Culture And Lifestyle of Australia (You will love it)
Australians are generally laid-back, open and direct. They say what they mean and are generally more individual and outgoing than many other cultures. Today Australia defines itself by its innovative ideas, Aboriginal heritage, a thriving arts scene and vibrant mix of cultures.
Some key values that reflect the Australian way of life include:
- Equality regardless of sex, marital status, religion, nationality, disability or sexual preference
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of religion
- A ‘fair go’ (equal opportunity) for all and support for the underdog.
In Australia, segregation between people of different incomes or backgrounds does not exist and everyone is free to live where they like, attend university and follow whichever religion and occupation they choose. Put differently, Australia is an egalitarian society and there are no formal class distinctions.
Men and women
In Australia, men and women are treated equally. 50% of the workforce constitutes women – and mostly continue with their jobs even after their marriage. Women are also free to breastfeed in public.
People in Australia generally do not have servants, and men and women together accomplish their daily household chores.
Australian Society & Culture
- Australians prefer humble, modest, self-depreciating people with a sense of humor
- They often play down their own success, which may make them appear not to be achievement-oriented.
- Australians are very down to earth and always mindful of not giving the impression that they think they are better than anyone else.
- They prefer not to lay emphasis on their academic or other achievements and tend to distrust people who do.
- They value sincerity, authenticity and loathe pretentiousness.
Australian Etiquette & Customs
- While an Australian may say, ‘G’day’ or ‘G’day, mate’, this may sound patronizing from a foreigner.
- Even at the first meeting, Aussies will call you by your first name.
- Australians are not very formal so greetings are casual and relaxed.
- Visitors should simply say, ‘Hello’ or ‘Hello, how are you?’
- A handshake and smile suffices.
Gift Giving Etiquette
- If invited to someone’s home for dinner, it is polite to bring flowers and a box of chocolates to the hostess. A good quality bottle of wine is always appreciated.
- You may offer a bottle of wine, a six-pack of beer or a small amount of cash to trades people.
- Gifts are opened when received.
- On the occasion of birthdays and Christmas, small gifts are commonly exchanged with close friends, neighbours and family members.
Many invitations to an Aussies home will be for a ‘barbie’ (BBQ).
- Guests to a barbeque typically bring beer or wine for their personal consumption. In some cases, very informal barbecues may suggest that you bring your own meat!
- Contact the hostess ahead of time to see if she would like you to bring a dish.
- Arrive on time if invited to dinner; no more than 15 minutes late if invited to a barbeque or a large party.
- Watch your table manners!
- Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served.
- If you have finished eating, you can indicate it by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate with the handles facing to right.
- Table manners are Continental — hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating.
- Keep your elbows off the table and your hands above the table when eating
Relationships & Communication
- Australians are very direct in the way they communicate.
- Aussies often use colorful language that would be unthinkable in other countries.
- There is often an element of humour, often self-deprecating, in their speech.
- The Australian sense of irony may be difficult for you to grasp at first but you’ll get used to it. They often use humour and are considered to be quite sarcastic. You might also get confused with the Australian accent and use of ‘slang’, but if there is ever anything you don’t understand, just ask.