International students interact with football culture and defeat the team

First-year Gabriel Benitez enjoys her first home game in the student section of Notre Dame Stadium / Courtesy of Gabriel Benitez.

Henry Kamojisha, a first-year graduate student, from Uganda, was on his way home after studying in the library late on a Friday night and was surprised to be intercepted by the Notre Dame squad performing pre-football festivities.

“I thought I had seen enough. More related to this football?” he said. “Then I woke up Saturday morning, walked out of my house, the whole environment changed and I saw people everywhere.”

Kamujisha said he had never watched football before the game against Ohio State and was not immediately affected.

“I didn’t understand a thing because I was like, ‘OK, is this appropriate?’ It’s not relevant,” he explained.

While American students at Notre Dame often arrive on campus prepared for the intense culture of supporting the soccer team, international students like Kamujisha have often not been exposed to the atmosphere of college football in America.

Junior Yoon Cho, originally from South Korea and an exchange student from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, found herself confused about the rules of football.

“I’m actually going to this session called ‘Football 101’. [on Thursday night]Chu said.

The session, sponsored by the International Student and Scholars Affairs (ISSA) team, invites “international students and friends” to learn about the basics of American football and the traditions of Notre Dame, according to the ISSA website.

Test predictions

PhD first year. Student Salvatore Riolo said he understood the rules of football before leaving Italy to study at Notre Dame because of his personal interest in the American way of life.

“I’m obsessed with American culture, so even when I was in Italy I watched the Super Bowl every year. That’s why I know the rules for this kind of thing, and I was looking forward to the games,” explained Riolo.

Despite understanding football’s impact on American culture, Riolo said he was still surprised to see the size of the crowd on campus for the game against Marshall.

“I wasn’t expecting the number of tourists around the campus,” he said. “People from outside and everyone around them, which is a very American thing.”

Spectrum Pedro Bolsonaro said he also knows the rules of football because he was a fan of the NFL while living in Brazil before coming to Notre Dame last year. Despite this, he said that he did not start pursuing college football.

“Last year I thought the NFL was more exciting for the better players, but over the course of the year I’ve built that connection with the league and it kind of translates into how I see football now,” Bolsonaro said.

Cho enjoyed the home match against Marshall, despite its disappointing result.

“It was really lively, I loved it,” Zhou said. “But I heard from my friend that they were 99% sure they would beat Marshall. I wasn’t that angry, but then it was sad to see people so sad actually.”

Riolo said he was so disappointed at Notre Dame that despite being ranked eighth in the AP college football rankings, he lost to the unranked Marshall.

“I thought I was going to do very well. I didn’t know much about college football but I knew Notre Dame had a long and successful history,” said Riolo. “I was disappointed because the match was not good. Intercepts – it wasn’t what I expected.”

Kamugisha, having just started getting acquainted with the sport, said he was sad to watch his new team’s defeat. We did not recover from it. I know we’ll get through that, but yeah, it wasn’t very good.”

First-year Gabriel Benitez, an international student originally from the Philippines who had never watched football before coming to Notre Dame, said she felt similarly.

“I don’t know why,” she said, “but upon entering this school, I had the idea that we were undefeated and such.” “But obviously that wasn’t the case.”

Despite this, Kamugisha and Benitez praised the experience and sense of integration as new football fans in Notre Dame.

“It was great to be part of this community that values ​​the football team so much,” Benitez said.

Kamugisha said he felt the support of his fellow Notre Dame fans while watching his new favorite team and participating in gameday traditions.

“I think everyone here is supportive,” Kamujisha said. “They actually make you fall in love with this game and feel like, ‘Yeah, I belong here. “

Contact Liam at lprice3@nd.edu

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