When Ana Maria moved from Colombia to Melbourne as an international student, she wanted to connect in with the local culture but didn't know how. Ana tells us how she got to meet locals, experience the Aussie culture and discover Melbourne through SportsHosts.
Connecting with SportsHosts
I got free tickets from MFC for The Welcome Game day. Days before, a Colombian friend, who is also fan of sports, had told me about AFL. She said she didn't like it, but I wanted to experience it myself. I was going with my friends from Uni, but they cancelled at the last minute. At that point I thought about cancelling as well, because I didn't want to go by myself.
At the same time, I received an email from MFC that introduced SportsHosts. The title read: "Experience your Welcome Game with local hosts." It was a simple message, not flashy at all. I read the concise description and signed up. I got matched with Justin, the best host ever.
All of this happened late at night, the day before the match. I got a message right away on my phone, from Justin, with all the details about the next day. It sounded like a very exciting experience, he promised to 'play' through rules, and even told me what to wear to feel comfortable watching AFL in the middle of a winter day. This made me feel very confident on going for the first time by myself to watch sports in Australia. Something that a woman would try to avoid back in Colombia. That was the thing, it didn't feel like I was going just by myself.
Ana's First GameDay Experience
People from all backgrounds and ages smiling, finding their seats. It was great to have Justin and my newly met friends to share it with. Justin introduced us to his family and friends, also Demons' supporters. He seemed proud of showing us his team and this very Aussie sport! His Mom even got us food!
I had to leave at half-time reluctantly, but I felt that it was an amazing experience.
After the game I kept in touch with Roque and Justin. I can say Roque is a good friend of mine after that. We have been to other events, and even to the gym together! And Justin also showed me how to buy my MFC membership for 2018. I can't wait to go with him to another game this season, now holding my very own membership!
Meeting Locals and Discovering Melbourne
SportsHosts throws these seasonal parties and activities where I can re-connect with other travelers I've met and meet new locals. I have also got to know new sports events that I had no idea about, but happen around here like the F1, the Winter Olympics, the cricket; and don't even get me started with the one-off experience I had with the Races last year (Thanks Mike!)
The whole SH team is lovely, and so are the other Melbourne supporters like Angus and the Ruby Demons, can't wait to see them again!
Experiencing sports with locals definitely eliminates barriers of cultural differences and communication that might exist when you get to a new country. In fact it allows you to speak the same language - the language of sport. It also allows you to walk off the beaten path, because who knows their city better if not the people that live/grew up there? You can get recommendations of what to do, where to go, how to move around Melbourne.
Additionally, meeting fellow travellers like me, in a similar situation - new to this place, away from home, watching new sports, getting to know all the venues together - is also very enriching. This is just a win-win experience from all angles.
And it is sooo easy to sign up for the game days!
If you're an international visitor, like Ana Maria, and want to experience a GameDay with local Australian fans - Find a GameDay.
Why not join The 2018 Welcome Game and get free tickets?
If you're a local fan and want to share your favourite sport - Create a GameDay
At SportsHosts we love sharing our hosts and SuperUsers experiences. If you have a great story, we’d love to hear from you.