Cultural considerations in Australia by:Bruce Haxton
Australia is one of the most popular destinations for travellers and it's easy to see why. Bustling and cosmopolitan cities, unspoilt wilderness, secluded islands and more adrenaline-packed adventures than you can shake your rucksack at! And the locals are an added bonus; Australia is home to some of the friendliest inhabitants on the planet.
While the Australian culture appears to be Western in many ways, this doesn't always mean that things will be exactly the way they are at home. Here's a quick guide to living as a local down-under to with a good few tips that will help you stay in the locals' good books! It's also not a bad idea to get your hands on a guide book such as a Lonely Planet book before you go, which will be likely to become your well-thumbed in-country 'bible'.
The local jargon
Almost anything seems to be "no worries" to Australians. This laid back attitude induces a generally relaxed lifestyle, so if you're used to living life in the fast lane, take a step back and go with the flow. The best way to adapt to local life in Australia is by setting your clock to the local pace. If something doesn't get done in time and it's no worries there, so try to chill out a little, it needn't be a concern for you.
Give it a fair go
The belief in giving everything a "fair go" is important to Australians and this balanced viewpoint is echoed in a society which aims to offer everyone an equal chance. Equality forms a big part of the culture down under. Any kind of discrimination or a judgemental attitude cause ripples down under, so if you have an opinion about a contentious issue then it's wise to keep it to yourself. Remember - you're a visitor so you should respect your host country's culture and custom.
A different way of saying hello
Australians are renowned for their friendliness and you'll often be greeted with an informal "G'day" or "G'day mate". It might seem strange but it's the Aussie way of saying a casual "hello"! You'll find most Australians prefer to use first names, even at an initial meeting. Also bear in mind that if you're not a very modest person try and be sensitive to the fact that modesty is very important to Australians, so being a boastful rabbit won't get you far!
Be a good sport
We all know that the Aussies are fond of their sports, Australian residents are very proud of their home teams, so overly brandishing your home country's team to the locals probably isn't a good idea. Cricket is Australia's national sport, they also favour more aggressive contact sports such as rugby league and football.
Pride or a fall
It's a big "no no" for Australian residents to believe that another country is superior in any shape or form. Anyone who thinks this is considered to devalue the country's pride and will be frowned upon so no matter how much you love home, try not to crow too loudly about it!
A chance to experience some real outback culture
If you want a real taste of authentic Australian culture then a spending a year working with the locals might be right up your street! Meaningful travel company i-to-i has recently launched a new working holiday in Australia that does with all of the paper work, give travellers access to a 12 month visa and offers a week learn how to be a real ranch-hand! Get a bit more info here http://www.i-to-i.com/volunteer-projects/australia-working-holiday-and-outback-ranch-stay.html
About the author
I'm totally passionate about travel, it's been my life and work for a good few years! My travel adventures haven't really been about seeing monuments etc but far more about people and getting off the beaten track. I would like to share my many experiences and offer a little advice if I can to fellow travellers or anyone who is just about to set off on a life changing trip!