It’s been a month now since I moved to Australia on exchange, and these are my first impressions of Australia as a Canadian studying abroad.
I talk about the biggest changes that I've had to make while down under and some of the most noticeable differences between Canada and Australia.
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Despite all of the changes that I’ve made, I absolutely love my life in Australia so far. Becoming immersed in all of these differences between countries has already taught me a lot and has made me a more open-minded person. You should embrace change and look to push your comfort zone. By seeking the positive aspects of the inevitable changes that occur around you, you’ll be able to constantly learn and will live a happier life.
My first impressions of Australia:
1. Australians are friendly and hospitable
2. Nearly everything in Australia is opposite from how it is in Canada
3. There’s a big language barrier between Canada and Australia (even if we both speak English)
What do you think some of the differences are between your home country and Australia? Do you think that I missed something with my first impression? Let me know in the comments!
There have been three things about life in Australia that have really stood out to me during my time here so far. One part of Australian life that I found out as a pleasant surprise is that Australians are generally very friendly and hospitable (but this might just be because I’m a foreigner).
I was expecting the people in Canada to be nicer since we have that overly friendly and polite reputation, but since moving overseas to Melbourne I’ve found a good group of friends who are always willing to help out by spotting a drink at the bar or offering up a ride when someone else is in need. Even strangers on a street corner who I’ve asked for directions or general info have been very open and are seemingly always happy to help someone else out.
Something else that I’ve noticed about life down under that is very different from Canada is that almost everything in Australia is done opposite of how I’m used to back home.
People here measure weight in kilograms and not pounds, which initially had me pretty confused when I went to the gym or tried to buy meat from the grocery store. Also Australians walk and drive on the left side of the sidewalk or road. Not knowing this, I was still walking on the right for my first few days and accidentally bumped into a few people around my campus.
One of the other day to day differences that I can think of is that the light switches are turn on and off in the opposite direction in Australia, and power outlets have switches attached to them. Obviously this isn’t that big of a difference, but having to adjust to all of these small things at once ends up becoming a big change in your everyday life.
Arguably the largest and most well-known difference between Australia and North America is the language barrier. I know that Australians and Canadians both speak English but sometimes it can seem like we’re using two different languages with all of the slang that’s used here.
I initially had a difficult time understanding everything that was being said on the radio during my first week in Melbourne, and will still on occasion have to interpret the meaning to a word or two in a sentence during a conversation.
Just to give you a few examples, here is just a little bit of the Australian slang that I’ve come across so far:
Arvo – afternoon
Reckon – to believe
Bin – garbage can
Mate – friend
Jumpa – sweater
Trackies – sweat pants
Cupa – cup of coffee or tea
Thongs – flip flops
Tomato sauce – ketchup
Tradie – tradesman
Slab – 24 pack of beer
Root – f*ck
These are just a few of a whole bunch of words that I’ve heard and am still getting used to hearing and using in daily conversations. As you could have guessed, it can get confusing and things do get misinterpreted from time to time.
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