Australia is a natural wonder. They’ve got more kangaroos than people, over 10,000 beaches, and it’s the only continent in the world without an active volcano.
As a foreigner, it’s a good idea to learn as much about the culture before you visit. So, it’s a good thing there’s a place called Ask An Australian where you can go to ask locals for advice.
Even if you don’t have plans to visit, it’s still kind of cool to learn something new about one of the coolest continents on Earth.
If you are invited to a party or BBQ and are asked to ‘bring a plate’ it means bring some kind of food to share.
We use ‘How’s it going?’ or ‘How’re you going?’ as a greeting. I’ve heard that’s weird to some people because they think ‘How’s what going…and going where? Huh?’ The question doesn’t really need a detailed answer either, at least not in a work context or casual context.
Like, if the barista you’re getting your coffee from asks ‘How’s it going?’, just say ‘Alright, you?’ Don’t give them your life story. It’s different if it’s a close friend asking though.
And when they say not to bring anything, reduce the size and formality of what you take, but never take anything. The minimum would be a little box of lollies or maybe a four-pack of some sort of drink (doesn’t have to be alcoholic these days).
If they’re inviting you for a hot beverage, it’s ‘coffee’ — regardless of what you actually drink.
A lot of older people called dinner ‘tea’ — so if someone asks you over for tea, they mean a full meal.
The biggest one is that we’re overall a very urban population.
We swear a lot, like a lot, a lot. We casually drop the ‘c’ bomb into a conversation without even thinking about it.
Australians sometimes say ‘but’ to end a sentence and will be confused if you ask ‘but what?’
We walk on the left. Stand to the left of escalators.
Australians seem to naturally add inflection to the end of sentences. We’re not asking you a question, that’s just how we talk.
That Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. I think because of poor media representation, Australia is depicted as an overly white place when that’s really only the reality in small towns. Even in small towns, I always seem to find at least one Chinese family running a Chinese takeout.
We generally look down on boasting. That cheery, self-aggrandizing cataloging of one’s achievements and abilities that are meant to underline how great one is, which is encouraged in American society under the banner of ‘self-confidence’, is usually perceived here as ‘bragging’.
In general, it has the opposite effect from that intended by the bragger. We roll our eyes and our opinion of them goes down, not up.
Don’t get on a bus using the back door. I got yelled at my first week in Australia by the bus driver for that…even though I tapped on. I don’t get it, but whatever, I only enter from the front door now!
‘Yeah Nah = no and ‘Nah Yeah’ = yes.
We are a very informal nation. Almost everyone is addressed by their first name, even some teachers.
We give everybody nicknames. Few people get called by their actual given name. If someone gives you a nickname, it probably means they like you
It’s not that unusual to see someone walking around in public spaces such as a shopping center or city streets barefoot.
We don’t do patriotism like America. That level of flag-waving is deeply unsettling.
We don’t really do tipping much because we have labor laws that make sure people are paid properly by their employers.
Making small talk with the person at the register of a supermarket or shop is common and considered polite. Just keep it light and finish when they’re finished scanning or bagging.
An entrée is a starter, not the main course.
The fact that we’re hardly a religious nation, yet we get Good Friday and Easter Monday as public holidays. My in-laws are Catholic Americans and think this is so absurd due to the USA being far more religious — and they don’t get either as a holiday.
Asserting your religion is frowned upon. We don’t care about your invented fairytale bullshit. Keep that private.