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AE 449 – Expression: Get Cold Feet

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression to GET COLD FEET like a native English speaker.

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AE 448 – Expression: Get Cold Feet

G’day, guys. What is going on?

I hope you’ve been having a ripper of a week. I’m back again. It’s another Sunday and it is another expression episode, guys, and today’s episode is going to be a ripper. So, it’s going to be awesome. We’re going to be talking about penguins. That was the intro scene there that you had at the start. It was a video clip from BBC Earth’s YouTube channel. So, there’ll be a link in the transcript for that. If you love wildlife, definitely go check out that channel. But that was David Attenborough speaking.

I’m a massive fan of David Attenborough and it was his 92nd birthday probably two weeks ago on the 8th of May. He was born and a few days after the Queen of England. So, he’s 92 years old. Pretty crazy.

Anyway, a quick anecdote. Yeah. I grew up always watching David Attenborough films. So, my parents were both zoologists and they met at Melbourne University, I think, in the 70s, maybe the late 70s is when they met, and yeah, obviously got married, had kids, and we grew up with a heavy dose of wildlife. So, we would watch docos, we’d go camping, we’d go to the zoo. Absolutely loved animals. So, that was my sort of upbringing and obviously why I ended up going to university, the same university that they met at, and studying the same thing they did zoology.

Anyway, guys, this is the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone who wants to learn Australian English. Whether you want to understand it or you want to speak like an Aussie, this is the podcast for you, and it is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom, which you can sign up for at theAussieEnglishclassroom.com. Remember that it’s only a dollar for the first month at the moment. You can get in there for one buck. What is that, like three and a half cents a day? And you can try the Aussie English Classroom. You can use all the materials in there. You can complete this episode as of course with bonus videos, learning vocab, expressions, there’s quizzes, there’s all sorts of good stuff in there if you want to take your English to the next level. So, this podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom.

And It is also brought to you by all the wonderful people who have supported the podcast. And remember, you can do this by signing up to Patreon or you can do a once off donation via Paypal, and that is on theAussieEnglishPodcast.com/support.

Anyway guys, let’s dive into today’s episode. We’ll be covering the expression ‘to get cold feet’, and this was suggested by Dan in the Facebook group. So, we’ll get into that.

But First let’s do a joke. So, the joke here is related to penguins. You know, had to connect these two things.

What Do penguins eat for lunch? So, penguins, the small little birds that live in the ocean. What do they eat for lunch? ‘Ice-burgers’. ‘Ice-burgers’. Do you get it?

So, Obviously, icebergs are those large pieces of ice that break off in Antarctica or in the Arctic, in the north… northern hemisphere.

And ‘burgers’ are obviously, you know, hamburgers or chicken burgers. They’re a kind of food where you have lettuce and cheese, bacon, other kinds of meat, and you have bread on top. That’s a burger, right? So, the joke here is ‘ice-burgers’.

Anyway, guys, today’s expression, ‘to get cold feet’, and you may also hear this as ‘to have cold feet’. So, let’s go through and define these words guys.

‘To have’. If you have something, you possess something, okay? You own the thing, you have the thing, you possess the thing.

‘To get’. If you get something you acquire that thing. So, you didn’t have it to begin with and then you got it, you acquired it, and now you possess it. And this can be physical things like, you know, a burger or it can be, I guess… well, still physical, but not like an item, okay? Like, you can get cold. You can get hot. You can get wealthy. You know? It doesn’t have to be something you can hold in your hands.

‘Cold’. ‘Cold’. I’m sure you guys know it’s the sort of… the temperature that is incredibly low. It’s not hot. If you’re shivering, if you’re out snowboarding in winter, you’re probably going to get cold.

And The last one here, guys, ‘feet’ the plural of ‘a foot’. This is the lower extremity of the leg below the ankle and you would usually stand on your feet. You would walk on your feet. You would run on your feet, right? Your foot, each foot, has five toes, a big toe, a little toe, and the three toes in between.

Anyway guys, what does the expression ‘to get cold feet’ mean? So, if you ‘get cold feet’ it means that you lose your nerve, that you lose your confidence, that you become timid, and it’s usually used as a polite way of saying… well, not necessarily polite, but a nice way of saying something like ‘to chicken out’, ‘to wuss out’, or ‘to bail on’ something and these are sort of phrasal verbs that mean to abandon something because you got too nervous, right? You wussed out, you chickened out, you bailed out.

So, where did this originate from? We’re not really sure but it originates from about the 19th century, the late 19th century, though again, the exact origin isn’t known. However, experts suspect that this expression may have something to do with the military, an environment which certainly offers a plethora of things to fear, situations to run away from, to bail on, to get cold feet from, and you would also imagine that there are plenty of situations where you could get cold feet, literally, in the army, you know? You’re running around in your boots and it rains, you got cold feet.

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So, as usual guys, let’s go through some examples of how I would use the expression ‘to get cold feet’ or ‘to have cold feet’ in day to day life. Okay?

So, example number one. Example number one is that you are at a wedding. Okay? And there’s a bride and groom, there’re two people who are about to get married. I mean, well, in Australia there’s gay marriage so it could be two grooms or two brides, but I imagine it’s a bride and groom in this example.

So, the bride hasn’t shown up. She hasn’t come to the wedding ceremony. And this is a classic example of where you’re likely to hear this expression. So, maybe she’s running late because of photography. You know, they’re trying to take photos of somewhere and she’s not happy with the photos. Maybe she is trying to do her makeup still or get her wedding dress on. Or maybe there’s transport issues, you know? Maybe they’re getting delayed because of that, the bridal party is getting delayed. Or maybe she’s changed her mind. Maybe she doesn’t want to get married to this guy anymore. So, she’s decided, “I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m not confident about this decision. I’ve got cold feet.”. Okay? So, she’s got cold feet. She’s changed her mind. She’s lost her nerve, her confidence. She’s got cold feet. And if the crowd start murmuring, maybe they’re gossiping. It’s been a long time. She hasn’t shown up yet. They might be thinking, “Is she going to leave the groom standing at the altar because she’s got cold feet?”.

Example number two. Alright so pubs in Australia, these are places you can go and drink, and you can eat food, usually alcoholic beverages, and you’ll often see things like bands or single musicians playing at these venues. Pubs in Australia often have events called ‘Open mic nights’. So, ‘an open mic night’ is where you have the microphone for someone to sing into or play into… is it’s open for anyone to use. You just have to get in line. Right? You have to put your hand up and say, “I want to sing. I want to read out some poetry. Maybe I want to do some stand-up comedy.” Right? So, you’re a performer. You’ve gone to a pub. It’s a… it’s an open mic night, and you’ve told all your friends to come with you, because you want to get up and do some stand-up comedy or maybe you want to read a poem or maybe you want to sing a song. If your turn comes up, though, and you freak out, you get a little nervous, you lose your confidence, and you become timid, you might decide not to get up on stage and sing the song, read the poem, do some stand-up comedy. You’ve got cold feet. You have cold feet, because you’ve wussed out, you’ve chickened out, you’ve got cold feet.

Example number three here, guys, and this was something that I used to get faced with all the time. When I was doing jiujitsu my coach would always be hassling us, always asking us, always pestering us, trying to sort of guilt trip us into competing, because obviously he wanted the team to compete as much as possible and do really well. So, he would always be like, “Everyone needs to compete!”. I’m the kind of person that despite, you know, being able to create these kinds of podcast episodes and videos, I don’t like really being in front of a lot of people, to be honest, especially, when it’s like you fighting someone and there’s half a thousand people watching you. Okay? So, he would ask us to do this and quite often I would chicken out of entering the competition. I would wuss out. I would get cold feet. So, I would get too nervous. It would… the thought of standing in front of all these people and fighting someone else and potentially losing in front of all these people would give me cold feet. It would make me nervous. But imagine, okay, I did end to this competition. You could also use this expression if the time came to get on the mat and fight, so, they’ve said “Pete and…”, you know, the other guy “…Tim! It’s your turn to fight. Come out on the mat!”. If I ran away, if I didn’t show up, if I chickened out, if I wussed out, I’d gotten cold feet. I had become too timid and lost my nerve. Okay?

So, I hope you understand the expression, guys, ‘to get cold feet’ or ‘to have cold feet’. It is just to lose nerve, to lose confidence, and not do something. To bail on something. And then, if you want to kind of belittle the person a little bit and make it a little bit more sort of like you’re judging the person and making fun of them, you can say ‘to wuss out’, ‘to chicken out’, and then, just in general you can say ‘to bail on something’, which is just to leave something, to avoid something.

So, hopefully, those are some good phrasal verbs you can use when talking to your friends.

So, as usual, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation. So, just listen then repeat after me, guys. Whether you want an Australian accent, whether you just want a prefect an American accent, a British accent, or just work on whatever accent you have, just try and say these words after me. Okay? Let’s go.


To get

To get cold

To get cold feet x 5

A lot of stop consonants in their sentence, guys, when we’re talking about connected speech. A lot of stop consonants.

So, we’ll do this now using the conditional, guys. So, we’ll say “I would never get cold feet”. We’ll conjugate through that. And I’m going to contract a ‘would’ on to the respective pronouns for each sentence, right? So, instead of saying, ‘I would’, I’ll say ‘I’d’. Okay? So, listen and repeat after me.

I’d never get cold feet

You’d never get cold feet

She’d never get cold feet

He’d never get cold feet

We’d never get cold feet

They’d never get cold feet

It’d never get cold feet

Great job, guys. Great job. Remember, if you would like to learn the pronunciation of Australian English in much more depth. I really recommend signing up to the Aussie English Classroom, guys, where you will get a video breaking down all of the connected speech, the pronunciation, and other aspects of spoken English from this exercise as well as previous exercises in the podcast episode. So, sign up to the Aussie English Classroom, guys, and give it a go.

Anyway, before we finish up, I want to talk about fairy penguins or little penguins. Okay? So, today, we had at the very start of this episode a scene where David Attenborough was at Phillip Island talking about the smallest penguin in the world, the little penguins.

Now these guys weigh only about a kilogram and they only stand about 30 centimeters tall. They’re incredibly small and they are the world’s smallest penguins.

You can find these little penguins in southern Australia and in New Zealand in scattered colonies along the coastlines of these countries. And in Australia, you’ll find them all the way from out west in the city of Perth all the way east to Sydney, and then in the south, you’ll find them around Melbourne and in Tasmania. Okay?

So, if you come to Melbourne, though, they’re very easy to see, and you will see them at Phillip Island at night. This is probably the best place to go if you want to see them coming out of water and walking up the beach to their burrows. You can go to the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island and you can also see them at the St Kilda pier in Melbourne.

There are estimated to be about a million penguins left, these small penguins, little penguins, 32,000 of which live at Phillip Island. So, that’s pretty crazy. I guess, that’s only about 3.2%.

How do you tell the difference between a male and a female? That’s a good question. Well, you can’t ask them. So, you have to look at beaks. The adult females have a thin beak, much thinner than males, and the males have a distinct hook on the end of their beaks.

What do they eat? Every day, little Penguins have to go into the water, into the ocean, into the sea, and they eat up to 25% of their body weight, which is about 250 grams. And they’re eating fish like Barracouta, Anchovies, Red Cod, Pilchards, and even cephalopods like squid.

They can swim about two to four kilometres an hour, and for reference, humans can swim about six kilometres an hour.

Little penguins live in holes in the ground and we call these holes ‘burrows’, and this is a place where they can rest, they can nest, they can moult, and they can obviously get protection too from things like predators and extreme weather in Australia. Like, quite often it gets to about 40 degrees in summer and the best way to avoid that is going underground.

So, depending on the season, they can spend anywhere between 1 and 30 days at sea. That blows my mind. Imagine swimming around for a month. So, while breeding they return regularly to incubate the eggs and feed their chicks. So, that would be during the summer season. But during the winter season, they spend most of their time out to sea hunting for fish and squid for food.

These penguins don’t mate for life and if the breeding success of a couple of penguins is really low, they might look for new mates.

Little penguins lay two eggs similar in size to a chicken’s and both parents take turns incubating these eggs, which takes about 35 days.

Both parents then feed the chicks by regurgitating fish and squid caught at sea, and the chicks leave their parents and head out to sea for the first time at 7-11 weeks of age.

Their parents don’t teach them anything. They don’t learn how to swim. They don’t learn how to catch food. They don’t learn when they have the nest. It’s all based on instinct.

Penguins spend about 80 percent of their lives in the ocean. So, what’s that? One out of every five days on average they get out of the water. And on average, every single day they swim between 15 and 50 kilometres.

They’ve been recorded diving as deep as 72 metres. However, an average dive is between about 5-20 metres when they’re hunting prey.

Little penguins also have some really cool adaptations. Like all penguins, they have modified wings, which are called ‘flippers’, and the only flying they do is through the water.

They have a gland to spread oil on their feathers when they’re preening in order to keep the outer feathers waterproof so they don’t get soaked, they don’t get drenched and then get cold.

They have a streamlined shape, waterproof feathers on the outside of their body, a layer of down next to the skin to trap air and keep them warm under those waterproof feathers, and they also have a salt gland above their eyes, which helps them filter salt from seawater so they get access to freshwater.

Anyway, guys, that is the episode for today. I hope that you think little penguins are as bad-arse as I think they are.

Don’t forget to jump over to YouTube guys and check out the Aussie English YouTube Channel. Come to Facebook. Join the community and just take part, guys. Start using your English. Come and say ‘G’day’.

I’ll chat to you soon and hope you have an awesome weekend. See ya!

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AE 448 – Interview: A Step by Step Guide to Moving to Australia to Study English with Lorena Yeves

Learn Australian English in this interview episode of The Aussie English Podcast where I interview Lorena from Go Study Australia about moving to Australia to study English.

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AE 448 – Interview: A Step by Step Guide to Moving to Australia to Study English with Lorena Yeves

G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Man, do I have a killer episode for you guys today!

So, I don’t know if you’ve seen it in the previous episode, but I’ve chatted to Lorena from Go Study Australia in a previous interview, and this episode was a 338. So, make sure that you go back and check that out if you would like to hear more from Lorena after this interview.

But today, I’ve got her, she’s from Go Study Australia, which is a company that helps English students, students that have come to Australia to learn English. This company helps them find jobs, find accommodation, find really decent schools, even get flights from some countries here at a discount. So, they’re free service, guys. I really recommend Go Study Australia if you guys need any kind of advice or help, whether you’re already in Australia learn English or you’re thinking about coming here.

So, Go Study Australia, definitely recommend checking them out.

Anyway, as it’s probably obvious, today I chat with Lorena about, effectively, a step by step guide to moving to Australia to study English. So, I set this up by saying, you know, imagine I am a foreign English learner from, say, Spain. What do I need to do? What is the step by step process that I need to go through in order to get to Australia, in order to get established in Australia, to find somewhere to live, to find a school, to get a job, to get food, to find friends, to socialise?

So, anyway, it is a great interview. Massive thanks to Lorena for spending about an hour chatting to me on Skype. I really appreciated her time, and I know that you guys are going to get a lot out of this.

So, without any further ado, guys, here is Lorena from Go Study Australia.

G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English I have Lorena back again. Hopefully you saw the first episode with Lorena and if you haven’t, it’s episode 338 and there’s also a video on YouTube called How to study English in Australia… Go study in Australia. So Lorena Welcome back. How are you going?

Good, thank you.

Let’s start up! what is Go Study Australia? And give us a bit of your back story again. How did you end up living in Australia, working for this awesome company that’s helping people with their studying of English in Australia?

Yea sure! So I’ve been working for Go Study for five years. I started in Madrid and we… When I say “we” I mean my partner and I got offered this opportunity to come to Australia two and a half years ago and to come to the Melbourne office. So I started in Madrid. What we did there was help and guide students through their journey coming towards Australia and here in Melbourne what we do is more of reception. So Go Study Australia is an agency, or student organisation, that does… That gives help to students and working holiday visa makers come to Australia. We primarily help in the sector of studying. So English courses or vocational training or bachelor degrees. And the other part of our role or job is to guide students who are in Australia. We do a lot of events, activities, sort of give them support while they are here in Melbourne. We also have offices in Sydney and in Perth and in Brisbane. So I sort of give the all round support while they’re here in Australia.

And so I guess… How do people find you? First off for you to just get that out of the way… Is it a a cheeky Google search or can I come and see you at your office?

So our doors are always open. They can obviously write to us through our website or through our social media. If they Google Go Study Australia They’ll definitely find us… In the offices that we have here in Australia we always have our doors open so students can just come in and we have a lot of walk-ins with people that just need a little bit of help either finding a job or finding the right course for them or even just a little bit of help in terms of finding their way around Australia. So they can always just come to our office whenever they want.

Brilliant! And is this just students or… I guess people in Australia from any other countries? it doesn’t matter where or are they from certain countries that you guys cater for specifically?

So our main “catering” let’s say is just for European… European countries and Latin American countries. We recently opened offices in Bogota and Medellin, in Colombia. So hopefully we’ll all start catering to that to that area as well.

I mean that’s a huge market. There’s a lot of Columbians going to Australia!

Especially in Melbourne. So hopefully we’ll do a good job of giving them a little bit of support. But we don’t… I mean anyone can really just come in. Although our experiences, just in terms of visas, are experience is more towards Latin America and Europe. Other countries have variations. The visas are a little bit different so we’re not . .. Might not be the best agency for them.

So, if we just imagine me now being someone who’s living in Spain, Italy, France, or South America and I’m really really keen to learn English abroad, Why would you suggest Australia?

so Australia has a lot of good things compared to other English speaking countries. One of the best things is the work opportunities. Other English speaking countries don’t have as many opportunities in terms of jobs. So for example student visas for U.S. don’t come with working rights . So that’s where you go, you study but you can’t work. Canada has… I’m not really sure but there’s a limit, so there’s… I think up to the first six months you can’t work and Astralia is one of the only countries that lets students actually be able to work part time while they’re doing their studies. Another great thing about Australia obviously is that because it’s so far away from everything else there’s not a lot of people from your own nationality…

For now, for now right?

And that’s good because when you’re looking for a school or a place to learn English you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded by your own nationality and your own language. That’s the only way that you can really make forward with language.

So what would be the next step? So imagine that I am in Spain. I’ve decided, you know what, I want to learn English overseas, I want to come to Australia. What is the next step for me to then do, with regards to making that dream come true or happen?

So there’s various ways that people can come to Australia. The one that is the most use is the student visa. So we are… In order to come to Australia with a student visa, the first thing obviously that you have to take into consideration is grabbing a course. So that’s where any of our offices offshore/onshore will be able to give a little bit of insight to the student depending on what you want to study: English vocational courses, higher education. Once you’ve chosen the course the next steps are doing a little bit of paper work and which we’ll obviously lend a hand and to do the actual visa. Once the visa is granted then the student can come into Australia. So the first… That’s sort of the most used visa, which will be the student visa

And so obviously you can do this all on your own. , You can get online you can find the school, you can coordinate with them. Then you can go and organise your visa, but you guys kind of are the shortcut if you want to make life easier for yourself. They can get in touch with companies like Go study Australia in order to sort of get a little bit of hand-holding so that they don’t have to do it all on their own.

Exactly yeah. In terms of pricing all of the courses will cost exactly the same whether you do it by yourself or if you do it through us. That’s a misconception. A lot of times people think “oh if I do it with an agency that means that I’ll be charged something.” No, actually we don’t charge anything to a student. Whether you do it by yourself and you do it everything through directly to the school or through the agency you will everything will be the same fee.

So you’re paying a set fee to the school and then you guys, as Go Study Australia, any money you receive isn’t from the students themselves but from the schools or from other organizations, right?

Exactly. So everything will be exactly the same… Sorry…

No no no, you’re good.

Can you hear the student come in?

A little bit, a little bit, but it’s fine it doesn’t matter. I can hear you clearly.

