I’m an American living in Australia. It’s a dream come true, and sometimes, I just have to pinch myself to remember that this is real life. There are many more differences between American and Australian culture than I ever expected, but as I adjust to living down under, I’m realising all the things I love about living in Australia.
1. I love the snacks!
In Australia, it’s a cultural norm to have a break for morning tea and then to have afternoon tea in the late afternoon. I love the chance to grab a snack, get a hot drink and chat to my coworkers about projects and life.
2. I love the wildlife in this country!
Cuddling a koala is one of the best things to do, ever. (Trust me, I’ve done it. So worth the money!) In addition to these precious marsupials, Australia is home to heaps of unique animals. I love driving along and seeing ‘kangaroo crossing’ signs. I’ve even seen a few kangaroos and wallabies in the wild, and I find their physiology fascinating. They’re definitely unlike anything we have in the states!
3. I love learning and using new Aussie terms!
Whenever you meet someone in Australia, whether it’s the person behind the check-out counter, or a new friend, the most common greeting is “How are you going?” As an American, this used to really confuse me, and I’d get so nervous trying to think of a response. Since then, I’ve learnt that the easiest and best response is to just say “Good! How are you?” I’ve also realised that in Australian lingo, they have some vocabulary that differs from us in the United States. Some of those words include bitumen (asphalt), ute (pick-up truck), footpath (sidewalk), chemist (pharmacy) and Hungry Jack’s (Burger King). Aussies also have a tendency to shorten certain words: afternoon becomes “arvo”, sunglasses become “sunnies”, McDonald’s becomes “Macca’s”, service station becomes “servo”, and there are heaps more. Just roll with it, and if you don’t know what on earth they’re talking about, ask them!
4. I love eating food seasoned with chicken salt!
Fish and chips are a great combo and traditional beach food here in Australia, and the first time I ordered chips (french fries), the guy asked me if I wanted chicken salt on them. I thought I might as well try it, and let me tell you, it’s amazing. Always, always, always remember to ask for chicken salt.
5. I love meeting the lovely people of Australia!
Every person I’ve talked to who’s been to Australia agrees that the people are SO NICE! Whether I’m at the pharmacy, café or the mall, the Aussies I meet are friendly. They always ask what brings me to Australia, and they are genuinely interested in the answer. One specific thing I love about Australians is their accents! It’s sometimes the only reminder that I’m across the world, but hearing the different pronunciations of words reminds me, yes, I’m really in the land down under. I especially love to hear little Aussie kids talking because their accents are so cute!
6. I love how easy it is to shop here!
The systems for pricing here in Australia are so cool! There’s no brain work involved. Tax is included in the marked price and there’s no tipping at restaurants. It’s genius!
7. I love Tim Tams so much!
Tim Tams are awesome biscuits (cookies) that are two biscuits separated with chocolate filling and covered in a layer of chocolate! They have lots and lots of yummy flavours of Tim Tams, like salted caramel, three bean espresso, and double-coated chocolate. A really fun way to eat Tim Tams is called a Tim Tam Slam, where you bite off two corners of the biscuit that are diagonally across from each other, and then drink a hot chocolate through the Tim Tam. As you slurp, the hot drink will melt your Tim Tam and the flavours blend together. So fun and delicious!
8. I love the landscapes!
Australia is such a beautiful country. Of course, I love the gorgeous beaches here, but there’s so much more to Australia’s scenery than just beaches. From the expansive, rugged outback to the gentle waterfalls and leafy cover of the rainforest, this nation is a sight to behold. My personal favourite scenery in Australia is the vibrant, rolling farmlands, especially those in the South Coast of Australia. Riding along in the car or the train, seeing those green, sprawling hills makes me feel like I’m living in a fairytale.
Regardless of where you’re from and why you’re here, Australia will welcome you. Because of the beauty of the nation and its people, I have found my second home here. With so many things to love, what’s keeping you from the land down under?
by Fiona Muha
YWAM Newcastle Staff