Adventurous NF grad traveling the world
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Adventurous NF grad traveling the world
By Janell Bradley
Scroll through 21-year-old Jordan Eberhart's Facebook cover photos and you might think he's really good at “Photoshopping” himself into the foreground of famous sites many Iowans will never see in a lifetime.
One day he's posing before Stonehenge, and the next week he's at the Great Wall of China or the Cliffs of Mohr on the west coast of Ireland. Another day he's changed his cover to a shot taken in front of Big Ben in London, or the one in which he's holding the board he used to “sled” down the side of a volcano in Nicaragua.
But perhaps most captivating are the images in which he's shark diving or bungee-jumping from the world's tallest bridge, in Bloukrans South Africa.
The photos are real, and before he graduates from college, the adventurous Eberhart can boast a passport stamped in many countries from around the world.
Beginning his senior year of high school at North Fayette and while attending the University of Northern Iowa the last three years, Jordan has found his way to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, England, Ireland, Nicaragua, China and South Africa.
Eberhart's wanderlust began with a trip to Germany to stay with the family of the student whom the Eberharts earlier hosted in their home.
"After taking part in the exchange program, I learned a lot about life outside of the United States and how different cultures are in various countries," the world travel stated.
After his graduation from high school, Eberhart returned to Germany alone to reunite with the many friends he'd made earlier. Four years of German language study in high school have served Eberhart well. While in college he also chose to take a semester of Mandarin (Chinese.)
"I think it's important to be open-minded and get to know people from other cultures. I have met so many people around the world that I expect to stay in contact with," he said.
Just this past semester at UNI he met fellow students from countries where he hasn't yet visited – France, Malaysia, Libya, Mali, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. If he's fortunate enough, Eberhart said he hopes to visit some of his new friends in their home countries as part of his goal to visit every continent — well, except maybe Antarctica. Eberhart said he might be able to leave that continent off his bucket list. Instead, he lists either Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Dubai as a potential point of travel.
"You can really learn a lot from people of other cultures," he offered. "There is a whole world outside of America to learn about."
From his many travels, Jordan said South Africa was probably the most remarkable. He compared the weather and beaches to that of California. While bungee-jumping was a fantastic experience, the opportunity to pet a cheetah, and go shark diving were other memorable moments.
But it wasn't all fun and games, as Eberhart found time to volunteer at an orphanage. While in Nicaragua, he helped restore a water treatment facility, and in China he taught English to university students.
Although he graduated from high school unsure of a vocation, Jordan Eberhart's college studies and extracurricular travel have led him to narrow his career ideas to working for a business in a global capacity.
He is presently doing an internship at VGM/Homelink in Waterloo, where he is a comp reauthorization specialist. He is also working in UNI's study abroad office as a program assistant for a short-term summer program. Currently recruiting students, he'll then book the accommodations and plan activities for the group he'll lead across South Africa for three weeks as a professor's assistant in summer 2014.
Eberhart expects to graduate from UNI in December 2014 with a degree in business management: organizational leadership, with a minor in international business.
As for that ultimate job, he hopes his career will be with a company like John Deere, Volkswagen or Audi – in a capacity that includes lots of travel, of course!
Jordan's parents, Dave and Lisa Eberhart of West Union, are excited about their son's ongoing sense of adventure – even if it means they have to make an appointment to spend time with him.