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5 Cultural Differences You Should Know Before Moving to Australia From the US

laid back kangaroo promoting Australian laid back culture
Americans want to move to Australia for its high quality of life, stunning natural landscapes, and friendly, laid-back culture. Diverse and vibrant cities and beautiful outdoor environments ranging from pristine beaches to rugged bushlands offer a setting for adventure and tranquility. Moving to any country from the US will take you some time to adjust. We’ve made this list of the top 5 cultural differences for Americans to know before moving to Australia to give you a head start on adjusting to your new home.

1. Laid Back Lifestyle

The first thing you might notice, which may also be one of the reasons you were drawn to Australia in the first place, is the laid-back lifestyle. Australians generally have a more laid-back attitude than Americans, especially when it comes to work-life balance. The Australian approach is often more about enjoying life and less about working excessively. Be prepared for more emphasis on a work-life balance and a more relaxed atmosphere at work with less of a push for overtime. One of the things that keeps Australia at the top of work-life balance rankings is the 32.4 average hours worked per week. The maximum you can work before overtime in Australia is 38 hours per week.

2. Language and Slang

Though both Australia and the US speak English, we all have our own slang, and that can even change based on where you are in the country. Be aware that there will be expressions that you are not used to, and that may cause some confusion at first. Some will be easy to figure out in context, but not all. One slang term you will probably encounter pretty quickly is “Arvo”, meaning afternoon, not to be confused with “Avo” for avocado and brekky for breakfast. There are obviously many more, so it’s a good idea to research common Australian expressions and slang before you go. Here’s a list of 33 Australian slang phrases from CNN travel to get you started.

3. Sports

Sports are a major part of Australian culture, similar to the US. Unlike the U.S., where football, basketball, and baseball dominate, Australians are huge fans of cricket, Australian Rules Football (AFL), and rugby. Participation in local sports clubs is also more common. Engaging in popular Australian sports like cricket, AFL (Australian Football League), or surfing can be a great way to meet people and integrate into the community. Watching these sports can help you strike up conversations and understand local passions.

4. Coffee Culture

Australians take their coffee seriously, and the coffee culture is more like that in Europe than in the U.S. Expect to find a variety of cafes offering high-quality espresso drinks rather than drip coffee. Take the time to explore Australia’s rich coffee scene. Australians pride themselves on their coffee, and joining in on the coffee culture could end up being a pleasant part of your daily routine.

5. Tipping Practices

Tipping is not as common or expected in Australia as it is in the U.S. In Australia, workers tend to be paid a livable wage. The national minimum wage in Australia is $23.23. When eating out, many restaurants have a service charge. This service charge goes to the staff. Tips are considered a bonus for exceptional service rather than a necessity. But don’t be surprised if some refuse to take a tip. Many Australians do not want a tipping culture because it should be up to employers to make sure employees make a livable wage.

Connect with Other Expats and Locals in Australia

When moving to Australia, embrace the local culture. Do a little research about your new home and people before you go. Join some local groups or communities, whether online or in-person, that include both Expats and locals. Get out and participate in community events. Joining groups can provide support and valuable insights as you navigate your new surroundings.

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