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English language resources

Everyday English

Everyday English is the language that people use in their daily lives. It is the language of conversation, of making friends, of doing business, and of getting around. It is different from the formal English that is used in academic writing or in professional settings.

For international students, learning Everyday English is essential for living and studying in Australia. It will help you to communicate with your friends, teachers, and classmates. It will also help you to understand the culture and customs of your new home.

There are many ways to perfect your Everyday English skills. You can take classes, work through these resources, join a conversation group, or watch English-language movies and TV shows. You can also listen to English-language music and podcasts. The most important thing is to practice as much as you can.

This guide contains resources aimed to cover some tricky, but helpful, aspects of day-to-day communication.

Consider these tips for learning Everyday English:

  • Immerse yourself in the language. Surround yourself with English as much as possible. Watch English-language TV shows and movies, listen to English music, and read English books and magazines.
  • Find language partners. Socialise with Australian English speakers as much as possible to make the most of your time here.
  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes when they are engaging in a new language. Don't let this discourage you. Be prepared to keep practising.
  • Be patient. Learning a new language takes time and effort. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. As the English expression goes: "Practice makes perfect!"

Everyday English situations

It is very common for Australian students to rent a room in a shared house or flat while they are at university, or while they are starting to live independently. Students find rooms by looking online (for example,, by responding to advertisements around campus, or by hearing about a vacancy from other students or friends. It is a good idea to visit any rooms you are interested in together with a friend and to go with a list of questions. Make sure you know what is included in the rent (e.g., electricity, water, internet), what the ‘rules of the house are’, and who else will be living in or visiting the house or flat. If you decide to take the room, make sure you receive a written rental agreement and that you know when and under what conditions your bond will be returned to you. 

Useful words and phrases 

  • flathunting 
  • a flatshare / a houseshare 
  • a rental agreement 
  • a bond 
  • bills – included or excluded 
  • utilities 
  • a rota 
  • heating 
  • bedlinen 
  • storage space 
  • off-street parking 
  • amenities 
  • the WI-FI code 
  • mark your stuff 
  • on a weekly / fortnightly basis 
  • keep the noise down 
  • maintenance 
  • bedding 
  • doona / quilt 
  • designated area 
  • blu-tak 
  • laundry 
  • fire hazard 
  • fire drill 

Many Australian students work part-time while studying at university. There are a range of part-time jobs available to international students that do not require prior experience, such as waiting tables or working as baristas or kitchen hands in restaurants and cafes, babysitting, shop assisting, or assisting with community care. In the later years of undergraduate study or as postgraduates, some on-campus positions may become available, such as peer-tutoring, mentoring and library assisting. 
The disadvantages of working while studying, include the potential impact on academic performance, increased fatigue and stress and limited time for relaxation. The benefits include extra income for tuition fees and everyday expenses, the opportunity to gain work experience and develop a network of contacts within your field of study and the chance to improve your resume.  
It is important for students to take note of the laws and regulations established by the Australian government and the policies outlined in their visa when working part-time in Australia. In general, international students are allowed to work up to 24 hours a week on a part-time basis.

10 characteristics of Australian workplace culture

  1. Collaboration / teamwork is valued
  2. A casual / informal environment is fostered
  3. Hierarchy is downplayed
  4. People speak directly
  5. Punctuality is important
  6. Employers don’t micro-manage
  7. Employees are trusted to do their jobs
  8. Rules govern the workplace
  9. Respect, equality and fairness is expected
  10. Personal wellness and work / life balance is valued