6 Ways Australia is Different From the U.S.

Katelyn Robinson is a student at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA Internships in Sydney, Australia.

Before I came to Sydney, Australia, I expected the city to be just like New York.  Growing up in New Jersey, I have made many trips into NYC before, so I felt confident that Sydney would be extremely similar.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely many similarities between the US and Australia, but I wanted to focus on the things that really brought a sense of culture shock to me.

1. The Aussies Love Their Abbreviations.

Arvo, Avo, Brekkie, Chuck a Sickie, Fortnight, Mate, Cuppa, Maccas etc. The list goes on and on of all the interesting lingo Australians commonly use in their sentences. Trust me, the first time I heard these words I was taken back by how hard it was to follow along.  They may speak English but some of the abbreviations they use are just like a foreign language to me.The

2. Internet Connection in Australia is Terrible.

Moving into my apartment I was so excited to get connected to my life at home until I heard my apartment did not come with limitless free Wi-Fi like many places do back home. After 8 days of living in Sydney, I had completely used up all 10GB of my Wi-Fi and was stuck trying to find spots on campus or downtown to connect.

3. Australians Drive on the Left Side of the Road.

This one is usually commonly known and isn’t too strange. However, it isn’t until you experience being in a car on the opposite side of the road that you notice all the differences. The first time my friends and I called an Uber, we opened the driver’s door thinking that it was the passenger seat.

4. Australians Have Their Own Dollar.

The Australian dollar is colorful and they have 1 and two dollar coins. Now in Australia instead of inserting your credit card, you can tap it.

5. Imagine Working Monday Through Thursday.

Australians value the leisure aspects of their lives. They have the 8-8-8 rule which is 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of play and 8 hours of work.   Because of their love of living life in the moment and stressing as little as possible, they only work Monday through Thursday.  Therefore, my internship and classes are 4 days a week with three day weekends.

6. The Random Differences.

Australians don’t use ice. I love a cold ice water when I am out to dinner but unfortunately you get room temperature water instead.  Also, you cannot split checks when out to dinner. However, Australia has Tim-Tams which are amazing chocolate cookies that I will miss dearly back in the US.

7. Sydney is Very Expensive.

A typical small coffee will be 4 dollars. My friends and I went to a restaurant where a BLT was 26 dollars.  Our laundry in our apartment costs 4 dollars to wash per load and 4 dollars to dry per load as well.  The reason everything is so much more expensive is because the minimum wage people can earn is so much higher than in the United States.  Waitresses have a salary which is also why you don’t tip at restaurants.

Overall, I have absolutely loved my time here in Australia.  It has been so exciting learning about the differences between Australia and the United States.  This learning has allowed me to appreciate home more, while also wanting to bring what I have learned about Australian culture back home with me.

The world awaits…..discover it!

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