After landing in Australia I quickly learned that if I was going to keep up with their language, I was going to have to start asking people to slow down their words. Unlike the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, who talked in a slow aussie accent, the natives here at University of the Sunshine Coast talk fast, jumbling their words together or forming new words altogether. Luckily, I was paired in a house with three others roommates, two yet to come, and an Australian native that helped clear some of their slang for me. For example, “sunnies” means sunglasses, “aussies” really is a native Australian and “goon” is the cheapest Australian boxed wine that most college students drink.
Once the jetlag wore off, I ventured over to the main campus and was shocked to find four kangaroos hanging out on campus. My roommate told me to never look in their eyes because they take it as a form of aggression…but just looking at them was enough to make my whole day. Their are numerous signs all over campus telling us to stay at least 3m away from these wild animals. I decided then to think of them as large squirrels that roam campus because I would never think to try to feed a large squirrel.
Another thing I had to remind myself was that when riding in a car we were not going to crash just because they drove on the wrong side of the road. Take it from me, it takes a lot of getting used to. Not only that, but the toilets even flush the other way! Other things that are different here than in the U.S. is how expensive everything is. A tube of mascara in the U.S. would cost a girl roughly $5-$8, but here the cheapest you will find one is $13.99. Basically anything not made in Australia is doubled in cost. Also, like most of the world, everything is in meters, not feet, making the speed limit signs difficult to understand. One sign I have still yet to understand is “Give Way,” which is a sign that is found near most intersections. Finally, I had to learn that even though it’s winter in the U.S. it’s boiling hot over here. So stay warm while I keep cool!