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Cultural Differences in Sydney 

Headshot of Stella Meillon.
Stella Meillon
June 10, 2023

Australians do not care about little things as much as Americans do. For example, Australians walk around barefoot everywhere (grocery stores, public transport, downtown, in class, you name it!) and the only people that judge them are foreigners. Aussies are much more laissez-faire and have a unique disposition that keeps them calm under varying situations. Even when they are stressed or angry, the intonation of their speech stays relatively the same, although they’re not usually angry. They also are very lazy! Although they would probably prefer “efficient.” Words and names are all shortened and some of their expressions are crazy combinations of shortened words and slang. Everything seems to end in y or ie, names and places included. 

Another difference is that Aussies are super straight forward. In the States, people sugarcoat everything and can be really fake, especially right when you meet them. It always takes some time for people to get past the high inflection, “Omg, so nice to meet you!” even when they do not care. In contrast, Aussies are direct and genuine from the get-go, so when you meet them it’s really easy to tell if they like your company or not. It was honestly very refreshing; coming from Boulder where everything is frat and sorority related and everyone is trying to make you like them, Australians seemed so up front and honest. They are also straight to the point. As they would say, “We’re not here to fuck spiders!” meaning, “Let’s get to it.” When they need to be serious, they absolutely can be. That may be because there are so many nicer things to be doing than working in Sydney, so many people will focus hard and knock out their work so they can move on to more fun things. 

While they may be direct, they do like to mess with you quite a bit. I pride myself in not being ultra-gullible, but Australians make you think twice about everything you hear. When they see an opportunity to mess with you, they won’t hesitate and it makes for some hilarious interactions. They also will tell you all sorts of nonsense about Australia so beware, it’s not all true. 

Although van life is becoming more popular in the States, Australians have been doing that for a long while now. Lots of my friends live in their vans/trucks, which makes it easy for them to get places and do cool things without paying crazy rent (especially in Sydney). There are lots of places that will not allow overnight parking, but many of those don’t enforce that rule.  

In any case, I was pleasantly surprised by the differences I encountered in Australia, whether it be with people or places. While there wasn’t anything extremely shocking (except for maybe the barefootedness), there are a significant number of differences between Americans and Aussies and it feels like being around that culture definitely made me more blunt as a person. 

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Headshot of Stella Meillon.

Stella Meillon

Stella is currently a mechanical engineering student at the University of Colorado Boulder, where her goal is to always have at least one foot out of her comfort zone. When she is not on the engineering grind, she is passionate about playing guitar, backpacking, climbing, dancing, or really anything that will get her outside and soaking up the sunshine. Being raised in a French/English bilingual household, she grew up with an appreciation for other cultures and traveling. As she continues on her journey toward adulthood, she hopes to keep experiencing the unfamiliar and become an increasingly global citizen.

Home University:
University of Colorado - Boulder
Engineering - General
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