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International Exchange

My Homecoming Experience

17 September 2019
My Friends and I
My Friends and I

I believed Homecoming was just an American tradition so when I arrived in Canada I was surprised to be surrounded by numerous advertisements for the event.

For those that don’t know, Homecoming is the day when the school/university American Football team play their first home game of the season. There are lots of attractions on the day designed to get students involved and excited for the game.

‘UBC Homecoming is the University’s premier celebration of school spirit for students, alumni, and the neighbouring community.’

UBC Website

UBC Homecoming took place on Saturday 14th September and proved to be a fun-filled day- despite the weather… and the score. Early in the morning we heard that free t-shirts were being given away so that was our first aim. After obtaining our shirts we headed to the UBC bookstore as it was already raining pretty heavily and was only due to worsen, there we grabbed some ‘emergency rain ponchos” in an incredibly flattering yellow…

We donned our rain gear and hopped on a bus to the stadium which is where the fun started. Around the stadium there was a ‘Street Party’ with live bands and numerous free activities. We headed straight for the face painting booth where we were quickly adorned with the UBC Thunderbirds team colours, Navy and Gold, as well as a small sprinkle of glitter. There were Candyfloss stalls, food stalls (handing out tasters) and merch shops, we explored a little before heading into the stadium.

Here’s where the disappointment came. You could buy two types of tickets for homecoming, covered seating and uncovered seating, we had uncovered seating which turned out to be a hill. Bear in mind it hadn’t stopped raining all day, or the day before… or the day before and our ‘seating’ was a muddy slope…

We vainly attempted to better the situation by putting one of the ponchos down to sit on which worked splendidly at first. The teams ran onto the pitch to the cheering crowd then the highlight came. The dog mascot. I still have no idea what the relevance of this was but before the game could start a (very cute) dog ran to the middle of the pitch before trotting off with its trainer. The game began.

The Dog Mascot
The Game Begins

The first quarter was by far the best, the Thunderbirds finished 13-0 up and we were still relatively dry, after this all went downhill… literally.

The rain got even heavier, the opposing team, Calgary, came back to 13-14 and the ground just got more slippery resulting in us desperately trying to not fall down the hill as we got wetter and colder.

Halftime was a blessing… we jumped up and headed to the bottom of the hill, here we watched a display from the UBC drum band and decided that standing next to the field was far comfier, hence far more enjoyable than slowly sliding down a muddy hill. As the third quarter began and we looked around we realised that most of our hillside companions had given up completely and as the game went on, and the score got worse, the stadium emptied out. We were determined not to give up though and hung on to the very end.

The final score was 13-47. Humbling for the Thunderbirds.

Homecoming was not what I expected but I still had a lot of fun. Next time I am getting covered seating though!


  1. Joe O'Reilly

    Sounds fun! Not as fun as going to the villa obviously. But still fun!

  2. Sam Mordey-Jones

    Looks very fun! Hopefully they’ll be a bit less rainy in future! x

  3. Sheila O'Reilly

    Looks like you had fun despite the rain and mud….. good experience if you ever go to Glastonbury ……Hope you have dried out now xxx

    • Niamh O'Reilly

      It seems difficult to dry out in Vancouver (it’s nicknamed Raincouver for a reason!) however I have finally bought an umbrella to keep me dry! xxx

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