Experiencing cultural changes is very common when studying overseas. Most international students arriving in Australia should expect to adjust to the local, academic and social culture.
Adapting to these changes may take some time, but educating yourself about these cultural differences will help you quickly become part of Australian society.
Now, let's look at the cultural differences that international students may face while living in Australia.
1. Different Styles of Learning
Australia is globally recognised for its excellent education system, characterised by an open and inclusive learning environment. It follows a distinctive approach to education that may differ significantly from what you're accustomed to in your home country.
The Australian education system combines practical and theoretical lessons, which can challenge some students, leading to frustration and stress. Fortunately, Australian institutions offer plenty of support for international students.
They provide various resources and materials to ease the adjustment period, and you can also seek guidance from fellow students who have successfully navigated through this experience.
2. Language Barrier
For students from other countries, speaking English might be hard because it's not their first language.
Understanding lectures can be tricky. But here's the thing: you can get better at English! Talk to your classmates, discuss your classes, and have conversations outside of school.
The more you practice, the more confident you'll feel. Don't worry about making mistakes – that's how you learn and become better at speaking English.
International students studying in Australia may not be used to the level of informality displayed. For instance, it's common to call teachers by their first name in Australia. It is a form of disrespect in other countries.
Australians find it normal because they treat their students equally to the teachers. Australia has a laid-back culture, so don't worry about being casual.
4. Cultural Diversity
Australia acknowledges, accepts, honours and celebrates cultural diversity. It offers the opportunity to experience something new and helps you step outside your comfort zone. You'll always feel a sense of belonging in the multicultural setting of Australia.
Living in a multicultural community gives you a chance to learn a different language, be a part of international public celebrations and taste a variety of foods from other parts of the world.
5. Service Hours
On weekends, cafés and restaurants close early in Australia compared to countries like China, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. International students may find it unusual, especially when they're used to having the option of a late-night snack in their home countries.
6. Humor and Banter
Australians frequently incorporate humor and sarcasm into their daily conversations. Understanding and enjoying their comedic style can enhance your social interactions. If your Aussie friends tease or joke with you, it's likely a friendly way of bonding.
7. Passion for Sports
Australians fervently love sports, be it cricket, rugby, or Australian Rules Football. Engaging in sports discussions provides an excellent opportunity to connect with locals. Attending live sporting events is also a popular social pastime.
8. BBQ Tradition
Aussies cherish a good barbecue, especially on weekends. These laid-back gatherings offer a casual way to socialise with friends and family. If you receive an invitation to a barbecue, it's a chance to partake in a quintessential Aussie social event and relish some tasty grilled cuisine.
9. Straightforward Communication
Australians are recognised for their direct communication style. They value honesty and prefer clear, concise expressions. While politeness remains important, openly expressing your thoughts is generally well-received in Australian culture.
10. Café Lifestyle
Cafés play a central role in Australian social life. Australians enjoy café culture, meeting friends or colleagues for coffee and conversation. Immerse yourself in the Australian culture by exploring local cafés and soaking in their easygoing ambience.
Here are some tips that will help you to adjust to the Australian environment:
Don't try to figure everything out during your first week in Australia. Give yourself some time to settle.
Eat healthy food and sleep well. You may find you need more sleep than usual.
Try to stay active. Physical activity helps to lift your mood.
Arrange your room. Create a space for yourself that's more familiar and comfortable.
Involve yourself in day-to-day activities for international students. Even though you might be unfamiliar with certain aspects of Australian culture, over-time, you'll build confidence in your ability to respond to new situations.
Make connections with local students. It will help you to learn more about what life is like in Australia. You can also be a part of societies and clubs that cater to your interests.
Seek help and support when needed.
Students should welcome changes with a broad mind to deal with cultural differences and learn from their experiences. This way, you'll respect other cultures and learn to develop a form of sensitivity towards them, making your time away from home more meaningful and enjoyable.
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