So you’ve decided to study and work in Australia, aye? Well, congratulations! You’ve chosen wisely. Australia is arguably (in our biased opinion) one of the most welcoming, friendly and hospitable places in the world! However, it can be daunting to navigate the cultural barriers that exist when moving to a foreign country, so it is worthwhile knowing the ins and outs of ‘how we do things around here’. Here at Premium Graduates we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks that will go a long way in helping you out!
Australia is the 6th largest country in the world, but is the 9th least densely populated. Needlessly to say, Australians like to have a relatively large ‘circle of personal space’. Usually, it is considered rude to brush up against someone unless absolutely necessary, say for instance on crowded buses or trains. Being extremely close to people when speaking to them also makes them feel uncomfortable, so keep this in mind when having a conversation with someone!
Not only do Australians drive on the left-hand side of the road, but this extends to pretty much anything and everything. Walking up the stairs? Stay on the left. Walking down a footpath? Stay on the left. It is just simply a matter of courtesy to ensure that people have enough space to get by. STAY. LEFT.
Australians are a very relaxed and down to earth people. They are constantly mindful of not giving the impression that they’re better than anyone else, and value sincerity, honesty and humility in people. They don’t draw attention to their own successes, and loathe people who boast or give the impression that they’re superior. Most of all, Australians LOVE humour; they’re known to be some of the funniest people in the world. Don’t be afraid to make a joke in conversations, they’ll love you for it!
Australians aren’t the most formal people in the world, and thus, greetings are mostly casual and relaxed. Start a meeting by simply greeting them with a ‘hello’, a handshake, and a smile. And another thing; don’t say G’day. You may have good intentions when you say this, but coming from a foreigner this may come across as patronising. Avoid topics of race, religion and politics when having conversations. Instead, try talking about the crazy weather that Australia experiences, or better yet, sports (Australians LOVE their sports).
Queues. They’re massive in Australia. Don’t push in line or jump the queue at a bar, at a cashier or a service desk. It’ll make the people around you agitated. Don’t do it.
Australians are BIG on hygiene. Make sure that if you are coughing or sneezing, use a disposable tissue. If there aren’t any available, cough or sneeze into your elbow. Spitting in public places is also frowned upon…
When dining, table manners in Australia are very important. Table manners in Australia are continental, meaning eating with a knife and fork; fork in the left hand, knife in the right. Be sure to finish your meal, as leaving food on the plate may be considered impolite.
Most importantly, make sure to always use your manners in your day-to-day; saying ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘excuse me’, as Australians value your politeness. Don’t click your fingers, whistle or shout at, for instance, service staff to get their attention, as this is seen to be highly inappropriate.
Depending on where you are from, each culture has a different relationship with time. Australians have a linear relationship with time is measured by the clock. It is important that, particularly in business settings, you arrive either on time or a few minutes early. In more casual settings however, especially when invited to someone’s home, it’s best not to arrive exactly on time.
Premium Graduates is a Recruitment and Training Organisation dedicated to increasing the skills and overall employability of students and graduates nation-wide. We do a range of 3 month Internship Placements – anywhere from Business to Engineering and the in between. Now that you’ve received some tips on settling in, take the next step and find out Progessional Internship Program how we can help you commence and achieve your career dreams.