A guide to Aussie slang for an intern abroad in Australia

Delivered in their distinct and beloved accent, an Australian’s every day language is peppered with unique and often entertaining words that don’t make sense to an outsider. During your internship in Australia, you will discover that, straying from the official English language, Aussie slang plays a key role in the country’s identity and culture. Often ranging from region to region, the unique words Australians use conversationally have become an endearing aspect of local culture. These words’ origins vary, deriving from convict culture, Aboriginal languages, the Australian gold rush, among other historical and cultural moments.

 

As an intern abroad in Australia, it’s your goal to try and master, or at least decipher, this fascinating language “down under”. These local colloquialisms are part of what make Australian culture unique. Learning them will bring you closer to the culture and make you feel firmly integrated into Australian society. For navigating the workplace, after office fun and travel we’ve assembled the following:

 

internship in Australia

 

An official guide to Aussie slang for interns abroad in Australia

 

At the office:

G’Day – greetings, hello, short for the interjection “good day”

Arvo – afternoon

Yakka – work

Tradie – a tradesperson, often trades also have their own names like a carpenter would be a “chippie”, an electrician is a “sparky”

Sickie – day you take off work when you’re ill

Ta – thank you

She’ll be right, she’ll be apples – it’s all going to be OK

Uni – university, college

 

internship in Australia

 

Out and about:

Chockers – extremely full, bursting at the seams

Esky – cooler, portable ice chest, ice box

Ripper – fantastic, really great, same as “bonzer”

Full as a centipede’s sock drawer – stuffed or quite full

Bog in – like “dig in”, a start to eating vigorously

Stone the crows – used to express awe or amazement

Mad as a meat-axe – insane, really crazy

Chokkie – chocolate

Popular as a rattle snake in a lucky dip – someone who isn’t very popular

Fair dinkum – genuine, authentic, true

Bush telly – campfire

Sweet as – very cool or awesome, the adverb “as” is often added to the end of adjectives for emphasis like “common as” or “lovely as”

 

Places:

Servo – a gas or petrol station

Unit – apartment

Macca’s – the good ole golden arches aka McDonald’s

Op shop – thrift or vintage store, short for “opportunity shop”

 

 

Sources: australianexplorer.com, mentalfloss.com, koalanet.com.au, BBC, australia.gov,

Photo 1. based on Pebbly Beach Kangaroos Australia – 095, by Kyle Taylor, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on outback landscape, by live_free_or_die_77, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Melbourne, by
Peter Mackey, CC-by-2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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