19 Fascinating Facts That Prove Growing Up In Australia Is Way Different Than Growing Up In America

    Don't worry, we're going to get to the bottom of this fairy bread thing.

    Hey there! I'm Mary, and I work in the BuzzFeed NYC office. (Well, right now I work in the BuzzFeed "the desk in my bedroom" office.) I was born in Australia to Australian parents, but I grew up in the US, so naturally I have a lot of questions about what the childhood of Parallel Universe Aussie Mary would be like.

    White bread buttered with Sprinkles

    Luckily for me, my fellow BuzzFeeder Jules Willing was kind enough to answer my questions about her Aussie youth, and help me solve that eternal mystery: Are Australian children taught how to fight off a shark?

    1. So, you all have to wear school uniforms?

    A group of five schoolchildren pose in their uniforms for the camera

    2. How popular is the whole "fairy bread" thing? Is it overrated?

    White bread with butter and sprinkles

    3. Bread with sprinkles aside, what were the most beloved or ~iconic~ childhood snacks?

    Pizza flavored shapes

    4. How about ice cream? I've heard rumors about something called a "Golden Gaytime."

    A Golden Gaytime ad

    5. Are you taught to fear spiders? And jellyfish? And snakes? And the sun?

    A warning sign on an Australian beach for jellyfish

    6. In that same vein, have you ever had to fistfight a magpie?

    A menacing looking magpie bird

    7. Are Australian elementary schools filled with tiny children calling each other "mate"? Please say yes.

    8. How big of a deal are sports in school? And how do you get through gym class without passing out from heatstroke?

    Children playing rugby at school

    9. What games did you play during recess?

    Some cartoon children playing handball

    10. What's it like celebrating Christmas during the summertime?

    Two Australians on the beach in Christmas hats

    11. Is it true that you don't have middle school? If so, jealous.

    12. Are schools air conditioned there? (Please tell me they are.)

    A woman tries to block the sunlight with her hand

    13. Did you ever get sent home from school cause it was too damn hot to stick around?

    14. Do kids eat Vegemite, and if so, why?

    Vegemite on toast with an itty bitty Australian flag sticking out of it

    15. What TV shows did you and your classmates grow up watching?

    16. And what are some childhood-defining books you all grew up reading?

    The cover of Deltora Quest

    17. Is there an equivalent to a high school prom or a homecoming dance?

    18. When do you get to learn to drive, and how hard is it to get a license?

    A red P plate stuck on the back of a car

    19. Okay, final question: Were you taught how to fight off a shark?