This post is a part of our International Voices column, written by international UT students & staff, for UT students & staff
There were a few things that could’ve made my flight to Austin a bit easier; getting the meal I requested, having an aisle seat and mostly being given a ‘Not Australian’ shirt as I left the country. It may seem trivial, but constantly having to correct people that yes it’s a different country and no it’s not the same thing gets a bit testy. While I’d love to be associated with Steve Irwin, Tim Tams, and cute kangaroo babies, there are a lot of differences between us. So here are the answers to the questions I get the most often (so that you don’t have to ask them):
- What language do you speak? In New Zealand, our official languages are Māori, English and New Zealand sign language. A few common phrases to get you started:
Kia ora (Greetings, Hello)
Ko wai tō ingoa? (What is your name?)
Kei te pēhea koe? (How are you?)
Kei te pai (I am good)
- Yes, our rugby team is really that good, yes the haka is awesome, and no I won’t be convinced that American football is better.
- Nope, we don’t have kangaroos or koalas. But, we do have native animals such as the kiwi, tuatara, kakapo, weka and penguins to name a few. And yes, the spiders in Australia are really that big (always check your gumboots and under the toilet seat if you visit!)
- Wait, what? We can be incredibly hard to understand. From the accent to the slang, to the constantly speaking as if we’re asking a question… If you’ve never heard a word before or can’t understand something, ask!
Togs = swimming costume
Dairy = the corner store
The wops = somewhere that’s in the middle of nowhere (e.g. he lives out in the wops)
Scull = to drink (usually an alcoholic beverage) as fast as you can without stopping
Chips = French fries
Biscuit = cookie
Lollies = candy
Heaps = a lot
- What is on your feet? The reason we wear jandals so much is because we invented them! (And they’re ridiculously comfy)
- Yes, New Zealand is really that beautiful.
- Yes, you should visit there.
- No, I haven’t been to Hobbiton (I’ve actually never even seen Lord of the Rings)
- But we do have other films that are just are good! (see: Boy, Once Were Warriors, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Whale Rider)
- Just to reiterate, no I’m not Australian
- No, I’m not (insert any other nationality here)
- And finally………. No, we don’t have as many sheep as you think