“G’day mate, how’s it going mate?”
Literally every conversation in Australia starts with that sentence. It is not just a greeting but more a way to start a real conversation. Australians are masters in asking questions and getting in touch with people and if you want to, you can have a fluent conversation that can easily last for more than an hour.
Since one of my biggest fear concerning my exchange semester had been that I would be able to make friends, I was absolutely relieved when I realized that Australians are not just being polite when they ask you where you are from and if you like Australia so far, but that they are actually interested. This is something very different from Switzerland, because in my opinion (myself included) Swiss people are not very into spontaneous chats with people they did not know before. In Australia, you have the chance to talk to someone every time of the day , there is no “I first need to drink my coffee before I speak to someone”.
Even when you sit on the beach at 7 am if someone passes by you, you at least get a “isn’t it a lovely morning darling”.
I think this might be because Australians are in general very talkative and as far as I know they are less formal than Swiss people are. For example, the professor shows in his first lesson pictures of his children and his dog, they just wear t-shirts and jeans and everybody calls everyone by his first name.
For me, adapting to this sort of conversation was a little change in my daily behavior, because, honestly speaking, I am one of those “I need a coffee first“ persons back home. I am also not one who would start a conversation in a tram in Bern although I would say that I am an open-minded and communicative person.
In the beginning it cost me some energy to always talk English. But being able to really uses english, not only in daily life but also in university, it showed me that the more I start talking to people I did not know before the more comfortable I felt with it and I realized that this is a really easy way to make new friends especially in an environment like the University.
I really started liking those conversations. I think that there is something great about being able to start a talk without having to think long about what you are going to say and with no fear that there will be an unwanted silence. I learned so much about Australia and the people here, just from talks with strangers. It also takes away my insecurity in English, because the more I talk the more I learn, and the more I can listen to different dialects in English, the more I understand.
After coming back home this is something that I would really like to keep, because I have realized here that most people like to tell their stories and adventures.
I think that especially after the pandemic, during which people have been home for almost two years, it is important to open up and widen your horizon by meeting new people, to start discussing and exchanging views again.
This is why I am hopefully returning home with “no worries” of asking for someone’s day.