Australians really are singular beasts with singular tastes. When it comes to meeting new people at a Saturday barbeque or chatting to someone who shares your bus, there are certain fallback topics which will get you out of the slump of asking the classic university triad: “what’s your name?”, “where are you from?”, and “what are you studying?”.
1. Football/rugby 澳式足球/橄榄球
Knowing a thing or two about Australian rules football or rugby will not only help you appreciate the greatest sports on earth, but will also win you fans at any get together. People love discussing the ins and outs of any big game, deconstructing the mistakes they believe the umpires have made and talking about what the players have posted on Instagram. Listen to a few of these conversations between intensely competitive Aussies and you will either be bored witless or be a new expert on your team’s whole list.
2. Music 音乐
Australians love their home-grown music and, following in our competitive nature, love to be the first to discover a new band and bring it to their friendship group. People are particularly interested in fostering new and local bands and taking their friends along to gigs. You’ll meet plenty of people who fervently study the “hipster house party” playlist on Spotify or spend all their free time listening to ABC Radio’s Triple J for new and unsigned artists. People love to brag about “when I saw Vance Joy play to an empty pub 5 years ago before he was big”. Knowing the ins and outs of the Australian music scene, or even just listening to Triple J’s weekly “Like a Version” segment, where they ask an artist to cover their favourite song, will launch you into hundreds of interesting conversations.
澳大利亚人喜欢他们的本土音乐，而天性好胜的他们自然想要成为第一个发现新乐队，并且将乐队介绍进自己的朋友圈的人。人们尤其喜爱培养本土新乐队逐渐成长，还常常乐意带着他们的朋友一起去听乐队的演奏会。你会遇到很多热衷于研究Spotify上“潮人聚会”歌单的人，或者是一些愿意将所有空闲时间花在听ABC电台的Triple J节目、倾听刚出道或是默默无闻的歌手的音乐迷。人们喜欢吹嘘“我在Vance Joy成为大明星五年前，就在酒吧看过他的演出”。有空多了解一下澳大利亚音乐潮流，或者仅仅听一下Triple J每周播出的Like a Version，听听歌手们自己最欣赏的歌曲，这些都会带给你许多有趣的谈资。
3. Politics 政治
Yet another thing Australians can get competitive about is backing their political crowd. It’s deeply engrained in the culture to cut down the “Tall Poppies” (overachieving suck-ups) and champion the “Aussie Battlers” (the underdog). This culture extends to the political playing field where people argue over every aspect of the government. Of great interest at the moment is the potential sacking of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has the lowest approval ratings of any Prime Minister in Australian history. Even some of his own party has turned their back on him after he re-instated the archaic system of honouring people as Knights and Dames, and proceeded to make the hugely unpopular Prince Phillip the first Australian Knight.
4. Beer 啤酒
In tune with the indie revolution, a bucket load of microbreweries have been taking off across Australia. Everyone’s keen to try them all and discuss the quirks of their flavours. There’s always a lot to be said about the different types of beer from golden ales to stout and everyone has a degree of hometown pride when it comes to brews of their region. Heaps of pubs offer tasting paddles of a range of mini bevvies so you can sample the whole range without getting too full (or drunk!). Once you’ve done that, you’ll have something to talk about that will truly wow your crowd.
5. Travel 旅行
Let’s get one thing straight: Australia is great. But that doesn’t stop Australians’ insatiable thirst for travel, and you’ll see them in every backpacking location across Asia and the world. Aussies are always planning their next trips, especially students blessed with long holidays and hoping to get away from the monotony of the academic life. Young people are always heard swapping tips on up and coming holiday destinations. Having some experience in travel, or even recommending good places in your home town will set you well on your way to small talk success.
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