Sharing a drink or a meal is an important bonding experience in most cultures to show friendship – or mateship, if you’re in Australia! But sometimes, this can differ across cultures. When it comes to eating and drinking, there are some things that are entirely Australian, so below is a guide to Australian hospitality.
Disclaimer: while some of what is discussed here centres around alcohol, it’s not necessary to drink alcohol to have fun at events, and no one should pressure you into it.
Australians are notorious for shortening words, which creates a more laid-back, less formal way of speaking. Here are some common examples of terms and acronyms that may appear confusing at first;
- BYO: This stands for ‘Bring Your Own’, which is usually related to alcohol. If this appears in an invitation received to an event, it tends to mean that if you’re planning on drinking, it’s best to bring your own beverages, while the food will usually be provided by the host. Sometimes you might need to bring your own contribution for a BBQ, but check with the host.
- “Bring a plate”: Similar to BYO, “bring a plate” is usually mentioned to guests to encourage them to bring a plate of food to an event. This is often to make the host’s job easier, and also to ensure that everyone’s dietary requirements are catered to. Traditionally, bringing a plate means bringing something you’ve cooked yourself, but we all understand that students are time-poor, so something store-bought won’t seem out of place at all!
- Grog, goon and tucker: These are other words for food (tucker) and alcohol (grog and goon).
- Barbie: This refers to a BBQ, which is an outdoor apparatus used for cooking or grilling food such as sausages, hamburgers, or skewered meat or vegetables. Commonly found at gatherings held during the summer, the barbie is loved by many Australians as a way to grill ‘tucker’ out in the beautiful sunshine, without heating up the inside of the house.
BEFORE AN EVENT
Sometimes an event will begin with what is called pre-drinking, which is a way that university students are able to save money by drinking at home before heading out. It can also be a form of ‘social lubrication’ AKA drinking as a way to be less shy at events. If this isn’t for you though, you’re completely welcome to show up to an event without having done so. In Australia, it’s generally better to be a little late to an event rather than early unless you know the host well, which gives you time beforehand to pick up some food or drink if you’ve been asked to ‘BYO’.
AT AN EVENT
When you arrive at an event, whether that be a house party, restaurant dinner, picnic, or pub crawl, it’s generally polite to find the host and thank them for the invitation first. This can also be very helpful if you don’t know many people there, as the host can introduce you to others around you. From there, don’t be afraid to talk to anyone – most people want to be your friend!
AFTER AN EVENT
As the event comes to a close, it can be really nice to help the host clean up a little bit, as this is often an overwhelming task! After an event, it can be a great opportunity to thank your host for having you whether that be in person or through social media. This is also the perfect time to connect with any people you may have met by simply adding them on Facebook or accepting any friend requests you may have received.
Feeling comfortable at Australian events is really all about being friendly, approachable and helpful. Australians really value having a sense of comradery, which can be achieved by offering a hand where needed, or by having a laugh together over something you may have in common.