So, in terms of… In terms of pricing everything is exactly the same with the added value, obviously, that when you go with an organisation like Go Study, you obviously get the added bonus… The school… Usually when you do things directly with the school, the school obviously help you with the paperwork of the enrolment in the school, but they won’t be able to give you any support with the visa. So that’s where a lot of people actually find themselves in a little bit of a pickle. They’ll go directly to school, do everything because they think that it’s going to be cheaper , do everything through the school, and the moment comes when they go in to their immigration stage, try to do the visa and they get a little bit stuck. So it’s always better rate to have that added support from an agency. Not only for the visa but also throughout the entire journey, so you will assure yourself of obviously getting support throughout the entire time, not just for the visa, but to the entire time that you’re in Australia.

Brilliant! Alright, so where were we? Alright, so there’s obviously no excuse not to be using an agency like Go study Australia because it’s free. And so what happens if if someone comes to you for help and they don’t actually end up getting through the process of getting a school and everything, is that still free or?

So yeah. All of our services are free. We’re never going to charge students. So legally speaking we are only able to lend a hand… A tool in terms of visa to students that come through . .. That do the schooling through us . When students have done the entire visa process or, another visa process, but the school process by themselves, and we’ve had the situation right. So somebody goes to school, does everything by themselves, and then comes to the office… More than likely we will be able to obviously lend a hand. We won’t be able to be as involved in the actual visa process as we would to one of our students, but we would be able to sort of push them in the right direction. In terms of all of the other services, our parties, our seminars, our information sessions: All of that is open to anyone whether they are students or not.

So that they can use that as a learning experience, whether or not though they’re actually going to use those. Brilliant, brilliant! And so what would be the next step then? you’re a young man living in Spain, you’ve decided you want to come to Australia, you’ve gone through Go Study, you’ve found an English school, I take it. How do you guys pair up someone with the right English school, and is there any advice there for how to find an English school that suits you or is any school okay?

So the short answer is No – not all schools are okay. So there’s a there’s a lot of different things that one needs to take into account. The first thing, obviously, is we try to pair the student with the right school, in terms of quality and in terms of price, and so different schools will have different pricing. There’s a certain line of quality that Go Study Australia does not go under so there’s… We try to work with schools that have passed our quality standard – Our seal, Let’s say. there’s a… Obviously in terms of… That’s why you ask an agency to guide you through the process. Because we have the experience of letting you know which are the schools that actually are vouched for and which not. The other thing that we do, apart from the quality, is obviously matching what the student is willing to pay for the experience with which the pricing of the school. So the first thing that we do is… So this would happen once we’re trying to find the correct schools for the student. We’ll ask, obviously, what kind of experience they want to do what their goal is in Australia. What are they looking for in the end. So . .. Oh, and how much time they want to be here for. Let’s say that they want to be for six months and study English, then we’ll offer… Usually what we do is we offer three or four different schools, depending on what they have been telling us that they’re looking for, and try to match the student with the school. There’s a lot of schools in Australia, so we’ll never offer you all of the schools, just because otherwise we’ll, you know… We’ll make the student go crazy, so we will try to find two or three schools that might match and go from there.

And so what’s the price range usually? What are the options? What is the lowest sort of threshold, and what does it offer versus the highest part of that threshold, as well?

So in terms of English, more or less the price that we’re talking about is between $200 and $270 per week. For $200 per week, usually are schools that are all for night classes and are usually less populated, let’s say. $250, $270 are usually morning classes. Again it depends; Usually schools also offer a lot of different promotions. So at a certain point a school may cost usually $270 but they’re doing a promotion in which if you buy 10 weeks you’ll get two for free. So we also tried to work around those promotions to make sure that students can also a good value out of what they’re… What they’re looking for.

And what do these schools usually offer in terms of classes and hours? If someone wants to study in Australia they sign up with the school, is that, you know, eight hours a day every single day? is it 1 hour a day every single day? What are the expectations that the students should have with regards to studying English?

So student visas for international students will require the student to actually study 20 hours per week, minimum. And they will have to attend 80 percent of the school or the classes, otherwise they’ll be reported to immigration. So their stay in Australia is based exclusively on their compliance with the laws of their school, right? So usually schools will be between 20 and 25 hours per week, the minimum obviously being the 20 hours per week that they have to attend. It’ll be between four and five hours per hour per day. And they will, again, they will have to attend the 80 percent of the classes. There’s differing kinds of courses. So the most general course will be General English. It will touch a little bit of everything. A little bit of, you know, pronunciation, a little bit of speaking, of writing. Usually general English courses are better viewed for students that don’t have a lot of a level of English. And then you go in to more profound courses like IELTs preparation or Cambridge preparation, which is… Prepares the students to actually take the official exam. Those courses usually are a little bit more intense, and will give a little bit more work to the student.

And so what is there a… Is there a minimum level of English that you you must have in order to be that young man in Spain that leaves Spain and comes to Australia and gets into an Australian school, or get a visa? Do you need a certain level to do that?

Not for English. If you want to study vocational training or higher education you will have to have a previous level of English just because, obviously, there are more skilled courses and you will require to at least understand what’s going on in the class. Otherwise for English courses you don’t require any level of English , any previous level of English. We have students that come with very basic, basic elementary level of English. Those students will more likely go into courses like general English. More experienced, or people that have a little bit more higher level will try to go into more specific English courses.

Alright, so you’ve done that. You’ve organised which school you’re going to go to. I don’t know whether or not to touch on getting airfares for Australia. Is there any advice that you would have regarding how to get to Australia and how to save money doing so?

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Well, from Spain and Italy, we both have an agreement. So in Spain, I think it’s with Singapore Airlines and with Emirates, the students get a little discount from being our students, and if they go directly to the airline they’ll be able to get to, for example, Singapore Airlines will give the students the ability to, if they fly from Spain to Australia, they’ll have instead of 30 kilos of luggage they’ll be able to have 40. So it’s a little bit… They’ll have a little bit of extra room to bring personal stuff. Emirates will give them a little student discount. In terms of tips to get… I mean, there’s no real formula to get a cheap deal to come to Australia, it’s very far away. So usually prices are very standard and doesn’t really vary too much.

But it’s worth checking with you guys, just in case you know, that you have the option of either getting bonuses or more space to take stuff on the plane or to save a little bit of money ?


Oh brilliant, alright. Okay so you’ve got your flight. You get to Australia. You jump off the plane. What do you do then? Where do you live? And what are the options? And should you have organised that before getting on the plane, or is it okay to wing it and just get off the plane and you’ll be sweet?

So I think both of the options are okay. A lot of students prefer organising the first month of accommodation from Europe. The options usually are a little bit more expensive than if you just come into Australia and look for other options. Usually accommodation from Europe will cost… Will include obviously a family . .. Accommodation . .. The options are either family living within family, so you’ll . .. You’ll sleep with or live with the family and it’s included lunch, breakfast and dinner. The other option is the possibility of living in a student accommodation. But usually what we do recommend students is that they get a hostel for the first 10 days when they arrive here. It’s the cheapest option honestly. Come here and then once they’re here find a better… There’s heaps and heaps of pages – facebook pages, Gumtree. There’s a lot of places where you can actually then find better deals.

Is it a really good way to socialise first, too? To get to a hostel and meet a few other foreigners and other people travelling around and at least, sort of, hit the ground running with your social life and make some friends, right?

So I mean there’s pros and cons and everything right? Like everything in life. But if you get accommodation from Europe and you already organise the first month it’s going to be a little bit easier for you to, obviously, come you’re a little bit more relaxed. You have to think about having to find anything else.

And you got time to look, right?

Exactly. On the contrary it’s a little bit more expensive than if you just come and find a hostel. My recommendation usually is just come here for the first 10 days get a hostel. Meet a lot of new people at the hostel. Socialize. Start looking around… Once you arrive start looking with your… Especially in the school you’ll meet a lot of people and be able to find a better accommodation.

And I guess you would suggest don’t move in with people from your country . Like try and avoid organising a share house or something with other Spanish speakers or Italian speakers.

Yeah we see it a lot with people that want to travel together. Actually we get people that want to do the experience together. Two or three friends book the course, book everything together. We usually push them to go to different schools but sometimes they’ll want to go to the same school and that’s fine. Most of the schools won’t put them in the same class anyway. They try to divide nationalities so it is likely that even if they do come together that they will end up in the same class. But if they do all come together, what we do recommend is that at least they try to live separately. That way their experience will be more immersive. So it’s not the same as coming and living in a house full of people that you need to speak English with, otherwise you can communicate then being in a house with your mates from Spain and speaking in Spanish all day.

Well, not even that too. There is the language aspect of but then there’s the social aspect; If you’ve already got a friend or two friends here, you are a lot less likely to go out and try and meet people, and feel about pressure. No good. So what would hostel’s usually set you back, money-wise, per night? Do you have any figures off the top of your head?

I think a more or less we’re talking about maybe 30 40 dollars per night. So it really depends. There are some cheaper options if you share with eight people instead of with three or four. There’s various options, but usually it’s around to between 20 and 40 dollars per night.

And what’s it like renting in Melbourne? so you’ve you’ve come you’ve stayed in a hostel or you stay with a family for a short period of time. What would the next step be then for trying to find a house? What would you suggest people do and should they look for things like a shared house or should they try and get a house of their own? You know, on the on the bond. Get the bond paid and do that. Or I guess… what would you suggest?

Yeah. So when students arrive what we usually recommend is that they go into all of the Facebook pages on which people are renting a room. It depends on how much the student wants… How about how much they want to spend. Usually in a room if you share a room with someone else obviously will be cheaper than if you have your own room.

The answer is usually if you can if you can list them off the top of your head roughly…

In Melbourne you’re looking around between 150 and 200 dollars for a shared room. 200 250 for your own room. Again it depends. We have students that get really sweet deals and get their own room for 170. Get students that maybe you want to be more centralised than the CBD and pay a little bit more for your own room. It’s also a lot of luck. What we do recommend though is that unless you’re a going to be in Australia for a long time, and by a long time I mean a year and a half/two years, not going into getting an actual lease of the your own. It’s always there… There’s plenty of places that you can sub rent the room and it’s easier, also, to leave those places rather than having your own lease and having to have the hassle of having to find someone else to pick up your lease where you left it.

And they’re a lot less likely to give you a lease to a place of it’s only six months. They’re going to want the year, two years on that sort of thing. Okay, so for people who have kept up to now, schools are going to be between what? two or three hundred dollars a week, roughly? and then rent for a house might be slightly less than that. So you’re probably looking at between what? Maybe 450 to six hundred dollars for your weekly expenses with regards to what a school’s going to cost and rents going to cost. Do you have any quick advice with regards to groceries and food? How to find food here in Australia that’s affordable and the price that you’d look out for that as well?

So we always talk about when… Actually when students arrive we give them a little welcome package in which we give them a little bit of tips of when to do their shopping and where to find cheap stuff. In terms of groceries here, I can speak for Melbourne. That’s my experience. The cheapest supermarket is ALDI which any Spanish person will actually recognise because there are ALDIs in Spain as well. But other than that, usually Coles is pretty, relatively cheap. We do push students to also go to actually local markets like the Queen Victoria Market or the south market. It’s in terms of, you know, fruit and veggies it’s a cheaper option. We also try to tell them to stay within things that are in a season and so that’s something that sometimes we forget living in such a globalized world where we have everything at our hand. But if you usually stay in season in autumn you buy your mushrooms and in summer you buy your mangoes. Usually your you’ll stay within a good… a good budget.

And the food’s probably going to be better quality right? it hasn’t been frozen or traded or imported from a long way away. So what would people be looking at spending for groceries on a weekly kind of budget? Maybe one to two hundred dollars?

Yeah I would say maybe a hundred, a hundred and fifty dollars per hour per week. It also really depends how much how much food you eat.

And what your standards are, right?

Exactly. So I’m very tiny and I don’t need a lot so probably my intake is not as much and my partner who is like double my size. But yeah we’re talking about maybe a hundred hundred and fifty dollars per week in groceries. It also depends on the city that you’re in.

So you’re between maybe six hundred and seven hundred fifty bucks now a week. How can we offset that by finding a job, okay? So you’ve obviously had to pay for your school ahead of time and then you get . .. I guess to get the visa you kind of have to show that you have a certain amount of money to pay for things like accommodation and support yourself. What job prospects are there for people who are studying? And what are they allowed to do in terms of hours per week? and what are they likely to be paid?

So let me just jump back at a comment you made. So not all of the countries that come to Australia with the student they will need to show funds so. Countries like Spain, Italy, France – they will not have to show funds when they ask for the visa. In terms of the government, they can always ask whatever they want to, obviously. So they can still have the chance that they do ask. But usually in general terms that’s not something that you have to show. So you can have your little savings and have paid the school, and not necessarily have to show any funds to the government. Countries like Colombia will need… Or Brazil, they will need to show a little bit more stability.

And what amount of money would they need to accrue for those Columbian Brazilian listeners? How much would be a minimum amount of money to have saved up?

So usually we’re talking about 1600 dollars per every month that you want to be in Australia.


So more or less is what we are… Is what we would recommend.

So that’s why it really does depend on how long you want to stay. It’s not just that there’s a minimum that you need to arrive with, it’s your stay. Your length of time.

Exactly. And from that, once that come here we’ll give them all of the options are towords working. So we do a lot of job sessions. So you do jump sessions and Spanish and Italian and French, and we help all students with all of the processes and all of the steps that they need to take towards starting to find a job. So we’ll help them upon arrival also to talk about how to get the TFN and how to start their job-world in Australia.

And what is the TFN, quickly?

Yes, the TFN is the tax file number. it’s what all students or all people in Australia will need in order to be able to work legally in Australia. Once we apply for the tax file number then we can start legally working and looking for jobs. Our job will generally, depending obviously on what the kind of job and how many hours and everything but usually a student will be able to sustain him or herself in Australia while working their 20 allowed hours per week. So even if they did have… They paid out of the school from offshore. They came and they paid all of the fees and accommodation and everything. They’ll be able to pay for their everyday expenses with their job that they acquire here in Australia.

What kind of job opportunities are there and what is the amount of money they’re likely to be paid per hour?

So usually it obviously depends on a lot of factors but the majority of the students end up working in hospitality. That’s where the most jobs are available. Not because that’s the sector where there’s more jobs but because it’s a sector that is the most flexible with the student visa. So we have to remember that the student visa will allow the student to work only 20 hours per week while school is in session. They will actually be able to work full time when school is not in session. So when school is in session they’ll have their five hours per day that they’re in school or in their English course and then they’ll have the rest of the day to be able to work. Obviously that gives them roughly 20 hours per week to work. Casual working which is what students will likely get pays between 20 and 23 dollars per hour. So that should be able to cover the cost of accommodation, groceries and a little bit of… It depends on your way of life I think.

As a quick side note I was working at a restaurant in Melbourne called Portillo Rosseau which was a Spanish restaurant and I was just a waiter while I was studying and it was twenty five dollars an hour. Casual, flexible hours. So it is the kind of thing where you will get… you will get paid very well and I guess too… Should you make sure that you are doing it legally on the books as well? If you want to get paid the proper wage and not be taken advantage of?

Yeah obviously we always warn students there’s always going to be establishments that try to take advantage of the student. Generally speaking it’s pretty regulated so I wouldn’t… Like anything in the world, right, you always have to be wary about things that are legal or they take you out of the legality but generally speaking it’s pretty, pretty regulated. We also put students in contact with Fair Work in case they do have this problem of not getting paid or people that have been paid less than what they were supposed to. We have some success stories of people that, you know, didn’t know that they were being paid less than what they were supposed to, then finding out, going to Fair Work and actually going to court and winning. So Australia… That’s also one of the things that I love about Australia – is that it’s very regulated and that you will have the support of the government when it comes to the illegality that of establishments that do try to take advantage.

Well that’s what I’ve experienced a bit too. I mean I’ve in the past worked for establishments where they pay you what we get what we call “cash in hand”, where it’s off the books. It’s not legal. They give you the money but they give you… They require a certain amount of time. And they’ll generally pay you less than they would if you are on the books because they’re not getting taxed. So you do end up in that sort of situation it happens and maybe that’s your only option but I would say if you get… If you’re getting paid less than seventeen dollars an hour and they’re asking you to work more hours than say you’re legally allowed to be, I would be getting out of that situation and trying to find something better. And obviously if I can come and talk to you at Go Study to get advice and they can go to Fair Work too because I think the average Australian, too, won’t take too kindly to hearing about foreign people coming here and being taken advantage of. It pisses me off a lot.

Me too.

That’ s a foreign person. if you don’t feel like it’s okay… if you feel uncomfortable about something that’s happening at work or even at the English schools, I take it, don’t just let it happen because of the language barrier or it’s a foreign country. Do definitely report it to someone and…

For sure, yeah! We always push people to actually report everything in the two instances. so if something is wrong at school we always push students to actually come and talk to us. That’s why we’re here: We’re here to help, we’re here to be able to support you, and if they are thinking that they’re being taken advantage of at work a lot of people have this worry “Oh! I’ve been working for two weeks. Cash in hand. I don’t like it. I think this is not what I’m supposed to do but I don’t want to report it because I am the one them working cash in hand!” Actually they are covered. Their work will not tell them that they’re the wrong ones, but the person that is in the wrong is the establishment that is paying cash in hand. So in that sense people who are… Think that they’re in… That they’re scared of reporting because they are working cash in hand, they shouldn’t because The wrongdoing is on the side of the establishment.

Exactly! If the government is going after anyone it’s not going to be you it’s the company. Alright, and so you’ve come to Australia, you’ve got the schools sorted, you’ve gotten housing sorted, you’ve got a job now. I guess, do you have anything to say with regards to the resume and how to get the job? Should you go to these places and hand them the resume yourself or can you do it online? What what sort of advice would you have?

We always tell students that 80 percent of the jobs that are available are not advertised online. So we always push students to actually go with their CVs, go around and give them personally. We are… In our job sessions that we do with our students, we help them with the creation of the CVs and adapting the CVs from their European version or their home country version to the Australian version. It’s a little bit different – it varies from country to country. But we try to adapt it obviously to Australian standards.

What do employers here usually want to see on the resume? Because I guess one key thing is, for me at least, working and handing out resumes. Keep it short and sweet, right? People don’t want to a novel. They don’t want you to hand them something like this and be like “I’m qualified!”.

So we always tell them to keep it short, keep it one page. And a lot of other countries you put a picture but in Australia you usually don’t include a picture.

Especially if you’ve walked in the yourself, obviously.

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Especially, yes. And another big thing is making sure that the jobs that you’re listing are things that will make sense with the job. So one of the most common things that, as international students we hear, when people grab our resumes, because we’re used to from Spain or Italy, to put it on is “You are all overqualified for this job!” So we tend to write everything that we’ve done and everything that we studied, so I’ll say “I have a masters degree in this and a bachelor degree in that and I worked in United Nations,” and then when they actually look at your CV and you’re applying for a waitress position they’ll say “Okay, well you’re overqualified. Why is someone that worked at the UN want to work in ah as a waitress?” So we always make sure that the student puts only the work that is related to the position that they’re asking for.

And that’s a really good point because that happens with us as well – with Australians here. I have to be careful when I go… when I went for jobs like that not to oversell myself because if they see that you’ve got you know a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree and you’re wanting to do you know waiting they’re going to be like this guy’s going to get bored he’s going to probably want a better job that pays more, so he is not going to stay here. He is going to leave a few months after starting. And so yeah, only put down the work that’s relevant to that job. Great, and so what are the opportunities though, too? Are you likely to get, you know, once you’ve finished the English school are there places that you can get jobs where you could lead to permanent residency or living in Australia too? Are there jobs that people should try and aim for if that’s their goal as opposed to just working in a cafe or?

