Australia is a nation and continent located in Oceania, between the South Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. There are over twenty-one million residents in Australia, and the vast nation is a melting pot of many ethnic groups and cultures, including white European (mostly British descent but with many others as well), Asians (from China and Southeast Asia), Aboriginals (Native Australians) and many others. Life in Australia is a lot like life in the rest of the Western world, but there are also many distinctively Australian aspects to it as well…
Australia lies below the equator, and is therefore in the Southern Hemisphere. As a result, its seasons are pretty much the polar opposite of the seasons of the Northern Hemisphere (they celebrate Christmas in the height of their summertime!). Australia has a very dry climate with scorching hot summers. Since the nation is large, there is a lot of weather variation. There are both dry regions and tropical regions in Australia. The dry region of Australia is the Outback, which is the majority of the center of the country. The tropical regions of Australia are the northern “Savanna” regions in areas like Northern Queensland.
Indigenous Australians are often referred to as “Aborigines” and they make up 2.6% of the entire Australian population. There are approximately 517,000 native Australians residing in Australia today. For decades, Native Australians have been experiencing racism in getting jobs and even finding housing, based on the fact that they are a minority. Over 90% of Australians are of white European descent. In the past couple of decades, there has been an influx of immigrants from China and Southeast Asia to Australia, and these groups have had problems with racism and integration into Australian society as well.
It is often wondered why most Australians reside in coastal areas of the country, such as Sydney and Melbourne on the east coast and Perth on the west coast. This is because the center of the nation, famously referred to as “The Outback,” is a very dry, arid and harsh place for people to live. Is it mostly desert, and there is a lack of water, so the living conditions are less than ideal. Australia’s geography consists of flat plateaus, mountain ranges, desert, rivers, beaches, coastline and coral reef complexes.
One of the benefits of living in Australia (if you live on the coasts, as most Australians do) is being able to go to the beach on weekends. Going to the beach on the weekends in Australia is probably as popular a pastime as going shopping to the mall is in the United States. Australians love the beach and the water, and most of the country is on the warm and sunny side all year, so there really aren’t times of the year that beach access is restricted.
Maybe this is related to the nation’s beach culture, but Australia is generally a very laid back and casual society. Unless you’re attending a specific formal event or function, casual wear is pretty much the norm. If you are planning on entering the Australian workforce, you should plan on dressing “casual smart,” which is something like long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and leather shoes. Business suits for women, either with pants or skirts are acceptable and common. Ties are optional for men. Part of the reason Australia is so laid back is that it is a lot less crowded and less densely populated than the United States and other cultures. People are not living on top of others in cramped apartment buildings and skyscrapers. People spend a lot of time engaging in outdoor activities, and as a result the vibe of the continent is decidedly more mellow overall.
If you’d like further information about living in Australia, feel free to email the international student counsellor at the Australia-Vietnam School of English (AVSE), Peter Goudge: email@example.com.