Top 10 Australian slangs every international student should know

Australian English is known to have its unique, distinctive vocabulary and accents. In fact, many English-speaking visitors find Australian English surprisingly different. For example, Australians love to shorten words such as university to “uni”, politician to “polly”, and Christmas to “Chrissie”. Here are some of the top words or phrases that you will love to learn when in Australia.


This abbreviation is short for the word, “afternoon”. For example, you may hear many times what particular class an Australian friend has on “this arvo”, or, this afternoon.


Unlike the famous toy, a “barbie” in Australia is short for “barbecue”. Sometimes spelt as “BBQ”, this beloved Australian pastime is popular on Australia Day and weekends, when friends and family gather around to “fire up the barbie” and cook some meat for a feast.


An Australian slang term for breakfast. For example, “I had eggs and tomato on toast for brekkie today.”


A general greeting, used instead of “hello”. It is shortened from ‘good day’ and used mostly in informal situations.


Although this seems like a really basic word for Australians, what the locals don’t realise is that this often makes no sense to international visitors. It is just a slang word for “lots”. For example, you will very often hear students complaining that they have “heaps” of work to do!

“No dramas!”

This term is used when telling someone not to worry about something. For example, “Oh, no dramas. Everything will be fine.”

“Out in the sticks”

Out in the wilderness, or away from civilisation. Sometimes used casually in a university context to describe if your next lecture is a long way to walk to!


You will hear this very Australian word when studying “Down Under”. It seems like a strange, new word, but it just means, “think”. For example, someone might use it when talking about their personal opinion: “I reckon this course is going to be a tough one”.


It’s not so much when you read this word, but when you will likely hear it being spoken that will cause the most confusion as an international student! It’s just a “tongue-in-cheek” or funny way that Australians poke fun of themselves for their own pronunciation of the word, “Australia”.


Not to be confused with the undergarment, thongs are popular beach footwear in Australia, which can also be referred to as “pluggers”.

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