5 Phrases All International Students Should Learn Before Going to Uni

As an international student who moved to the UK for the first time to go to university, I was surprised by the *interesting* phrases my flatmates liked to use…

If you are an international student, you might be confident in your English speaking skills, but believe me, student life always has surprises. Here are 5 phrases you need to know to blend in with the British lads.


Mate vs. love








You might be left wondering about how much someone actually likes you after you went from “mate” to “love” in the course of a day. Do they want to be friends? Best friends? Do they fancy you? Don’t waste your time. There is absolutely no consistency in British people calling you mate, love, bruv, honeyboo or babes. Maybe be a little worried if they call you by your actual name though..


Allow it






Nothing can ever be so bad that you can’t just “allow it”. It’s basically another way of saying “whatever”. There’s no limit to “allowing it”, the extent to which it applies is probably best described as scary. You ate two bars of chocolates after your cheeky Nando’s? Allow it. You slept in and missed a whole day of lectures? Allow it? You dropped out of uni? Allow it.


Peng ting









Being called a peng ting was probably not what you had in mind when you were dreaming about your uni romance, but it’ll have to do. When you go on a lit sesh with the squad and spend way too long in the smoking area freezing to death, it’s only a matter of time until someone comes up to you and tells you you’re a peng ting. I mean if he shouted it loud enough for you to make out these words, you should at least appreciate the effort.







You’ve probably heard the phrase “innit” before, but I don’t think it occurred to you that you can finish any sentence with it, without any exaggeration. First you might feel like you need to reply, like when someone says “That was a good movie, innit”. So far so good, but soon you’ll get in a situation when there’s simply nothing to say. “I’ve just had breakfast, innit.” “Yes, you did Adam, I saw you eating it, I hope you enjoyed it.” Ummm… might be better to stay quiet.








There are two rules with the word banter: 1. Say it under any circumstances and it’s going to be okay. 2. Always shout it with all your energy, as if you just cracked the code to time travel.

You accidentally hurt Karen with a joke? That’s not too wise on your first week of uni. Quickly shout BANTER and even Karen will appreciate it was a joke. Other situations to use in: when you have nothing to say, but want to add to the conversation and sound cool.



By Alexandra Falcsik