It is not particulary easy to arrive in a new country, with a different culture, especially when you have to live there for an extended time. Some things are unique to Australia, and I will share with you what my problems were at the beginning, how I solved them and what I learned about. (This article was written by a frenchman, I’m sorry if there are some facts that don’t belong especially to Australia, but also to other English-speaking countries! [If it is the case feel free to tell me] ).
The accent / slang
I can’t start with anything else other than the Australian accent. As a Frenchman, I was totally lost, but also other english-speakers sometimes struggle! Especially when you get to move far away from the big cities, you start to meet people who don’t articulate at all. And during this situation you just shake your head with a nice “yeah no worries” but you didn’t get a word. It happens often when you arrive in a rural town, away from everything, but basically it’s not that common in the big cities.
So how to understand the Australian accent ?
Know the slang
Here is a little list I made, with some very common words but also the ones that made me laugh a lot :
Mate = Buddy
No worries = No problem / You’re welcome
Good day / G’Day = Hello !
Are you doing? / Are you going? = How are you ?
Yeah nah / Nah yeah = No / Yes (Very strange, but the trick is to always take the second word!)
Cheers = to say when clinking glasses at a bar, also a way of saying thanks, hello, goodbye. It is not only Australian, but they use it a lot, so I chose to put it here!
Reckon = Think
Aussie / Tassie = Australian / Tasmanian
Root / Shag = A great pleasurable time 😉
Bloke = Man
Brekkie = Breakfast
Barbie = Barbecue
Snag = Sausage
Sanga = Sandwich
Arvo = Afternoon
Servo = Petrol station
Maccas = Mc Donalds
Bottleshop/Bottle-o = Liquor shop
Stubbie = A glass 375mL bottle of beer or cider
Eski = Cool box
Prawn = Shrimp (they don’t actually chuck shrimps on the barbie, its prawns.)
Some practical examples :
- “Hey mate how ya goin’?
- G’day cobba, yeah real good, cheers mate.
- Whaddya reckon we go get a sanga and a stubbie, its real late in the arvo.
- Yeah nah, lets go back to mine for a barbie, chuck a few snags on there.
- Maate, yeah, I’ll stop by the bottle-o so we can get fuckin’ maggot, or nah?”
You can hang up by saying “Alright, see ya mate, yeah no worries, cheers, bye, yeah, cheers, cheers, bye mate”, and it will be a perfect echo !
Backpackers are probably the places where you are going to spend most of your time. It’s basically youth hostels for travellers from all around the word, cheap enough to let you stay as a foreign traveller. There is generally a common bathroom, a kitchen, WIFI, with activities in a warm environment (of course it depends on the hostel). There, you can prepare yourself before your next trips, rest a bit and keep meeting new people.
These places are a huge information source, because there are groups of people from all over the world, who have the same goal as you: to discover the big country and the culture of this place. This is a big advantage if you want to learn new stuff about other culture and country, and also to share good plans (especially jobs!).
Forget the notion of privacy though, you’ll stay most of your time in a 8, 10 or 12 bed dorm (and it can increase, once I lived in a 32 bed dorm!), and you will rarely be alone. No problem, you’ll get used to it, meeting new people everyday is fascinating. Even if you don’t really know them, you’ll share a part of your adventure. It is defintely a new way of life.
For information, backpackers varies between 22$ and 30$ / per night, and once again all depend of what you are looking for. A good location, lots of comfort, great nightlife, you can basically find everything, at every price. Feel free to look at the critics on the online booking reservation! Generally, you can have a discount if you take one full week in advance, so don’t forget to ask about it. It is sometimes also possible to work in some hostel and get some free nights in exchange.