So there’s many different possibilities right. A lot of people will come to Australia love and want to stay further the best way obviously to stay further let’s say you haven’t been studying for six months. It’s going into vocational training. So studying something that will increase your CV, will increase your knowledge, will still be able to give you a little bit more time to be in Australia and find a more qualified job. If the goal is to migrate to Australia that is a conversation that should be done with a migration agent. There’s obviously certain jobs or certain fields in which it is more likely to get a sponsor or there are jobs that are more likely to lead to a longer stay in Australia. But again that is something that needs to be discussed with a migration agent.

And that’s going to depend on you, right? That’s going to be a person-by-person kind of thing.

And not only that it also depends on a lot of luck. So we have a lot of students that might come here for six months do an interview for a part time job in a let’s say architects studio and have the luck that they were trying to sponsor or that they really love the way you work or for whatever reason you land a sponsorship within six months of being here. and I have students that’ve been here for four years studying and I have never landed anything more permanent. So really also depends on how you move yourself around.

I think a good example of that for me was having a friend who I worked with at the restaurant at Portillo Rosso who was Chilean and she’d come to Australia with her boyfriend who was studying at university on a partner visa, but she ended up becoming a shared manager of this restaurant. And then as a result of that… So she’d worked as a waitress and then got sort of promoted to managing and through managing they could sponsor her then to permanently live in Australia, potentially at least for the next four years, and so that’s something to think about too. When you get one of these jobs in a cafe you may still be able to climb the ladder and get an important role that they could then sponsor you for to keep you’re in Australia.

Now one of the biggest tips that can be given to the student who comes to Australia maybe likes or wants to stay is to remember that they can move diagonally within their sector so that even if they did study microbiology in their home country maybe they come here and they start working in the restaurant. If their goal is to be able to stay here maybe they will have to sort of explore the possibility of you know going towards restaurant manager or move diagonally towards a different goal than what they thought that they wanted to do.

And so what have you found with students who have come to Australia and they’ve done these English courses, they’ve got their English to a really good level, they’ve got a decent job like this. What tends to be the outcomes after that. Do they end up, you know, getting hired getting PR here? migrating to Australia or travelling Australia or do they end up leaving Australia? What tends to be the patterns of what happens?

So it really actually is interesting because it really depends on, and this is very broadly speaking, but it depends a lot on nationalities. So different nationalities would look for different outcomes for them in Australia. So generally speaking for example the Spanish student will look to have an experience here in Australia. Will be here for generally a year or two years and then they’ll go back home. Italians, on the contrary, will come here and will try to stay here forever and ever. So it really depends on where they come from or what their goals are. Generally speaking let’s say the lifespan of a student will start with English, go into vocational training, and once they’ve done vocational training are sort of splits in two. so one side of the population , or let’s say of the students, who will try to find either sponsorship or skill migration vias or partner visas or say without furthering their studies. The other the other part will try to do something like master’s degree and spend a little more time pursuing a career in furthering their knowledge.

So that’s a good segway too. You’ve come here, you’ve enrolled initially into an English course because you had zero english or you had you know a little bit of English. You’ve gotten into fluent and you can communicate. What are the options and what should you do once that first course finishes?

So once a first course, and let’s say that the first cours is the English course, the best way or the easiest way to be able to stay in Australia and further your career is like I said going in to VET courses. so VET courses are vocational training courses and those courses will be able to give a little bit extra push in what you’ve already studied. So usually are things like business and management or a leadership management courses business marketing and communications so it’s things that will give extra skills to the to the student. Those courses generally are let’s say are more specific and will give a little bit extra to the student but might not necessarily mean that are open PR opportunities.

So do you have to hunt for those yourself to some degree? it’s a little more on you to try and find certain jobs or opportunities with companies in order to try and get PR?

So in order to. If a student’s goal is to get PR again they need to sit down with the migration lawyer. They’ll be able to actually sit down, look at what you’ve done home, what you have been doing here, what your career looks like, and be able to guide you and say “okay look perfect you you’ve been an architect look there are looking for architects in rural Australia you’re up your best option is to go and try to work in Adelaide,” for example, “for 2 years.” And that will be able to give you a little bit more opportunities.

So is that something that you should have in mind when you get here a year early you just realise that it may not be that you just get to decide “I want to go to Melbourne I want to live in Melbourne I want to get PR and citizenship,” you need to be open to moving around Australia, doing different jobs, at least in the short term before those things are likely to happen.

Definitely! Definitely if the goal is to try to migrate permanently, obviously keep an open mind in being able to find your place wherever it’s needed, right. But The best thing that we can do… And students can come here and I’ll be more than happy to give them options in migration lawyers that we work with…

That was my next question – how do I get in touch with these people?

So usually we recommend i-Migration. They are our preferred partner but there are plenty of partners all around Australia that obviously cater to international students. If students go to i-Migration and say that they’ve come through Go Study of they’re learned from coming to the office or from this are from this interview, they’ll be able to get a little discount on the first on the first consultation. But I would definitely, definitely push students that if their goal is to move permanently to Australia they need to speak to a qualified migration agent.

Ah brilliant! And I guess, before we sort of finish up since you’ve given us so much good information here I want to get it out there but, what’s your experience been, and I guess reported experiences from other people in all the different cities in Australia? Are there places that you would recommend going or trying first or not going? How have you found that?

So again there are so many people in the world that it depends a lot on what you’re looking for, right. In terms of choosing your destination. I would definitely see what it is that the is. So for example if it is very important for student to be able to work to sustain themselves I would push them to come to Melbourne. Melbourne, for right now, is the best city to come to be able to actually work and sustain yourself while your studying. There isn’t a lot of competition per say with other international students so all of us students right now are working. If you’re looking to have an experience a little bit more towards what is sold to us from offshore of Beaches and surfing, I’d probably go to Queensland, not to Melbourne.

You going to be about an hour and a half away from any decent beach in Melbourne.

Exactly! So… But if they want to have sort of that experience of… Look, maybe the job is not as important but what I want is having a good surfing experience and having a great Australian, how we see it in TV, Let’s say, I would go up to Queensland. But from all the cities that I’ve been… Obviously I haven’t been in all of the cities of Australia but from my experience all of the students that come to Melbourne usually have the most complete experience in terms of their Australian experience.

So would you even just suggest start here and… You know, because you can move cities, I take it, if they want to move English schools to is that a possibility?

Yes a lot of schools actually have campuses in various cities. I would also probably recommend coming to Melbourne, starting your experience in Melbourne, maybe in summer, and then move towards… In winter move towards other destinations. You can definitely already plan your trip or your stay in Australia like that. A lot of students do. Three months in one city, three months in another. Experience both cities and have a little bit more of an overall experience.

And so are there any places you should stay away from? Not necessarily because they’re bad but because you will have fewer opportunities to get a decent school or to get work or to get accommodation?

Not necessarily. Smaller cities obviously will have less job opportunities. So for example, when we talk about a student that really really needs to be able to find a job quickly to be able to sustain themselves in Australia I’d probably wouldn’t recommend them to go to Gold Coast in winter. Gold Coast in winter, there won’t be a lot of opportunity. There’s not a lot of jobs. Gold Coast in summer? Yes! lots of approachable…

Lots of tourist lots of jobs!

A lot of stuff to do and probably be able to find a job. So there isn’t anything that you would be… That I would steer off. In any city you’d be able to find a decent school and decent opportunity.

I guess a good point to make there, a good anecdote, is my girlfriend came to Australia maybe two and a half years ago and she went straight to Townsville, which is an isolated small town. I think it’s like one or two hundred thousand people in northern Queensland, and she couldn’t find a job for a year, so she had enough money to support herself and she was studying. But yeah, she couldn’t find a decent job for a year. But the good thing was she did all this volunteer work. So for people who can’t find a job and if you’re seeing the job as a way of interacting with native speakers I’m sure that you’ll be able to find a plethora of volunteering opportunities if you want to work with animals or people or events that you will still enable you to practice your English. That was how she did it for the first year she… I think she was during school but then she was also just volunteering all the time and it really took her English up and then after that actually she got all these references from the volunteer places that helped her get a really good job. So there’s opportunities there. Awesome, no worries! Well Lorena from Go Study Australia. Thank you so much. How can people find out more about Go Study Australia and get in contact with you guys?

Yeah you can go to our Website: GoStudy.com.au . You can find us on Facebook, you can add me on my personal Facebook profile. And yeah I mean, from, if you’re offshore, if you’re in Italy France or Spain you can go to our offices there. If you’re here in Australia, in Melbourne Sydney, Perth or Brisbane you can stop by. Or if you need anything you can just contact us online.

Brilliant! And I guess that’s the biggest takeaway, guys; Don’t do this alone. Contact places like Go study Australia and get help. If you have questions… If they can’t help you they’re going to let you know but you’re not going to know unless you ask. So, awesome! Well thank you so much for your time.

No I thank you Pete!

My pleasure! We’ll have to do this again soon and I guess if you guys have any questions that we didn’t cover in today’s interview make sure to put them below wherever you’re watching this or listening to this and hopefully I can get there around here again in the future and ask her those questions so Cheers guys! Cya soon!

Alright, guys, so I hope you enjoy that interview. Remember that if you would like any kind of help or advice with regards to studying English in Australia, finding accommodation, finding a job, make sure that you contact Go Study Australia, guys. Okay?

And yeah, big thanks to Lorena. I’m going to try and get her again on the podcast and interview her about some other things with regards to coming to Australia and studying here. So, if you guys have any kinds of questions that you would like me to ask her specifically next time, make sure that you e-mail me them or comment them on this episode of the podcast. Just get in contact with me and let me know what more I can do to get you information from Go Study Australia or from Lorena.

Anyway, thanks for joining me today, guys. I really appreciate it. And I’ll see you soon. See ya.

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AE 447: 7 Reasons to Study English in Australia

Learn Australian English in this episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I interview Lorena from Go Study Australia and talk about 7 reasons to study English in Australia.

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AE 447: 7 Reasons to Study English in Australia

G’day, guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English.

Today, I am chatting to my friend Lorena from Go Study Australia about why Australia is such a good destination for studying.

Whether it’s English, at university, some kind of course, Australia is a great destination to come.

Let’s have a look.

So if we just imagine me now being someone who’s living in Spain, Italy, France, or South America and I’m really really keen to learn English abroad, Why would you suggest Australia?

so Australia has a lot of good things compared to other English speaking countries. One of the best things is the work opportunities. Other English speaking countries don’t have as many opportunities in terms of jobs.

So for example student visas for U.S. don’t come with working rights . So that’s where you go, you study but you can’t work.

Canada has… I’m not really sure but there’s a limit, so there’s… I think up to the first six months you can’t work and Australia is one of the only countries that lets students actually be able to work part time while they’re doing their studies.

Another great thing about Australia obviously is that because it’s so far away from everything else there’s not a lot of people from your own nationality…

For now, for now right?

And that’s good because when you’re looking for a school or a place to learn English you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded by your own nationality and your own language.

That’s the only way that you can really make forward with language.

Alright, guys. Well I hope enjoyed that little interview with Lorena from Go Study Australia if you are thinking about studying English in Australia or if you are already here doing it.

Those guys are a free service and they will help you with things like finding a job, finding an English school, finding somewhere to live, all of that sort of stuff.

So, check out Go Study Australia.

Before we finish up though, I want to go through several other reasons why Australia is such a bad arse country when it comes to studying as an overseas student.

So, check this out.

We have a strong economy in Australia. Some of you may know this as it is relatively expensive to live here, but the living is pretty good.

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And a strong economy means that there’re lots of jobs and that you’re going to get paid relatively well.

One little anecdote. When I was just a mere waiter whilst studying at university, I was a waiter and I was paid $25 Australian dollars an hour.

So, I think anywhere between $19 and $20 something, $24, $25 dollars an hour is going to be pretty good and you’re likely to find that kind of job if you do a bit of hunting.

Number two. Australia is politically stable.

So, what does this mean? It means that there aren’t going to be a lot of massive changes when it comes to being a foreign citizen and opportunities in Australia.

Australia’s government puts a lot of emphasis on educating foreign students.

This is a massive, massive, massive source of income for the Australian economy.

So, it is unlikely that many things are going to change overnight if you want to study in Australia.

Number three. We have an incredibly high level of education here.

The standards for education are really high. Whether it’s for schools, whether it’s for the teachers, and as well, for the students. You guys are going to get held to a high standard.

So, you can be sure that if you get a degree in Australia, if you finish a language course in Australia, it is going to be top notch.

Number four, and I read this online. I don’t know if it’s 100% true, but Australia has, apparently, an incredibly good telecommunication’s network and system.

So, you’re going to be able to use your phone, you’re going to be able to call overseas.

The prices aren’t too expensive. They’re not too crazy. And obviously, you’re going to get internet pretty much everywhere.

Though caveat, the internet speed somewhat sucks. Just be aware of that ok, guys?

There are also a wide range of courses available whether you’re studying IELTS, or IELTS exam preparation, whether you’re studying for the Cambridge exams and the different ones there, or if you’re wanting to do PTE, you can do all of those courses here at Australian English schools.

Another point worth mentioning here, guys, is that the Australian Government published a study, a little while back, but it’s still relevant, called Studying in Australia, which discussed the views of students, agents, and parents from at least 6 different countries regarding studying in Australia.

In comparison to other popular destinations for international students, quote, Australia’s student visa costs, tuition costs, living expenses and demonstrated minimal funds required to apply for a visa were lower or equal to all other destinations.

Australia also has a wealth of opportunities and experiences. So, if you’re interested in travel, if you’re interested in sight seeing, in art galleries, in culture, in food, all of these things will be at your finger tips when you come and study in Australia.

So, we have a wide range of climates and habitats. Everything from the hot, dry desert to the warm, humid forests of northern Queensland.

We have the Great Barrier Reef if you like tropical destinations at the beach.

We also have amazing picturesque beaches all along the coast of Australia.

You can go surfing, you can go bushwalking, you can hit the forest, the mountains, you can go snowboarding, skiing.

There is a lot when it comes to travel in Australia.

The last thing that I wanted to mention was the fact that Australians are a little bit sport crazy.

So, if you’re into your sports, whether you like playing sports, being a member of a club, training, or you just want to go to a match or a game on the weekends and check it out as a spectator, Australia is going to be the location for you guys to check out.

So, anyway guys, that is it. Those are all of the reasons I think, and I think many others would agree, Australia is one bad arse destination if you would like to study English or if you want to study at university, something that isn’t English, as well.

So, I hope you agree, guys, but I want to handball this back to you guys.

What do you think? Is Australia a really good destination for studying English? And have I forgotten any tips, any pros, any awesome aspects of studying Down Under?

Let me know in a comment below, guys.

And as always, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and the bell icon so that you can stay up to date with all of the latest videos on the Aussie English channel.

Anyway, guys, I wish you a ripper of a day and I’ll chat to you soon. Catch ya!

Alright, guys, I think it’s time to go out and see how this camera goes.

Let’s see if we can get a nice time-lapse and finish this video off. See you in a sec.

Alright, let’s do this, guys. Target acquired.

Alright, I’m done. I’m freezing my butt off. It’s cold out here. Time to head home, get some food.

I’ll see you in the next one. Catch ya, guys!

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AE 446 – Expression: Bag Someone

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression TO BAG SOMEONE like a native speaker.

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AE 446 – Expression: Bag Someone

G’day, you mob! How’s it going? And are welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast. The number one podcast out there for anyone and everyone wanting to learn Australian English. So, if you’re after an Australian accent, if you want to understand our slang, or our accent in general, if you want to use expressions that we use, if you just want to have a better understanding of the Australian dialect of English, this is the podcast for you guys.

So, I hope you have been having an absolutely awesome week. I’ve just driven down from Canberra all the way down to Melbourne to see my folks and see my sister, her partner, and their kid as well, my little niece. So, it was a long drive. I came down yesterday, but I’m definitely glad to be here, and I did that because my girlfriend Kel has gone overseas for a few days. She’s gone to China for work. So, lucky Kel. She’s in Beijing. So, lucky her she’s seeing all the sights and sending me photos and I’m quite jealous that she is having such a good time. But yeah, drove down. It took about seven hours yesterday to get here. So, I think I left early in the morning, maybe about 9:00 o’clock, 9:30, and I got here by about 6 something PM, so a little after 6:00 pm in the evening.

So, it was pretty cruisy. Stopped a few times and got some food, but yeah just sort of enjoyed the drive and enjoyed my time to myself in the car listen to some audiobooks, listen to some podcasts, and just relax in general.

Anyway, so today’s expression is going to be related to the word ‘bag’. Right? So, to bag someone, to bag on someone, to bag someone out.

We’ll get to that soon, but I was sort of sitting there and I’m thinking, “How can I relate ‘bag’ to Australia? How can I connect these two things?”. And I couldn’t think of any movies or any other sort of tid bits, bits of information, facts, or anything. So, I thought instead I would tell you a little story about bags in Canberra that we sort of experienced when we moved there to kick the episode off, to begin the episode. We’ll kick it off with a little anecdote here, guys.

So, you can get plastic bags when you go to shopping centres here in Victoria. You go to shopping centres, you tend to get all your stuff, all your groceries, all the stuff you buy, they’ll chuck it, they’ll put it, in plastic shopping bags, you know? Those disposable one-use plastic shopping bags. And there’s a big argument about how that is bad for the environment, should we do it, should we be selling these bags, or should we be using them, ’cause quite often they’re free. And so, in Victoria you can do this. It’s sort of taken, it’s a given here that you’ll get your groceries in a bag.

Anyway, we moved to Canberra and one of the first things that we noticed was the fact that plastic bags aren’t provided. You can’t get single-use plastic bags in Canberra. They’re illegal. They’ve been outlawed since, I think, the first of November, 2011. So, nearly seven years now. I didn’t know this.

So, we moved there and quite a few times we would take all of our things to the checkout. So, the checkout chick would put all the stuff through and she wouldn’t put it in a bag, and we’d be left there. I remember the first time being like, “Ah… What?”.

And what you have to do in Canberra now is you actually have to pick up what are more durable plastic bags, then take them to the checkout, and then buy them, they’re 15 cents a piece, 15 cents each, and then she puts the stuff in your bag.

So, we had to go through that process. And that’s the same everywhere. You don’t automatically get these single-use shopping bags. So, they have to be, I think, thicker than 35 microns and they have to be durable so that they can be reused. So, now we have to try and remember every time we go to the shops if we don’t want to buy plastic bags, we’ve got to bring our own. We have to provide our own. But yeah, that was interesting and that was something I had to get used to once I moved there.


Anyway guys, I don’t really have many announcements today. I am still working my butt off on the Aussie English Classroom, guys. Remember that and the Patreon page is what helps me create this content. So, if you want to support the podcast you can go to TheAussieEnglishPodcast.com website, click support, you can donate as little as a dollar a month via Patreon. You can also donate a one-off payment via Paypal if that is what you would like to do. And if you would like to learn English even faster and get in-depth episodes, get courses, get quizzes, get extra MP3s, extra videos with these lessons, then sign up to the Aussie English Classroom. That is my secret weapon for you guys who like to study and who want to take your English to the next level faster, guys. So, remember that is just one dollar for the first 30 days. TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com. The link will be in the transcript.

I’m still thinking about when to bring in the paid access to transcripts for the podcast website, guys. I’m probably going to do that in the next week or two. I just have to get everything set up on the website. So, I’ll have to work that out.

Anyway guys, I will let you know when that happens. And I guess, that’s it for announcements. We’ll get into the joke, alright?

Aussie Joke:

So, I got a joke for you guys here today. What do you call a lazy baby kangaroo? What do you call a lazy baby kangaroo? So, a joey. What do you call a lazy baby kangaroo? And the answer? ‘A pouch potato’. ‘A pouch potato’. Okay? I’ll explain this to you if you don’t already understand the pun there, guys, the play on words.

‘A couch potato’ in English, and this is used everywhere, is someone who sits on a couch and is constantly on the couch watching TV, playing PlayStation or Xbox, lounging around, being very lazy. They’re a couch potato, because they’re always on the couch, you know, and they’re like a potato. I don’t know why we use potato, that vegetable, but we use it to say this person is lazy. They’re a couch potato.

