10 Words that May Confuse You During Study Abroad in Australia

Authored by:
College Study Abroad

College Study Abroad

Author: Sadiya Williams, Admissions Coordinator



Australia is a wonderful country filled with beautiful scenery, exotic animals, and excellent food. But let’s be honest—the Australian accent, together with their abbreviated linguistics, make it a little hard to understand what the locals are saying. 

No worries, mate! Here’s a list of commonly used words to prepare you for your journey to the land down under.

“BREKKY” = BREAKFAST

This one is sort of easy, as long as you understand the context of the conversation. “Hey, do you wanna go out for a bit of brekky?” 

“MACCA’S” = MCDONALD’S 

When I saw this, I was very confused. I’ve heard McDonald’s called “Mickey D’s,” “Mac,” and “Golden Arch,” but never “Macca’s.”  I’m stupefied still, but the fact remains. McDonald’s is called Macca’s in Australia. 

“CHOCCY” = CHOCOLATE

As a lover of chocolate, I was pleasantly surprised that the slang word for chocolate was easy to pronounce and not too different from the original word. It made it easy to head to the market and say: “I have a hankering for choccy, where would I find it?” 

“CUPPA” = A CUP OF TEA

“Care for a cuppa?”  I thought it was only England that offered tea, but I guess it’s in Australia too. 

“ARVO” = AFTERNOON

This one was a bit confusing for me because I couldn’t understand how Australians got “arvo” for afternoon. But I learned, it’s more about shortening the sentence for a quicker conversation. Who knew?

“FOOTY” = AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL

As a serious football fan, I was excited for my first Australian football game. Unfortunately, Australia’s most popular sport is a mash up of rugby and soccer that looks really scary and rather dangerous. Hard to watch, even for an American used to NFL games.

“THONGS” = FLIP FLOPS

I don’t think I need to explain why this was thoroughly confusing for me. 

“BATHERS” OR “SWIMMERS” = SWIMSUIT

“Hold on I have to go find my swimmers!” Imagine that in an Australian accent. I laughed for about 5 minutes. 

“DEFO” = DEFINITELY

There are a lot of different words in Australian slang that simply look like the page got cut off. I “defo” think that someone was just wondering how I could confuse other English speakers from around the world. 

“RIPPER” = REALLY GREAT

This is one of my favorite words I learned in Australia because it basically summed up how it felt being in Australia. Ripper!



Really, all you need to do is pay attention to what people are saying. If you don’t understand something, ask – Australians are some of the most laid back people on earth! 

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