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Cultural Differences between Ausies and Saffas

Cultural Differences between South African’s and Australians?

As a company that assists clients with South Africa and Australia migration, we are often asked to compare the two countries. I got to thinking about how Australians and South Africans might generally differ. I would like some comments on what you think.  So far there are four main themes that come up when I ask people this question.

1. - It seems Australians don't take themselves too seriously.  They easily poke fun at themselves and enjoy a joke.  They tend to be blunt and tell it like it is. South Africans are a bit more serious and sensitive. Maybe a bit more conservative.  Although I have met several South Africans with a wicked sense of humor  who love their sport, their braai, and don’t take things too seriously.  And to be fair, Australians are just as serious about their sports and their barbie.  

2. - Australians seem more open and willing to share private details as soon as they meet you.  They are just easier to get to know.  Even in a larger city, you will find yourself chatting with total strangers and it feels effortless.
 South Africans keep things close and may tend to share details with their inner circle. Maybe they are a bit more suspicious of people. This may be due to the history of tense political divides that have plagued South Africa for so long. I think an important point is that South Africans may seem more suspicious, but not naive. They’ve seen it all. They have survived it all.

3. - Australians tend to criticize highly successful people. Whereas South Africans are very driven, competitive, and are very focused on status. Your car, home, clothing, and income are going to cause many to feel pressure.  There is more of a focus on having “stuff”.

4. - Australians have a more laid back approach to parenting maybe due to feeling more secure in their environment.  They know they have a future for their kids.  This may be due to less crime and due to less competition for higher education.  Plus education is free in Australia.

Please leave your comments about your own experiences or thoughts. These are generalizations, but remember, it is best to look at people individually based on your experience with them, not preconceptions you get from other people or from me. Interesting topic though. Especially if you plan to move to either of these countries.

By Robbie Ragless 


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