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Cultural Quirks And Taboos To Know About Australia
05 April 2023
Written by Y Suites

Embarking on an overseas study adventure to Australia can be an exhilarating experience that inspires you to embrace your true self. However, while we encourage this, respecting the customs and traditions of every country you visit and reside in is crucial. As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” which holds true for living in Australia, your new host country.

Fortunately, Australia is a rather tolerant and inclusive nation that welcomes new visitors, tourists, and international students. Nevertheless, Australia has several taboos that you must avoid, particularly those related to its stunning wildlife and rich cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years.

Here are some taboos you must avoid when living in Australia:

1. Respect the Indigenous Culture

Australia’s indigenous culture is the oldest living culture in the world, and it is essential to exercise cultural respect towards their customs and traditions. This means avoiding derogatory language or jokes about indigenous Australians and understanding their sacred sites and artefacts. Many universities offer indigenous studies courses, an excellent way to learn about their culture.

2. Avoid Being Too Formal

One of the most significant early culture shock experiences for international students studying in Australia is the absence of titles when addressing seniors. In many countries, referring to elders and seniors by their titles is customary, but this practice is not typically observed in Australia. Initially, students may address their lecturers and professors by their titles, but it is common for them to ask to be called by their first names eventually. It is recommended that students adopt this approach from the outset and not feel awkward about it, especially since there is no need to seek permission before addressing someone by their first name.

3. The Learning Culture

Australia’s educational culture differs from other parts of the world in several ways. The general expectation is that students should think independently, which fosters critical and creative thinking. Furthermore, the assessment methods used are also distinct, placing more emphasis on assignments rather than exams or group projects.

In addition, plagiarism policies in Australia are very stringent, leading to a strong focus on proper referencing. So, if you’re a prospective international student who finds this learning culture challenging to adapt to, fret not. Many of the universities in Australia offer valuable services to support students in their academic pursuits, including learning and writing centres. These centres can assist students with various tasks, from developing initial ideas to completing final revisions and everything in between.

4. Do Not Pat a Koala 

While getting up close and personal with the adorable bears in Australia may be tempting, it is important to resist the urge to pat or cuddle with them. Despite their cuddly appearance, you need to remember that these are wild animals and can be dangerous to handle unless you are a wildlife expert. Attempting to do so can lead to legal repercussions, offend locals, and result in scratches or injuries. It is best to enjoy these bears from a safe distance and take pictures to capture the memory of their cuteness.

5. Shortening of Words

The Australian culture tends to shorten words, such as “Aussie” instead of “Australia,” “Maccas” instead of “McDonald’s,” “arvo” instead of “afternoon,” and “barbie” instead of “barbeque,” among many others. While this linguistic quirk may initially confuse many international students, you can quickly learn these acronyms through daily interactions with Aussies and integrate them into your vocabulary.

Who knows? One day, you may unconsciously adopt the local slang and refer to your friends as “mates.”

Begin Your Study Abroad Adventure with Y Suites 

Ready to embark on your study abroad adventure in Australia? Knowing the unique cultural quirks and taboos of living in this diverse and welcoming country is important. By respecting local customs and traditions, international students can enjoy a fulfilling experience while pursuing their dream degree down under.

Don’t worry, navigating Aussie culture is easier than you might think! From using slang words like ‘arvo’ for ‘afternoon’ to referring to everyone as ‘mate’, you’ll soon find yourself fitting right in. And if you’re looking for affordable student apartments near your university of choice, Y Suites has you covered. With locations in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide. Living with other students in the same building also provides a great opportunity to learn more about Aussie culture and make lifelong friends.

So pack your bags, grab your textbooks, and get ready for an unforgettable study abroad experience in Australia!

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