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The practicalities of living in Australia

The practicalities of living in Australia

The Practicalities Of Living In Australia

Part one of three

Okay, you have decided to pack your bags and live and work in the land Down Under. It is time to become as informed as you possibly can and when my family planned the move we committed to studying Australia like it was our varsity finals. Moving to a new country is difficult enough. Staring a new job far away from anyone or anything that is familiar to you can be very scary. But as the old saying goes; you are most afraid of the unknown. Making it your business to familiarize yourself with a country, its customs, lingo and culture will help your confidence and shows the locals that you are committed to benefiting your adopted country.

In this three part series of life in Australia we will also give some tips on general Australian customs like what to expect when you are at an Australian’s house for a meal or how Australian’s treat persons in positions of authority. We hope that this series will be added value to our professional immigration services.

I came across a valuable piece of information published by The Flinders University of South Australia which is helpful to anyone planning their trek across the pond.


It's common for Australians over 18 years of age to enjoy alcoholic drinks in social settings. You will probably find yourself at a friend's house, a BBQ or a luncheon where people have drinks such as beer, wine or spirits. You should not feel obliged, however, to accept an invitation to have an alcoholic drink. Simply saying "no thanks" or "Something non-alcoholic will be fine, thank you" will suffice and people will not take offence. There are heavy penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol. It can cost you thousands of dollars and you can lose your licence and even go to jail.


Bargaining is not generally used in Australian shops. The prices marked are the prices at which goods are sold. It is advisable to shop around as prices do vary. Australians usually bargain for items which are expensive (like a car, a sound system, furniture, etc). You can also bargain at 'Trash and Treasure' markets (second-hand shops) and 'garage sales'.

Code of Dress:

Australians dress neatly but casual. Formal clothing is worn on only some formal occasions. There are very few times when a student would be required to wear a suit. Wear clothing which you feel comfortable in. There is no need to conform to the Australian style of dress if you do not wish to do so.


Don't be worried if you speak English as a second language or have a 'non-Australian' accent. Australians generally do not expect you to sound like them. In fact, they often show interest in different accents and admiration for people who speak more than one language.


In Australia each man and woman is considered the equal of everyone else. Wealth and position are not regarded as justification for treating another person as less than equal.

Australians tend to be casual, both in dress and speech. Most Australians greet each other by using first names. But in some cases you would be required to address a person by their title or title and surname such as Ms Smith or Professor White when a student addresses a teacher or lecturer. You would also call your doctor by his title.


Australians tend to greet a person they are meeting for the first time with a firm handshake and will make friendly eye contact. This is their way of showing warmth and respect. It is well meaning but it may contrast with the traditional forms of greeting from your own culture.

Source: The Flinders University of South Australia.

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