Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you planning to visit Australia for the first time?

You may get a culture shock if you expect it to be like the US or the UK.

Listen in on today’s episode and get three tips to build connections in English with our guest Pete Smissen from Aussie English.

Pete Smissen is Back!

Lindsay welcomes back Pete Smissen for another podcast on the All Ears English channel.

Pete appeared on All Ears English for Episode 1366 to talk about Aussie Slang Words

She asks Pete when he started the Aussie English Podcast.

Pete started at the end of 2015 which is seven years ago.

He kept doing it and loved it.

Lindsay likes the outgoing nature of Australian culture.

Pete mentions that their culture is very friendly and laid back.

He says that Aussies love to travel and learn new languages.

Lindsay agrees with this and has encountered many Australians that love going around the world.

Pete shares that it is a custom for them before going to college or what they call “uni” is to travel a bit and explore Australia or other countries.

Today Pete will share three things you need to know if you travel to Australia.

Three Tips For Building Connections in Australia

Australia is different in many ways from the US and UK.

It can be overwhelming to arrive in Australia and realize that it was not what you expected in terms of language and culture.

Here are three tips shared by Pete Smissen on what to expect in Australia:

  • The Australian accent is difficult to understand at first. Pete shared that a lot of people will comment that it is very different from the American and British accents. You do need to get used to the accent. They don’t have many materials in the Australian accent compared to the US and UK. A lot of mainstream media are US and UK English-centric. Pete mentioned famous Aussie actors Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman who often play American roles and use their American accents. Lindsay asks if they have an area where there is a strong accent. Pete explains, unlike the US and the UK, they don’t have different accent dialects. The majority of the Aussies have the general same accent. Your strategy for this is to prepare yourself ahead of time before your trip to Australia. You can do research and get exposure to the accent to easily understand them.
  • The Australians use a lot of slang. Pete mentions “thongs” in which they mean slippers but then in America “thongs” mean G-string underwear. Lindsay has done an episode with Pete where they talked about Aussie slang. You can check out episode AEE 1366: Aussie English Slang Words with Pete Smissen. They go more in-depth about the slang in that episode. When you are a guest in Australia and it’s your first time, the Aussies will understand if you don’t know the slang. They would be happy to explain what they mean. This is also a good way for you to build connections by asking and learning how to use this slang.
  • Be ready for the informality in Australia. You have to be aware that it is very different in Australia in terms of how they interact. They are very informal and laid back. You would hear a lot of slang and swear words being used by Australians and it wouldn’t necessarily have the same cultural meaning compared to the meaning it holds in the US or UK. An example given by Pete is that in American shows, they would call a police officer as a “Sir” or “Ma’am”, where in Australia, they just call people by name. They have expressions that they call “the tall poppy syndrome” where they don’t like people bragging or making others feel they are above everyone else. This is why they aren’t comfortable with calling other people by “Ma’am” and “Sir.” Another thing Pete mentioned is if you hear swearing, understand that it may not be directed at you. It is just part of Aussie expressions and language.


Language can either pull people apart or bring people together.

Not every country that speaks English will have cultural similarities.

In order to build that connection with others, you have to adapt and learn what it takes to relate to the person you’re talking to.

As long as you take the time to understand and do your research about a certain culture, learning their language and nuances of what they say and do will enable you to build relationships.

If you’re planning to go to Australia, Pete Smissen has shared very helpful tips in this episode to jumpstart your preparation for your visit.

You can find Pete Smissen online at Aussie English.

You can also search for Aussie English on all social media platforms and YouTube and you’ll find his videos and content that can help you in learning about Australian English.

What things have you noticed are different in Australia compared to the US or UK?

Share it in our comments down below for others to learn from as well.

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