Homecoming: A foreign term for some

By Mikayla Ostendorf

With more than 9,800 international students at the University there are many differences between American culture and others. One such difference is Homecoming.

“We don’t have football in France, just soccer,” said Benoit Coulan, an exchange graduate student who studies Business at ESCP Europe Paris.

Philip Van Puyvelde, a junior in Business and Engineering at KU Leuven in Belgium, said that the term “Homecoming” in general is “something you have just seen in movies — pep rallies.”

At Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, Francesco Russo, a senior in Business, said the university does have an alumni association called Alumni Bocconi, which aids in keeping alumni in contact; however, the school doesn’t have an event that is similar to the American concept of Homecoming.

“(Alumni Bocconi) is more for keeping in touch and helping with jobs,” Russo said.

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Similarly to Bocconi University, Coulan said schools in France also have alumni organizations.

The alumni organizations’ events, which take place in the fall, are not similar to the University’s Homecoming. Instead, according to Coulan, these events are typically more formal. The yearly alumni meeting is similar to “speed dating,” he said, as current students get to meet many graduates in a short amount of time.

“Every year you can meet a new person. It is a good way to network and meet interesting people,” Coulan said.

In Belgium, Van Puyvelde is in a student social club, Moeder Payottenland, that is similar to a fraternity, yet smaller.

The club has an event that is coordinated and sponsored by the alumni of the organization. Alumni come back for a formal ball and dinner, and the gathering raises money for the student club, Van Puyvelde said.

Also, separate graduating classes in Belgium hold yearly reunion dinners, Nicolas Smeyers, junior in Business at KU Leuven, said.

However, even though the term “Homecoming” may seem foreign for the students, they all said they look forward to taking part in Homecoming festivities at the University this year.

Ewoud “Edward” Bogaert, junior in Business at KU Leuven, said he thinks that meeting with alumni through Homecoming events is a great opportunity for the University’s students.

Russo also said he appreciates that the University’s Homecoming, while it is not purely related to job connections, focuses on the bonds between people on campus.

Coulan said he is looking forward to the parade and football game, as he has never been to either event previously.

“I’m expecting something very big and very American,” he said.

Mikayla can be reached at [email protected].