If you want to make Australia your home, it helps to gain some perspective and understanding of the Australian way of life as it will open up a whole world of exciting new possibilities and experiences.
Once you’ve adjusted to your new environment and understand why things are the way they are, you probably won’t be disappointed.
Read on, because getting by in Australia is much more than knowing how to deal with spiders, understand the traffic rules and love vegemite.
Although English is the official language of Australia, more than 300 languages are spoken throughout the country. This includes Mandarin, Italian, Arabic and Greek. You may also hear Aboriginal influences through words like boomerang and kangaroo.
Australians have their own unique slang and expressions. If you want to sound like an Aussie, get familiar with words like g’day (hello), ‘dude’ (man), and barbie (barbecue). You may also encounter some odd phrases and rhyming slang, where part of a sentence is removed and replaced with a word that rhymes. For example, “Captain Cook” means watch and “Bag of fruit” means a pack.
Sport is a huge part of the Australian way of life and a national fixation! Cricket, Australian Rules Football (AFL), Rugby League, Rugby Union, soccer, swimming, basketball and horse racing are among the most popular and enjoy high levels of participation on the ground or via broadcast.
Nearly every Australian suburb and city has top-class sporting facilities to enable people of all ages and abilities to be physically active and to strengthen social connections. Weekends are usually spent with a ‘Barbie’ in the backyard, playing cricket or Aussie Rules Footy with family and friends, where a cold beer is often a must.
Australia has a rich history of hosting major international sporting events and world championships. There is never a shortage of events on the sports calendar with AFL, Melbourne Cup, Australian Tennis Open, Formula One Grand Prix and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race to keep sports fans happy.
Aussies are generally casual and relaxed and don’t particularly like formal greetings. When Australians first meet, Australians generally shake hands, smile and introduce themselves by their first names. They love their laid-back lifestyle and take their time with family and friends very seriously. Picnics, family barbecues, parties, days at the beach and gatherings in the park are all essential to the Australian way of life.
Giving and exchanging gifts with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues on birthdays and Christmas is common. If you’ve been invited to someone’s home for a meal, it’s polite to bring a bottle of wine or a box of chocolates to the hosts. Be on time as it is rude if you are more than 15 minutes late. If your delay is unavoidable, please contact and inform your host in advance.
Australia generally has a temperate climate with most of the country receiving more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. There are four seasons in most of the country and a wet and dry season in the tropical north. Mild winters and warm to hot summers attract most people to Australia, especially those hoping to escape the scorching heat, high humidity, dry winters and unhealthy air quality.
Download your favorite weather app and use it to determine what to wear and take with you. In some Australian cities, you can experience four seasons in a day, so it always helps to be prepared. A nice sunny day can quickly turn into a cold, wet day, so wearing an umbrella, sunglasses, hat and layering is a proven way to maximize your comfort outdoors.