Baby kangaroos, obviously, live in the pouch of their mothers. The joeys for the first, I don’t know how many months, maybe three, four, five months of their life, they live inside their mother’s pouch, because they’re marsupials, the mothers have pouches that they raise their young in.

So, the play on words here is between the word ‘couch’ and ‘pouch’, right? So, ‘a couch potato’ is someone lazy and in this case, what do you call a lazy kangaroo, baby kangaroo? ‘A pouch potato’, because they’re lazy and they’re in the pouch.

Alright. So, I hope you get that joke, guys.


Today’s expression is ‘to bag someone’, ‘to bag someone out’, or ‘to bag on someone’. So, there’s a few variations of this expression. And this comes from M L. I don’t know your full name, but M L from YouTube, he came on there and asked me can I please explain the expression ‘to bag someone’, ‘to bag on someone’, ‘bag someone out’. Okay.


So, as usual guys, let’s go through the words in this expression. They tend to be pretty simple today. ‘To bag something’. Let’s start with that.

If you bag something. This can mean several different things. So, you can bag something as in to put something in a bag. So, for instance, in Canberra, I might go into a grocery store, pick up my groceries, the stuff I want to buy, I then pick up a bag that I have to buy at the checkout, and then at the checkout chick, the person that is checking out the food, will bag the food. They’ll put the food in the bag.

‘To bag’ can also mean to succeed at getting something or acquiring something, securing something. So, if, for example, you’re a hunter and you’re trying to kill something or catch something, you know, maybe you’re hunting deer or something like that in Australia or a large kangaroo, a buck kangaroo. If you catch that animal, you’ve bagged it, you’ve caught it.

So, we could use this also though for receiving something or getting something like an award. So, for example, in Australia we have the ARIAs and Aria stands for Annual Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards. So, these are given out to Australian musicians. So, if you went to the ARIAs, you were nominated for three ARIAs, and you bagged them all, it means you succeeded in acquiring them, you got them, you received those three awards, you bagged them.

But ‘to bag’ today means to criticise someone, to tease someone, to insult someone, and this is an Australian and New Zealand informal piece of English. It’s an informal expression that’s used mainly in Australia or in New Zealand.

And so, for example, you might tease someone at school, you’re bagging them. You might be really nasty to the football team that is the opponent of your footy team. You’re bagging them. Okay?

And so, that’s the expression, guys. But there are two different variants, right? You can say ‘to bag someone out’ or ‘to bag on someone’. They mean exactly the same thing. So, if I bag you, I tease you. If I bag you out, I tease you. If I bag on you, I tease you. They all mean the same thing.

And you may hear from time to time, also in Australia, ‘to pay someone out’. ‘To bag someone out’ and ‘to pay someone out’. I’m not sure where these originate from, but they are phrasal verbs that you will hear and they mean to insult, to criticise, or to tease someone.

And this can be playful. So, could be like you’re joking around. It’s not really very nasty, but it can also be that you’re being incredibly harsh or horrible to someone.

One thing I wanted to mention here, guys, when we make a phrasal verb like ‘to bag on someone’, to, you could also say less formally, even more informally, ‘to hang shit on someone’. That’s a very, very informal way of saying ‘to bag someone’, to be teasing someone, to be nasty to someone, and it’s more informal because you’re using the word ‘shit’, okay? ‘To hang shit on someone’.

But I want to point out how we’re using the particle ‘on’ here. So, if you bag on someone, ‘on’ here is being used to show the subject that is receiving the action of the verb, okay? You’re bagging ‘on’ a person. So, it shows that that person is receiving the action of the verb ‘to bag’.

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So, some other examples here. ‘To walk out on someone’. So, ‘to walk out on someone’ is to abandon someone. So, ‘to walk out’, you’re exiting, but if you’re exiting ‘on’ a person, it’s your exiting and the person is the one who is receiving the action of the verb. So, ‘to walk out on someone’, ‘to abandon someone’. She walked out ‘on’ her husband. So, it’s her husband that it happened to.

‘To impact on someone’ is to affect someone. So, what you do impacts on everyone. So, if you’re really horrible, it impacts ‘on’ your entire family. Your family are the ones who receive that action.

And the last example is ‘to look down on someone’ and that is to regard or treat someone as inferior. So, if your boss thinks that you’re inferior to him, he looks down ‘on’ you. You’re the one receiving that action from that verb. He looks down ‘on’ you.

So, that’s why we used ‘to bag on someone’ in that case.

Unfortunately, with regards ‘to pay out’, there’s no real pattern here. It’s just a collocation. It’s just a phrase you’ll have to learn. ‘To bag someone out’, ‘to pay someone out’.

The reason I wanted to sort of break this down for you today, guys, is because this week I’m going to do a discount for the phrasal verb course that I have, The Effortless Phrasal Verb course. So, if you would like to learn to use phrasal verbs effortlessly like a native speaker without having to memorise a heap of lists, this is the course for you.

What I do here, guys, is that I take you systematically through a series of about 16 or so lectures for the different particles. Particles like: on, off, up, down, to, etc.. And for each particle I give you a lecture where I describe the different ways that you can join this particle to verbs, for instance, ‘to bag on’, ‘to bag out’, and I talk about the cognitive linguistics, so what a native speaker is thinking about in their mind when they do this, because native speakers aren’t thinking about, “Okay I need a phrasal verb that means ‘exit'”. They’re thinking about a verb and then a particle, and then joining them together to create a phrasal verb. Okay? So, they’re not memorizing these things by heart. They’re thinking action or the verb, and then they’re thinking and the direction or the movement, the change in position, “Okay, I need this particle to describe that.”.

Anyway, so you’re going to get $21 off the Effortless Phrasal Verb course if you use the coupon code number 21OFF. So, that is 210FF. The link will be in the transcript, guys, and you will get the course for only $89, nearly 20% less than usual, instead of $110.


Click here to save $21!


So, I’ve had a lot of students go through this course now, they’ve had amazing results, guys, and they are absolutely nailing, they’re absolutely dominating phrasal verbs after completing this.

So, get in there, I know that you’re going to enjoy it, and after this, after completing the course, phrasal verbs are going to be much less of an issue for you.

Expression Origin:

Anyway guys, I want to talk about the origin of this expression, and then we’ll go through some examples. We’ll go through a listen and repeat exercise, and then we can finish up for the day.

Alright. So, there was one hypothesis that I found from a discussion online that was the following: Young boys at schools for the last hundred years or so, potentially thousands of years, have been pulling each other’s pants down as a form of humiliation. So, they often do this as like an initiation rite for other kids or it could be like a punishment for undesirable behaviour, or they could do it just to show dominance, and this was definitely the case when I was at school, and we used to refer to this as ‘dacking someone’, ‘to dack someone’, was to sort of sneak up behind them, pull their pants down, and laugh at them, because, you know, they would trip over or they just have their pants down and you can see their underwear. It would be something that was… wasn’t the nicest thing you could ever do to someone, but it definitely happened.

Anyway, it’s obviously a form of bullying. It’s a form of dominance and you’re depriving a victim, the person who’s been dacked, of his pants and you’re stripping him of his dignity and, symbolically, you’re ostracising him as unworthy, right, to associate with other kids.

So, in Britain apparently this is referred to as ‘debagging’ or ‘bagging’ someone, right, and ‘bags’ was a slang term for trousers, for pants. So, it was derived from an earlier expression used in Britain, ‘bum-bags’, because the pants that you wore were seen as like a bag for your bottom, for your arse, for your posterior, for your bum.

So, apparently, this was happening at Oxford. All the undergraduates used to dack each other, or bag each other, apparently, or debag each other, all throughout the 20th century.

So, this practice had obviously become incredibly common after elastic-waisted pants were being used all the time instead of suspenders, right? So, elastic-waisted pants or pants with a belt are the ones that are sort of supported by something around your waist, and pants that use suspenders are where you have the leather or elastic that goes over your shoulders and clips onto your pants to hold them up, and for obvious reasons, you can’t really dack someone who’s using suspenders, because, you know, the pants will go straight back up. You can’t pull them down.

So, if you bagged someone, back in the day, this was a form of humiliation or bullying, because you’d pull their pants down to embarrass them. But since this time, it’s obviously morphed, it’s transformed, it’s evolved, into meaning to tease someone or to insult or criticise someone. So, now we can say, ‘to bag someone’, ‘to bag on someone’, or ‘to bag someone out’, and we can say ‘to pay someone out’, which I think, I would hypothesise, I would assume, ‘to pay someone out’ is something that has come from ‘to bag someone out’, and that is an incredibly common phrase, ‘to pay someone out’, that you will hear Australian kids use. This is the kind of thing I used at high school and I would still use with people my age when you are teasing someone or insulting someone. You’re bagging them out, you’re paying them out, you’re teasing them.


Alright, so let’s go through some examples, guys.


Example number one. You’re a kid at school. You’re in the playground. You’re playing cricket or footy on the oval and one kid that you know at school is hopeless. He can’t play ball games. So, he’s absolutely horrible when he plays cricket. He’s always getting bowled out for a duck, which means as soon as it’s his turn to bat, to try and hit the ball, he gets bowled out, the ball hits the wickets, and he doesn’t score a run. He gets bowled out for a duck. Or if he’s playing footy, maybe any time he gets the ball he drops it or he kicks it out of bounds on the full instead of scoring a point or a goal in the game. So, all the other kids on his team are going to be like, “This kid’s useless! He sucks! He can’t play for shit!”. That’s a very informal way of saying that you can’t do something at all, you ‘can’t do that thing for shit’. So, they might bag him. They might bag on him. They might bag him out. They might pay him out. And as a throwback to previous episodes, if their words pack a bit of a punch, he might get really upset, but years later, after a long time, if kids apologise to him for this, it’s probably going to be water under the bridge. So, those were the last two episodes that we did on the expressions, ‘to pack a bit of a punch’ and ‘water under the bridge’.


Alright, so example number two. Now you’re a teenager. You’re a young adult. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a lot better at ball games. But imagine now we’re talking about fashion and fashion trends, and this seems to be a pattern everywhere where young kids end up getting different styles of haircuts wearing different kinds of clothes that make them unique. Imagine that you’ve come home one day you’ve got a new haircut or maybe you’ve bought a different jacket or jumper, some piece of clothing that looks really different, your parents might be like, “What on earth are you wearing? You look like a weirdo. You look incredibly strange with that haircut?” you know, “Get a proper haircut! Did the store run out of good clothing or something? What’s wrong with you?”. So, if your parents do that, if your folks do that, they’re bagging you, they’re bagging on you, they’re bagging you out, they’re paying you out.


Example number three. Alright, for the last example here imagine you’re a musician. You’ve grown up playing the piano or playing violin or playing guitar and you love classical music. Now this is relatively uncommon among kids. Most kids tend to like contemporary music instead of classical music by composers like Mozart or Beethoven or Brahms. So, despite this, you’re often playing this music. You’re practicing it. Maybe you play it yourself on the violin, piano, or guitar, or maybe you listen to it on record or on CD. So, when you do this, your friends might come over and, you know, they’re not used to classical music so they might tease you, they might make fun of you, and they might say things like, “What’s with the old music, grandpa? or “What happened? Did iTunes stop selling good music?”. If they’re doing this, they’re bagging, they’re paying you out, they’re bagging you out, they’re bagging on you.

So, hopefully by now, guys, you understand the expression ‘to bag someone’ or the different variations ‘to bag on someone’, ‘to bag someone out’ or ‘to pay someone out’. They all effectively mean to tease someone, to insult someone, to criticise someone. And it can be playful, you know, it can be kind of friendly teasing, or it can be incredibly harsh.

So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys, and then we’ll finish up. So, listen and repeat after me, guys. This is a chance for you to practice your pronunciation. Let’s go.

Listen & Repeat:


To bag

To bag someone

To bag on someone.

To bag on someone

To bag someone out.

To bag someone

To bag on someone

To bag someone out.

I’m always bagging her out

You’re always bagging her out

He is always bagging her out

She’s always bagging her out

We’re always bagging her out

They’re always bagging her out

It’s always bagging her out


Good job, guys. Good job. Remember, in The Aussie English Classroom today’s expression episode will come as a course. You will receive a listening comprehension quiz, a vocab list, and then several videos that will cover things like this pronunciation exercise in depth so you’ll better understand my pronunciation as an Australian, the connected speech, the intonation, everything like that, and then other videos going over common expressions that are in this episode and common or more complicated vocab so the interesting vocab, I pull out a few words, and I love making 5 or 10 minute video describing how I would use those.

So, if you’re the kind of person who likes watching videos, likes hearing examples, enjoys the way that I tell stories in order to explain how to use English, these videos will really help you. So, make sure that you sign up to the Aussie English Classroom at TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com, link’s in the transcript and give it a go. Remember, it’s a buck, it’s a dollar for your first month.

Anyway, I have one little story that I wanted to tell you guys about when I was at high school, ’cause I used to get bagged out, I used to get paid out all the time. So, when I was in high school, right, we had to do sports. It was compulsory that we played a sport every season, normally winter and summer seasons, for our school.

So, I used to do two sports. I used to do soccer and I used to do tennis, and obviously, there were other sports at the school, you know, sports like swimming or footy or cricket, but I preferred soccer and tennis, and I also did fencing, okay? Fencing is where you sword fight except it’s more…, nowadays, it’s, as a sport, it’s more that you have a wire that you hit each other with or you try and press the button on the end of a wire in order to score points.

So, I used to get paid out or I used to get bagged out for doing soccer by all the boys who did footy, because footy was seen as much more masculine, much more manly. So, soccer kids used to get paid out. They used to get banged. And everyone used to bag me for doing fencing, because this was seen as, I guess, very feminine. It wasn’t very manly. It wasn’t very physical in the sense that you would come into contact with other kids. Instead you were sort of pressing a button on the end of a wire by touching another kid.

So, those were the kinds of things I used to get paid out for or bagged for when I was at high school. And I would love to know, guys, make sure that you comment below and let me know, what did you get bagged for when you were a kid at high school? We always have funny stories, okay. So, I would love to hear from you. Use your English and tell me, what were you bagged out for?

Anyway, guys, that is long enough for today. I hope you have an amazing week. Don’t forget to check out the Effortless Phrasal Verb course, and remember use the coupon code 21OFF to get that for just $89 instead of $110. The link will be in the transcript as well.

I’ll see you guys next week. Have a good one.

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AE 445 – Interview: How to Stop Using Subtitles to Watch Movies & TV Shows with Cara Leopold

Learn Australian English in this interview episode of the Aussie English podcast where I chat to my mate Cara Leopold from Leo-Listening.com about how to stop using subtitles to watch movies & TV shows.

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AE 445 – Interview: How to Stop Using Subtitles with Cara Leopold

What’s going on, guys? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today I have a great interview episode for you with Cara from Leo-Listening.com.

In today’s episode, I think it’s going to be amazing for you guys, because you’re going to learn how to stop using subtitles. So, if you rely too heavily on subtitles at the moment, you’re going to learn how you can stop relying on subtitles to understand TV shows and movies.

Let’s get into it!


So how did you end up with Leo-Listening.com? Did that come out of learning French and moving to France or was that a side project, something like that?

Yeah, good question. It kind of… Well, I mean… So like I said, you know, since I’ve moved here, because I’ve been here like 10 years almost 11 years. So I…


Yeah, it’s a long time! so I’ve mostly been teaching English in that time. I’ve done some other things and then went back to university myself and stuff, as well. But, like, that was my main thing. And then I started getting interested in the idea of teaching online. About as far back as 2012, actually, was when I first thought I could do that and that was actually during a time where I was working in Switzerland. Because where I live is really near the Swiss border. So, yeah. So we’re really close to them. And yeah… And then I was sort of playing around with that idea and it didn’t really take off or anything. And then I got serious about it in 2015 and actually quit a job, that was a non-teaching job, that I had had for a bit, and I went back to teaching and I was starting to teach online, and just kind of figure that out. So at the time I was like “Well, people do Skype lessons…”


A friend sent me a client saying, you know, “This lady has wanted to work with me for three years, but it’s just now worked out,” you know, “do you want to work with her?” And she was okay with doing that on Skype. So that’s how I kind got into the whole… The whole thing and then… Yeah, working with her we kind of discovered that what was really bothering her, to do with English, was not being able to understand people when she was going to conferences, because she’s a doctor, she’s a dermatologist. So the issue… The issue wasn’t like… Obviously if she goes to a conference and she’s sitting in the sessions and watching presentations to do with, you know, skin problems… Obviously she understands that. You’ve got the slides. It’s the technical terminology. A lot of the words are similar to French, like, it’s fine. But the issue she was having was more, like, you get to the breaks. It’s a coffee break, it’s social. People are standing around talking and you’ve got native speakers in the mix and, like, you just can’t really… After a while you kind of, like, you can’t really follow what they’re talking about what’s going on.

Yeah, you get that threshold, right? As soon as there’s, like, two, three, four people you’re just like, “ehhhhh!” Like, the level of… The advanced level here required to follow everything is just too high.

So, yeah! so we started exploring, kind of like, “Okay, what can we do about this?” So that, you know, you can go to these conferences and sort of chat to people and, you know, not… Not be able to participate in the conversation. Not because you can’t speak, not because you can’t get by, but because you can’t actually understand what they’re saying to you. So that’s where it started , kind of like, playing around with this idea focusing on listening for that for that purpose in particular.

It is one that is almost, like, the most crucial part of any language, right? Like, you would imagine when you… Most people would say speaking. And it’s like… Well, you can’t really speak unless you can sort of respond to these things by understanding what’s happening. I mean you can… You can instigate it but whatever answer you get back, if it’s not just a, you know, an order that you’re giving someone, if you can’t decipher it.

And I think a lot people run into the problem when, like, they’re learning a new language and they’re like “Okay, I’m going to memorize these phrases so that when I get to the hotel I can say that I want or I booked a room.” And the thing is, like, that’s very one sided, because then the person is going to respond and you’re not going to…


You know… even if you seen… This is the big thing, because even if you seen the words that they’re going they say in a book or something, or in a dialogue in a textbook… Okay, that’s nice, but that’s very theoretical. And the problem is when somebody says it back to you, when they’re speaking in a normal way, that’s when you’re not going to understand words that you already know and that you’ve already seen and you’ve maybe even already heard it, but in a very carefully spoken way. And this is the big thing that I tried to get across, is that it’s often the words that you do know that’re causing you the most problems.

Exactly, right? They disappear. You’ve got connected speech. You’ve got all sorts of different accents, and people rearrange things. So… It is funny, and I guess it’s no more truer for English because it’s so… Just not phonetic, as a language, right? So you can learn these words that you read, but if you haven’t heard them you’ve got no… They could sound completely different. There could be syllables left out. The emphasis is in different places, the schwas in there… Like it’s…

It’s a bit of a mess isn’t it? Because like… I mean if I was learning… If I were learning a new language now, what I’d probably do is really focus on listening early on and pronunciation, and making sure that I know the rules… Kind of how the spelling and the sounds correspond. But it’s true that in a language like English, yeah… I mean there are certain spelling and sound correspondences. There are.

That’s the worst thing, I think, for English, is that it makes sense. Like 60%, 70% of the time… So just enough for you to always think it makes sense, but then there are rules, against rules, against rules, and you end up screwed.

Pretty much. So yeah… That’s… And, I mean Leo is in the name of the website because I am actually always wanted… So my full name, without my middle names… But my name is Cara Leopold. So Leopold is my name. And I mean it’s not like… Some people think it’s my partner’s name but it’s not. We’re not married. He has a very French name that’s quite difficult to pronounce.

I just thought it was your star sign!

You thought it was what?

Your star sign!

