Biggest Culture Shocks in Australia for International Students!

6 minute read
Biggest Culture Shocks in Australia for International Students

Australia, the land of big opportunities, is 7813 kms away from India. Guess what, distance isn’t the only thing that separates India from Australia. The language, the accent, standard of living, food habits, people and education, all of it is different. This fact can be exciting and daunting for an Indian student studying in Australia. Apart from shifting countries, students have to adjust to the culture and traditions prevalent while attending classes. This sudden change in the social and cultural atmosphere is known as a cultural shock. Let’s have a look at some of the biggest cultural shocks in Australia for international students!

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Why Study in Australia?

Ever since the pandemic, Australia finally opened up their borders for international students from December 1, 2021. What’s unique is that the search for universities, MBA in Australia and other such related topics is rapidly increasing. Australia is the third most popular destination to study for international students amongst english-speaking countries after the USA and the UK. This tells us that a lot of Indian students do consider Australia a good study abroad choice despite the cultural shocks in Australia. Why? Let’s have a look at the reasons:-

  • High Standards of Education: Australia has one of the best education systems in the world and therefore a degree from the universities of Australia is considered a great impression in your resume. 
  • Work while you Study: The Australian Student Visa  (Subclass 500) allows students to work for 40 hours every 2 weeks so that they can cover at least their living expenses during their course. 
  • Scientific Research: Australian universities are a big believer of scientific research and how it is essential to incorporate it in the syllabus of the international students. 
  • Affordable: Compared to the USA and the UK, Australia is relatively cheaper when it comes to tuition fees and rent. 
  • Natural Beauty: Australia’s scenic beaches and wildlife make it an appropriate destination for international students. 

Culture Shocks in Australia 

Source: The New York Times

Indian and Australian culture have no overlapping personality traits. As an Indian student in Australia, you will find it difficult to accustom yourself to the cultural differences for at least a couple of months into your course. Here are the cultural shocks in Australia that Indian students face as soon as they land in the island country:-

Vibrant Social Life 

Australians are quite friendly, chatty and approachable people. If you wish to talk to the person sitting across your table in a cafe, chances are that he will approach you before you do. Talking to the barista while she takes your order is common in Australia. You see 1000 strangers in the streets of India but you rarely greet or even smile at them. The exact opposite of this happens in Australia and you might find the Australians over-friendly until you learn their ways. 

Coffee Culture

Coffee culture is one of those culture shocks in Australia that may be heaven for you if you are a coffee lover. Once you taste a latte in Australia, you will be disappointed in any part of the world because the coffee is just so delicious! Due to the intense coffee drinking culture, you will spot a large number of cafes, probably on every street. 

Tall Poppy Syndrome 

This is another of those culture shocks in Australia that you wouldn’t mind adjusting to. Australians believe in unity and harmony over individual achievements. Any act of bragging will draw negative reactions from them and drive them away from you. This is known as the Tall Poppy Syndrome. Ensure you don’t be boastful like you are with your friends in India or Australia otherwise, you will be named a Tall Poppy. 

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Wacky Food Items

culture in australia

Australians have a larger appetite than Indians in general. For Indians, one meal of Australians can suffice two meals per day. Another culture shock in Australia in terms of food is how easily kangaroo meat is available in supermarkets. This might come as a shock to Indians who are largely vegetarians. 

Shops Close Early 

quarantine-closed australia
Source: Tenor

One of the most difficult culture shocks in Australia for Indians is grocery and other shopping. Supermarkets, shops and malls close quite early. Late night shopping means shopping until 9 pm while some malls in India are open 24*7. 

Love for Adventure Sports

culture shock in australia
Source: Leverage Edu

If you love sports, you will love Australia! Australians are obsessed with all kinds of sports- rugby, football, cricket. And to break the culture shocks in Australia in terms of socializing you can always start the conversation with sports!

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Tap Water is Safe!

culture shock in australia
Source: Pinterest

As Indians, we are habitual to a filter system installed in our households. We have separate vessels for our drinking water and we don’t drink straight from the tap. Well, in Australia, every time you are thirsty, start any tap and drink water. This is also why restaurants in Australia don’t serve water for free to their guests. You have to order your water bottle or bring your water to the restaurant. 

Summery Christmas

christmas in australia
Source: Stay at Home Mum

Ending on a festive note or rather a festive culture shock in Australia, it’s surprising that Australians celebrate Christmas in Summer. So it’s no ice sculpture, cold breezes but Christmas parties on the sunny beaches for Australians during Christmas. Christmas in Australia is hot and dry but highly exciting and eventful for students with the Opera House lit up and hundreds of events across the country.

Toilets without Locks

In Australia, you will hardly find latches or locks in your bathrooms or toilets. Crazy, right! But maybe the Australians are disciplined and don’t run into the toilet when it is occupied by someone else. Another weird concept is a bathroom without walls. Yes, you heard it right! Although it is a rare norm a lot of houses have bathrooms without walls in the bedrooms themselves. You may take a while before you adjust to toilets without locks. 

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Silence in Major Cities 

Indian cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Jaipur never sleep! They are loud in the day, busy at night and the streets are never empty. But this is not the case in Australia. The most common difference is the profound silence every Indian student faces when they land in Australia. While cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide may be a little noisy by Australian standards, the suburbs are absolutely quiet. 

DIY Culture

Possibly the biggest culture shock in Australia for Indians is the Do It Yourself culture. Well, you wanted to study abroad to be independent and Australia will make you independent in literally all ways. You have to install your electronics, repair your locks, clean your house, make your food and also shop for groceries all by yourself. 

No Prescribed Medicines 

In India, if you cough in the morning, you are at your doctor’s clinic in the afternoon. Well, this isn’t the case in Australia. Australian doctors recommend depending upon the natural immune system to work for itself primarily before actually prescribing medicines. For Indians who rely on painkillers and antibiotics, this may come as a grave culture shock in Australia.

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Cash Culture 

India has become a digital economy now and you hardly use cash. Digital payments in just 5 seconds and you are done! Although Australia is technologically advanced, people rely more on cash instead of plastic money. It may be a culture shock in Australia once you go there but when you see how the shop owners don’t frown to give you change!

Dry News 

No, you don’t need a tub of popcorn to hear the news in Australia like in India. No dramatisation of news is done by the Australian news media. The Aussies tell it how it is without a pompous display of events and keep it simple for their citizens.

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So these were the top culture shocks in Australia that every Indian student faces. However many culture shocks, the world-class education overpowers. Studying in Australia is a dream of many Indian students and Leverage Edu believes every student should get the opportunity. Call our experts at 1800-572-000 now and book your first counselling session for free!

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