sydney, australia

^for ali and geoff

For me, the biggest cultural difference is the age young adults move out, from their parents home.  Down under, it is normal to live with your parents into your late 20’s.  Students don’t move away from home for University, because they typically stay nearby in Sydney for school.  Even post graduating “Uni” (what they call it here) they live at home while they work.  Parents seem to be more understanding of the necessary freedoms kids need while living under the same roof – however, I think it is a little bit odd.

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in the city people let their cats roam free without collars – this is loved cat and not a stray… also, dogs are never on leashes.  Dogs walk with their owner and no-one seems phased or endangered…


In Australia all children, even at public schools, wear uniforms like these (even with the crazy hats, which protect them from the harsh AUS sun)

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Something I didn’t know about Australia before I lived here is the large Asian Population (making up around 24% of the population).  I really enjoy the diversity here.  I also have had the best Thai food of my life…  Australia Population Stats (picture sourced from food review on my fav thai called restaurant called Spice I Am in Surry Hills)

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Obviously, I had never seen a dust storm like the Sydney Dust Storms this September…  The country blew into town :)


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As if driving on the other side of the road wasn’t different enough… In Oz there are zig zags in the road (which I am told by my local friends is to warn cars to slow before a cross walk)


Whenever you go to order an “iced coffee” you get this!  They put Ice Cream in anything “iced” or even in smoothies if you don’t specify.  This has really upset me at several breakfasts.

Another significant difference in Australia is the public health care, which seems to be very effective!

Health care in Australia is provided by both private and government institutions. The Minister for Health and Ageing, currently the Hon. Nicola Roxon MP, administers national health policy. Primary health care remains the responsibility of the federal government, elements of which (such as the operation of hospitals) are overseen by individual states.

In Australia the current system, known as Medicare, was instituted in 1984. It coexists with a private health system. Medicare is funded partly by a 1.5% income taxlevy (with exceptions for low-income earners), but mostly out of general revenue. An additional levy of 1% is imposed on high-income earners without private health insurance. As well as Medicare, there is a separate Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that heavily subsidises prescription medications. In 2005, Australia spent 8.8% of GDP on health care, or US$3,181 per capita. Of that, approximately 67% was government expenditure.[1] (compliments of wikipedia)


My new favorite breed of dog is the Australian Kelpie.  They are so gorgeous, smart, and athletic.  They also have all the qualities of a big dog but are more appropriate size for city living.  Maybe someday I will get one.


Australian dollars are also different.  They are different sizes, colors, and made of plastic so they are waterproof!  The colors make it easy when you are sorting your money.  In Australia, the 5 cent coin is the lowest currency they have – tax is always factored into the cost prior to purchase.  They also have 2 dollar coins, which is amazing when you only have change in your purse.

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You do not have to tip!  People working in the service industry get compensated minimum wage (which is determined by your age)  The minimum wage here is around 15.00 an hour if you are under 18.

In Australia government they elect a prime minister.

The Prime Minister of Australia is the head of government of the Commonwealth of Australia, holding office on commission from the Governor-General. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful political office in Australia. Despite being at the apex of executive government in the country, the Prime Minister is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia and exists through an unwritten constitutional convention.

Barring exceptional circumstances, the Prime Minister is always the leader of the political party or coalition with majority support in the House of Representatives. The only case where a Senator was appointed Prime Minister was that of John Gorton, who subsequently resigned his Senate position and was elected as a member of the House of Representatives (Senator George Pearce was Acting Prime Minister for seven months in 1916 while Billy Hughes was overseas).[1] (compliments of

Also! Australians have a Christmas Tradition of having a large sea food buffet… often spending the holiday at the beach.

People here eat vegemite with butter on toast for breakfast – which is sick.  it tastes like salty tar :P

Australian’s sense of humor is very blunt.  Sometimes hilarious and other times culturally offensive…

Public transportation is more expensive here – for one week the public transportation pass is 40 dollars, making it 160 a month – twice the cost of an unlimited pass when I was living in NYC.

Right now the exchange rate is about 93 cents AU for 1 US dollar.  The Australian dollar has strengthened significantly over the past year (at one point the exchange was AU dollar was valued at 60 US cents)…

Most Australians do not travel within Australia, because international travel opportunities to Asia are so accessible.  I am so excited to road trip down here and get to see the “bush” and “outback”

Trusty Australian Sayings, Instead of:

“good for you” Australians say “good on you”

“red pepper” Australians say “capsicum”

“diaper” Australians say “nappy”

“stroller” Australians say “pram”

“candy” Australians say “lolly”

“light bulb” Australians say “globe”

“hello” Australians say “g’day”

“how did you recover from last night” Australians say “how did you pull up?”

“fight” Australians say “smash”

“f you” Australians say “stuff you” or that got “stuffed up”

“sh*t” Australians (mostly girls) say “shivers”

“idiot” Australians say (this is bad) “dead sh*t head”

hmmm I will think of more… :)

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