My Star sign? Oh right – Leo! No mine isn’t… Yeah that would be good wouldn’t it? Astrological English. No it’s not my star sign! So yeah, I wanted to use my surname in, like, the name of my website. I just… I was looking for a way to do that. Like, LeoLanguages or Leo… You know, because obviously most English teachers, they put English somewhere. And I haven’t done that. Maybe that’s not so smart, but oh well… I like the way it sounds.

It’s working right?

Yeah exactly. And it… It quite stands out, is quite unusual as a name. Yeah, so that’s why I’ve been talking about for the last couple of years. And last year I really got more into… Yeah, the whole subtitle piece because I… You know, I really am a big TV series fan and film fan and, you know, I’ve had sort of disappointing experiences in the past sort of like watching films in foreign languages and being like… You know, I don’t really know what’s going on or… Either they were a bad choice for me. Because like, at one point I was learning Portuguese, and I had this film, City of God. And you know… I know like… I’m trying to watch this, and even when I put the subtitles on, it’s like, “What the hell?”, and it’s like…

So for those of you listening who don’t know, this is like full of slang, they’re in favelas, it’s, like, very informal. Even I, when I watched that, I was just like… Even with subtitles on, I need to translate like, every sentence. I have no idea what’s going on.

Yeah. You know, it’s like “Why are you doing this to yourself? you’re a beginner. Go find something you know easier that’s, designed… And then worry about films, you know, later on.” And even in Spanish, as well. At one point I had kind of like a B1 level in Spanish, but, you know, films are still a bit… A bit tricky, you know. And they’re probably better watched, in some cases, with subtitles, or with kind of… Maybe subtitles for some scenes and no subtitles for other scenes, that kind of thing. Because you’re still not 100 percent there with like, you know, even just your knowledge of grammar and stuff like that. Sometimes you just don’t have enough structures and things to really be able to understand. But there does come a point where you have to like, kind of, take the training wheels off your bike up, you know.

To be let go.

And you have to be like, “Okay, so what is it that happens in Spanish, or any other language? When people talk quickly, when they join words together, when, you know, what’s going on.” Because it’s not just… After a while it’s not just about the words, because I’ve had people say to me “Cara, I switched the subtitles on with what I’m watching and I know the words, but I cannot catch them if I don’t,” you know and there…

That’s a big thing too, right though? Where you get used to just… You don’t have to focus so intently on understanding every single word. You get the message, right? Like, that with me in French, where when I first started and was, you know, B1/B2 I was always a fixator. “Damn! I didn’t hear every single word he was saying,” and then it was more… I kept asking myself, “But did you understand what he was saying?” And it’s like, “Yes, you can follow it, you know it,” and it’s, like, that’s the first thing, as you say letting go and being like, “I don’t need to understand every single word that’s said and be able to transcribe it word for word as they’re speaking. I just need to understand what they’re talking about.”

Yeah. And I think that works for a while, but then like as you get even more and more advanced, and you still kind of noticing some things you can’t hear or can’t understand, that’s where you really have to dig into what’s going on. “Why is it that I can’t understand it? What is it about the way it’s pronounced that I’m not catching words that I know, or expressions I know.”.

So what is Leo-Listening, and how will it help people learn through subtitles? How have you set the system up?

Well it’s… What I’m sort of doing is… With the people I’m working with, who are usually quite advanced and they have a specific TV series that they wanted to understand. You know, we work on just helping them to get rid of the subtitles for that series. Because that’s what they want to be able to do. They want to be able to watch it… As far as possible without the subtitles, because they actually enjoy the whole experience of the series, and all the visual elements like, you know, like we talked about Game of Thrones earlier. And you know, that’s not a series when you want to be, kind of, poring over the subtitles. You want to be like watching the action. So yeah, that’s kind of how we work. And we also going to work on like, you know, giving up any sort of guilt or shame or whatever around the subtitles, because I do work with people who are very competent in English and the, kind of, needing of subtitles is kind of making them doubt their ability…

It feels like riding a bike with training wheels. Everyone…

Exactly! And, you know and some people are frustrated because they’re like, “Well I understand other stuff, I understand you, I understand…” Even like, podcast things like this, like, that’s okay but, you know, films and TV series; they’re still really, really hard and I’m exploring the reasons why I think they are even harder than other forms of spoken English.

Why do you think that is? what have you found so far?

Yeah well there’s like… There’s different reasons. What I think is you can already separate films and TV shows. So, I would always say, like, “Go find a TV series that you want to watch and you want to follow every week.”


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You know. Or even binge watch, you know, watch back to back, because that is going to make your life so much easier, because you’re going to know what’s going on, You have the context. I think this is really important. I don’t like the over-emphasise it but it is still important to have a clear context. And, you know, when you’re seeing the same characters every week, when you’re watching a story develop, like, you are going to know what’s going on. Like, even if there’s some stuff you’re missing. And you know you’re not catching it… Like you’ll feel a bit more reassured. You’ll know what’s going on. It’s less confusing. you even hear the same expressions week-in, week-out, you know, like, a lot of comedy series… The characters, they have their catchphrase that they always use or, you know… So everything is just a bit more grounded in a clear context and you’re more likely to know what’s going on. You know, what happened last week, you know how it connects to what you’re seeing now. Like, everything’s just going to be a bit clearer in the series. And then the thing is when you watch a film… Like, I used the example of sort of getting chucked out of a helicopter in the middle of nowhere, you know. Sometimes they have these programs, like with a guy called Bear Grylls in the U.K. He just got chucked out of a helicopter and he has to find his way back to civilization, right? And he’s in the middle of nowhere. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know your next move. And it’s a bit like that when you start watching a film, and you know, I say this even for, you know, French films, which I can understand, or obviously films in English; Sometimes in the first 10 minutes of a film I really do not know what’s happening .  Like, it’s so confusing. You don’t know who these characters are. you don’t know who that… You know, even if you’ve kind of read the back of the DVD or maybe you’ve seen the trailer, you have a rough idea of what it’s about. But, yeah, with films they definitely don’t make it easy. They don’t always explain really ,  really clearly, you know, “This is the hero. This is this is what it’s about.” And I mean that’s like… That’s an artistic thing, you know. They don’t want to make it obvious, because then it would be boring. So I think, yeah, that’s an issue in a lot of films. Like, unless you’re watching like a sequel to a film. You already know… The characters are the same or whatever.

But I guess that emphasizes the fact that you should have watched it previously and sort of, I guess, it’s a luxury for us where we can watch it in English, and then potentially get dubbed in French. But I think for me, at least, when I was learning French and Portuguese I loved reading Harry Potter, because I already knew the story. So it wasn’t a matter of working out who’s this, what’s this, and how does it fit in. It was just “Now I know the story. I can just do it in French I can do it in Portuguese.” So would you recommend that they watch it with subtitles in their own language, or with dubs in their own language first to get an idea and repeat the process?

Yeah I think that’s really really helpful. So it all depends kind of where you’re at in you’re learning. So if you’re more, kind of, into media… It depends how you feel, really. You could watch it dubbed. If you’re not that confident let’s say, and you know that there’s still some bits of English that’re shaky but you’re starting to get into the whole connected speech thing and trying to understand that. You might want to watch it dubbed into your language first, and then come back to me in English with or without the subtitles. And there’s always… There’s always options. There’s options every single step so it’s not like it’s either all subtitles or no subtitles. Like, it’s never… It’s never about that, it’s about you know what helps you. So it might even help you to watch the whole thing through with the subtitles in English. I’m not a big fan of the subtitles in your language because I think that’s too… It’s too confusing, you know, your reading in your language but you’re sort of processing the audio in English at the same time.

You need it you need the whole thing in one sort of language or the other, right?

One language, yeah. And, you know… and then, you know, that I’ll give you the time to like… You’ll get the chance to say “Okay, what’s going on here? Are there genuinely expressions that I don’t know that are new?” That’s one thing. Or are you saying to yourself “That’s interesting. I know that word and it sounds a bit different to what I expect. It’s good to have the supplies to us to make the link sometimes.” So you can watch it like that, and then you could even come back a third time and, you know, take the subtitles off and see what you remember ,  or what you’ve forgotten or what is still hard to catch because this is the worst thing for me… Is when students, you know, even when I go through a clip with them, and I explain everything and they’re… They’ve got the subtitles ,  or the transcript, and they’re like “I still can’t hear that,” like some stuff… It just… It’s going to come, but it doesn’t always come straight away. Even…

So, is the key here though, no matter what you’re watching, repetition? you can’t just go one… “I watched it once and then I got bored, and then I go to the next thing.”

I think it’s repetition and it’s also, like, just doing some work. Because it’s very, very tempting with so many films and shows, and the whole idea of passive listening… That you’re just going to, like…

Absorb it and use it?

Absorb it . .. It’s just, like, going to magically… Like, we all… We all want the magic solution to language learning. We all think that if we just did this it would work. If I just moved to the country. I mean, I did that and I realise now I probably didn’t have to. I mean, I don’t regret it! I’m very happy with my choice because I like living here, but at the same time… With other languages now I’m like “I can’t really be bothered to improve my Spanish because I’d have to move to Spain if I really want to get really good.” And that’s just an excuse. The reality is that I’m not actually that motivated to do it. But if I wanted to have… Maybe not the level I’ve got in French, but certainly a better level in Spanish, there are ways I can do it without having to go to Spain.

Well, that’s it. I did that with French. I mean my French is a bit rusty now, but I got to a very high level from just at home. I’d been there once when I was 16, I hadn’t studied for 10 years, picked it up again, and just through studying… Like, I was watching TV series that I liked but actually writing down words, expressions that I didn’t know, learning them, not just doing the passive thing, and that’s how I really took off. I felt, because I was putting in the time, you know, two, three, four hours a day and it’s…


I think that… That kind of stuff, you could do that anywhere in the world with the Internet now, and it can totally dominate people who are immersed in that culture, but not exposing them to the equivalent amount of time with native speakers. there are plenty of people who don’t make the most of these opportunities when they are even in country, right? So…

Oh yeah, like even for me it was difficult at first because, you know, I was teaching English. All my colleagues were English teachers, and even if they were French their English was, like, way better than my and French. Although my French was quite good, because I could pretty much say what I wanted to say, it’s just that it wasn’t very idiomatic and there were still some lingering mistakes…

There is always the path of least resistance, right? Even if they don’t realize they’ll just go “Ahh, this is the one that we can both communicate in easier.”.

Exactly. So like, you know, and that happens to a lot of people when they go abroad they end up in that, kind of, expat community. Because it is hard to immerse yourself in local culture. So yeah. So I mean there’s absolutely no reason, and I think your example of living in Australia where you’re so just geographically isolated… Like, you can’t just… The nearest French speaking country to you. ..

The fortunate thing for me is that you’d have places like…

Haiti! French Polynesia!

Exactly, you’d have, like Vanuatu or whatever, but you’d never meet people from there. But the good thing, I guess, was I was living in Melbourne and knew a lot of French people and there were language meet ups, so I could… So long as I actively pushed myself I could use it with native speakers but if I sat on my arse every day it wouldn’t happen. Just the same as if I was in the country sitting on my butt or surrounded by English speakers. It just it doesn’t happen on its own I guess is the key point.

No it doesn’t happen on its own and it’s tempting to sort of be like “Well I’ll just immerse myself” and it it’s like . .. Even when you were kids, you know, you got three years of just full on contact with your parents or caregivers, you know, and they are communicating with you all the time, simplifying the message like… You know, it’s designed so that you learn the language, you know, no matter what we say there’s probably a bit of neural wiring or priming for language that helps us but ultimately you get a lot of help when you’re a little kid and you’re really encouraged to speak and if you don’t speak you don’t get the things you want. So you’ve got that motivation.

But the funny thing is to with them, right, they’re during passive listening for two years before they start speaking. And it’s not like they just suddenly start speaking fluently, they start speaking one word at a time.

Even little babies they make… Before they make the first word they did this thing called . .. What’s it called? “Reduplicated babbling,” or something or…

When they’re working their mouth out?

“…Bababababa, dadadadadada”. They’re not saying “Dada”, they are just like they’re just playing around with different sounds and there is a period, apparently, when you’re a baby where you’re like playing around with… You can make all the sounds in the world, and then you narrowing down to the range of sounds you need for the language that you hear, and I think it’s amazing! When you’re a baby you’re a linguistic genius, like you could pronounce anything!

It’s incredibly hard work afterwards. So what would you say if I came to you and I said “Okay, I’m moving to Australia, or I’ve just moved to Australia. What do you suggest I do if I’m intermediate to advanced level in English and I want to use TV series or movies with subtitles or, you know, ultimately get rid of the subtitles.”. What advice would you have for them for how to go about doing that, and obviously how Leo-Listening can help them do that?

Okay so I always start off with like picking sort of one series you want to follow.  Because kind of going around with the logic of, like “Well I want to watch all these series,” or like, “One of these series is going to be easier than all the others.” And ultimately like they’re all going to have their difficulties if they are normal TV series designed for native speakers of the language they’re going to have some difficulty somewhere. You know what I mean? Like… So just pick one that you really want to watch and that you’re really interested in and that will motivate you to watch it. And then I think after it kind of depends on you – how you want to use it. Because you can use the series in different ways because you could say “I am going to switch the subtitles on for this one but I’m going to use it to kind of mine it for new language,”


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“So I’m going to write… I’m going to write down new expressions or I’m going… going to practice pronouncing, so them I’m going to replay sections and try and kind of copy the way people are speaking. And it’s really good when you have that visual element as well because you’ve got, you know, you can watch the lip movements and gestures. Then if you’re working more on the listening piece what I prefer people to do is, you know, kind of watch without subtitles initially, try and get what’s going on. Kind of self evaluate as well to say, you know, “How much can I catch?” Because for me kind of the magic number is if you feel that you’re getting about 80 percent of what you hear without the subtitles for me that’s a sign that you are good to go. You can keep them off. The other 20 percent… It’s going to be unknown expressions it’s going to be cultural things that you just don’t know. Either you don’t worry about them or if it really bothers you go and ask someone about them and then a bit of . .. Did I mention unknown vocabulary? Yeah that would be yeah… The rest is going to be unknown or a really weird pronunciation of something… Things that aren’t important and then once you’ve got 80 percent you can just use all the visual element s  to give you the remaining 20 percent.

And so how do you turn it up and start, like, if you do get to that point where it’s 80 percent or more, how do you recommend getting to the next level? Should you go out and actively look for things that are harder or just keep… Find a new series – repeat the process.

I would… Yeah, I would start repeating the process. You could also do… I mean after . .. Once you’re at that level then you can really start using the series to kind of enrich your English. So at that point you might want to switch on the subtitles again because you’re like “Ooh, that sounds like a new expression. I want to learn how to use that. I’m going to take that and I’m going to test using it in the real world to try and figure out what it means from context.” And I interviewed another teacher a couple of… a couple of years ago… No, a couple of weeks ago I interviewed Tricia from Vagabond English, who is big on reading in English and then also journaling so she was talking about how to do that for TV series and her idea was you know you could just take an expression and then just decide I’m going to journal a little story with this expression or I’m going to you know just practice writing something or I’m going to take what happened in this scene in the series and I’m going to predict what’s going to come next or I’m going to write just something basic…

That pairs really well right? With the listening especially because your doing the passive thing and then you’re doing the active thing creating with this stuff that you’ve just learnt.

But there’s loads of other ideas as well for creation.Like, again last year I interviewed Anne Marie from Speak Confident English and we were talking about this idea of like listening to a podcast and listening to it with a friend. So like, you kind of both go off and listen to it and then you meet up and you have a chat about it. And you could so do that with TV series and it’s what happens in the real world if you go on Facebook. I’m in various groups for different TV series. So the fans are in the group that are discussing the series. They are discussing the actors, what they’re up to you know. So there is another example of how you can take what you’re doing on your own and what could end up being a bit passive if you’re not careful and making it something really active where you then use… You know, the language that you’ve… And where you can also ask questions you know. You know I’d be happy to help somebody in a film or TV series group like you know tell me what this means or I didn’t really understand what is going on. There’s so much potential for that kind of like all over the Internet because there’s fans of series discussing things all day long like you know especially for a series like Game of Thrones where everybody’s like what’s going to happen. There’s so much potential there for, like, doing creative writing, discussing meeting people who are fans, like, there’s just so much potential.

And so what length of time does this process usually take from them going from, I guess, having ah… doing okay they can follow it as long as the subtitles are on there. How long does it take for them to sort of go training wheels free and remove the subtitles usually.

Well with the clients I’ve worked with we we get going. The idea is we do it in four weeks. But I’ve had people I’ve worked with, I had one person who after a week she was like “do you know what? Saturday Night I watched series without the subtitles and I felt good. I didn’t get everything but now I realise that I can use actors lip movements and other elements.” And you know it’s fine but again people… It comes back to people maybe being too hard on themselves or expecting too much of themselves. Obviously we all want to go for it like continual improvement. But listening takes a long time to fit… Doing proactive things and not just kind of passively.

Sorry, I lost you there. what’d you say?

I’m trying to figure out is I think that it’s just there is that . .. Yeah i was saying that with listening, you know, obviously you do have to do practical, and it does take time to figure out but at the same time… For some people there’s just the confidence piece that’s missing.

They just need a little push to let go and give it a go.

Sometimes it is just a matter of they just need to be told or taught to let go and just try it and then all of a sudden they’re like “Oh I can do this. It’s not that bad.”

It’s not that bad and you know I know I’m getting them to do practical things like try to pronounce things like the character said them because that’s going to reinforce your listening. Even if you’re not going to say that in real life and then that gets your ear training. But then there’s also just the confidence piece I think as well as big… Is a big one. So… So yeah, you can go quite quickly I have sort of surprised myself… But sometimes we also have to accept that like I was working with someone else on True Detective where you’ve got Matthew McConnell he is one of the actors. So yeah, amazing actor but he is Texan I think so already that’s kind of a difficult accent from the U.S., because it’s not a standard one and he’s just somebody who doesn’t articulate very clearly and his character…

He’s mumbling!

And so in True Detective I was just like you know if you want to put the subtitles on for his scenes like I’m not going to blame you nobody’s going to… There’s no judgment here because he’s really hard to understand. Like, there just some there are some situations where, like, it’s really not your fault.

I think natives have that right? I remember watching Billy Connolly, the comedian from Scotland, and having to ask my dad or watch with subtitles because I didn’t understand his accent and I was a native speaker who was in my early 20s.

It’s not always your fault that it’s a big thing of what I’m trying to help people with .  You know, you have to judge, you know, you have to kind of judge for yourself where you’re at. You know if you can only catch 50 percent of something there’s probably a lot more going on than just… It’s a mixture of listening problems ,  just not knowing enough English, and you know other things going on. That can obviously be fixed but you have to kind of figure out where you are and most people never stopped to take the time to actually assess what do they know what they don’t know they just kind of listen and hope that it will fall into place one day.

Exactly, you’re doing it blind, right? But that’s the long way.

That’s it, and, you know, a lot of learning is to do with feedback and reflection ,  you know? Feedback, reflection. You know that’s how you progress but if you’re not getting either of those… Well it kind of just nonsense.

Just one quick anecdote before we finish up. This happened with me doing jujitsu, right, so jujitsu is this martial art where it’s very complicated. You’re effectively wrestling in these submission holds and you would tend to have two kinds of people that would show up to class. They’d be the kind of person who would just wing it and he didn’t give a shit about anyone else, what they thought. He didn’t ask why did you get me. Why did you submit me what did I do wrong. He would just show it… Show up all the time, every day. He never asked for feedback. He never asked what am I doing. Never looked for his mistakes and then there would be the other guy who would come in and every time he was caught he got submitted. He some sort of mistake obviously happened. He asked. He adjusted and he fixed it and he sky rocketed with with his skill. And so I think that’s the kind of thing with English; a lot of people just go Whoa I just need exposure. So I’d just go all the time and I use it all the time. But it’s if you’re not trying to actively improve your errors and fix the bits that you’re weakest at, there needs to be that active process involved. Otherwise it’s a lot longer to get to the top right.

