For many American sports fans, one of the most difficult parts about reassignment is the lack of opportunities to cheer on their favorite sports teams abroad. With the American football (not to be confused with European fútbol) season well underway and whispers of March Madness already in the air, many assignees wonder how they can possibly keep up with their favorite sports teams and cheer along with their fellow fans.
From Prague to Bogotá and Uwajima to Ulaanbataar, here are some tips on how assignees can stay in the loop on their favorite American sports while abroad—and even turn their love of sport into a cultural learning experience.
As we talked about in Happy Hour Across the World, sometimes encouraging your assignee to kick back and relax at their local bar is the best way to get them immersed in their new culture. However, it’s also a great way for them to stay up-to-date with what’s going on with their team back home. In almost every major city around the world, American sports bars can be found—and many foreigners follow American teams as well.
Finding a great expat bar can also be a good way to meet other assignees and sports fans to cheer with you. If your Boston-born assignee is set on watching the Red Sox throughout the season, encourage them to befriend the local patrons at the MLB bar and give them insight into the team roster. It’s a great way to learn vocabulary and give new friends insights into American culture.
For those assignees who prefer a more solitary environment to watch sports, many sports networks have begun to live-stream sports events online, even internationally, for an almost nonexistent fee. For baseball fans it’s MLB.TV, while American football fans can cheer along with the NFL game pass. Another great option for sports fans is installing a VPN service to get around geographically-restricted content. VPNs allow you to set your I.P. address to different locations, allowing you to stream sports exactly like if you were in the U.S. Finally, if your assignee has a willing friend at home, a Slingbox can be a great investment—this device allows anyone to view content from a connected television anywhere in the world.
Embrace local sports
Instead of sticking to the “USA, USA” chant, encourage your assignee to embrace local sports teams as well. There’s nothing like cheering on the home team! Local sports offer assignees a great opportunity to learn more about local culture and provide a taste of home during life abroad. Your Amsterdam-based assignee may end up hup hup!-ing for AFC Ajax with equal fervor as they did for their team back home.
Hopefully for your sports fan assignees, these tips will help limit culture shock and allow assignees to thrive in their new environment. However, if you want more tips on how to identify common signs of culture shock, download our guide, “10 Signs Your Assignee is Experiencing Culture Shock.”