If you were to ask a college student their experience with living with a new roommate, you would get many different answers from many different people. Some will say they adjusted quickly and learned to get used to their roommates lifestyles quite easily. Others may say they bumped heads with their initial roommate and had to make a change. However, imagine coming to a school in a new country and rooming with someone from a different part of the world.

Micheal Mullins and Alexander (Alex) Hartmann are both soccer players on the Saint Joseph’s men’s soccer team. They met on the first day of preseason and were assigned as roommates by their coach, Don D’Ambra. Little did they know that they would become best friends. Micheal is from a small country town in Australia where the beach is a 10 minute drive away.  Alex is from the heart of Hamburg in Germany which he refers to as the “best city in the world”. Even though they are from two completely different worlds, they still managed to adapt and adjust to living together quite effortlessly. They were able to get passed issues such as language barriers and living habits they aren’t used to being around. 

Alex and Michael goofing around for the camera. Photo by Emily Cuccio

The boys initially bonded over their love of soccer and continued to discover more common interests. They both enjoy watching thriller movies and are huge fans of How I Met Your Mother. In their free time, Michael and Alex watch Netflix together on their 24 inch TV that was graciously donated by their teammate’s mother. Alex loves to teach Michael a little bit of German every day in hopes that one day they’ll be able to fluently converse. 

Michael shared a story about how Alex once woke up from his sleep and was only speaking in German. Michael had to stop Alex’s foriegn rant by abruptly saying “Dude, you’re speaking in German, I don’t understand”. Alex explained it was difficult  for him to switch to only speaking English because he strictly speaks German back home.

Michael and Alex in their room. Photo by Emily Cuccio

In addition to the notable difference in communication, there is also a difference in age between the pair. Michael just turned 21 and Alex is soon to be 19. It may not seem that drastic, but Michael definitely acts as an older brother in the relationship. Since the two have weekly meetings with an academic advisor who works primarily with international athletes, Michael often has to remind Alex to go to his meetings. The outgoing 18 year old always gets caught up talking to his teammates in Campion and Michael has to intervene and say “Alex, don’t you have to go to your meeting in 2 minutes?”   They look out for each other and keep each other on track just as brothers would.

Through the age gap, language barrier, and difference in way of living, the two soccer stars have become best “mates” since the day they stepped foot on Hawk Hill. Maybe it’s the fact that they spend literally every moment together, or that they are just compatible as pals, but the dynamic duo is one of SJU’s finest.

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