Yeah exactly. Even though you are… You’re on the right track and you’re motivated to immerse yourself. Yeah you do need to take a step back as well. Yeah have to think about it. So we learn.

So where can people get a hold of you?

So they come to the website. The website address is a bit annoying because it’s “leo-listening.com“. I mean if you…

It’ll be linked in the transcript guys and on the websites so you’ll be able to find it at or below in the description if this is on YouTube. So

Exactly, if this is a video just go under the video. I have my website and then I am on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest as well, for people who like visual things. So yeah those are the main… Those are the main places where people can find me.

Brilliant well get on it guys, if you like watching TV series and you want to get subtitled free, go and harass Cara at leo-listening.com for some tuition and within four weeks hopefully you’ll be seeing some really good results. So thank you so much Cara, for coming on the podcast today. It was lovely.

Thanks Pete, bye.

See you guys.


Alright, guys, I hope you enjoyed that interview. Remember, if you would like to see the first part of this video make sure that you click the card up here. Go and check it out where she talks about French culture, learning French, and moving to France.

Also, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button and the bell icon if you would like to stay up to date with all the new episodes coming out on this channel every week.

Guys, thank you so much for sticking around and I’ll see you in the next one!

Catch ya!

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AE 444 – Vlog: Australia’s Biggest Pumpkin | Collector Pumpkin Festival

Learn Australian English in this vlog episode of Aussie English where I head to the Collector Pumpkin Festival and experience some Australian culture and food, as well as get to check out Australia’s biggest pumpkin!

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AE 444 – Vlog: Australia’s Biggest Pumpkin

Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back…

What’s up, guys? Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today is going to be a…. Today is going to be a really good episode. The glasses just went under my seat and I’ll have to find them later. We have stocked up on stuff. So, we got some drinks here. What else have we got Kel? We got some… We got nuts and fruit, and nuts and fresh, healthy snacks for the road. So, we are about to hit the road and where are we going, Kel? We’re going a pumpkin festival. Pumpkins! Alright, let’s go.

Alright, so food and drink in hands, we hit the road. It was about 40 minutes or so along the highway up north until we got to Collector, and then we were faced with this.

So, initially I was like, “Okay, what’s going on? Is the police checking people or something before they get there? But no, it was just that the road was blocked like crazy. People were parking on the sides of the roads here and then walking in, and initially, I was thinking, “Okay maybe we can do that, you know? Maybe we’ll just park wherever we can find a park and walk in.”. But I thought, “I’ll stay in the car, we’ll keep driving and see what happens.”. My God! We were in the car for about 40 minutes driving along a road that was probably a kilometre long. I shit you guys not. It took forever. It was crazy.

Alright, guys, so we are here in collector and Jesus Christ. What is this? This is crazy. So crazy, guys.

Jesus! We’re finally here you, guys. What an ordeal. I think we spent more time on the road driving about 500 metres than we did getting leave from Canberra to here. So, here we are. Let’s go see what it’s about.

So, it was pretty cute. There are loads of people, already leaving though. It was about lunchtime and there was a heap of people leaving. I thought, “Oh, it’ll be slow. There won’t be that many people”, but there was still a shit ton of people. So, here you can see the the gates. We had to pay about 10 bucks a person, I think, 10 bucks a head to get in. We could obviously pay with cash on the left side and if EFTPOS on the right side. So, that is using your, I guess, just using your bank card, right? So, you use the EFTPOS machine, which is that little machine they used to do the transaction. And this chick was having a bit of trouble with the machine as we went through. And something interesting you might not know about, in Australia we have Pay Pass, we call it, where you can just touch the card on to the machine and it senses the microchip in the card and the transaction goes through. So, if it’s an order or some kind of payment under 100 dollars, you can do that and you don’t have to enter any pin or anything like that.

So, we got in it and man it was hot, and I forgot my god damn hat! This is what happens when you forget your hat, guys. I’ve got to stand in line for ages. I’ve got to pee, gotta pee, gotta pee, gotta pee! If you guys have ever wondered what the inside of portaloo looks like, a portatoilet, here you go. This is it. Check this out. Don’t drop the phone!

If you guys have already seen the movie Kenny, you definitely need to check out that movie. It’s great. And it’s all about portaloos, so outhouses. What else? The brick shithouses. Although, these ones are plastic. Portaloos, we call them. Portaloos. But, yeah, check out the film if you haven’t. There should be a picture here showing you.

So, obviously being a pumpkin fate or fair there were pumpkins everywhere the I could see for sale. There were stores selling pumpkins. There were pumpkins on the ground holding things down, weighting down signs, they were all over the place. You could eat them. We went in to a…, I guess, it’s the town hall, some kind of building where you could see all of these pumpkin dishes that were being, I guess, assessed and voted on. You could see this crazy pumpkin cakes and carved pumpkins as well. There was one there that was huge that was number one that looked like a jack-o’-lantern from Halloween. And then, there were the smallest pumpkins awards, I guess, for those as well. So, they were pretty cute.

So, we made our way out, walked around a little bit, and I stumbled upon the largest pumpkin, and this thing was huge! I think I could have crawled up inside of this, had it been hollow. It was massive, guys. I don’t think I could have lifted it. It was absolutely huge. And I would love to know how long that took to grow. Far out! And what steroids were they giving it? Huge! Huge!

So, we kept going, kept having a look, and then we stumbled upon what looked like sheep in a paddock. I was like, “Something interesting’s going on here.”. And this guy was talking about herding sheep using cattle dogs, using these Kelpies, these two black and white Kelpies in the background.

So, we were walking around checking out these different stalls, all kinds of leather products, there were clothes, and then we found a whole heap of picture frames, hippie clothing, candles, different aroma things, all sorts of soaps, heaps and heaps of stuff. This is the kind of stuff you’ll see at these markets, these farmer’s markets.

And then, we came across the food stalls and this is where things started to get pretty good, guys. So, I was getting pretty hungry by this point and decided that it was time to get something to eat and we were also pretty thirsty. And so, what’s really common at these fetes and at pretty much any public event, you’re going to see things that are like hot food stands. So, you’re going to see hot dogs, which is like a sausage in a bun, you know? It’s a pretty American thing, but it’s popular here too. You’ll see all kinds of meat. This one also had hot chips. That’s a really common thing to find that these stalls where you get chips with sauce and salt on them in little buckets, kind of like coffee mugs, or coffee cups, the cardboard coffee cups but bigger. You get those. And then there were battered savs!

Alright, guys. So, I thought I had to do some food for you in this vlog. This is a battered sav. So, this is a sausage in batter that’s been deep fried, and then it’s been dipped in it’s sauce, tomato sauce of course. And, wow. It’s pretty good as you would imagine any dried… deep* fried food is. So, I’m going to hand this over to Kel and give her a bit of a go.

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Yeah cheers. Cheers, Kel! Kel! What did you…? What did you…? There’s nothing left! What did you do? You smashed it! This is so unfair, guys. We might have to get another one.

So, I thought there was this scarecrow in the middle here, and then I looked sideways, and I was like, “This crowd’s pretty thick.”, and all of a sudden, I realized they’re all on sticks, and these people standing up are all scarecrows as well. These are… They’re not people. They’re all scarecrows. I had no idea. I thought it was just a really thick crowd.

So, this is how multicultural Australia gets, guys. We out in the middle of, you know, woop woop in a town called Collector and we have here German hot dogs, Turkish Gozleme, we’ve got Tian Farm chicken food. What else have we got? Some authentic organically grown… Dunno whats, and then the French crepes as well. So, there’s stuff from all over the world in this tiny little fete/fair thing. Crazy! where’s the Brazilian food, Kel? I’m still looking for it.

I was thinking this was some African country or something, guys, like Uganda. And then I got it. “Uwana”, “(Do) you want a coffee?”. Ok, I get it. I get it.

We also stumbled upon some guy doing a kid’s show. He was playing this pipe like the didgeridoo and singing about native Australian animals, which was pretty cute.

Skip like a kangaroo.
Skipping around Kakadu.
Little joey in the pouch.
Two ears sticking out.

And then after that, we stumbled upon some old carriages that were drawn by horses.

And it looks like we got some really old good carriages out the back here, guys. So, people getting rides on those. Let’s have a look and see if we can see one go past.

And I don’t know whether or not this was paid, but you could jump on these things and they would take you for a ride around this paddock or this oval, it could have been a cricket field, but it looks really cool. So, I sat there and watched them come round.

A common scene at all fairs, guys. The dunny queue.

What do you think, guys? Is this pretty “punny”. Instead of “bandicoot”, “bandicute”.

We kept walking around after that looking at different stalls and Kel found a really cute store where you could buy baby’s clothing called “Bandicute”. Pretty funny pun. So, we grabbed something there from my niece. That was pretty cool, except for the fact that Kell’s card didn’t work so I ended up having to pay for that one. Thanks, Kel.

But, yeah, there were all kinds of bookstalls. There were stores selling Australian stuffed animals. There were stores selling signs made out of Australian animals. Then there were bracelets and jewellery, plants, you could get succulents and cacti, and even, I think, some carnivorous plants, right? So, things like the picture plants and the Venus fly traps, which I found pretty interesting. Wasn’t expecting to see that.

And then of course the ice cream truck or the ice cream van. Now, this is a very common sight in Australia.

Another really famous thing to say goes here when you come to these fairs is the ice cream truck, usually with a big, big line in front of it. So, there you go. Although, I’m not going have any ice. Not today.

It’s not just me that says it, guys. When things go wrong!

It wouldn’t be a fete, guys, without a sausage sizzle and the sauce hiding in. Some bread, sausage, and there you go.

We also ended up hearing some bagpipes being played in the background, which was pretty random, and there was a group of maybe 15 or so people standing in a circle in one of these pavilions just playing these bagpipes incredibly loudly. So, went and had a look at that.

And then, we were pretty much done for the day. We’d been there for a few hours. We were pretty wrecked, had eaten a little bit, walked around.

Alright, guys, I think we’re a faired out, smashed it out, managed to only eat a little bit of dirty food, and didn’t break the bank, although Kel did trick me. She got me. Oh my god! So, we ended up buying something from my niece.

So, I think we’re going home now. Pretty wrecked, pretty wrecked. Lots of sun exposure. I got my vitamin D for the day. I tell you what!

And another thing, I guess, that was kind of interesting was that there were two of these graveyards on either side of the main street as we walked out of this fair, and this you’ll see a lot in Australian towns, especially small towns that are quite old. You’ll see that churches quite often have graveyards next to them.

And of course as soon as we got out we needed coffee. So, we went to Some Café, and the café at the intersection there.

As always, guys, we’ve got to do a pit stop and get some coffee.

And sat around, got some coffee, and also tried some delicious treats here. So, I think that we grab some carrot cake here. That was delicious. And yeah, I just can’t get enough of the carrot cake.

And then it was time to head home. So, we got in the car. We got out pretty quickly, fortunately. It wasn’t to block, but then we hit traffic, and we were like, “Okay, what the hell is going on? Why is the highway where we should usually be driving at about 110 Ks an hour, why are we moving out like five kays an hour?”. So, we sat there for ages and then the GPS told us that had been an accident up ahead, interestingly enough. And so, we were waiting for ages, like four or five kilometres of just heaps of people heading back to Canberra.

Man, I can’t believe this shit! We get back on the highway were meant to be doing 110, and how fast are we going Kel? That’s 10 kilometres. 100 kilometers to slow. So, there’s been some accident, apparently, up here, but it feels like we got to Collector earlier on and we were going the same speed for about 20 minutes trying to get to the town to park and now we’re just trying to get home. We’re doing the same shit again. God damn it! Hopefully everyone’s okay in the accident, but far out!

And I was expecting to see some epic carnage when we got there, but it had all been taken away. And so, we just passed a few cop cars and the firies, and that was about it. Then we headed home.

Good thing on the way home though, I thought “Another excuse to do some photography”. We passed these horses in a field near a horse club of some kind or some place where some person obviously takes care of people’s horses on their land. So, these fields were full of about 20 horses, and we got out of the car, and they all came over to us. It was beautiful, and Kel got to do some photography whilst the sun was setting with these horses in the background.

Alright, guys. That is it for me today. I hope you enjoy this vlog. Let me know, do you guys like pumpkins? Comment below and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button and the bell icon if you would like to keep up to date with all the latest videos. I hope you have an amazing night, guys, and I’ll see you in the next one. Peace!

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AE 443 – Expression: There Wasn’t a Dry Eye in the House

Learn Australian English in this expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression THERE WASN’T A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE like a native English speaker!

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AE 443 – Expression: There Wasn’t a Dry Eye in The House

G’day, you mob. How’s it going? And welcome to this episode of Aussie English.

So, today’s episode is a little bit different, guys. I thought that I would skip the intro scene and just have a bit of a chat to you guys, tell you what I’ve been up to, give you the downlow, give you that deets, give you their gossip. So, obviously, I’ve been doing quite a few of vlogs recently, guys. You will have seen this if you’ve been following me on YouTube, and I hope you’ve been enjoying these vlogs are I get to show you a bit about my life, the food I eat, the places I go, my surroundings, you know? So, the aim with these vlogs is to teach you Australian English whilst also showing you a bit about my life. And interestingly, these seem to be the videos that people like the most, you know? I was always expecting that you would prefer, I don’t know, different kinds of videos on YouTube like interview episodes or some of those on the Aussie English TV episodes, but it seems like you guys are really responding well to the vlogs and I think they’re the content I really most enjoy making so I keep doing my thing with those vlogs, and I did some really cool stuff recently that will be coming out including going to… What was it again? The pumpkin fete. Although the pumpkin fair out in a tiny town called Collector in New South Wales. So, this town has, like, a population of about 300 people, usually, and once a year they have this huge festival of pumpkins. So, they’re selling pumpkins, they have a competition with the largest pumpkin, and you can go to this festival, you can get on rides, you can eat different kinds of food.

One of the funniest things about this festival was the fact that I saw at least three stalls selling Turkish food. So, that was pretty interesting. I did not expect to see that, but there was Spanish food, Italian food, Indian food, as well as, obviously, Australian food, and I vlogged a little bit about that, guys, I had a battered sav, which is like a sausage that’s been battered, it’s been covered in batter, and then that’s been deep fried. So, I have one of those and it was amazing.

Anyway guys, so I’ve been doing that, and obviously, I have spoken to you guys in a recent episode about Aussie English and wanting to change up the website. So, I recently switched the website over, in fact, I think it was either yesterday or the day before where my IT guy Praveen has been working his butt off on the new website to try and make it look a little more professional, to make it easier to navigate. We’re still working on it and trying to improve it. But if you haven’t checked that out, go and do so. And if you have feedback for me, feel free to let me know what you think.

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And also, obviously guys, the podcast website and the transcripts on it soon, as I spoke about in the previous episode, are going to become paid content. I’m not 100 percent sure when I’m going to bring this in yet. I haven’t decided on an exact date, but it will probably be in the next week or two, so stay tuned for that.

If you need any of the transcripts currently, feel free to jump on there and download them, obviously. But after this point, after, you know, a week or two from now when I implement the membership aspect of this website, it will be paid content so you will need to sign up. The good news is it’s only going to be like five dollars a month. That is the price I want to keep it at, a bit low. I don’t want it to be really expensive at all. I want you guys to still be able to have access to these things, these transcripts, the MP3’s relatively easily, but I need money to come in through that website so that I can hire people to transcribe the audio for these episodes.

To give you an idea, at the moment, it’s about two hours of work to transcribe one hour of content. That is for me to do it. And if it’s someone that I have hired, it takes them anywhere between two and six hours to transcribe one hour of content. I mean it depends on the person, but that has been my recent experience. So, a lot of work goes into it, guys.

Anyway, let’s get into today’s episode, guys. This one is “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house”. Okay? And this this expression came from Emma who voted on this one, or who suggested this one, in the Aussie English Classroom. So great job, Emma.

And remember guys, the Podcast is brought to you by everyone on Patreon who signed up to donate and support the podcast. Big thanks to you guys. And as well everyone who has signed up to upgrade their English even faster in the Aussie English Classroom.

This is an online classroom where you get all the bonus content for all of these episodes, everything that comes with the interview episodes, everything else. There’s quizzes, there’s MP3s, and now there’s videos. There’s usually three or four videos now that come out with the expression episodes that cover the interesting expressions, the interesting vocab, and also pronunciation.

So, if you’re interested in upgrading your English and studying a little bit more in depth, I really recommend giving it a go, and the Aussie English Classroom still is just $1 for your first month. So, it’s incredibly affordable to try, get in there, and give it a go. TheAussieEnglishClassroom.com.

Aussie Joke:

Alright. So, today’s joke, guys. Today’s joke. What type of Australian marsupial can jump higher than a house? What kind of Australian marsupial can jump higher than a house? Any of them, because a house can’t jump! Do you get it? A house can’t jump. Therefore, any Australian marsupial can jump higher than a house.


Alright, so as I mentioned guys, today’s expression is “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house”. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house”.

Let’s go through the definitions of the different words in this expression and it’s a bit of a long one.

So, I mean I’m sure you guys know what “there” is and how it’s used. It means in, at, or to a certain place or position.


“Dry”. “Dry” is not wet or moist. So, it’s free of moisture or liquid. If something is dry it is not wet, it is not covered in a liquid of some kind. So, for instance, a desert is the epitome of dryness. It is where there is absolutely no moisture or, at least, very little.

“An eye”. I’m sure you guys know what “an eye” is. It is one of the two spherical organs that you have in your head, in your face, that you see with. That is “an eye”. Okay? “An eye”.

And “a house”. “A house” I’m sure you know as a dwelling that people live in, you know? I’m currently inside of my house. But it can be used for other things too. So, it can be used for different establishments, different buildings. So, for instance, a restaurant, an inn, a brothel, a theatre, and a cinema are all different establishments that can often be referred to as “the house” if you’re in these establishments.

And in the case of today’s expression, though, “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house”, they’re talking about some kind of building like a church or a theatre, usually a building where you’re going to have a crowd of people watching an event. So, for instance, a wedding in a church or maybe in a town hall as well, or it could be some theatre production, a play, an opera inside of an opera house or inside of a theatre. So, that’s the basic idea there with those words, guys.

Expression Definition:

The expression “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house”. I wonder if you guys have heard this before, and I wonder if you know what it means. If someone says that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, it means that the people that were watching a certain event all felt very emotional about this event that they had seen or that they had heard and that many, if not all, were crying. So, it was such an emotional event, everyone was in tears, everyone was crying, and therefore their eyes were wet, their eyes were moist, their eyes were not dry.


So, let’s go through three examples, guys. Let’s go through three examples. And I’ve sort of fleshed these examples out, I have tried to add a bit of story to them, because these examples will be today’s listening comprehension study inside the Aussie English Classroom, guys. So, when you’re in there, this is when you’ll be tested on your listening comprehension, you’ll get to complete the quiz with all of the questions on this section. So, I’ve tried to add a lot of content and a lot of little different aspects, bits and pieces, into these three examples.

So, three examples on how to use the expression “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house”.


So, example number one. I’m going to an opera or a play somewhere and it’s an incredibly sad one, and maybe I’m taking my best mate James, and we’ve decided to fly up to Sydney to go to the Sydney Opera House for the weekend. So, we fly up to Sydney for the weekend and we want to see this play, and it’s a play by Shakespeare. Maybe it is Romeo and Juliet. I think that’s probably the saddest Shakespearean play that I know. So, that’s where the two lovers are from separate families that hate each other. These guys fall in love and they end up committing suicide in a very tragic scene at the very end of this play you know. Spoiler alert! Sorry, if anyone hasn’t seen this. So, you imagine we go and see this play. The scene comes up where Romeo finds his love dead, at least he thinks she’s dead. He drinks some poison, because he wants to die with her. She wakes up as he’s dying, and then she commits suicide. It’s an incredibly emotional and tear-jerking scene. So, you would imagine when this scene occurs, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. Everyone would be in tears, everyone would be crying, everyone would be brought to tears by the sad ending. So, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house.


