The practicalities of life in Australia
By Estelle Vosloo
In the last part of our 2 part series about Australian social customs we look at the tips and information originally issued by the Flinders University of South Australia.
Successful adaption to your adoptive country could definitely improve your chances of successfully integrating into a foreign culture.
When you have made the decision to immigrate you should make a point of finding out everything you can that will aid your transition. We hope that this three-part-series will have been helpful in your research into the Australian lifestyle.
There are strict laws in Australia which regulate cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking. Before you smoke, make sure you are in an area where it is allowed or you might face a fine (and some scolding) for smoking in a non-smoking area. It is forbidden to smoke on public transport and in many buildings.
Status of Women
Australian women may seem more independent and self-reliant than those from other countries. Australia is a society promoting the equality of men and women and is more progressive in this department than many other countries.
Australian English has its own accent and is a little different from other forms of the English language found abroad.
Australians tend to use a lot of local idiom and shortened words in everyday speech (called 'slang'). You may even hear slang words in tutorials (tutes) or sometimes during lectures! It may take you some time to get used to the Australian accent itself, especially if you are more familiar with American or English accents. Overall, you need to remember that Australians tend to use the simplest words possible in normal speech. It takes one or two months to adjust to Australian English.
Australians are friendly
Australians are mostly friendly and informal in their dealings with others. They respect other people's privacy, however, and may be less forthcoming in making the first move in social contact than what you may be accustomed to. Don't take this to be a sign of unfriendliness.
Australians are very safety conscious and you would have to respect this especially when it comes to children and their right to be safe and cared for. Find out what Australian society expects or your barefoot 3-year-old walking over the hot tarmac might upset people.
Children must always be appropriately buckled-up when traveling in a vehicle – this includes public transport.
Many schools include that children must wear hats and sunblock at all times and your children will be expected to wear protective head gear and shoes when riding their bikes.
And, in some territories, children under the age of 12 may not be left home alone under any circumstances. In Queensland if you leave a child under 12 years of age for an ‘unreasonable time’ without supervision you have committed a misdemeanour.
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