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Students Speak: "Becoming a College Football Fan"

Students studying in the US can prepare for living in a different country, taking classes, and making new friends. But one thing that's hard to prepare for is seeing college sports up close. When guest blogger Munyaradzi Mahiya came to the US from Zimbabwe to study at the University of California and Berkeley, he knew he wanted to experience an American college football game. The experience was better than he could have anticipated:

Coming to the United States, I knew that football was something that I wanted to experience and maybe understand a little more. This was strange for me – I have never been one to try new things out, so the fact that I was so excited about something I was so unfamiliar with freaked me out a little. I even researched how the sport is structured, and what to shout at what time (in my defense, I didn’t want to embarrass myself at my first game!).

After a whole week of anticipation, I couldn’t take it anymore,
there was this atmosphere around campus that made everybody eager to be clad in blue and yellow on game day – the University of California (or Cal) colors. Game days here at Cal are those days when people lose themselves a little and party a little bit more than usual.

I attended my first football game ever in September 2014, and I must say, I was impressed not just by the game, but by all of the theatrics, from the band, to the cheerleaders, and above all, the more than 30,000 fans at the game. It was a huge victory for Cal, who beat Sacramento State by 55-14. Talk about getting introduced to something new by your school making you proud! I was definitely proud to shout Cal’s slogan, “This is bear territory!”

After the whole experience, all I can say is that it’s better to witness the game and experience being a football fan here in the USA than watching it on television. Now that I have seen a football game live, and got to scream, “TOUCHDOWN!” at the right moment, I have to go back to what I am used to: getting my butt kicked in that French class at 11am on Monday...

...that is, until next week's game.