Alright, example number two. Maybe you are at a relative’s wedding. So, you’ve got a niece and she’s about to get married to some guy that she met at a university. Maybe he was in a uni course or maybe she met him out at a pub or something whilst partying in uni. That tends to be something a lot of uni students do. So, the big day rolls around and you head to the wedding, and there’s a beautiful ceremony. The chairs are all set up. They’re white. There’s an arch under which the couple are going to get married that’s full of flowers. All of your friends and family arrive. You guys take a seat. The music starts to play, you know? Quite often they’ll have things like a quartet, a string quartet. So, you’ll have like violins and other stringed instruments that I can’t think of playing together. And so, the music starts. You see your niece being brought down the aisle. Her father is walking her down the aisle to the groom. So, she is going to get married to the guy at the end of the aisle. She looks so beautiful in her white wedding dress that she begins to cry. And as a result of her crying her father begins to cry. And then, as the crowd sees these two breaking down in tears everyone else starts to cry. So, as a result, there isn’t a dry eye in the house. And, ironically, even if this is outside, right, so your… you could be in an open field, you could probably still use this expression that there isn’t a dry eye in the house, because it doesn’t have to literally be within a house, right, within a building.


So, example number three. Alright, the final example, guys. You are in a hospital and you’re there with your wife, and your wife is pregnant, she is in the midst of giving birth to your child, she’s in labor, and your child’s going to be a beautiful baby girl. So, your whole family has gotten together. Maybe some of them have come from interstate. You know? They’ve flown to Victoria from Queensland or from Western Australia. Some have even flown from overseas. You know? Imagine they came from Brazil or America or France, and they’re all there to celebrate this amazing event. Your first child on this day. So, they’re waiting outside the room. You’re inside with your wife as she successfully gives birth to your beautiful baby girl. You get to cut the umbilical cord as your family come in to meet the latest member of their family, and everyone begins to cry. Everyone is incredibly emotional. They are incredibly excited, they’re happy, they’re proud. Everyone starts to cry. And so, there isn’t a dry eye in the house. When your daughter was born, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Everyone was in tears. Everyone was incredibly happy and emotional.

So, there you go, guys. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It’s used to mean that all people at a particular place or event feel incredibly emotional about something that they’ve seen or heard and that they’ve begun to cry. So, effectively, there’s an audience watching something and everyone is in tears. That is what “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house” means.

So, let’s go through a listen and repeat exercise, guys. This is your chance to practice your pronunciation, to practice saying the words in this expression, in this sentence. So, you know how first I tend to say it word by word to try and help you focus on connected speech. And then after that, we use it in a sentence and conjugate through the different pronouns. Listen and repeat after me and if you’re practising your Aussie accent, pay attention to how I say things, and if you’re just practising your English accent in general, ignore my accent and just use it as a chance to practice yourself saying these words. Okay? So, let’s go.

Listen & Repeat Exercise:


There was

There wasn’t

There wasn’t a

There wasn’t a dry

There wasn’t a dry eye

There wasn’t a dry eye in

There wasn’t a dry eye in the

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house x 5

Good job. Now we’ll go through the different pronouns and we’ll conjugate through the sentence, “I didn’t see a dry eye in the house”. Okay? We’ll go through each different pronoun. Let’s go.

I didn’t see a dry eye in the house

You didn’t see a dry eye in the house

He didn’t see a dry eye in the house

She didn’t see a dry eye in the house

We didn’t see a dry eye in the house

They didn’t see a dry eye in the house

It didn’t see a dry eye in the house

Amazing job, guys. Remember to repeat those exercises. Pronunciation is the kind of thing you have to continually practice, you know? It’s kind of like going to the gym. You can go to the gym for three months, you can get incredibly fit, but the moment you stop going to the gym your fitness starts to wane, it starts to reduce, right? It may not be rapid it, but eventually, it reduces more and more and more, slowly, gradually over time. And it’s the same with pronunciation. You might get really good at pronouncing things in English, because you practice a lot, but the moment you stop focusing on pronunciation, at least a little bit, you know, doing a little bit every day, it can begin to taper off, it can begin to reduce, and I’ve found this when speaking French, when speaking Portuguese. The more I do it, the more consistent, I am the better I am. But if I take a little break and I stop practicing, it tends to drop off.

So, remember guys, if you want to focus on the content in today’s episode, if you want to focus on more of the expressions that I have used, the interesting vocab that I have used, and the connected speech and pronunciation in this episode’s exercise that I’ve used, sign up to the Aussie English Classroom, guys. It’s a dollar for your first month. You get 30 days to get in there and use all of the content that you would like for one dollar. The reason I do that is because I want you guys to have a chance to enjoy the Aussie English Classroom as much as possible, you know, and really get to see if it is for you.

Today, I think you will really enjoy the pronunciation exercise, because there’s a lot of different things going on in there. Like stop consonants, there’s silent T’s after words like “wasn’t” and “didn’t”. There’s a whole heap of good stuff that I will break down in the video, but I’m going to leave that for the Classroom, and I will hopefully see you guys in there.

Anyway, it’s about 11:30 a.m. and I am starting to get a bit of a hankering on for a coffee. I’m really… I am eagerly awaiting my walk to the shops, getting out of the house, doing my 10,000 steps, going for a bit of a walk, being active, and getting my coffee, my little reward at the end of my exercise, and I’m still debating whether or not to take the dogs for a walk with me, though they tend to poo everywhere and I just can’t be bothered dealing with that.

Again, thank you so much for your understanding and for all of the really warm and supportive feedback that I got with regards to changing the website and bringing through the paid membership for the transcripts. You guys sent me an overwhelmingly positive set of feedback via email and I just want to give you all a massive thanks. I really, really appreciate it and I appreciate the fact that you guys appreciate what I do here.

Anyway guys, I’m going to bugger off. I’ll chat to you soon and I hope you have a freakin’ amazing day. See you, guys.

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AE 442 – Vlog: Brazilian Food Isn’t What I Expected | Australian vs Brazilian Food & Culture

Learn Australian English in today’s Aussie English vlog episode where I take Kel into town to grab some traditional Brazilian food to try and compare Australian vs Brazilian food and culture.

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AE 442 – Vlog: Brazilian Food Isn’t What I Expected | Australian vs Brazilian Food & Culture

Alright, guys. So, we’re going to some place Deli Cravings that Kel just found, because apparently it sells Brazilian food authentic Brazilian food that’s been imported from Brazil, huh? And Kel’s pretty excited. She started screaming on the computer in the lounge room, and is like “You have to come with me! You’ve got to take me. Even though, it’s ANZAC Day, it’s open. We need to go. We need to go get food I need you to try my… the food of my people. You need to try it. Try the food! Try the f*cking food, Pete! She didn’t say that. She was a little calmer, just slightly. Let’s see.

Alright, so we’re here in this little… I don’t know what you call this place, like, mall. There’s shops open everywhere, even though it’s Anzac Day today. So, they should be close, but obviously, they don’t care. They don’t give a sh*t. Here we go. Here’s the place.

Straight ahead and on your left.


Can you see it?

No. So exciting! That’s it.

Oh, I don’t know what this is, but we’re going to try it. I wish I could see Kel’s face now, guys, she’s like a kid in a candy store. So, there’s lots of foreign food here. It looks amazing.

Paçoquinha. There’s another one. I have no idea what it is, but apparently we’re going to try it. *Portuguese*. I know pau de queijo. Pão*. “Pão”, not “pau”. Pão de queijo. Oh, too funny.

I can’t take everything. I have to choose. I know, you’re going to have to be selective. I have no idea what all this is , but I’m looking forward to eating. Tapioca. There’s another one. What’s that one? Batata paiha. Oh yeah, you guys love that. They’re like little chips, aren’t they? I know farofa, but I’m always like “What is it? Rice or is it because cous cous?”. It’s something else though, right? Farofa.

Kel just lost her sh*t. She was showing me this earlier today. There you go. Brazilians in Canberra, this is where you need to come! So, Kel has stocked up, guys. She has stocked up. There you go.

How’s it going? Would you like a bag? Yes please. How’s your day going? Busy? Actually, busier than we expected. Yeah, we didn’t expect you to be open. She lost her sh*t. She found all this Brazilian traditional food and was like, “We need to go to the store”. You guys should advertise this. There’re so many Brazilians. Yeah, she’s been here for two years and hasn’t had any of this. And she’s just like, “Oh my god!”. Did you want a receipt? No, you’re all good. Thanks a lot. Have a good day. Thanks. See you. Where’re we going?

Alright, guys, we’ve stocked up. We have stocked up. We have like 40 bucks worth of Brazilian food, which doesn’t amount to much once it’s been imported here to Australia, but it’s going to be an interesting experience to see what this is like. I haven’t had any traditional Brazilian food that’s actually come in packages or anything, right? We’ve made a few things like brigadeiros, and that was about it.

Yeah, and requejão.

Requejão também. We also had requejão. So, this is going to be good fun, guys. This is going to be good. I have no idea what to expect. In fact, I think I do know what to expect, a lot… a lot of sugar. I reckon it’s going to be as sugary as sh*t.

So, I am here today testing Brazilian food.

What’s the first one that’s coming my way? You… I’ve got to say, do I?


Tradição Brasileira, Paçoquinha.


Paçoquinha. So, what is this exactly? Paçoquinha? Or do you want to eat first and then tell me?

Um, just yeah… go for it. Smell it.

It looks like these little cylinders. Little cylinders. They kind of remind me of those apricot treats that you can get in Australia. Have you ever seen those with like Kirchen on the outside?


It’s really sweet, but I can already smell…

The sugar?

I can smell the amount of peanut butter. So, this is paçoquinha.

It’s very sweet.

Really? Rich.

Really, really sweet. You could never go through a whole one of those.

No. Oh really? I don’t find it really sweet.

No, it’s really sweet. It’s not what I was expecting. I was expecting it to be a more peanut buttery and really dense, ’cause those apricot things that I have in Australia… those apricot things are really really dense and chewy. So, I was expecting it to be like that but this feels like a kind of powdery and you bite into it. But it was very nice. Very sweet. Wow. So, this is the inside of it. Yeah, oh my god! I could have one of those, I think. Oh! They are really strong. Can I get a glass of water?


So that I can wash my mouth out. It’s very powdery. Sticks all over my mouth. Alright, I’ve cleansed my mouth and I’m ready for the next one. So, what’s next?


Bis. These look like waffle biscuits.


We used to have these with my… My grandmother loved these things, but they were like pink or yellow when they would come out. She would bring them out when I would get to our place. So, I think you can probably get these in Australia. Though, I haven’t seen… I haven’t seen them like this for. So, what are these? Bis. Nova formula. Woah, look out, “new formula”, guys. “Lacta”, that tells me there’s milk in it. Alright. Oh, the packaging looks a lot nicer than the Australian ones. The Australian ones, you’d pull it out of here and they would just be sitting there ready to come out. Wow, so that’s… look at that.

“Bis” is like “Again”. So, “você pedi um bis” is like you want something to happen again. So, if you’re singing and I’m like, “Oh, um bis”, it’s like, “Oh, sing again!”.

Ah, okay.

You get it. Yeah.

So, this is tiny. I was expecting it to be much bigger based on what I was looking at here. It’s a bit of false advertising there. Alright, so let’s give this a go. Kel’s getting into it. You haven’t had one of these in a while?

A long time.

Holy molly. Alright, so here we go. They look pretty good. They look like… Oh, there’s some Chomp bars that you can get in Australia and it looks like this. They’re called Chomps and they’ve got caramel in them. They’re really good. Alright. Yeah, these are good. I could eat a lot of these.

That’s Bis. Mmm so good!

I think I need a second one just to be sure that’s what I’m tasting. What are these like the Brazilian version of Tim Tams?

Yeah, but Tim Tams are extremely sweet for me.

Wow, yeah, they’re good. I really like those. They are just those waffle biscuits. You can definitely find those all around Australia. But they seem to come differently. They’ll be thin, but I think they’ve obviously used the same stamp, ’cause they have the same patterning.

What’s next. Guaraná.


So, the funny thing was Kel showed me, today, this morning, she’s like, “Have you ever tried Guanará?”, which is like the Brazilian version of coke, right? Like, it’s sugary. You’ve got coke, but it’s your special Brazilian…

It’s our main… yeah.

“O original do Brazil”. So, “the original from Brazil”. This is Guaraná Antartica. Alright, so it contains caffeine. Cuidado. Watch out!


And what is Guaraná exactly? It’s is a berr?

It’s a fruit. Yeah, the thing.

Yeah. So, I’ve never tasted the fruit. I’ve never had one of these, but I always hear Brazilians talking about it. So, like, this one was nice and cold in the fridge when we got there. Opens like normal can.

Smells like a normal drink.

Yeah. Alright, I’m guessing it’s going to be green or yellow. Oh, nailed it! So, do I just do a little bit? Alright, let’s just leave that there. Oh, it smells very Aramaic. Aromatic*. Lots and lots of fruits.

Just have a lot!

Have a lot? Ok. Is this going to blow my mind? That’s pretty good. It’s hard to describe though, ’cause it’s kind of like a fizzy drink, soft drink, but it’s fruity. It’s nowhere near as sweet as I was expecting.

Oh good.

I was expecting that to look like Mountain Dew or something, you know, just based on this and being like, “Oh my God”.

It tastes exactly like diabetes.

How much sugar does that actually have in it? Oh, it was only 10 grams, 10 percent. I don’t know what Coke is, but I think cokes are way more than 10 percent. So, that’s actually quite good. Keep smashing that.

So, these’re the other two things that you can wanting to show me. Nescau.

Nescau, which is our Milo, but better.

Which just looks like chocolate drink. Yeah, your milo, but better huh?

Much better.

Robbed! I’ve been robbed!

This looks pretty good. The other thing that I noticed, or Kel noticed, was farofa, which is what exactly? Cassava flour did you say? Cassava flour with these ingredients mixed in. And so, you have this as a side. And initially, I thought it looked like… Oh, is that like rice or something? Like, it looks like cous cous, but apparently it’s not. You wouldn’t have that much of it, right? It’s just kind of a little additive.

Yeah, that’s it. You described it perfectly.

Alright. Well, I guess, we will have that tonight and hopefully I can video that and include that, guys. Anyway, see you at dinnertime, guys.

Alright, guys, we’re back. It’s dinnertime. Kel’s cooked this nice little meal. We’ve got some black rice here, and then, what would you call this, Kel? This chicken.

This is herbed chicken.

Herbed chicken, yes. And also… excuse me. We have farofa. So, how do I eat this? What do I do with it? Do I just…?

You can try like that, but I think it might be a bit…


Yeah, just…

Do I just put it on the top?

No, just… Yeah, a little bit on the side. Yeah, and then you can mix it with rice if you want or…

Maybe, I should… I’ll get some of this rice and I’ll try the farofa. Alright. Actually, I might use a spoon. So, I’ve no idea what to expect. Is it good?


It’s really dry, and nice and salty. It’s not bad, it’s just…

The texture?

It’s kind of like it feels like they’ve gotten plain salty chips and put them in a blender, and that’s what you’ve ended up with all these… This is what a packet of chips is like when it’s been ground up.

Yeah, I was expecting it to be like flour, like chicken salt or something, very fine, but it’s chewy.

Yeah, it can be a bit…

Interesting. So, farofa. Not bad!

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AE 441 – Interview: French vs Australian Culture with Cara Leopold

Learn Australian English in this interview episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I chat to my mate Cara Leopold from Leo-Listening about French vs Australian culture, moving to France, and learning French.

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AE 441 – Interview:

French vs Australian Culture with Cara Leopold

What’s going on, guys? Today I have a really cool little interview for you and it is with Cara Leopold from Leo-Listening.com. So, this is a really cool interview. This is part 1 where we’re going to be talking about how she ended up moving to France, how she learnt French, and how she adapted to the French culture.

So, it’s a really cool interview, guys. She also has an interesting accent. So, see if you can pick where she’s from.

I hope you enjoy this one. And make sure you stay tuned for the second interview, which will be out shortly about how to stop using subtitles when you watch movies.

Stay tuned. It’s a ripper!


G’day guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. I have a special guest for you today, on today’s interview episode, and you might notice that she has a slightly different accent from me. Cara from Leo-Listening.com. Thanks for coming on the podcast and chatting to us about getting subtitle free.

Hiya Pete, yeah, thanks for introducing me, and yes, we do have a slightly… a slightly different accent.

Can you tell me where yours is from? Can you tell me about…

Well, mine is a bit… Mine is a bit of a mess… because I… I as a kid I used to live in Scotland. So I lived in Scotland until I was 11 or 12, and you know, All my family are Scottish, you know. And then so when I was 11, almost 12, we moved to England. We moved to a city called Nottingham, in England. So, like, my accent started to change really rapidly because I was kind of dropped straight into secondary school, and everyone was like, you know, “You sound so Scottish!, I can’t understand you!”, I didn’t have like a really… You know… I didn’t have like a really broad Glaswegian accent like…

Billy Connolly!

I hadn’t even lived… I was born in Glasgow, but I actually lived somewhere else in Scotland. So… Like, I actually… like me and my brother had different accents to my parents, because my mum is from Glasgow, my dad’s from another place, so like, we all had different accents. So even the people talking about the Scottish accent, it’s so… Like… It’s quite fine tuning in the UK. Like, you kinda go 20 miles and it changes, which sounds crazy!

I always wanted to know how does that… how does that… I guess, continue into modern day life when the world is so connected, and you would think in England, that being such a small island or group islands in the Britain, that you guys would mix around a whole heap! But is it just that everyone is spending their developmental years, as kids, in a very small region, getting their accent kind of cemented, and then when they leave they still hold on to it?

Yeah, it’s a good point, because obviously, like… We’re massively influenced by, like… I mean I’ve always liked watching TV. Like, as a kid I would get up really early on the weekend and, like… Watch programs, and you know… A lot of them are obviously American or even Australian. So you’d think our accents would be influenced as well by like, media. But I don’t know, I think ultimately we’re more influenced by kind of the day to day, like… Context. So when you’re growing up it’s other kids: You don’t want to sound, like… Too different

Yeah, you don’t want to be the outsider, right?

Exactly! Yeah, and I mean obviously that was the case when I moved to England, and I think I quickly adjusted my accent because I didn’t want to, like, stand out… Too much, and I wanted people to understand me but I think they were exaggerating a little bit!

You get sick of repeating yourself, right? When people are like, “What!? What!? what did you say!?”, and you’re just like “ughhhh”, and that pushes you to kind of blend in.

Exactly, yeah. So my… My accent changed quite a bit. Like, some people… Some people still know that I’m… They know that I’m Scottish after speaking to me, even just for, like, a couple of minutes, like, they know. And I mean, I’ve had another Scottish person say to me, you know… Act like I basically know which village you’re from! Because he was from… He was from the same area! He was, like, from the next village. I mean, that sounds insane, but that’s how… Kind of, yeah, specific .  Each… Each accent is. I mean, yeah… That sounds… That sounds crazy, because… In Australia, does it vary very much?

