese bridge,” or four wires (one for the harness, two to hold on to, and one to stand on) when the wind really picked up.  There’s nothing quite like standing on a wire that is bucking and jumping with every gust that hits the trees.  The happy lady above would NOT have had that expression on her face had she been in the sort of wind we had today!!  Her hair would be frazzled, shirt would be pink, and I’m sure even with deodorant she would be smelling quite ripe by the afternoon.  After a week of watching movies and trying to make myself be productive, today’s outdoor activities were a fantastic change.  Thanks to the Arcadia Study Abroad program via Grace, I could conclude my week with adrenaline!  🙂

Get the Zombie EP!

Tomorrow I’m going to a Parkway Drive and The Devil Wears Prada concert, and I am SO STOKED!!  If I didn’t mention it in my last post, I kind of love heavy metal.  In addition, I haven’t been to a show since June. I get the itch for ridiculously loud distortion and screaming if I don’t get to a gig every few months.  When I found out TDWP was doing a NZ/Aus. tour, I was elated to say the least.  METAL!!!

In conclusion, I don’t know how much adrenaline and metal have to do with studying abroad or New Zealand, but I’m here, and the experiences are happening!  I should also mention that Brennan Manning’s book The Ragamuffin Gospel offers a refreshing perspective:

“When Jesus tells us to become like little children, He is inviting us to forget what lies behind.  …Whatever we have done in the past, be it good or evil, great or small, is irrelevant to our stance before God today. It’s only now that we are in the presence of God.”

Cheers!  -Karl Johnson, Christchurch New Zealand

Currently listening to: Evergreen Terrace’s Almost Home and Stray From The Path’s Villains

Just watched: Mark Wahlberg in Shooter; and the tv series Samurai 7

Salutations from Middle Earth!

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Typically this is where I would begin telling you about myself.  For all intents and purposes, I would deem it necessary to inform you that I have shoulder-length hair, listen primarily to metal, and love being with friends.  I could try to convince you to refer to me as “Shaggy,” since 1,482 people have confused me with him.  No exaggeration.

My doppelganger.

I should probably mention that I plan to graduate from Grace in 2012 with a B.A. in P.R. and Int’l. Business or that I started snowboarding last season.  In theory, such details would conjure thoughts like, “oh, this guy seems interesting,” or “shoulder-length? I thought this was dude’s post?”

But frankly, after two and a half months of average introductions, I thought I should try to spice things up a bit.  Here goes nothin’.

Hey, uh, my name’s Karl Johnson, and this morning I discovered I have Athlete’s Foot.  Since a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch last Saturday and caused the school to be closed for two weeks (I’m studying abroad at Uni. of Canterbury in New Zealand), I haven’t really been doing much studying.  In fact, I’ve been making a sorry attempt to teach myself Japanese, playing Super Mario RPG (holla!), and much to my embarrassment, hunting down Taio Cruz’s latest club hit.  Don’t judge!  …too harshly…

For the record, this is my first blog, international or otherwise.  In all honesty, I love Grace College more than Quizno’s and Chipotlé Mexican Grill, which, by the way, is a big deal.  When my buddy Asher Bontreger asked if I would write this, I told him I would be more than happy to help.  (By the way, Asher, that’s a shout out.  You mah BOY!)  But seriously, being away from Grace for a semester made me realize that it really is my home away from home.  And to say that the friends I’ve discovered there are a second family would be an understatement.

Nevertheless, the choice to give up a semester at Grace to spend in another country was an opportunity I could not pass up.  I would be lying if I said it has all been peachy and I’ve loved every minute of my stay, but I have learned an IMMENSE amount about others and myself.  And ultimately, that’s why we attend school, right?

I would also be lying if I said my relationship with God has been perfect.  Being outside of the Grace/Christian family bubble, I’m faced with so many doubts and fears.  Living with Kiwi’s (New Zealander’s) who don’t give a rip about “religion” has me questioning my priorities.  But I know this is necessary to solidify my relationship with God.  To Him be the glory!

I hope that was atypical enough.  Better tales from New Zealand and abroad to come.  Cheers!

– Karl A. Johnson, in Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

New Zealand. Get some.

Ni Hao from Qingdao

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Greetings to all you Americans!

Caleb Roth and I are currently finishing up our what ended up being a two month business/trading internship with Title Trading in Qingdao, China. We have been here for a month and a half so far and it has been quite the adventure. When I first decided to tackle this internship my mind was full of predetermined visions of what China would be like and what sort of experiences I would have – almost all of them were wrong haha. First off, the language barrier is the most frustrating obstacle so far, in my opinion. I was told to hold off learning some Chinese from a few different people because they said it would be better to learn it IN China where I would also be able to pick up the accent and specific intonations. This seemed like wise advice at the time, but I thoroughly regret it. If, when I had first learned about this opportunity, I had started to learn just bits and pieces of Chinese I would have had a much smoother experience I think. However, seeing as though we came with almost NO vocabulary we’ve had to become incredibly fluid speaking charades. Seriously, I challenge anyone to a game when I get back – bring it!

Qingdao is a HUGE city that holds roughly 8 million people. From our 11th floor office windows we can look across the city daily and it stretches for as far as the eye can see (which actually isn’t all that far considering smog is a major pollution here in Qingdao). Mitch Cariaga, our boss and the man who helped put this internship together, has told us that the area we are living and working in was built just 5 years ago even though it appears to be around 15-20 years old! It truly is astounding to me how quickly it seems that buildings deteriorate here.

Our apartment, which we share with another intern and our translator, is a short 12 minute walk from work. In between is a shopping center (sort of like a Wal-Mart), a McDonalds, several other restaurants, a bank, a jogging track/soccer field, and a gigantic electronics mall – basically anything we could ever want or need! The best part is that for every dollar you can get approximately 6.8 Chinese RMB. In all honesty, besides the rent for the apartment, we could probably live here for a dollar a day. Within a short taxi drive from us you are able to find even more exciting places like 4 different beaches, the Olympic sailing center, gorgeous parks, a zoo, and several tourist places such as the famous Tsingtao beer factory.

This is just a taste of the experiences we have had here in Qingdao. I’ll most likely post more in time and share some more specific experiences with you all. Hope you enjoy this first post and please feel free to comment with any questions or comments!

God bless,

Ryan Paradis

Welcome to the Grace Study Abroad Blog

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Please check back soon to view posts from Grace College students living abroad.