Tag Archives: tips for travellers

The Wonderful People Down Under

Michelle Zurcher is a student in Cooley’s Australia Study Abroad Program.  This is her second posting from Down Under.

Michelle Zurcher (l) with Cooley colleagues Dan McCann, Mandi Bucceroni, and Tiffany Fifer

Michelle Zurcher (l) with fellow Cooley students Dan McCann, Mandi Bucceroni, and Tiffany Fifer

I thought when I went to the Outback restaurant this past fall in Michigan that it would really help me know Australians.  I also thought the highest earning Australian movie – “Crocodile Dundee” – was going to be right on point with each Aussie I met.  Just so you know, I have never seen a crocodile wrestler, nor have I seen Paul Hogan in person.  When I arrived in sunny Sydney, however, I realized that I was wrong about what I knew before coming to AU.  Here is why I was wrong….

Australians are perhaps the friendliest people I have ever met internationally.  Melbourne is a big city that has a small hometown atmosphere.  Maybe that’s why people love living here so much.  They tend to be relaxed in every moment – even during a morning rush hour when the tram has come to a sudden halt due to a mechanical problem.  As a whole they seem very fit, jolly, good looking, and have nice accents.  And don’t you worry – I have heard many Aussies speak, and, yes, their accents vary depending on what location they are from.  (For example, south Australia accents sound more like the British whereas western accents sound like a stronger Australian accent.)

So why are Australians so happy?  Maybe it’s the strong sun light beaming down on the hot street pavement.  Perhaps because Aussies seem fit and eat healthy fresh fruits and vegetables from the busy Queen Victoria Market.  I mean, Australians don’t even have movie theatre butter to squirt on their popcorn!  

 More Australian terms to know:

1. “Bloke.”  That’s a male.

2. “Sheila.”  That’s a female.

3. “Mate.”  That’s generally a male, but could also be a friend.

4. “Cheers.”  When a mate is pushing a stroller at 2:00 in the afternoon and you hold the door open for them, they are not telling you “cheers” to lift your glass.   This term means “thank you.”

5. “No Worries.”  This is a common reply to “cheers,” and it means “you’re welcome.” 

6. “Lemonade” is not what the eight-year-old is attempting to sell in your residential neighborhood.  Lemonade is “Sprite” pop.  


Filed under Student Experiences, Student News, Achievements, Awards, study abroad

Bring Your Own…

Michelle Zurcher is a student in Cooley’s Australia Study Abroad Program.  This is her first posting from Down Under.

Michelle Zurcher Arrives in Australia

I’m sitting in the classroom where Cooley Professor John Marks just taught the Equities and Remedies class in our 5th week here.  Don’t worry though — Professor Marks has Tim Tams for all the students to try for the “breakfast of champions” this morning.  This short chocolate bar melts in your mouth with a crunch of chocolate wafers in between.

Australia is quite a unique place that has a touch of the European and American feel, yet it’s definitely its own distinct country.  If you’ve never been Down Under, here are a few things to know:

B. Y. O…

1. Band aids. They’re expensive and fall off if you buy them in AU.

2. Contact solution. It’s 3x the price here ($13.99 vs. $42.00).

3. Zip Lock bags. For food or fun (so your shampoo in your luggage doesn’t leak).

4. Facial soap, make up, and so on. It’s either too expensive or they don’t have what we are familiar with here.

5. Razors because of how expensive they are. My theory is that half of the people have such close European ties that they don’t shave, so Aussies have to make up that lost cash with those who do shave.

6. Shampoo. Try $50 for a big bottle of Matrix. If you bring your own, then you have all that extra room for souvenirs on your way home when you leave your empty bottle of shampoo in AU.

7. Clothes. Don’t plan to buy any new clothes because all the clothing here is very high priced and lower quality.

8. Q-Tips. I appreciate America so much more for this one item.

9. Pillow because it’s a long flight.

10. Winter clothes even in their summer.  Melbourne has a 4-season climate that can occur all in the same day.

11. Bank of America Credit Card. There is a sister bank called West Pac in AU that doesn’t charge you fees for withdrawing cash from their bank.

Don’t bring…

1. Body wash soap. You can buy it dirt cheap here.

2. All of your best friends. Make new ones, grow from new experiences, and blossom from meeting new people.  P.S.: I have met more people from other countries than people from AU.

Know these terms:

1. Tomato Sauce. Apparently Aussies don’t know what Ketchup is.

2. Gherkin. If you’re making deviled eggs and need pickle relish, you’ll be getting an eyebrow raised by the grocery store employee if you ask for relish.

3. Mate. That’s a friend, not someone married to someone else.

4. Target, Big W, and K-Mart. They’re not the same stores your mother shops in America.

5. Homework. Yes you have homework in AU, even though it can feel like you’re on a vacation.


Filed under Student Experiences, Student News, Achievements, Awards