Skip to main content

Learn English: 10 expressions you will hear as an international student in Australia

O-week in Australia
O-week in Australia.

Supplied: RMIT University

ADVERTISEMENT

Many international students are starting university in Australia this month and one of the things that can be challenging is getting used to the way English in used in Australia. Read on to learn the meanings of some commonly used words and phrases at a university in Australia.

Before new students in Australia start university lectures, they go through 'O-week' which is short for Orientation Week. This is a time to settle into student life and meet new friends. As an international student, you may spend a lot of time on 'campus'. 'Campus' refers to buildings and spaces that make up the university.

So you can meet 'at the university' or 'on campus'.

As an international student in Australia, you will come across Aussie English and slang. Here are 10 expressions you are likely to hear being used on campus:

1. Flat out

If you say you are 'flat out', it can mean you are super busy.

“This is my first week at uni. I’m flat out. I’ll have to meet you another time.”

2. I'm knackered

You may hear someone say that they are 'knackered' which can mean they are very tired.

"I have had a massive day at uni, I'm completely knackered."

You may also hear people say they are ‘broken’. It does not mean they have split into two. They are talking about being very tired.

3. Far out

If someone says 'far out', it means that it is shocking.

"Far out! I left my phone at home and I only realised it when I got to uni."

Hernan Caceres, Veronica Gama and Martina Di Fonzo at University of Queensland
International students having a conversation during O-week in Australia.

612 ABC Brisbane: Blythe Moore

4. Right

If you are having a conversation with someone and the person you are speaking to keeps saying 'right', this means they want you to know that they are listening to you and acknowledging what you are saying.

"Student: I forgot to do the assignment so I didn’t bring it."

"Lecturer: Right. Bring it in tomorrow."

So the lecturer is not saying you are right as in ‘you are correct’. But the lecturer is just saying ok, I hear you, thanks for letting me know.

5. An all-nighter

You may find yourself chucking or pulling an all-nighter at uni quite regularly. This means staying up all night to finish an assignment or study for an exam.

"I can’t come to the party tonight, I forgot to do my assignment today so I’m chucking an all-nighter. My lecturer wants it by tomorrow."

6. Reckon

'Reckon' is a verb that can refer to thinking or believing something is possible.

"I reckon we can finish this project by the end of week."

International students in Australia
International students in Australia.

Supplied: RMIT

7. Muck around

If someone is mucking around, it can mean they are just playing around or being silly.

"Don't take them too seriously. They were just mucking around during the fair at uni."

8. Whinge

'Whinge' can refer to complain about something. You can 'have a whinge' about something or you can 'whinge on about' something.

"I'll be alright. I'm just having a whinge. Don't mind me."

"They were whinging on about how far they had to travel to get to uni."

9. Shout

You can 'shout' your friends lunch and that means you are offering to pay for their meal or drinks. It does not mean that someone is shouting at you. 'Shout' can be used as a verb or a noun.

"Thanks for paying today. I will shout you lunch another time."

"A: Ok let’s go to the counter to pay for our meals."

"B: No no don’t worry. It’s my shout!"

Connie Li and Seong-hun Kim at the University of Queensland
International students at an Australian university.

612 ABC Brisbane: Blythe Moore

10. Good on ya

When someone says 'good on ya', it means 'well done'.

"You survived the first week of uni, good on ya!"

For daily English language lessons and tips like our Learn English Facebook page.