By Megan Bateman, Indiana University Bloomington, USA
One response I always got when telling people I was studying abroad in the US: get ready for football season. I didn’t quite expect it to be as big of a deal as it is, but I should have guessed just by the amount of university merch everyone wears on campus on a day-to-day basis. Everyone is so proud to be a part of IU and football game days is one of the main ways to show your support. From the tailgates to the actual game, you can be sure to clear your Saturday’s when it is game day because everyone you know and their dog will be going to the football game. And for great reason too!
The tailgate experience is one of a kind. It feels like a festival each time you go to one; thousands of people and their families come to the tailgates, park up their cars and play music and have barbeques for 3-4 hours before the game starts. Many students go to university in-state, which means their families will come from all across the state to tailgate and ensure that everybody is stocked up on food and drink for the long day ahead. As you can imagine, I went to it once and once was enough!
Once you reach the stadium, I can safely say that you will be beyond impressed from that minute onwards. The school and cheer team begin performing before, during and after the game. As an ‘initiation’ for joining the college, you have to learn the different cheer songs that chant during the game whilst the band and cheerleaders perform. It is honestly incredible how amazing they are for college football – entertainment definitely doesn’t lack whilst you are at the game.
The game ends up going on for a couple of hours, so calls for lots and snacks during the game. Overall, it is an experience that you have to have if you’re studying in the US and is something I look forward to every time there is a home game. Be sure to get some merch or you will look like a weirdo if you aren’t head to toe in IU clothing. It’s definitely grown on me since being here.