One thing that I really care about is perspectives. I love learning how other people think and act in situations, especially if it differs from what I would do.

As a Religion major, I usually get my fill, but then it was time for the 39th annual UNCC International Festival. I was delighted.

As I stood in the middle of the SAC I noticed all the different sounds, smells and voices. In me something started stirring.

My friends and I went from stall to stall and picked out our various favorites. As we neared the German stall, my friends practically sprinted there, it was evident that the past two months away from home has been too much.

With the ketchup and mustard dripping down their chins, they ate their bratwurst on a roll and spoke to each other about it in German. I zoned out as per usual when they spoke German and searched my blue map for a South African stall. Unfortunately, there was not one. We circled the festival and I realized that today the African countries, like the Democratic Republisc of the Congo and Uganda were my home.

Photo by: Corlene Beukes

Then I thought of all that I had learned in Malawi and Mozambique when I visited there. The way they live differs so much from the norm, yet they are happy.

As I went over to Uganda and reminisced about the waters of Lake Malawi and the Mozambican children’s Colgate smiles, I started to miss home.

Obviously Africa differs so much from America, but what I now can finally see is why. Africa is dust, water and barefoot. We thrive on the bare minimum and we like it. It makes us happy to not have everything.

I remember one night sitting in the total darkness of Manica, Mozambique. The night sky and the stars were a lighter shade of dark than the blanket of night on earth. The fire was crackling and we were the honored guests of one of the villagers. I remember it being so quiet and so still, one could hear one’s inner voice.

In the middle of the chaos and festivities of the IFest, this international student wished with all her heart that the face-painting could stop, that the bratwurst would suddenly not be anymore, that we could all just go there were each of these spectacular countries can teach us all something. I wished we were all in that moment in Manica.

Maybe if we listened more to each other and actually appreciated the differences that come with the diversity that constitutes this world, there would not be so much heartache. Maybe if we realized that we do not always have the answer, even if we are thought to have it and that that is alright, because we have brothers and sisters across the world who can give us insight.

I, for one, am loving the fact that the international students are so diverse. The cultural, social and all the aspects that can differ, do differ. It is refreshing to know that where a problem has stumped you, the person next to you might be able to give you the answer.

So, with all this, I urge and implore you, dearest reader, to talk to someone you do not know today. Talk to them, listen to their story and tell them yours. I guarantee that you will change your perspective of at least one thing in life.