Catherine Bentzen gives us a little taste of her experiences abroad.

Guess where I am.

I’ll give you a hint: A foreign country known for its laid back attitude.

Another hint? Surfing is a national pastime.

Got it yet? Alright, if I say, kangaroos.  There we go!  You guessed it; I’m in Australia, “The Great Land Down Under”.  That wasn’t so hard, now keep reading.

As you just proved, Australia has a reputation, and before I arrived, that’s mostly what shaped my picture was of the country.  Now that I’ve been here for almost 2 months, I have a little clearer picture of the country and how its people are different or not so different from those back home.  There is too much on this subject for one post, and I’m writing this for the Dome blog, so maybe I’ll do a few posts.  And don’t get too excited I’m not going to get too deep and philosophical.  I am an engineer, and I don’t do that, or am even capable of that….

Anyway, I’ll start with the accents.  Yep, everyone has an Aussie accent here, and it is awesome.  But what I didn’t expect were some of the other phrases.  For instance, if someone suggests a fun activity, a perfectly Aussie way to respond would be to say, “I’m so keen.”

“Keen” that word, still kind of gives me shivers, but it is now in my everyday vocabulary.  Same goes for the phrase “heaps of”, meaning “a lot of”.  Or you can describe something as “hell good” or “hell bad”.  Also for a greeting, it’s “how ya goin’?” because “how are you?” is way too formal.  Basically every word possible is shortened here, for example “uni” for university to “tutes” for tutorials.  It took me a second the first time I heard the latter example used.

“Yeah, I have one tute later.”

“Excuse me, what? You have a what later?”

They also pronounce the letter z as “zed”. Weird.  It makes engineering classes just that much more confusing.

Now to me, everyone here definitely has an accent, but it is especially weird to hear my accent described.  Most people think I am Canadian, and when I asked someone why, the explained that Americans and Canadians have the same accent. Like whoa. That one blew my mind.  It really shouldn’t have, but I had never thought about it.

I could probably go on for a while about the accents, but, well, to be honest, I have better things to do.  Next time, we shall delve into the ugly underbelly of Australian society and expose the secrets they have been keeping from the rest of the world…Just kidding, I’ll probably talk about sports or something, maybe drinking. Yeah, drinking.  Until then, cheers!