I met Anna on the first day of International Students’ Orientation at Boston University. She was a graduate exchange student in the Sociology department, and I was starting a master’s program in Arts Administration. And we were both thousands of miles away from home—Indonesia for me, Italy for her.

Amid the throng of students, we somehow ended up sitting next to each other. Before I could even mutter a greeting, Anna looked me squarely in the eye and said, “Would you like to be my roommate?” The words rolled off her tongue as naturally as if she were asking me if the sky was blue.