Top 10 American Slang Terms To Teach Your Exchange Student

We use it every day, often without even noticing! Slang is an integral part of everyday English and is a great way to help your exchange student level up in their language skills. But be sure to clarify with your exchange student that these expressions are most common in informal conversation, not in writing-- or their English teacher might be shook (see #4)! 

 Slang is unique in all languages because it is constantly changing. The slang that my grandparents used is completely different from the slang my friends and I use today. To keep us all fresh, we focused on 2023’s most common slang. 

 Without further adieu, here are our Top 10 American Slang Terms to Teach Your Exchange Student (2023 edition!)

1.  Boujee 

Definition: (adjective) expensive, high-class, fancy, luxurious 

Example: The room we got at the Ritz-Carlton was so boujee. 

fancy car

2.  Extra 

Definition: (adjective) requiring a lot of attention, over the top, dramatic, too much

Example: My mom is so extra when ordering food at restaurants– she always asks for substitutions and changes!!

woman with ta-da pose

3.  Salty 

Definition: (adjective) annoyed or upset, often when there is no reason to be

Example: I’m so salty she didn’t call me. 

teen girl with argumentative face

4.  Shook 

Definition: (adjective) shocked, surprised 

Example: The Oscar winners left me shook!

teen boy with surprised look

5.  Woke 

Definition: (adjective) socially conscious, culturally aware  

Example: I’m reading a super woke book right now that my social studies teacher recommended. 

notebook with recycling list

6.  Cray/Cray Cray

Definition: (adjective) crazy, wild, out of control 

Example: Sorry I’m late, traffic this morning was cray cray. 

girl with crazy hair and look

7.  Rent-free

Definition: (adverb) to become an obsession, to dominate someone’s thoughts

Example: That song I heard last week has been living rent-free in my head. 

teen boy with hands to head

8.  Slay 

Definition: (adjective,verb) to do something really well, amazing, cool, great 

Example: Her outfit slayed. 

silhouhette of boy dunking basketball

9.  Gatekeep 

Definition: (verb) to keep something from others 

Example: My friend said he found a super cool coffee shop but he’s gatekeeping the name so it doesn’t get too crowded. 

girl making shhh sign

10.  Tea 

Definition: (noun) gossip 

Example: Spill the tea, what went down last night? 

two girls gossiping


Share these slang expressions with your exchange student and see what they think! Do they have similar slang in their native language? Are there any slang terms we’re forgetting? Comment below!


Tags: Cultural Exchange, cultural understanding

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