Survival Guide to American Slang and School

English takes on a whole new meaning when you reach a foreign country, and here in Rochester New York, I have quickly learnt that there are some definite differences between Aussie English and American English.  If you ever find yourself in America, these few tips may help you get around a little easier.

You probably knew some of these basics, but to avoid some really weird stares keep in mind the following:

–          Thongs = Flip Flops

–          Jumper = Sweater

–          Pants = Trousers

–          Ute = Truck

–          Servo/Petrol Station = Gas Station

–          Shops = Grocery Store (if you got to Rochester, make sure you visit Wegmans, it is one of the largest grocery stores in the area and offers a huge variety of fresh and organic foods along with some international foods [vegemite!] and your other products)

–          Lollies = Candy

–          Taxi = Cab

–          University = College or School (Don’t use the word “University” if you are in America, they just call it “School” and will not understand if you use “Uni”. Also, be aware that they don’t have specific ‘degrees’ rather they have majors, so I have found it easier to just use the name of my degree as my major.

Some other things to bear in mind are:

–          Tipping is still a common practice in most restaurants.

–          If you are 21 you need to use your passport as identification as the Aussie drivers licence is not accepted as a legitimate form of identification.

–          If you are getting a mobile number overseas I have found it cheapest to go with ‘T-Mobile’ They have a no lock in contract and for about $30 a month you can get unlimited data and text within the country plus $100 calls. Depending on your needs you might want to opt for a different service provider, but I found them to be the cheapest for basic coverage – just make sure your phone is unlocked!

–          Invest in a travel money card – its safe, cheap and easy.

–          American college is a lot like high school, there is a lot of homework you need to prepare for the next class, many classes only last for an hour or two and have similar numbers to tutorials – so be prepared to study hard!

–          America has not yet adopted the metric system so it may be helpful to download an app that can change things over for you.

–          If like me, you are a tea addict, brace yourself for a lack of kettles. Americans generally use stovetop kettles, but generally don’t have hot tea – apparently we have adopted this one from England.

Finally, for the most part, the people you meet are incredibly friendly and enthusiastic and are eager to help if you ask. America thus far has been an amazing experience and I am loving studying abroad!