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Speak as a local. The most common slangs in San Diego.

If you’re thinking of coming to sunny San Diego to study, you should probably remember that Southern Californians are an entirely different breed of humans.


We are friendly, laid back and willing to offer a smile to anyone. We live in their own little world of sunshine and surfing, where we even speak their own brand of English. Here are five phrases you should definitely know before you decide to visit San Diego.

  1. “Dude”- Dude is a word that you would call a friend. You will hear everyone calling each other dude. “Hey dude, let’s go to Pacific Beach!” or “Dude, did you see the huge waves this morning?” It’s a term everyone can use.
  2. “Gnarley”- Gnarley is a word that is very commonly used by surfers to call something cool or awesome. “Dude, that movie was so gnarley.” It’s a term that has been handed down, crossing from one generation to the next, but is still commonly used today.
  3. “Taco Shop”- When someone asks you if you have tried taco shop, they are not referring to one specific restaurant, but rather any of the drive-thru Mexican restaurants. Everyone has their favorite taco shop of course, but the name itself does not matter.
  4. “SD, PB, OB, IB, exc.”- It is common in San Diego make the name of a town an acronym. For instance, Pacific Beach is referred to as “PB” and Ocean Beach is known as “OB.” You will get used to hearing these terms used, and not need to ask every time what they mean.
  5. “Chill”- Chill literally means “cold.” However, to San Diegans, it means to visit with friends and family and relax in the beautiful Southern California weather, since it is never really cold here.

So when you decide to come to San Diego, remember to take it easy, relax and embrace the beauty of the culture. Who knows? Maybe after a few months here, you will be saying to your friend, “Dude, lets grab some taco shop, go down to PB and chill at the beach watching the gnarley waves.”

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