Culture Shock When Moving To Australia

Culture shock. Australia is a unique country with a unique culture. The culture shocks you can experience can vary in degree but all make up the incredible experience that is living and studying in Australia. If you are an international student who has chosen Australia as your country to live and study abroad, you will find yourself immersed in the quintessential and quirky Aussie culture and lifestyle which we’re sure you’ll fall in love with very quickly.

Moving Abroad For Study

Moving to study abroad is such an exciting opportunity and a real adventure. As an international student living in another country, it offers a unique insight into that country’s culture and make-up, as you are doing more than just visiting and travelling, you are fully immersing yourself in society and contributing through work and study. We would highly recommend jumping at the chance if it ever becomes available to you. 

Australia is a popular destination for international students, and can you blame them! From incredible nature and landscapes to a bustling and lively culture, this country really does have a lot to offer, especially to a young person. One thing you’ll notice as soon as you get to Australia is the many colloquialisms and cultural practices we have, and although may not seem super prominent, are definitely a part of everyday Aussie life.

Check out some of the most notable culture shocks when moving to Aus.

1. Our Famous and Infamous Wildlife

This is probably our number 1 culture shock, and the most talked-about… Something us Aussies are famous for around the world is the fact that we happily live among some of the dangerous and most poisonous animals in the world. No matter where you live in the country, you’re bound to share the region with the deadliest something or other, whether it be a small jellyfish that is invisible, or a spider that burrows and thrives in suburban backyards or a snake that lives among bushes where you can walk your dog. With all the different types of dangerous animals you must be thinking how does anyone live in Australia safely? Well the truth is, it’s highly unlikely you will ever encounter one of our deadliest animals or wildlife, actually the chances are slim to none. However, Australia is home to some amazing and unique wildlife that you might just spot during your time here. Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats, Possums, beautiful native birds and the list goes on!

2. Climate (A Hot Christmas)

Australia does have an interesting and unique climate. While the country is known for its heat waves and beach days, we do have some snow too! Depending where you’re coming from, the southern hemisphere climate can be a major culture shock. For example, an Aussie Christmas is a hot and humid one, very different to our friends in the northern hemisphere that cosy up by a fire and drink hot chocolate at Christmas time – in Australia we try to cool off at the beach, by the pool or in air conditioning.

3. Swearing, Aussie Slang and Shortening of Words

Aussies are well-known for their own unique language, full of quirky slang words that mean entirely different things to what you may think. This can be a huge culture shock when moving to Australia, but it’s something you’ll get used to quickly. For example, “thongs” in Australia mean “flip flops” or “sandals” as other countries may call them. Aussies also love shortening words, as we tend to speak quite fast so obviously need to shorten words we deem to be unnecessarily long. Some common ones are “arvo” instead of afternoon, “servo” instead of service station, “bottl-o” instead of bottle or liquor store. For many Aussies, swearing is a part of their language. It is important to mention that swearing for Australians is usually not meant as an insult. Casual swearing really is ingrained in how Aussies speak and has become a colloquial way to express various situations and feelings. 

4. Drinking Culture

Consuming alcohol has long been ingrained in Australian society and culture. Now that’s not to say absolutely every Aussie is a binge drinker, or if you’re not a drinker you can’t do anything social in Australia – you’ll just notice that it plays a big part in social culture, especially for young people. Catching up with mates for drinks at a backyard BBQ, meeting at the pub or having beers by the beach are all very common social activities.

5. Coffee Culture

Australians will claim that we have the best barista made coffee in the world, and it’s somewhat true. We’ve become pretty snobby with coffee because of how good it is, particularly in cities like Melbourne and Sydney. We’re sure you’ll notice the difference compared to the coffee you drink back home and no doubt you’ll become a coffee enthusiast.

6. Sport Enthusiasm

Aussies live and breathe their sport. Depending on what city, state or territory you move to, you’ll definitely become aware of the local AFL, NRL or Soccer team. We also love our Tennis, Netball, Basketball, and our Olympians. It is safe to say though, our national sport is Cricket.

So whatever your experience is like when you live in Australia we’re pretty sure you’ll come across at least one of the cultural practices at some point.

Read about what makes the Australian University experience different from any Other here.