How To Act Like An Australian, According To An Aussie Living In America

How To Be More Australian In 3 Easy Steps, Just 3 Because Aussies Are Lazy

No Aussies were offended in the making of this article (I hope).


It can be argued that Australia has its own unique culture. Some say it's comparable to the Westernised lifestyle of Americans, or that we're a carbon copy of the UK (I guess that's what happens when a nation sends its rejects to a large island in the 1800s), but I think it's entirely different. We've taken inspiration from our predecessors and morphed it into something new.

Over time, we've created our own culture that is nothing short of a mystery to the rest of the world (not for much longer — I'm about to give you the rundown). It's the result of 24 million lazy, stingy, strange people living on a large island, isolated from the rest of the world.

Here, I present to you three simple steps to becoming more Aussie:

1. Shorten every word in the English language

The first thing you must know about Australians is that we are possibly the laziest creatures you will ever meet. We're so lazy we can't even be bothered to speak. Instead, we've created a secret language, made up of shortened versions of the words which just take too much effort to say completely. I wish I could explain the look on my professor's face when I said "see you this arvo" to him for the first time. Absolutely blank. I may as well have been speaking a foreign language (I mean, I kind of was). For those who aren't sure, "this arvo" is the easy way to say, "this afternoon."

I'm not complaining, our technique does make things simpler! Why would I bother telling my boss I'm going on a lunch break when I can just call it "smoko"? And I'm definitely not going to waste your time saying I'm filling up at the gas station. I'm just heading to the servo! Oh, and my personal favorite? Maccas. That's short for McDonald's. This one is so widely adopted, even the advertisements refer to it as "Maccas" now.

Not to mention the random words that have absolutely no relevance to their original meanings. I'm certain someone made these up one day when they were bored and it somehow managed to stick. Here's an example: we don't say bathing suit, swimsuit, swimming trunks or anything along the spectrum of logical descriptors. The things you wear in the pool? They're togs. No clue how we came to that conclusion, but that's all I've ever called them.

I highly suggest you adopt a couple of these phrases, it will save you so much effort – imagine all the spare time you'll have from ignoring a few useless syllables!

2. Take all the free food you can get

When have you ever seen an Australian say no to free food? That's right, NEVER. Food just tastes so much better when it's free. If you are looking for a way to hang out with an Aussie, just offer to pay for their meal and I can guarantee they'll be there. They may have just eaten dinner, but that won't stop them.

I'm pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to find a feed in an American College — pretty much any event has at least a table of "nibbles" provided (I know nibbles isn't too exciting, but professionals like myself can easily make a meal out of them… it's all in the strategy).

I guess this one really ties in with the whole 'stingy Australian' stigma. For some reason, we are all so protective of our money. We won't spend our money unless it's absolutely necessary, and we will chase you up for every dollar and cent you may owe us. In saying that, we'll be extremely hypocritical and expect you to pay for a bunch of our stuff, then take forever to pay you back. Just a warning: if anyone of us asks you to pay for our meal, promising we'll "pay you back straight away!" DO NOT trust us. You will most likely never see that money again.

Getting things for free is way too much of a thrill to us, we're money-saving adrenaline junkies.

3. Thoroughly enjoy the heat and handle the cold poorly

As you may know, there's only two seasons in Australia: Hot with the occasional cool breeze (winter), and so hot you think you're going to melt (summer). There's no autumn or spring, and winter is simply a more comfortable version of summer. In conclusion: Australia is HOT… or at least it is where I come from.

As you can imagine, this makes us really good at handling the heat. If you've got a true-blue Aussie bloke for a father, you know that they thrive most in warmer weather, sometimes refusing to turn the air con on (oops, there's another shortened word — "air con" means "air conditioner"). They welcome the dripping sweat, the sticky leather couches, and the sting from hot seat belts. Nothing reminds me more of an Aussie summer than driving my car with a single finger because the steering wheel is practically on fire!

Sure, the heat is great, and it means we can do outdoor activities year-round, but it also means we are severely unprepared for cold weather. Traveling overseas is risky business, a constant gamble of whether or not we'll freeze and die in temperatures we've never witnessed before.

When I was packing for Tuscaloosa, I stupidly thought a small corduroy jacket and a thin converse sweatshirt would cut it — I even thought it might be overkill! How cold could it possibly get? I'm heading to the South for goodness sake! I was rudely awakened. Turns out Tuscaloosa can reach some pretty low temperatures. It wasn't long before my Aussie pal and I were desperately purchasing winter coats on Amazon so we could walk to and from class without losing feeling in the majority of our body parts.

To sum up, if you're planning on visiting Australia any time soon and want to blend in a bit better, you'd better start shortening those words, stinging off your friends, and wearing way too little clothing out in the cold.

