A British student has shared the things she wished she had known about Australia before moving Down Under – including rude waiters, slang words and expensive food.
Elizabeth Beemer, who was born in the UK but now lives in the US, was studying in Sydney for two years between 2016 and 2018.
Taking to her YouTube channel, the 21-year-old revealed the biggest culture shocks she discovered while living in Australia.
Elizabeth Beemer, originally England, moved to Sydney for two years between 2016 and 2018
‘Australians shorten everything,’ she said. ‘So my name is Elizabeth, I have been called “L, E, Liz, Lizzie” – I don’t like the last two by the way.’
But she can’t have hated Australian slang that much, because after two years living Down Under she had picked up a slew of Aussie terms.
‘I’m gonna give you a really quick Australian language lesson – so “arvo” means afternoon, or “avo toast” – avocado toast, “Maccas” – McDonald’s or “Breaky” – breakfast,’ Elizabeth said.
‘I could go on because they shorten legitimately everything, it’s crazy.’
Common Australian slang terms
Arvo = afternoon
Avo toast = avocado on toast
Maccas = McDonald’s
Breakie = breakfast
Bogan = people of low socio- economic status
Bottle-O = bottle shop, liquor store
Chockers = very full
Esky = cooler box, an insulated food and drink container
How you going = how are you doing
Pash = a long passionate kiss
Ripper = really great
Root = sex
Slab = 24-pack of beer
Togs = swim suit
We’ll be right = everything will be all right
Elizabeth said she found Australian waiters can be ‘rude’ to customers because they already earn a higher average wage and don’t have to rely on tips.
‘People in America who are waiting usually are a lot nicer because they know their tips are like their livelihood depending on how nice they are to you,’ she said.
‘In Australia, I have come across some places where they [can] be rude to you. There are places where people are straight-up rude because they don’t really care.
‘They already get a high paying job, which by the way let’s talk about how in Australia minimum wage is like $25 an hour – in America where I live, it’s like $7.25 an hour.’ In the UK, the minimum wage is £8.21 if you’re over 25, £7.70 if you’re aged between 21 and 24, and £6.15 from 18 to 20.
Elizabeth said she found cockroaches everywhere ‘al the time’ when she was living in Sydney.
‘The heat just like draws them inside and the water also attracts to it,’ she said.
‘It doesn’t matter if you have a thousand bottles of bug spray and you get your house sprayed like three times a month, it’s not going to matter because cockroaches are insane and they’re everywhere here.’
The British student has shared the bizarre things she wished she knew before she moved to Australia – including rude waiters, slang and expensive food
She said another thing she found challenging was listening to Australians talk as they speak very quickly.
‘People here tend to say things really fast and in one breath,’ she observed.
‘So like, one for example is “We’ll be right”. What? What does that even mean? “Will be right” – we’ll be all right.
‘Or “how are you going” – they say “how you going” instead of “how are you doing” or like how “what’s up”. They go really fast “how are you going” like in one breath, it’s so weird.’
She said another thing she found challenging was listening to Australians talk ‘really fast’
Elizabeth added that she found ‘everything was overpriced’ in Sydney – especially the grub.
‘No matter what you’re getting, it’s probably going to be a little more expensive than what you’re used to if you’re from a different place,’ she said.
‘Like in America, you could probably get a burger at a good restaurant for about $7, here it will be about $14. Obviously thinking about exchange rates but everything is super expensive here, especially in Sydney.
‘I’m not sure about other places but Sydney is one of the top most expensive cities in the world to live so everything is just way more expensive than you expect to pay for.
‘I thought that was really interesting. It’s not really fun because I’m a college student who wants to travel the world… I don’t really want to spend money.’
Elizabeth said when she lived in Sydney, she found ‘everything was overpriced’, including food
Elizabeth said another thing she found interesting was the seasons in Australia were ‘reversed’, compared to America and the UK.
‘In Australia, summer is December to February, autumn is March to May, winter is June to August and spring is September to November so it’s super opposite from America,’ she said.
‘In America, autumn is September to November, winter is December to March, spring is March to June and then summer is June to the end of August – September.
‘But basically it’s really confusing because it’s total opposites – when I go back to America in December and it’s summer here so I’m like dressed in summer clothes – I go home and it’s like freezing so I got like culture shock and my skin’s like, what’s happening, so it’s really interesting.’
Driving on the left side
Despite Australians driving on the same side of the road as the Brits, Elizabeth said she found cars driving on the left confusing due to her time living in the US.
‘Everybody here drives on the opposite side of the road [to the US] so it’s really interesting. The steering wheel is on the right side and you drive on the left side,’ she said.
‘Whereas America, it’s reversed. My brain is kind of going crazy right now, I’m having like a cultural brain fart. What’s really funny is when people walk past you in Australia, they actually walk past the way that they drive.
‘You can tell who the Americans are because you run into them by accident because everyone’s going the same way.’