Skip To Content
  • Viral badge

Aussies Are Sharing The Biggest Culture Shocks That Foreigners Experience When Visiting Australia And It's Super Insightful

"We don't do patriotism like America. That level of flag-waving is deeply unsettling."

There are a lot of things about Australian culture that I take for granted when travelling around the world. Our slang, our way of life and the way we communicate — it's all unique and can be a huge culture shock to both immigrants and worldwide travellers.

That's why I found this Reddit discussion, started by u/shrekcu, so interesting. They asked: "What are some things a foreigner or immigrant would find strange or not know about Australia?"

Here are some of the most insightful responses that give a peak into the beauty of Australian culture.

1. "If you are invited to a party or BBQ and are asked to 'bring a plate' it means bring some kind of food to share."


2. "And when they say not to bring anything, reduce the size and formality of what you take, but never take nothing. The minimum would be a little box of lollies or maybe a four pack of some sort of drinks (doesn't have to be alcoholic these days)."


3. "We use 'How's it going?' or 'How're you going?' as a greeting. I've heard that's weird to some people because they think 'How's what going...and going where? Huh?' The question doesn't really need a detailed answer either, at least not in a work context or casual context."

"Like, if the barista you're getting your coffee from asks 'How's it going?', just say 'Alright, you?' Don't give them your life story. It's different if it's a close friend asking though."


4. "A lot of older people called dinner 'tea' — so if someone asks you over for tea, they mean a full meal.


5. "If they're inviting you for a hot beverage, it's 'coffee' — regardless of what you actually drink."


"Or 'a cuppa' (of tea/coffee/whatever)."


6. "The biggest one is that we're overall a very urban population."


7. "We walk on the left. Stand to the left of escalators."


8. "That Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. I think because of poor media representation, Australia is depicted as an overly white place when that’s really only the reality in small towns. Even in small towns, I always seem to find at least one Chinese family running a Chinese takeout."


People standing to the left side of an escalator

9. "Australians seem to naturally add inflection to the end of sentences. We're not asking you a question, that's just how we talk."


10. "Don't get on a bus using the back door. I got yelled at my first week in Australia by the bus driver for that...even though I tapped on. I don't get it, but whatever, I only enter from the front door now!"


11. "We generally look down on boasting. That cheery, self-aggrandising cataloging of one's achievements and abilities that's meant to underline how great one is, which is encouraged in American society under the banner of 'self confidence', is usually perceived here as 'bragging'.

"In general, it has the opposite effect from that intended by the bragger. We roll our eyes and our opinion of them goes down, not up."


12. "We are a very informal nation. Almost everyone is addressed by their first name, even some teachers."


A bus in Sydney

13. "It’s not that unusual to see someone walking around in public spaces such as a shopping centre or city streets barefoot."


14. "We give everybody nicknames. Few people get called by their actual given name. If someone gives you a nickname, it probably means they like you"


15. "'Yeah nah' = no and 'Nah yeah' = yes."


16. "The fact that we're hardly a religious nation, yet we get Good Friday and Easter Monday as public holidays. My in-laws are Catholic Americans and think this is so absurd due to the USA being far more religious — and they don’t get either as a holiday."


A woman walking up an escalator in Australia; she is barefoot

17. Australians sometimes say 'but' to end a sentence and will be confused if you ask 'but what?'"


18. "We don’t really do tipping much, because we have labour laws that make sure people are paid properly by their employers."


19. "Making small talk with the person at the register of a supermarket or shop is common and considered polite. Just keep it light and finish when they're finished scanning or bagging."


20. "An entrée is a starter, not a main course."


A cup of coffee with a tip; the image has a large red cross sign on top of it

21. "We don't do patriotism like America. That level of flag-waving is deeply unsettling."


22. "We swear a lot, like a lot, a lot. We casually drop the 'c' bomb into conversation without even thinking about it.


23. And lastly, "Asserting your religion is frowned upon. We don't care about your invented fairytale bullshit. Keep that private."


The USA flag hanging on someone's porch

What other aspects of Australian culture do foreigners find strange? Let us know in the comments!