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Students support ND from abroad

Mel Flanagan | Sunday, October 30, 2011

While students at Notre Dame have gathered in the Notre Dame Stadium to watch the football team take on its rivals this semester, hundreds of students studying abroad have congregated in places across the globe to do the same.

Junior Tara Ounan, currently studying in Rome, said although it can be difficult to watch the games because of weekend travels, students in the program have still cheered for Notre Dame a few times.

“For the [South Florida] game everyone in our program was in Rome so we all went to the local Irish bar together and watched the game which was awesome,” Ounan said. “We all also watched the USC game together on a projector in our residence.”

Because Rome is six hours ahead of South Bend, Ounan said students are able to watch the games when they go out at night at a few bars, such as Scholar’s and Mikki’s, whose owners welcome Notre Dame students.

“Staying up until 5 a.m. to see all of the USC game was a struggle though,” she said. “And not worth it.”

Although there are downsides to watching the games abroad, junior Conor Hegedus said the benefits of being in London far outweigh them.

“I still get excited for the games and get upset when we lose but it isn’t as bad because I can drink legally and don’t have to be in South Bend where everyone is blacked out wishing we were relevant in football again,” he said.

But as the season continues, some abroad students have lost interest in the team.

Junior Katie O’Leary, who is also studying in London, said because it is often difficult to watch the games, students are more likely to stop following them.

“People will still talk about them and complain or celebrate depending on the outcome, but the normal enthusiasm dwindles after a while,” she said.

Hegedus said it is difficult to re-create the atmosphere of a Notre Dame home game in a country where residents do not care about American football.

Similar attitudes have taken hold in Rome, Ounan said.

“It’s so different not being in the student section, it’s almost like I’m just watching any old football game,” she said. “Although the first game when we rolled 30 deep to the bar in ND gear and with ND flags was pretty awesome. But that was pretty much the peak of the excitement, everyone has gotten kind of lazy since then.”

Ounan said although she misses being on campus for the games, she is thankful she made the decision to study abroad.

“It’s a completely different experience and as much as football rocks, it’s kind of hard to think ‘I’d rather be in South Bend right now’ when you’re out at the bar in Rome or London or Paris,” she said.

Although she is pained to be absent from the rivalry games, such as USC, O’Leary agreed with Ounan.

“For me getting the experience of going abroad was much more important,” O’Leary said. “I love Notre Dame and going to the games, but getting to be in London for a semester is definitely worth missing a season.”