Aussie Culture and Slanguage

When we decided to migrate here in Australia, we never thought about learning it's history and culture. Maybe that's the reason why we had a little bit of culture shock upon arrving and we would like to share a little bit of what we know.

  • History
    • Did you know that the first Australians were the Aboriginals (collective term for all the indigenous peoples from the Australian mainland and Tasmania) and Torres Strait Islanders  (indigenous inhabitants of the Torres Strait Islands, partly Queensland)? That's why some applications ask whether you're from the above indigenous people.
    • January 26, 1788 - Europian explorers sailed to the coast of Australia and claimed it for Britain. A new outpost was put to use as a penal colony and the first fleet of 11 ships, carrying 1500 people, half of them convicts arrived in Sydney Harbour. When penal transportation ended in 1868, more than 160,000 men and women had come to Australia as convicts. (Source: https://www.australia.com/en/facts-and-planning/history.html
    • Also, after the world war II, Britain sent children to Australia under the "Child Migrants Programme" (Google and you'll find stories from some of the children)
  • Etiquette
    • Saying Hello/G'day/Thank You etc. - Australians are very polite (not all of course). 
      • I remembered our first commute where they greeted the driver upon boarding and upon alighting, they said 'Thank you'. Usually, we only smile or greet the driver but we don't say 'Thank You' when alighting. 
      • You'll also hear them say 'How are you?' as a greeting so you tend to respond, 'Good. Thanks.' or sometimes you can ask them the same.
      • 'See ya later' is a common expression too even if you'll not see them again. I was confused when I first heard it (haha). 
    • Making conversations - especially the old ones. We had instances when we were in the supermarkets when suddenly they'll talk about the product we were looking at or when waiting in the bus stops, they'll try to discuss something as long as it is not taboo.  
    • Time - always be on time not 'Filipino time'.
    • Others
      • Queues - 'bawal sumingit' (no cutting in) and 'walang tulakan' (no pushing). Also I observed that they would give way if you have children with you. I recalled last boxing day, there were no trains so we had to wait for a shuttle bus going to the city and a lot of people were waiting and no queue was formed so I was worried that there will be pushing; however, I was wrong. When the bus came, the people slowly formed a queue and most of them gave way to those with kids. I was really amazed by this. So if you're in doubt if there's a queue or not, you may ask the person beside you.
      • Elevators/Doors - well sometimes it depends (haha) but most of them will hold the door or wait for you in the elevator even if you're a bit far. 
      • Stay in the left - same with Singapore, you stay in the left whether you are in the escalator, stairs, footpath and also when driving, keep left.
      • Tipping - whether you tip or not, it's ok for them.  
  • Others
    • Profanities - I really never thought of this as their culture but yes, you can hear it even with young kids and it may seem disappointing if you're not used to it.
    • Alcohol - yes, they love alcohol and for sure we know that. That's why some offices have the so called 'Beer Friday'.
    • Barefoot (naka-paa) - Yes, some Australians walk barefoot in public places even kids. I, myself, is shocked. Maybe that's why the book, 'Barefoot Investor' is famous (haha).
    • Work-life balance -  I do not know if I will call it work life balance but most Australian shops close early, usually 5pm. Some of them do not open on a Sunday. So if you are planning to have a grocery, make sure you're there before 5pm (depends on the location. Shops in the city usually close late, around 8-9pm.) Also, Australia has a lot of parks where you can go for a barbie or a picnic. Some of them celebrate a birthday or any occasion in the park and I think there's no need to reserve. It's on a first come first serve basis.
    • Weather - Australia has four seasons - summer (December - February), autumn (March - May), winter (June - August) and spring (September - November). It varies in each state.  Some states have wild weathers like Sydney - hail storms, sudden typhoon etc. Also, I observed that the sun here is harsh; hence, don't forget to bring your sunnies and sunblock. 
  • Language
    • Australian spelling is similar with British. That's why instead of 'z', 's' is used or instead of 'er', 're' is used.
    • Australia speaks English with an accent almost similar to British but so distinct that sometimes, I cannot understand them (haha) and also, they have a lot of slangs aside from the 'mate' so for me, it's daunting to strike a conversation with them because of their slanguage.
    • When I was researching on what slangs to include for this blog, I came to know that the word 'selfie' was from them (surprised? me too.) 
    • To know more of their slangs, google it and you'll find articles enumerating it.
  • Important Numbers
    • 000  - Emergency (Ambulance, Police, Fire)
    • 1800 551 800 - Kids Help Line
So before coming here, whether visiting or migrating, I think it pays to be informed a little bit. 

See ya all down unda!!

If you want to listen to how Aussies speak, I do recommend 'Aussie English' in youtube or his podcast.

You can try this quiz Aussie Slanguage Test


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