Since arriving in Dunedin, New Zealand, I have noticed several standout expressions during conversations. I could write about countless examples of unique expressions; however, I have chosen to focus on three essential figures of speech. Packing up and moving to an entirely different country can spark anxiety and anticipation. Paying attention to small details, such as local speaking habits, can make any transition abroad more manageable. Do as the Kiwis do and learn these valuable New Zealand expressions.
Since landing in New Zealand, I have noticed “heaps” an impressive amount. By definition, “heaps” means “a lot of” or “loads.” For example, one might say, “There are heaps and heaps of sheep in New Zealand.” Literally, this term is a loose unit of measurement.
- Sweet as
The phrase “sweet as” translates to “cool” or “awesome” here in Dunedin. If you say, “I’d love to go surfing,” a local may exclaim, “Sweet as! I’ll see you there.” Ideally, you would use this phrase when you are enthusiastic about an activity or a conversation.
In New Zealand, a “dairy” is a corner convenience store, similar to a 7/11 store in the United States. Often, a dairy will have eggs, milk and other snack foods. In Dunedin specifically, there is a dairy that serves the “best ice cream in Dunedin.” If a local were to say, “I’m running to the dairy, do you need anything?” do not assume that they literally mean “dairy.” Most likely, they are picking up groceries at a convenience store nearby.
So far, I have not had a difficult transition in terms of language in Dunedin. However, there are specific terms that travelers must familiarize themselves with while studying abroad. I have been lucky enough to meet locals who are extremely friendly and accommodating since moving into my university flat. Ask questions and observe while you travel; learning different cultures will make any study abroad program more unique and adventurous. I have been having heaps and heaps of fun in Dunedin so far, and I plan on learning as much about New Zealand’s culture as possible while studying here this spring!
The world awaits…discover it.