If you’re moving here for your studies soon, or have just arrived, there’s a good chance that you've been influenced by ideas about Australia that are quite different from the reality.
Many people’s impression of Australia is shaped by rumours, Hollywood movies and internet memes. Some of these might even cause you genuine concern or anxiety about travelling to Australia. However, you’ll soon find out these five myths about Australia are far from the truth.
1 . Australia is dangerous because of all the deadly animals
The internet loves the “everything in Australia wants to kill you” meme. This myth has become so prevalent that a lot of new visitors are genuinely scared of encountering a crocodile, a shark, a snake or a deadly spider. These creatures do exist, but the chances of actually coming across one are slim. The truth is, most Aussies live in built-up cities and even many locals have never seen these animals outside of a zoo. Most of these animals inhabit wilderness areas away from major human populations.
And no, most of them don’t want to kill you. Most wild animals are more scared of you than you are of them.
2. All Australians are blonde, blue-eyed surfers
Not all Australians look and talk like Steve Irwin or Margot Robbie.
Australia’s cities are actually extremely diverse and multicultural, home to people from all different countries and cultural backgrounds. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of statistics revealed that almost 30 percent of the total Australian population is born overseas. It’s quite likely you’ll meet lots of people (and find lots of food) from your home country soon after you arrive.
3. Australians are culturally backward
If you’re not used to Australian social codes - like what’s considered rude or polite, the local slang and the Aussie sense of humour - you might mistake the Australian tendency to be quite open, direct and jokingly sarcastic as being backwards, harsh or crude.
Like moving to any new country, getting familiar with the culture takes time. You'll soon discover that friendliness and politeness are important social values, even if they’re expressed in a different manner than what you’re used to at home.
4. Australians are laidback and lazy
The image of the average Aussie lying on the beach all day and taking life easy is just a stereotype.
Australia is a hard-working nation, with a small population supporting one of the largest economies in the world. The job market is highly competitive and working unsocial hours is not uncommon. This can make balancing work, study and fun a challenge at times. It’s important that you reach out to your support networks (family, friends or student wellbeing and mental health services) if you’re feeling overwhelmed and could use some advice.
5. Australia is hot, sunny and tropical all the time
Australia is a huge country with lots of different climates. The majority of Aussies live, work and study in southerly coastal cities like Sydney and Melbourne. These regions have winters which can get surprisingly cold, and summers that can be hot, dry and rainy all in one day. So unless you’re moving to tropical, far northern Australia, be prepared for all sorts of weather.
As a new arrival to Australia, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that some of the things you first worried about turn out to be not such a worry after all.
Still, moving to a new country and adapting to a different culture and environment can be a daunting experience. If you do get into difficulty, Sonder can help. Members can use our Swipe for Help feature any time to connect to our friendly, multilingual Support Centre staff for guidance and advice.