Thinking about studying in the land down under? Here are a few tips on how to be an Aussie (from a Canadian’s perspective)
1) Perfecting the accent
I strongly suggest that before getting on the plane you have a few good Aussie terms up your sleeve. A good place to start is at the ski hill over Christmas break. Become friends with the Australian running the chairlift and learn some new words! Here’s a few things to get you started:
- Forget the word “I think” you now “Reckon”
- You now love to overuse the word “Heaps,” and even if you don’t want to….you will.
- “Gingers” are now called “Ranga’s” (yes….after orangutan)
- You no longer go to school…you go to “UNI”….if you say school you will be looked at oddly and asked if you’re on your recess break
- Say goodbye to your “bro’s” and hello to your new “mates”
- If you add the word “as” to the end of any word your popularity level just increased.
2) Watch out for “Drop Bears”
While in Australia I can guarantee that at least a dozen people will tell you horror stories about drop bears. No need to fear! I’m here to tell you they don’t exist! Drop bears are like koalas, except they prey on people (especially tourists) from the safety of their Eucalyptus trees. They are claimed to be very vicious and foreigners are told to “look up and watch out for drop bears.” Lucky for you the only thing you will see in the trees are some very sleepy koalas.
3) Vegemite! Learn to love it! Or at least pretend……
Keep a jar of it in your cupboard at all times so when you have a friend over they will be too busy eating to notice your “funny” accent.
It’s not a thing in Australia. LEAVE IT AT HOME!
5) The Grocery Store…..
Wanting a Bell Pepper? Well you can’t have one. Australian’s have Capsicums. They look the same, they taste the same but they are capsicums….don’t ask why.
- Also! Beware of the Trolley. It’s like cart but it can move back and forth AND left and right. This was definitely one of my biggest challenges…..without practice you will end up sticking out like a sore thumb going around in circles…..and circles……and more circles…..
- I suggest you make a “mate” and get them to push your trolley for you….it will save a lot of time and embarrassment.
6) When you’re in the Toilet…… (Yes, toilet…they don’t have washrooms)
Please! For the integrity of all us Canadians….DO NOT stand in front of the toilet in awe for hours on end watching the water flush in the “wrong” direction. No matter how many times you flush it…it’s not going to change direction. Flush once and walk away!
7) When in doubt nod and say “Oiiii”
8) Rugby is your new hockey
Step 1: Google “State of Origin” read it and understand it!
Step 2: Determine what State or Territory of you live in
- If you’re in NSW you’re rooting for the Blues
- If you’re in Queensland you’re rooting for the Maroons
9) Get your hats out! We’re going to the races!
Horse races are the “thing to do” in Australia……If you get your homework done I strongly suggest going to a race! But please, don’t forget your hat!
10) Kangaroos are cool….but not that cool….
Seeing a kangaroo is pretty awesome, I know! BUT try and contain your excitement if you’re trying to blend in…..
- Kangaroos are the equivalent to our deer…overpopulated, a nuisance and always in the middle of the road…..if you start jumping up and down because you saw your first kangaroo your popularity level probably just declined……but don’t worry, say “heaps” a few more times and you’ll be cool again.
11) The friendly garter snakes in your backyard aren’t the same as the snakes in Australia
Just because Steve Irwin was Australian doesn’t mean all Aussies play with snakes and spiders in their free time. You’re not different. Touch them and you will die!
12) Be prepared to drive on the “wrong” side of the road
- For starters, the passenger side is on the left. Pretend to know what you’re doing by consciously going to the correct side of the vehicle.
- Once in the vehicle try not to scream. I promise you’re notheaded for oncoming traffic (this can be tough, I know, but I believe in you).
Now for a serious note!
Studying in Australia was a once in and lifetime opportunity. Being able to learn in Australia opened up so many new doors and opportunities for my future. Being a student in the Natural Resource Science Degree I got so much new knowledge and hands on experience about the natural world in another country. Not to mention experience some incredible wildlife! Things like this you can’t learn from a textbook, studying abroad showed me that.
Not only did studying abroad help me grow as a person and gain new independence, I made so many lifelong friendships! It’s pretty cool to say some of my best friends are Aussies.
Written by: Madison Wassick (TRU Study Abroad Ambassador 2013-2014 & a Natural Sciences Student at TRU). She studied abroad in Australia at Charles Sturt University and got to work with KOALAS. Cool hey!