Australian Additions

By Isabelle Saba

This past month, OES had the privilege of hosting two Australian students. 

Olivia and Sid are from Victoria, the second most-populous state in Australia. They’re current sophomores, but when they get back from their summer (American winter) break, they’ll be in “Year 11,” which is the same thing as being a junior.

Olivia and Sid go to a year-round school, where every break starts “two weeks after every term, with a 2 month summer break, ending in February, three weeks off of autumn, 2 weeks off of winter, and 2 weeks off of spring.” Some perks of going to a school year-round are that they have longer school hours, an hour lunch, 25 min recess, and an hour later start than we do every day. 

But with fewer hours comes more rules. Some rules include teachers being called “Mr.” or “Mrs.” as opposed to by their first name, no bags being allowed in class, no chewy (aka gum), no nail polish, haircuts specified by school rules (girls cannot have short hair, while boys’ hair cannot be past their shoulders), no fancy earrings (studs only), no bracelets or hair ties, a required natural color hair, no hats being allowed inside, and more.

In case you didn’t notice above, chewy has a different meaning in American English than Australian English. Olivia and Sid gave me another short list of different slang:

“Mate=friend, Tea=Dinner, G’day=Hey (directly means good day), Autumn=Fall, and Petrol=Gas.”

Not only is slang a major difference, but the weather in Victoria is also far different than in Portland. Sid told me that “Right now [in summer] it is 19-45 °C (66-113 °F) and sunny, although there is sometimes some rain. In winter it is around 9 °C (48.2 °F) and it NEVER SNOWS where I live.” Instead of snow days, they actually have “Hot days when it gets to 50 °C (122 °F) and you don’t have to go to school.”

It was a pleasure to have two great exchange students join a few of my classes. And I’m glad to have gotten to know them. I think it is amazing that OES has great connections with other international schools, and it made me happy to know that Olivia and Sid’s favorite thing about OES was “how strong and welcoming our community is.” That is something that we should all take pride in.

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