Wow, just realizing we sound like an awfully stupid group of people. Eh, it's way more fun to live the carefree Aussie way!

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say


For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

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Visiting A Long-Distance Friend in Edinburgh

It was a short but sweet trip and we packed in lots of fun activities.


I lugged my heavy suitcase off the train onto the busy Edinburgh train station platform. Before I could get my bearings, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I quickly turned around to see my closest and oldest friend, Sasha, with the warmest smile on her face. After a big hug and quick catch up, we braved the bustling tourist streets of Edinburgh in June.

I spent my first week of summer vacation in the United Kingdom. I visited family, met my baby cousin, spent time with my godfather, and enjoyed my favorite city. All in all, it was such a wonderful way to start my summer break. One of the highlights of the trip was going to see my best friend in Edinburgh.

Sasha and I have been friends since we were eight years old. She and I quickly bonded and formed a close friendship that despite the distance, we have maintained for almost 12 years. We don't talk constantly but when we do it is like nothing has changed. I am complete, 100% myself around her and I couldn't ask for a better friend.

Prior to this trip, it had been a little over two years since I'd seen her, which in our opinion was far too long. So knowing I was going to be in the UK for ten days, I scheduled 3 of them to be in Edinburgh with Sash. It was a short but sweet trip and we packed in lots of fun activities.

Day 1.

I arrived on Friday afternoon. We dropped my suitcase at Sasha's apartment, which is a scenic fifteen-minute walk from the station past the infamous Edinburgh castle. Sash then took a walking tour of the city through Princes Street Gardens and the Royal Mile. We stopped for a drink at a pub on the GrassMarket. We talked and talked and caught each other up on the highs and lows of the past two years.

Grace Bellman

There is something about an old friend that makes you feel so comfortable. Sash has been my friend through it all. She didn't walk away when my life didn't look so pretty and she always makes an effort to prioritize our friendship.

Sasha made a healthy vegan potato curry with naan bread for dinner before we set off on a hike up Arthur's Seat. The crazy thing about Edinburgh is that one minute you are walking through a busy city street with buses and cars and tourists and general organized chaos, and the next minute you are walking up an extinct volcano, looking down on the city at sunset. It takes your breath away (from beauty and exhaustion).

Grace Bellman

Day 2.

I forced Sash to be a morning person and started our day relatively early. Our first stop: The National Gallery of Scotland. Neither Sash nor I feel the need to spend too long in museums so we whipped around the exhibits quickly and found a trendy coffee shop to get a pick-me-up. We took our coffees up Calton Hill, a less vigorous but still beautiful walk than Arthur's Seat. I think this may have been my favorite spot of the trip. We attempted (and succeeded) in climbing the National Monument and laughed so hard while trying to take pictures in the classic Scottish windy, slightly damp weather.

All this walking and climbing made us quite hungry so Sasha took the opportunity to show me part of her university. We ate black bean burgers and chips at the Student Union Library Bar before proceeding to hop between thrift stores, book stores, and art galleries for the next few hours.

Later that afternoon, we visited the National Museum of Scotland, which is home to a series of exhibits about animals, music, and technological advances. For someone who is usually not the biggest museum fan, it was fascinating and very enjoyable.

Physically tired but still high in spirit, we discussed what to do with our evening. We spontaneously decided to attend a local comedy show in the basement of a theatre. Both Sash and I hate to be called out in an audience but we muscled through and ended up really enjoying the new experience.

Grace Bellman

Day 3.

My last morning in Edinburgh was wonderful. We, of course, had to check out the famous castle on a hill before stopping at a lovely cafe for some coffee. We then explored the Writer's Museum. It was in a small building that seemed to be a house in its previous life. It had old memorabilia from Robert Burns, Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. From photographs to old shoes and even locks of hair, the museum seemed to have covered each of these men's lives in detail.

My final meal in Scotland was definitely indulgent, to say the least. Sasha took me to a new restaurant, Cold Town Beer, with a rooftop view of the castle and a really yummy vegetarian full breakfast. We were both full to the brim with food and with post-meal sugar highs.

Sadly, I only had about half an hour before I had to get to the station so we marched back to her flat, packed my bag, and ended the trip in the way we started: dodging tourists with my heavy bag on the hilly streets of Edinburgh.

It was such a special trip that made me realize how much I am missing by not living closer to one of my closest friends. It was a funny feeling waving goodbye to her from the train knowing it would be at least a year, if not more until I would see her again. But I guess that phrase is really true: "How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard" - A.A.Milne.

Sasha Milne

Sash, thank you for having me and for being a friend through everything. We survived our separation at thirteen, high school, and the first two years of college apart. There is no way we can't get through another year. Have an amazing time studying in Spain and Italy. I'll see you soon.

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