Axel Nilsson (second from right) and fellow international students at their first Australian Rules Football game.
Axel Nilsson (second from right) and fellow international students at their first Australian Rules Football game.

International students enjoy a night at the footy

Australians are well-known for their love of sport, and earlier this month a group of over 40 international students got a taste for one of the country’s most loved and unique games – Australian Rules Football (AFL or ‘Aussie Rules’).

The special ‘night at the footy’ was co-hosted by Macquarie University Sport and the International Student Buddy program, and saw a diverse group of international students attend a Sydney Swans vs. Collingwood Magpies game at Sydney’s ANZ stadium – the main venue for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Prior to the match the students were given a demonstration and information session about the game by Sydney Swans staff member David Marsh. David also plays for the  Macquarie University Warriors in the Sydney AFL Competition.

A Sydney Swans staff member demonstrates to the students how AFL works.

One of the attendees a the event was Axel Nilsson, who is on exchange from Sweden. Here he shares his experience at his first Australian Rules game.

What did you think of your first Australian Football experience and did you enjoy sharing it with other international students from different parts of the world?
The demonstration by the Sydney Swans staff before the match was very valuable for our understanding of the basic rules. Otherwise the game might have been very confusing!

Overall I really enjoyed watching the match. The best part of it was probably the atmosphere inside the stadium. The crowd was very involved throughout the whole match and you wouldn’t find such involvement at a football match in Sweden. ANZ Stadium was very big, there were 42,000 people there and it was only half full! I would like to try to attend a game at the Sydney Cricket Ground where the atmosphere would be even more amazing at a smaller ground.

How are you enjoying your time Macquarie University?
I’m really enjoying it here. It’s great to have a proper campus unlike my university at home which creates a great atmosphere, not to mention it’s very beautiful. I like that there are a lot of activities going on, even though I haven’t participated in many of them so far but I will get there and enjoy more soon!

Regarding my stay in Australia as a whole, I really like it here, it’s a great country.

Do you play any sports yourself?
I play tennis for fun and have recently signed up to play in Macquarie’s Social Sport tennis competition on Monday nights. I also enjoy cross-county skiing, canoeing and running.