| Nov 24, 2014
Now that you’ve made the decision to move to Australia, all you have to do is pack up your belongings, book your plane ticket, and enjoy the ride, right?
Well…yes and no. While much about life in Australia is similar to life in America (we both love Hugh Jackman and barbeque, for starters) there are some cultural differences you should be prepared for.
> Australia is a lot like Canada…with Better Weather: Although popular television and movies like to portray Australia as a rugged, beer-guzzling, crocodile-wrestling land, the truth is that it tends to be more refined and polite than America. Because of its British roots, the customs err more on the side of reserved friendliness (much like Canada) than in-your-face brashness. Expect to be kind and to be treated kindly in return.
> Vegemite is a Real Thing: Vegemite, kangaroo meat, Tim Tams…all these famous Australian foods do exist, but don’t expect all the cuisine here to be based around these few items. Because Australia is such a multicultural place, it’s actually one of the best places to try food from around the world. Don’t expect to find Mexican food or Chicago quality pizza, though. These are two trends that didn’t make it all the way across the ocean.
> Workplace Conditions are Better, but Everything Costs More: The jobs in Australia (even the minimum wage ones) tend to pay better, offer more benefits like vacation days and maternity leave, and you’ll even find universal health care here. However, all this comes at a price. As a general rule, life in Australia costs about 60 percent higher than life in the United States. Groceries, taxes, transportation, entertainment…all of it has a higher price tag. That’s why you’ll find so many families doing their entertaining at home.
> Go Green or Go Home: Australia is a very eco-conscious place. Blame it on the miles and miles of beaches, or attribute it to the blazing sun that contributes to a higher-than-average rate of skin cancer—people here care about the environment. You should experience a shift in the way you view public transportation, plan to reduce your amount of waste, and find more positive ways to interact with wildlife.
> You Probably Won’t Die from a Jellyfish Attack: Australia is famous for having the largest proportion of animals that can kill you in the entire world. Spiders, snakes, sharks, jellyfish, bats, and other various creatures do tend to be more poisonous and vicious here than they are elsewhere, but unless you’re trying to encounter these animals on a daily basis, you probably won’t be killed by them.
> Australia is Very Big (and Very Empty): The continental United States and Australia share almost the same amount of overall land, but Australia has about 15 percent of the population that America has. As you can imagine, this leaves a whole lot of empty space. For the most part, this space is in the interior of the continent, where the temperatures are high, dry, and dangerous. If you stick to the larger, coastal cities, you’ll find a typical urban environment.
Like any new part of the world worth getting to know, Australia is a unique and diverse place. As long as you make your trip prepared to encounter core cultural differences, you should be fine finding a way to fit in.