Sometimes we need perspective in our live to see what we really have.

That is exactly what I received when I met Alex Nyamachabo. Alex – which I assume is his Americanized name – is native of the Congo, a country I already mentioned in an earlier blog.

I gave a tour of campus to Alex. Like I do on most tours, I asked about his intended major, what he likes to do and other questions that further define the person I’m giving a tour to.

He told me about his past experience at another university and that he really wants to be an international businessman. Since he is from another country, international business seemed like a good fit for the young man.

Alex was amazed at all the things we have on campus. He talked about his schooling back in the Congo and how little he was given to help him learn.

What caught me off guard about this tour was something Alex told me about his native land. He told me how Congo has four national languages: French, Swahili, Lingala and Kikongo. People that know me can attest that I often say, “I don’t have time for another language. I can barely function with the one I know.”

He mentioned an interesting caveat about the languages: They use them in different situations. The president will address the army in one language then turn around and write a document using another one.

All of this language blew me away. When I asked Alex how many languages he speaks, he told me he can speak seven languages and is still learning English.

The overall enthusiasm that Alex has is something I covet. As I now go into my last semester at Gannon, I am sad to leave the people I have become great friends with. I also find myself dragging sometimes. In these mid-January days, I want the energy that Alex has towards school.

Alternatively, I’m excited for what I’m about to embark on next. I’m excited to move on to a new place and meet new people. All endings and beginnings are bittersweet, but that’s just the language of life.