As of tomorrow, i will have officially been in Australia for a full two months. Over that time I’ve gotten to experience things I never thought were possible. But rather than look at the affect i have had on Australia, how has it affected me? I think the best way to start here is with the local slang. I’m starting to get the hang of it and have had to ask fewer “what does that mean??” questions that make me feel like a real tourist. Some of the key words are keen = excited, I reckon = i believe or i think that, mate = dude or buddy (I’m sure most of you know that one), to name a few. It’s weird how quickly you adopt language to help you fit in, especially as an international student. In talking to my friends back home they have already began to comment on my new “language”. It’s something silly, but i plan to keep that with me when i return in July.
Another thing that i have come to love about Australia is barbecue sauce. I can thank my roommate for this one. He eats the condiment religiously and has fostered a new love for it in my heart. i went from literally never having it, except on an occasional pizza, to putting it on almost everything i eat, from eggs to chicken nuggets, to sausages. on a quick sidenote, Australians are often infuriated by the saying ” Put another shrimp on the Barbe!” Either way, Barbecue sauce is now in my heart forever.
Another thing that i have picked up on my short time here, is the prevalence of tattoos. I have always seen tattoos as a work of art, with your body as the canvas to show off that art. However, in America, tattoos still have a negative connotation, especially in terms of future employment. It seems as if they are really much more accepted here. It’s like the Australians made the realization that ink on your skin doesn’t change who you are, and they don’t judge you for your looks, or what’s on your skin. in terms of that, i really appreciate that and it’s something i think should be viewed in the same way around the world.
Finally, i’d like to address the questions i have received in Australia about America. I have been asked on multiple occasions if i have ever fired a gun (I have), and this is based solely the stereotype that every American has a gun. I had one student in my English class ask me about Yosemite National Park. He was fascinated by the word Yosemite, the pronunciation, the spelling, all of it. that made me laugh. The difference in spelling here is ever so slight, but still something that makes me realize i’m in a different country. Another question i get asked is about all of the fast food options in America, and which one is the best. This is always a fun topic, which usually results is some sort of friendly debate. And finally, the most talked about place in America is New York City. Everyone who wants to come to America wants to see NYC. It’s like the city is the mecca for tourists to visit. I generally don’t talk it up too much because of my own views of the city, but that usually doesn’t sway their opinion in the least bit.
There is no doubt in my mind that Straya, as they call it here, has changed me, how i think, how i talk, all of it. I’m worried then when i return to America i will simply reintegrate myself into American way of life, and leave my Australian way of life behind. However, Australia will always be with me in some shape or form, and i’m unbelievably grateful for the opportunity.