I decided to study abroad in Australia when my advisor, Professor Ran Libeskind-Hadas, recommended it to me. He had done his sabbatical here just a year previously and knew that UNSW was a good choice for CS and other technical studies. I wanted to study some place that taught in English since the only foreign languages I know are coding languages. After a bit of research I settled on UNSW with USyd as a backup school. Several harrowing months later I was accepted into the program!

I knew a few people who had studied in Australia before and they all told me it was pretty similar to the US. So far I’ve found that to be true even though they do drive on the left side of the road and have a funny accent. Turns out that the accent it pretty easy to pick up after a few days. They also have some Aussie-specific slang words that
can be a little strange if you’ve never heard them before. A good dictionary is here but here are some of my favorites.

Spit the Dummy – Throw a Hissy Fit
Seppo – Damn Yank
Dunny – Toilet
Have a Look – See
Mate – Friend
Deadhorse – Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce – Ketchup
Barrack – Cheer for a team
Root – Have sex (ergo do NOT say that you’re “rooting for your team” unless that’s a form of fundraising that your team condones)
Bluey – A redhead or a bluebottle jellyfish
Thongs – Sandals

A history of Australia according to what I’ve heard

The Australian indigenous people inhabited the continent for at least 40,000 years before the arrival of the British making their culture the oldest on the planet by a huge margin. They lived in tribes, each with their own territory.


A map of the Australian indigenous people’s territory prior to the settlement by the British

The west coast of Australia was discovered by the Dutch in 1606, and the East Coast in 1770 by Captain James Cook. His discovery put to rest any myths of a bridge that might connect the Australian continent to North America. The English used this new land mainly to drop off criminals and debtors who were clogging their prisons. The newly freed prisoners established six main colonies along the coast at Sydney, Darwin, Brisbane,
Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth. These colonies later formed the Federation of Australia and became the six states
of  Queensland, New South Wales,Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania which remain today. Since the majority of the continent is desert Australia did not gain the reputation of a rich, fertile land like the New World. Consequently, Australia has never been as populous at the United States, and likely never will be
since the land can only support large populations along the coast. Currently the population sits at 22.68 million people while the States is almost 14 times that at 313.8 million people. The wealth of the country is not less than that of the States, however. Australia has the world’s 12th largest economy and the 5th highest GDP per capita.
What this means for American tourists (and international students) is that everything is more expensive! A minimum wage in Australia is usually upwards of $15/hour but prices for just about everything is anywhere from %125-150 of the same item in the States. The exchange rate doesn’t help us either, it’s been nearly 1:1 for awhile now.

Hope this brief history was helpful. Check out the rest of my blog and let me know what you think!