Not the same way. Ours is kind of… There are three… I just did a video on this… There are three sort of accents, or dialects. And it’s the cultivated which is more your upper class, received pronunciation, like the British, you know? you would speak with a very… Very clearly. You would pronounce all the words correctly. Or, at least properly, like according to the dictionary, and you would… You would be very well educated. Have… Tend to be from a rich family. Then there’s the general, which is kind of just everywhere. And then the broad. And the broad tends to be associated with people of… Either from, like, rural areas, where they’re away from the city, or it kind of blends in with the lower class a little bit. So especially with guys. Guys who hang out together a lot. Only Aussie guys. Together they tend to develop a bit of a broader… broader accent than uhm… And especially the further away you get from the cities. But that’s what England fascinates me: Because you guys don’t seem to have the same pattern. And we came from England, right? So we originally came from… At least the majority of us, when we colonized Australia, we’re all from small parts, I think, of England. Some of us kept the Cockney accent. I think that’s part of why we ended up with Rhyming slang. Yeah. But it’ s always funny! I just… It blows my mind how much difference there is in England, and how you guys still have trouble with each other. Because you would imagine, if you… You know, the average Australian hearing cultivated, broad or general will pretty much understand everyone. But then you hear people like, such as yourself, who say kids had trouble understanding you in school. And you’re kind of like, “Don’t you guys watch TV and see Scottish people on TV?”

Yeah… Yeah I don’t… I don’t think it’s 100 percent… I think everyone’s exaggerating a little bit. Like, it doesn’t take that much effort to tune in to someone else’s accent. Especially because, in general, like… It’s only… Like, not everything changes. Not every sound changes, you know? In Scottish… In Scottish-English, like, we pronounce our R’s at the end of the words, which you don’t do in other accents of English. Some of the vowels are different, like… But it’s not massively different. And especially when your accent is quite… isn’t very strong. But yeah it is weird… It is weird you know… And now, obviously, it’s more acceptable, like on TV and in the media, to hear all the different regional accents and some of them are considered quite cool. So yeah. In theory we should be a bit better at understanding each other, but…

It’s funny too. I find that, as an Australian, because we’ve watched so much media that’s not just Australian, as well as movies and TV series, we get so used to these accents. And so we tend to be able to pick where you’re from too in these different countries. Like, I’m not the best at it, but I can tell north versus south and, you know… Like, even in watching Game of Thrones, right? Where they separate them out based on the Scottish accents of the north. And, like, everyone else is down… It’s just crazy… But it’s funny when… Do you guys have trouble with Australians if we go to the UK? Or… Because you guys have watched a lot of Home and Away and Neighbours, you guys know the Aussie accent pretty well?

Yeah! I would be inclined to say that most people, like, even if they don’t watch those soap operas now, like Home and Away and all that… They watched them… Or at uni, instead of going to class they watched Neighbours or Home and Away. So yeah, I think it… I would imagine that it’s less… It’s less difficult. And also, like… Yeah it’s funny… Like, I live in France now and that’s probably also an important part of the accent-piece. And so last night on French TV, on one of the channels Crocodile Dundee was on.

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Yeah! Oh you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff they put on French TV.

Was that dubbed though, or was that subtitles?

A good question! I… They probably offered… Because now, with like… Digital TV sometimes with the film we can put it into the original version.

I can’t imagine watching Crocodile Dundee with dubs! Oh my god, that would be atrocious!

It’s really common to dub films. And sometimes, on some channels… because the audience, you know… For that particular channel or film isn’t going to be English speaking, they just leave it in French. You can’t even put it in English if you wanted to!

Yeah, exactly.

So, like, last night we came across Kung Fu Panda. It was on some kid’s channel, and it was only in French! You couldn’t switch it into English.

Oh, wow… But that’s the part that I loved though, as well as I hated, when I was learning French really thoroughly a few years ago. I just love the fact that you could download Game of Thrones with dubs, with subtitles… All in French, and so… You know, you already had watched it in English, you knew the story, but now you could watch it with French voices. Even though was a bit strange, it was a lot more helpful for listening comprehension – not just having subtitles.

Yeah, Subtitles, yeah… that’s it, that’s…. It’s the advantage of France, because they are… They do do a lot of dubbing. You’re going to be able to find material. and sometimes it’s really well dubbed! Like… Like they really get it right, in terms of the tone and the register. So like… So the example I always go to is South Park! It’s a very rude cartoon! the French dubbing of that is amazing… it’s on point. It’s so funny… The kids are, obviously… They are really rude. They swear a lot. They insult each other. And, like… All of that is kept in there, but with… Like, appropriate French expressions for…

The equivalent, because that’s the hardest thing to convey, right? With TV shows like that, where there’s so much more depth to it, pop-culture wise, than just literally translating what they’re saying, you know? That… I am always mind blown when I have friends that have come over from Brazil or France or Spain or wherever it is in the world. They’ve learnt English, and then they get TV shows like South Park or Rick and Morty or even the Simpsons, because so much of it is like… Western pop-culture and references to these… You know, famous people and situations…

Exactly! But yeah, know some… that says what’s good in French and there’s lots of dubbed films that are that are really, you know, well done. So you don’t miss out. But you obviously do miss out on hearing it in English, but at least the dubbing is kind of… It’s, like, loyal to the spirit of the film. I didn’t stick around watching Crocodile Dundee long enough to actually see if it was an English or the dubbed version because it would be… I don’t know what they do to do Crocodile Dundee. Like, how did they make him speak? What accent did they give him? Like…

What’s a broad French accent? The Racaille or…?

Yeah! Sometimes what they do… Yeah they could make him speak like… Yeah, no, I don’t think that would work…What they… What they could do is make him speak like someone really rural I guess. Or sort of country folk. I don’t know where I was going with my was my train of thought… Oh yeah! It’s like sometimes… Like you know in South Park there’s a character who’s British: Pip.

Yeah, of course.

So what they do in the French version is that he is dubbed with a strong English accent in French.

Because, yeah, it’s like how do you convey that message too, of like, Pip has an English accent on an American TV show with American kids, which makes him sound incredibly pretentious and posh. How do you translate that into other languages and cultures? Because you can’t really just give him an English accent because people won’t get it. The French still leave him as English, but speaking French with a strong English accent.

Exactly! Yeah. Oh I’m so annoyed now! I should have watched a few minutes of Crocodile Dundee, just to figure out… Because they couldn’t do it like basically a French voice with a strong kind of Australian sounding, or at least anglophone sounding accent.

Je suis Crocodile Dundee, Comment allez-vous?! Yeah, that’d be amazing!

Ça, c’est un couteau!

Yeah! I was about to say that. “C’est pas un couteau!”. That’s not a knife!

Ça, c’est un couteau! Yeah, I don’t… I don’t… Yeah, I’m going to… I’m going have to YouTube that in a second and find the dubbed version just to double check how they… How they do it.

So how did you end up in France, though? What’s the story there? And how’ve you found the language learning experience over in France?

Yeah! So, like, I studied French at university.


Yeah, so I studied linguistics and I studied French, and… Yeah I just… I wanted to, and I had spent some time in France, like, during the summers, between years at uni, and I just was like “Yeah! I wanna… I want to go and live in France, after.” So, like, a lot of people do the year abroad where they go and study in a French university or something like this. I didn’t actually do that, for various reasons. And then my university had like a link with the university in the city where I live now, which is called Besançon. So, there was an opportunity for me to come over after my studies and teach English. So I was like “Yeah! I want to do that because I’m interested in teaching English as a foreign language. I want to live in France and… You know, there’s the possibility of us…

Ticking all the boxes, huh?

It’s ticking all the boxes! And it was a really cool job because it’s, like, they pay you the minimum wage but you have like 12 hours of teaching a week.

Wow! Okay.

So you’re getting paid as if you’re doing 35… Wait! Obviously…

The lower end… The lower end of 35 hours a week right, though? Like, pay-wise?

But yeah… But, like, it’s fine if you’re a young single person on the minimum wage in France. It’s like… The cost of living is okay. So… Yeah it was really cool. I did. I had a job for a couple of years teaching in a university, which is quite… It’s quite a steep learning curve when you go to work in a university in France because it’s very different to the way a university works in the U.K., and the way I imagine it works in Australia.

So how does it differ?

It’s quite chaotic! Because, like, as long as you’ve got the baccalauréat, you can go to university. This is changing at the moment and this is why some French universities are on strike, because they want to introduce selection before you get into uni. Essentially what happens in France is loads of people turn up… The first year is really the year of selection. So, like, a lot of people just drop out because they don’t really know why they were there in the first place. Especially ,  you know, I was working in the sort of humanities, languages and faculté. A lot of people just kind of turn up there because they’ve finished school, they don’t know what to do, they’ve heard that if you study a language or sociology the workload is a bit lighter: You don’t have as many classes, so they are like “Okay I’m just going to enroll here!” because it’s very cheap to enroll, or even free, and some people get bursaries. So it is really good in that sense, it’s really open. But that means that, like, it’s quite chaotic because… you know they have classes that are supposed to be kind of seminar style, but, like, one time in one of these classes I had like 47 students. Like, obviously they didn’t all turn up… It didn’t all turn up, like, fortunately. But I think for the test, though, they were probably… They were probably all there. Yeah that was probably the time I had counted 47. So that’s supposed to be like an English class where they’re supposed to be doing oral expression. And even if the maximum is supposed to be more like 30, that’s still, like, way too many people.

Well you just don’t have enough time, right? To get them all to talk and to be involved more deeply.

Yeah, there’s a lot of crowd control because French people, they really like talking. Like, it’s not uncommon for people to talk all the way through even a lecture! Like… And I had colleagues from other countries who were so shocked! Like, I had a Brazilian colleague…

That ‘d be a big no-no in Australia. You would get thrown out.

Oh yeah! Like, it’s so rude. And yeah, so the Brazilian colleague was like, you know, “I was doing a lecture and people are just, you know, they don’t shut up, like… ,” So yeah it’s definitely different. You’re sort of less well looked after if you’re a student in France. You’re kind of left to your own devices to kind of muddle… Muddle through, you know, and then figure it out. So yeah, not everybody ends up finishing university. Like, a lot of people leave or do something else.

So was there a lot of culture shock though too, when you went over there? Like, the different food, the different, I guess, etiquette with people, right? There’s a bit of a difference there, too and…

Yeah, like, there were some there’s some stuff I knew from spending a bit of time, like… Like, I’d been to a summer school at a French university and I’d done some homestays with French families a little bit. So I kind of knew what to expect. So that helped a bit. But, yeah, I hadn’t actually spent that much time in France, like, in… When I was younger. Like, it wasn’t really a holiday destination for us, like, you know a lot of British people like to go to Spain.


I probably went there on holiday, or even just on holiday in Scotland, or whatever, so… But yeah, so like me the most important things I knew, but some things were still really, like, hard for me, when I arrived, like… Like, you know, it’s really important to… When you going to shop in France you have to say “Bonjour,” whereas in the English speaking world you can kind of… You can kind of just sneak in.


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So you don’t always have to say, unless it’s a really small kind of independent shop, then you might say something to the person who is working there. But, yeah, in France it is really important to announce your arrival by saying bonjour, or they’re suppossed to say bonjour to you.

So, like, directly to them, or just like as in “Bonjour!”? Like, is it you walk in and you’re like “I’m here!”

Sometimes I’ll go into the bakery. If there’s a bit of a queue, I might be like “Bonjour”. It’s just like a general bonjour to everyone. Some people are a bit like… Like a sort of… Yeah, some people will come in and be like, “Bonjour mesieurdames!”, you know, they’re kind of addressing everybody in the shop, you know. I don’t I’d walk in there like I just kinda mumble a “Hello”.

It’s so funny, the differences I notice too, because like I’m learning Brazilian Portuguese at the moment, and they are so relaxed, and they have these same sort of expressions. Like, they’ll say things like “Oi gente”, which is like “Hi people,” or “Oi galera!”. “Oi galera”, which is like when you’re addressing a lot of people at once. On Facebook they’ll always write, “Oi galera!” in the groups, and it means like “Hi, gallery,” you know, like a gallery of people.


I love how that changes but that is it, “Mesieursdames”? like… It’s like “Mr., Mrs., hello,”

“Monsieurdame! Bonsoir, monsieurdame! Monsieurdame”. Yeah… That’s something you have to just be careful with. And then, yeah, because, like, some things are a bit more formal in day to day life, so the whole thing of going into the shop and saying “Bonjour!” And the thing that always cracks me up, right, I noticed… I caught onto the fact that if you don’t know someone, even if they’re more or less your age…

You’ve got to do the “vous” thing, right?

Yeah, well… Not that, but it’s, like, the first time you meet someone you would say “Bonjour.” So even if it’s a younger person around your same age, because I was like “Oh, surely I can just say ‘salut’,” which is like “Hi!”. But no! If you’ve never met you say “Bonjour.”

I never knew that.

I’ve noticed that, and I’m like, “This is stupid because otherwise, if you’re young and you meet another young person for the first time you can’t just “Tu”. You know, if you’re both 25 you just say “Tu”. I mean I’m 32 now, so I’m probably leaving that kind of zone of being able to just say “Tu” to whoever I want. Yeah, and if people perceive you as younger… Like, I had to go and see a sort of specialist doctor yesterday, and it got a bit weird because, you know, he’s calling me “Vous” initially, and then he was sort of using “Tu”, because it’s like “Oh, well she’s young.” I don’t know what… I was just like “You know, you’ve got to decide mate because…”

I guess, for the context of listeners, the French have “vous,” which is like polite, plural “you”, and “tu,” which is like singular… I guess not impolite, but is kind of informal, right? It’s what you would use with friends.

It’s how you get closer to someone, you know. So that concept is difficult for French people learning English. It’s like “Well how do I show I’m the same level as someone?”, and it’s like “Well you can’t do it with a pronoun. You do it with other things.”

And the funny thing is that I’m always telling my students that in Australia you will… It’s like we automatically call everyone “tu” because it shows that we’re all friends, and that we’re all mates. So if I met the Prime Minister of Australia tomorrow, you know, like that dude at the top of Australia, he would probably say to me “G’day mate,” you know, which he would treat me like I was his best friend and that’s just like a weird Australian thing, where I think it’s partly where the anti-British establishment from when we were a colony, you know, the last few hundred years, and as a result of rebelling against the classes we treat everyone like they’re our mates, and so it’s just so weird. Like, I don’t know how I would act in front of the queen, you know. Like, I mean I probably wouldn’t say “G’day mate,” but it would feel like…

Probably not.

“How’s it going?”.

“You alright, how’s Philip?”.

Yeah exactly! That’s it, I know. But that’s the funny thing: That in Australia the good thing is that you can get away with calling people “mate”, or even saying “dude”.

I noticed recently, going around to different stores I was filming some stuff for videos, and I was referring to people as just “Dude”… “Hey dude, how you going?” Like, you know and people… They just don’t even flinch, it’s just “Yeah, whatever.”

That’s interesting because French life is definitely more formal, like… Also the thing… For a couple of years I worked in a French company, and I was in… It was industrial, so there was a factory and then there were office bits. And it just… It’s comical to me, again, like just spending all day bumping into people in the corridor going “Bonjour,” or you like… You run into the HR manger, “Bonjour,” shake hands. You run into the boss of the factory, “Bonjour!”, shake hands, “Bonjour!”, shake hands. And it’s just like “Is this like a Monty Python sketch?” Like, you know sometimes it just feels really silly to me, some of this sort of, you know, formal rules. But yeah the craziest one for me is “Okay, you don’t know this person, but you’re about the same age, you know, but you can’t ‘salut’ the first time ,  you must say ‘bonjour,’ but after that you can say ‘salut’ to this person whenever you want.”

That’s an unspoken rule, is it too? Where you don’t even… It’s not even like “Oh yeah! Make sure you do this,” It’s just something everyone seems to do, is it?

I’m going to have to double check it with some French people and some Anglophones, but for me… I’ve definitely noticed that .  Like, you know, I’ve said “Salut!” to someone I’m being introduced to and then they’ve said “Bonjour” back! And I’m like “well… that was awkward.” Like…

You could just be like “Quoi de neuf mon pot!?”, you know, “What’s up, matey?”.

I think I’ll try that! Then at the same time you have to kiss them on the cheek. So it’s like… Alright, so, I can’t just say hi to you but I kiss next to your face? How… This doesn’t make any sense! Like, I should be able to say “salut” when we’re getting, you know, very close physically but…

Do you get leeway though, too? because you’re obviously not French. Do people at least go “Okay. Alright, you know, she’s not trying to be rude or anything, she just doesn’t get that we do these things without… that are unspoken rules, you know?”

Yeah I think I probably get away with… Yeah, to a certain extent. And also it depends on the environment. So in the university environment people do tend to use “tu” with each other. Very easily between colleagues. Obviously it it’s the dean of the university you’d have to use “vous”. But that’s quite… Whereas some workplaces… I think it just depends on the workplace culture, like how formal it is or not.

It’s so interesting though, that even obviously we have these same problems, between two cultures… Two cultures that you would imagine would be incredibly close to one another, France and England, and yet you guys have relatively big differences that you kind of have to stumble your way through when you’re learning how to… how to navigate that culture.

Definitely, definitely. Yeah. You can’t really understand it fully, I think, until you’ve seen it, kind of, on the ground and you’ve tried things out and you have seen the reactions, when you’ve observed people. I think you have to a lot of, kind of, observation of what other people do and then you kind of go in and… You know, you can try it yourself but… Yeah, you have to be a little bit careful, but yeah, you always you can always play that kind of foreigner card.

Would you have any… Any advice for French people learning English and coming to England or even Australia, or even foreigners in general? And, sort of, dos and don’ts, or how to get past this sort of situation? Learn how to how to navigate these situations.

Yeah! I think, like… You know… Yeah, definitely look at what other people are doing and what’s kind of, yeah, acceptable or not. Because ye, some things that are weird from… if you’re coming from any culture where people kiss each other like in France. So when we say “Kiss”, actually what you do is you just touch the other person’s cheek with your cheek and then you make a kissing noise. You know, when you… When you meet someone that you know and you do the *kissing noises* on each cheek, right?

But don’t kiss them on the mouth! That might freak them out!

…Like people… In a lot of Anglican cultures people will hug and I know that’s a bit weird for French people, so…

Yeah, that’s something I’ve encountered quite a bit. Where people I’ll meet for the first time and I’ll just be like “Yea, give us a hug,” you know, “what’s up?” And they’ll be like “…What?” And you’re just like “but that’s just what we do! we’re just friendly,” you know. Like, we don’t shake hands, it’s a bit formal and the kissing, we don’t do, but we hug.

Yeah, yeah! That’s it. Because it’s kind of awkward for my… Like, my partners French, so he doesn’t really… He doesn’t even like doing the kissing, even though it’s, like, in his culture. Although there are some men that he kisses! Like . .. He’s quite into the concert scene here where we live, and he knows people who run record labels and organise concerts, so when he sees them they’re thing is to do the kisses on the cheeks, not the shaking of hands. It’s just… It’s just that in that context… That’s what they kind of do.

See, that’s a big point though, right? No matter what, you know, part of the world you’re going to you kind of have to not just learn in a book what the context is for what you should be doing, but get in there. And then you learn because it might be different for different groups, and friends, and family, and could be anything.

This is… Yeah, this is why it’s really . .. Even like the tu/vous thing, when you start learning about it in books it looks quite straightforward. You’re like “okay.” Do I know the person, or do I not know the person? And then when you’re actually in France they add on like a million extra rules! It’s really, really complicated! But anyway… But yeah, the hugging thing… Yeah, it’s maybe trial and error, or, I don’t know, if it makes you feel weird e d out you’re allowed to say it, you know, you’re saying that it’s…

You need to embrace the fact that you will get a free pass, you know, if you’re a foreigner. People aren’t going to… Their automatic assumption will never be “this guy’s being a jerk, he’s being rude intentionally.” Yeah. So as opposed to if I did. If I did it to another Australian, they would understand instantly that… Well they would have these assumptions about what I know, and what I shouldn’t do or should do. Whereas for you, people will give you a lot of leeway often, because they think you’re getting used to how everything works.



Alright, guys. So, that was it for today. I really hope you enjoyed that interview. Massive thanks to Cara from Leo-Listening.com.

Remember that we will be back, although, this guy won’t be back, but we will be back for the second part of this interview shortly so stay tuned and wait for that where you guys will learn how you can stop using subtitles, how you can get passed having to use subtitles when you watch TV shows or movies.

See you in the next one, guys. Bye!

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