Editor’s note: This post comes to us from Sarah Arnett, Sydney Halas and Nicole Mense
People speaking with Australian accents, driving on the left side of the road and enjoying 80 degree weather in December. This is what the average person believes to be true about experiencing Australia–and they would be right.
UCM students, however, are finding out the differences between American and Australian culture go much deeper than surface level. The study abroad group has had the opportunity to appreciate the giving Australian culture, the interesting food and adapting to a new country’s slang.
As many students on this adventure are public relations majors, they have been utilizing their networking skills every chance they are given. Locals have explained how much they value their country, their customs, and most importantly their people. Australians seem to have a much greater sense of community as told by Lisa Tam.
“Australians choose to respect each other at a higher level than many other countries because we know how successful we can be when we are working together,” said Tam.
Another area where Australians have major respect is the environment. It is rare to see trash sitting on the ground or rolling in the streets, unlike the United States. Students have noticed similarities between Australian and United States cuisine, but there are also many differences–particularly involving the actual dining experience. In Australia, customers view the menu outside of the restaurant, order at the bar and seat themselves. Customers can enjoy Australian specialties such as kangaroo, lamb and meat pies. For Missourian tourists, the tropical fruit that is currently available in Australia is a sweet treat for smoothies, acai bowls or fresh fruit juice. After enjoying a meal, tipping is not expected as servers are paid a liveable a wage and contribute less to the dining experience.
A huge part of the Australian experience is learning to understand their slang and common phrases. Confusion has arisen on multiple occasions for students when they are asked if they want a “takeaway.” In Australia, conservation of the environment is important, so a “takeaway” or plastic bag must be purchased when shopping. Thanks to these environmental efforts, not many plastic bags are thrown away in the “rubbish.” The new name for an American trash can is slightly different than what is seen in the states, but it did not take long to adjust to.
UCM students touched down in Brisbane only 48 hours ago, but they have gained a wealth of knowledge about Australian culture in that time. Throughout the next seven days, that knowledge will continue to grow as students further immerse themselves in Australian culture.