Why would one need a culture guide to studying abroad in Australia?
Australia is a continent nation known for its beauty and diversity. With an all-embracing cultural set-up, Australia has become a welcome home for immigrants from all over the world. Local Australian cultural values have their roots in 18th-century British colonisation. The population is a well-divided mixture of various religions. The motive of increasing social cohesion in this diversity and an acceptance of cultural pluralism has led to a strong support for every community and its values.
In the social context, Australians are regarded as unpretentiousness and have authenticity as one of their core values. Business and social etiquettes in Australia encourage open-mindedness for everyone’s ideas. Canadians emphasize on maintaining relationships and prefer informal bonding. Freedom and equality are the ideals that underscore the Australian society for all its inhabitants.
As an international student, it is quintessential for you to explore and understand the cultural ethics of your destination country. It will help you navigate and adjust properly in the society. An awareness of the country’s social values will also help you attain a sense of personal security and also belongingness. Effective communication is a perk that results from this awareness.
Here is a brief culture guide to studying abroad in Australia.
(Not really interested in Australia? You might find the guide to Canada more helpful.)
Culture Guide to Studying Abroad in Australia
Australian cultural values promote a casual way of interaction as a preferred business and social etiquette. People here are largely informal in their social meetings. The word “mate” is commonly used for addressing friends; they use their first names as well. Handshakes and “g’day mate” are the common elements of any greeting.
For dining etiquettes, punctuality is considered important. You can also get some food item if it is an informal barbecue party. Preferably, you can help the host before and after the dinner. Australian social culture abides by continental table manners.
Personal Space and Boundaries
Being the 2nd least populated continent in the world, there is a natural acquaintance with individual private space in the country. Popular culture in Australia expects you to follow norms that respect everyone’s space bubbles, in public and private. Public transportation in Australia requires you to maintain a good distance with others and avoid crowding up at one place. It is also necessary to walk in queues without breaking them. There is a strict rule for walking on the left side everywhere, be it a mall or a road.
Similar to public transportation is the norm for private relationships – you have to accept people’s individual spaces in every relationship you make, casual or business. While there may be a considerably relaxed practice of communication in the culture in Australia, there is a strict adherence to the mutually set up boundaries of interaction. Business and social etiquette in Australia promotes relationships based on this standard.
Australia follows a strong environmental decorum. Activities like spitting, littering, and urinating in public are not cool at all. Apart from the heavy monetary fines, the society has a high disapproval for people who indulge in such activities. It is important to understand that Australian cultural values revere their environment. People have a protective attitude and show great care towards the natural surroundings. You should thus avoid littering, spitting, urinating, and all environment harming activities at all costs.
The academic culture in Australia
For an international student, the first step towards ensuring a successful stay at the country is to understand the academic culture in Australia. Student communities appreciate straightforwardness and self-reliance. There is also a substantial focus on punctual behaviour, a crucial business and social etiquette in Australia. Aussie academia promotes group endeavours as well as independent thinking projects. In keeping with the Australian social culture, these activities are encouraged to develop interpersonal skills like communication, teamwork, and creativity.
A strict rule in academic culture in Australia, like in most other academic cultures globally, is to abstain from plagiarism. No educational institution entertains any such behaviour and you have to stringently stick to the plagiarism policy.
Every culture has its well-defined limits. There are certain actions that are regarded as conflicting with the Australian cultural values. You have to avoid indulging in any such behaviour in order to fit in comfortably within the country. Gestures like thumbs up or the “v sign” (with the palm facing inside) used for peace/victory is considered obscene in the Australian society. Body language is important – staring at people is disapproved behaviour and it can get you in trouble. Playing with other people’s children without their permission is considered inappropriate. Proper queuing is a significant feature of this society and any misbehaviour in queues is condemned.
These etiquettes and codes of conduct will undoubtedly help you go a long way to fit in seamlessly with Australian culture and focus on your personal and career growth.
In this culture guide to studing abroad in Australia, we have tried to cover a lot of different aspects that students going to Australia might find useful. Is there anything that we have missed out that could be helpful? Do let us know and help us get better. We welcome your suggestions and feedback as comments below!