“You got out of America just in time didn’t ya?” Speculates strangers in a cafe, referring to the recent appointment of President Donald Trump. I was amazed how blunt Aussies can be when discussing politics. In Australia, it is compulsory by law to enroll and vote in federal elections; everyone in Australia has an opinion and wants to know your opinion. At first I was taken aback- but I came to appreciate how much everyone cares about politics, as they are forced to be informed. Whereas in America, an alarming amount of citizens believe politics to be rubbish.
Politics are not all that locals care about; Australians thrive off of a good coffee or dessert. One of my favorite aspects of Australia would have to be the strong and smooth java. Every cup of coffee is specifically pressed to your order – no pots of coffee sitting on a burner all day. I love strong coffee, so a long black (a double-shot of espresso served over hot water) can always suit my taste. However, if I’m craving a something a little sweet I recently discovered the piccolo (an espresso shot topped with warm, silky cream). But, if I have a particularly strong sweet craving I can always find a yummy dessert at any cafe or restaurant on any corner. Many places here use Nutella, the nutty rich dessert spread, in an array of their desserts. A few friends and I recently went to a restaurant, Tella Balls, for a Nutella milkshake topped with a tellaball (donut ball filled with Nutella). I was in my happy place; the chocolatey excursion was well worth the food coma we experienced later in the night. We also found a new love for the scrumptious Australian cookie, Tim Tam. Tim Tams come in many different flavors, ranging from white chocolate, creamy caramel, and mint gelato; my personal favorite are the double coated Tim Tams. We recently heard Tim Tams are coming to The States in select Target retailers, so we wont have to fill our suitcases with our favorite flavors on our way home.
Another aspect of Australian culture I have come to love is the Aussie slang. For some reason, Australians like to abbreviate everything – and when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Here are a few abbreviations and slang I’ve picked up on thus far:
- Brekkie – breakfast
- Maccas – McDonalds
- Straya – Australia
- Tradie – tradesman
- Heaps – a lot of
- No worries! – no problem (in response to ‘thank you’)
- Sheila – a woman
Lastly, my classes and academics are very different from my classes back in Oswego. In Australia, everything is very laid back. My roommates and I joke that we are nervous to go back to class in The States because of the work load we experience back home. Don’t get me wrong, we still have work and exams here but there is a lot less busy work. My classes are composed of weekly discussions that are to be completed online before class, a midterm and a final exam. I was shocked when I found out my midterm and final exam in my international economics class are both online exams. Sometimes I feel as though I am behind on work, even though I am not, just because I am so used to being busy with homework in the Penfield Library every day.
After being immersed in the culture here for about a month, I feel as though I am almost fully adjusted. I am now starting to think about the reverse culture shock I will feel when I come home, and let me tell you – I don’t know if I am ready for it. Next weekend my roommates and I will embark on the most exotic trip of our lifetimes; we are off to Denpasar, Bali for our Spring Break! Stay tuned and thanks for following me along my journey abroad.