Figuring It All Out

Sammy Kessler James Cook University, Australia


February 16, 2015

After three days of informative orientation with Arcadia University's study abroad faculty down in the Melbourne area, I thought I was feeling fairly adjusted to this new country. I was pretty used to the left-side driving, and had even learned (the hard way) that when passing others on a busy city sidewalk, you do in fact also go to the left, not the right. I had caught on to the fact that the Aussies like their meat, and don't seem to make hot breakfasts the "standard". Meusli is granola. Tim-Tams are a staple sweet treat.

The orientation had a session for us just about Australian slang and nicknames. Basically, they shorten everything. Breakfast is Breakky. Board shorts are boardies. You can expect to hear a -v, -o, -y, -sy, -vo, -z, or -zed after many words that will most likely already be shortened and slurred together. For example, "Arvo" means afternoon. “S’arvo” means good afternoon. I had gotten used to the shortening and slurring of words. (One of the group leaders explained that some speculate the reason for the Aussie "lazy" speaking could have evolved from people in the outback needing to speak quickly to keep the flies out of their mouths).

I had even already grown to love the humorous, raunchy, and harshly sarcastic but playful sense of humor the Aussies seem to pride themselves in. (Also learned that if you are called a galah (gullah), it should not be taken as flattery despite the fact that the galah bird is a beautiful pink and gray cockatoo...the birds are apparently considered quite thoughtless and therefore the reference is intended to indirectly call someone something along the lines of "stupid idiot"). Basically, I thought my short amount of time in Australia had equipped me for what was next to come.


Australia Orientation