Whether you’re planning a move to Australia for your international education journey or you have arrived recently and are still trying to get your head around everything, we have you covered. When you think of Australia, furry native animals, sport and beer might come to mind. But there’s so much more than that to make Australia the rich, diverse country it is. We have put together the 9 top things you need to know about Australian culture, so let’s jump in.
1. Australians main values support equal rights and equal opportunity
Aussie’s are known for being open-hearted and open-minded and think that everyone has the right to get a fair go. This can be seen in universal support of publicly funded health care and education systems. Australia is not as socially hierarchical as England and is very multicultural, with most of the world’s religions practiced here. The Australian culture is a unique blend of its own that can’t really be compared to anywhere else.
2. Australia’s Indigenous people are the oldest living civilization on earth
Australia is home to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have inhabited the content for 60,000 years. The key elements of Aboriginal culture include a special connection to the land and the commitment to family and community. The rights of different Aboriginal groups to live and manage in certain areas of land are recorded through art, stories, song and dance.
3. Australians speak a unique strain of English
The national language of Australia is English and the majority of people speak it, but it might not be English that you have heard before. Australian slang can be difficult for foreigners to understand, with many words abbreviated. Even your own name might not be safe, when Australian’s feel comfortable with you they may give you a nick-name which may be a slightly altered version of your name. If you want to understand some common Aussie slang, check out our blog here.
4. Australians love to drink
Enjoying an alcoholic beverage after a day at work, on the weekend, with a friend, with family or for any excuse really, is a big Australian past-time. According to the World Health Organisation, Australia ranks third in the most alcohol consumed per capita each year. With great breweries in each city and great wineries dotting the countryside, it’s no wonder this is an Aussie’s favourite pastime. It is common to clink glasses with your drinking partner and say “Cheers!” before taking the first sip.
5. Australians also love to eat
Because of Australia’s multiculturalism, you will find many different cuisines there. Migrants have immigrated to Australia from all over the world, bringing with them their culinary delights. You can find everything from burgers to fish and chips, Greek tavernas and outdoor food markets, Chinese, Thai and Japanese take away as well as great Turkish, Mexican and Indian restaurants. Australia has plenty of fresh produce all year long because of its tropical climate so you can find lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to prepare healthy meals at home.
6. Lot's of Australians are passionate about sport
Australian’s can be very passionate about sport and tend to back teams that are local to where you live or grew up. Some of the most popular sports in Australia include Rugby League, AFL, Tennis, Cricket and Motor Sport Racing. Attend a game live to soak up the true atmosphere and attend big events such as the Australian Open, a big Tennis tournament that occurs in the last two weeks of January every year in Melbourne or the Grand Prix motor race also held annually.
7. Australian beaches are beautiful
Australia is known for its beautiful beaches and with 85% of Australia living within 50km of the coastline, Aussies are self-proclaimed beach bums. Partake in the beach lifestyle and head to one of the thousands of beautiful beaches on the weekend for a swim, a sunbake or even a spot of people watching.
8. Australia has many museums of historical importance
Learn more about Aboriginal and Australian culture at one of the many great Australian museums. Study the cultural, scientific, artistic and historical aspects of Australia with a coffee in hand. With many of the national museums architecturally designed, this is a nice way to spend your afternoon and weekend, while gaining a better understanding of Australia’s history and achievements. Check out a full list of some of the best museums in the country here.
9. Australia has a bubbling art scene
Australians are very creative, with our very early settlers writing plays, folk ballads and painting. Aboriginal art is also very admired and desired, centered on the art of story-telling. It is used as a chronicle to convey knowledge of the land, events and beliefs of the Aboriginal people. The Australian government supports its arts scene with specialist grants that have seen a boom in young and fun artistic pursuits including Sydney’s Art and About, Vivid Sydney, Brisbane Street Arts Festival and more. Keep an eye on Facebook’s “Events near you” to see what’s on - chances are there’s something of interest this weekend.
Australian’s love their beer, their sport and their native animals but there is so much more to this diverse country than meets the eye. We hope these 9 tips help prepare you for your Australian adventure or that you have learned something new about Australian culture. All the best with your international study journey!