International students on British slang

“Loo? I don’t know? What does it look like?”

To see what some international students had learnt about British slang in their time here, they tried their hand at defining a few words.

Diana, a Latvian fresher

Since she has been studying in England Diana said she has learned the phrases to “show up”, to “tear apart” and “gig”.


Diana is a first year film and media studies student from Latvia.

Bang = “the hair that hangs over the forehead”

Bollocks = “something like nonsense, like bulls**t”

Blow me = “f**k me or blowjob”

Loo = “bathroom” (she managed to get it half correct after giving her 10 hints)

Cheerio = (hesitating) “the same as cheers…”

She really struggled with the loo

Although Diana could not get all the words correct, she was not at all disappointed. She was very pleased to learn the new words through the challenge.

Hopefully Diana would not be so clueless again when someone asks her where the loo is.

Vinit, an Indian fresher (who lives in Bahrain)


Vinit is a first year business studies student from Bahrain

Having studied in a English school for 12 years in Bahrain, Vinit is more than fluent in English.

He also enjoys watching videos made by British YouTubers and British TV shows. Since it seemed the British slang challenge would be a piece of cake for him, we levelled up the game.

Shag = “casual sex”

Bollocks = “nonsense”

Cheeky = “witty or silly”

Fiver = “five pounds”

Pissed = “drunk”

Wanker = “a cuss word”

Fanny = “vagina”

Wonky = “not straight”

Vinit undoubtedly has a solid understanding of British slang. His tips on learning these slang words: “Watch British YouTubers and TV.”

Thea, a Bulgarian fresher

Thea, a first year English Language with Creative Writing student from Bulgaria.

Thea, a first year English language with creative writing student from Bulgaria.

This multilingual (she speaks Bulgarian, Russian, English and French) fresher has a strong language background. She has been studying English since she was six and now she is doing it for her degree.

Shag = “to have sex”

Bloke = “a boy”

Knob = “a dick” (she answered at once)

Knockers = “balls?…BOOBS”

When in doubt…

Ricky, a Malaysian fresher

Ricky, a first year Biological Science Malaysian student.

Ricky, a first year biological science student from Malaysia; also an ultimate food lover.

Besides Malay and Chinese, Ricky also speaks English like a native, having been exposed to it from a young age. Although he felt bit off at first (as he was more familiar with American English), he still gladly accepted the British slang challenge.

Wonky = (Uncertainly) “Walking a bit unstable after drinking?”

Barmy = (Dubiously) “Oh my goodness..?”

Blimey = “Crap. Like blimey, I didn’t bring my homework today to pass up.”

Bob’s your uncle = “Like I believe you. “The assignment due date has been delayed.” “Yeah and bob’s your uncle!””

No worries Ricky – some British slang really does not make sense, particularly when you don’t even have an uncle called Bob. (Or do you?)

Laurana, a French sophomore 

Laurana, a second year European studies student from France

Bladdered = “really drunk”

Chuffed = “having sex”

Doddle (as in easy) = “a penis”

Dodgy = “weird” (apparently she’s been called ‘dodgy’ before but she was clueless about what it meant)

Cracking = “something good”

How Laurana thought “chuffed” meant literally

Laurana made a sentence with the new slang that she had learned: “(I am a) dodgy French girl who likes to be chuffed.”

Not sure if she meant being happy or what, but hope she is well chuffed everyday with her cracking slang knowledge. Keep your chin up and it should be a doddle.

Cherry, a Hong Kongese second year


Cherry is a second year law student from Hong Kong.

Growing up in a former British colonial city, and studying in an international school, Cherry speaks English effortlessly. So instead of playing the British slang challenge, she decided to share her insight on the use of British slang.

Cherry specifically pinpointed the tight connection between the Brit’s massive drinking habit and their intensive use of slang: “Slang seems (to be) more heavily used when they’re drunk haha.”

On adapting to British culture and picking up slang, she did have a few pieces of advice for the international students. She thought learning slang is a good way of embracing the local culture.

Cherry said that: “The use of british slang creates a boundary between international students and British students”, but she thought it was beneficial for an expatriate to understand the culture better.

Cherry (far right) casually carried her bottles like she carried her handbag – embracing the British culture!

Glad to know that Cherry is so engrossed in the British (massive drinking) culture and partying on a weekday.