Australia is a wonderful place. Though it’s sometimes portrayed as a one-note desert with a couple of shabby towns sprinkled about, there are a variety of locations and people to learn about before moving there.
Here are 10 important tips and methods to help you navigate the culture, people, and country itself to help you gain a handle on the Australian way of life.
Their senses of humor are vastly different.
A country’s sense of humor is one of its culture’s most surprisingly significant components. Because Australia began as a British colony, many British ideals have been transmitted across the oceans.
A simplified comparison of American and British humor would reveal a conflict between American optimism and British cynicism. Australian humor is a weird combination of the two, solidly on the British side but with a signature air of “no worries” that reflects American optimism. For example, a great Australian comedy called “The Castle” wonderfully embodies Aussie humor.
There is a great deal of slang – Things You Should Know Before Moving to Australia
You know how each state in America has its own set of slang? Well, Australia has many (there’s another spelling for you.)
Many of them may be determined from logic and context, such as a mozzie being a mosquito and a barbie being a BBQ. Some of them, on the other hand, sound really ridiculous. A “googie” is an egg, “chucking a wobbly” is a tantrum, and don’t be offended if you’re called “a seppo.” It’s simply Australian slang for “an American.”
A lot of the terminology is about different Australian foods. You’ll need to memorize a slew of new brand and snack names.
It is about the size of the United States.
Australia and the continental United States are both enormous. Australia is the world’s sixth largest country, whereas the United States is third. When Alaska is removed from the equation, the continental US covers 8 million km2 (3 million sq mi), with Australia close following at 7.7 million km2 (2.9 million sq mi.)
Keep this in mind if you are moving to or visiting Australia. There are horrific stories about people going to Australia, thinking it’s a small island, and planning to drive from coast to coast. This is roughly similar to driving from Los Angeles to New York City.
With fewer than 10% of the US population
The United States has a population of approximately 330 million people. Australia has a population of approximately 25 million people. This is a fairly modest fraction for countries with similar landmasses. This is because the majority of Australia’s population is located along the country’s beaches.
If you image a cross-section of a cake, the entire exterior frosting represents the majority of Australia’s population. The interior of the cake is like the interior of the country: dry and devoid of people. This makes a cross-country journey even less appealing, as there are fewer towns and settlements to pass through. If you become stuck in the middle of nowhere, you could be stuck for hundreds of miles in any direction.
Not everything is out to kill you. Only a few
Possibly the most common misconception about Australia is that it is home to hundreds of thousands of terrible animals whose primary purpose is to poison and eat you. This is not true, as evidenced by the fact that people still live in Australia – relatively few Australians live the life of an outback explorer. There are many deadly and venomous animals, ranging from snakes to spiders, however the traditions surrounding these mythical critters can be exaggerated.
Living in the suburbs may expose you to a few large bugs on occasion – shaking out your shoes before putting them on is always a good idea – but nighttime insect-reptile sieges are not usual, especially in highly crowded urban areas. Just be cautious not to allow your children or dogs wander too far into the wilderness, and be especially cautious around thick grass. We must, however, warn you about the infamous drop bears.
The weather varies, yet it is never too chilly.
It’s understandable to believe that Australia is a hot desert where your only hope of survival is to be near a shady oasis due to some, shall we say, narrow-minded representation in pop culture, as well as our previous two statements. As we stated in our opening, this is not entirely factual.
Thirty percent of the country is classed as desert, with the remaining forty percent classified as “arid” or “semi-arid.” This may appear to be a large amount, but the remaining 30% of a 7.7 million km2 (3 million sq mi) continent is still more than 2 million km2 (770,000 sq mi) of rainy tropics and snowy peaks. Yes, it does snow in Australia!
They drive on the left side of the road – Things You Should Know Before Moving to Australia
It’s a great simple one, but it’s easy to overlook. Driving on the left side of the road is required by Australian law. It would be lovely if the world could reach an agreement on this, but if humans are good at anything, it’s being stubborn.
If you’ve ever wondered why Australia drives on the left, the solution is actually rather fascinating. Because Australia was founded as a British colony, many of its laws were influenced by the British. When roads became more frequent in the United Kingdom, you never knew who you’d run into. This is why you wanted your right hand (your sword hand) to be free and accessible, which is why you drove (or, more precisely, rode your horse) on the left.
There is no culture-imposed religion – Things You Should Know Before Moving to Australia
You will be under no compulsion to conform to any religion, regardless of your faith. Because Australia is a cultural melting pot, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice whatever you desire, especially in larger cities.
However, there is a huge majority, as the church accounts for roughly half of all religion in Australia. In the larger cities, however, all major religions are represented. Because Australia is primarily made up of immigrants, it is exceptionally tolerant of all lifestyles.
Tipping is a very different story – Things You Should Know Before Moving to Australia
This is a major cultural difference between the United States and Australia. Tipping everyone for everything is a common American adage. Waiters, taxi drivers, and bellboys all collect tips! Tips, on the other hand, are a pleasant little cherry on top in Australia, intended to reward truly exceptional service.
Don’t worry – workers in the service business are regarded and compensated well enough to live on their earnings alone, so a tip is simply a nice little extra, not something designed to compensate for a low paycheque (paycheck!).
The 26th of January is Australia Day Things You Should Know Before Moving to Australia
January 26th is a day dedicated to commemorating Australian pride. It is written by Australians as 26/01, with the day preceding the month. It commemorates the arrival of the first British ships in Australia and is frequently celebrated in the same way that Americans celebrate the Fourth of July – with fireworks, barbecues, and pleasant warm weather (what a nice coincidence that Australia Day and Independence Day are smack dab in the middle of their respective summers.)
But it’s not all sunshine and kangaroos – we compared it to the Fourth of July, but Australia Day is also the country’s equal to Columbus Day. While others see it as a source of pride, indigenous groups see it as a celebration of cultural devastation, dubbing it “Invasion Day” or “Day of Mourning.” In any case, if you live in Australia, you should be aware of this day.