I bet every international student in Australia can tell that the city they are living in now is very different than home. But would you be able to tell what the difference is?
This article highlights most obvious and important differences between my home country France and dear Australia, with a focus on Sydney.
And the first difference would obviously be… food!
- Meals: I reckon that Frenchies tend to eat more and mostly during lunch and dinner, which are important meals of the day. Most of our meals contain an entrée, a main course and a dessert (most likely it includes bread and cheese at a certain point!). Also, we would rather eat at home than outside and we would have lunch and dinner all at the same time, with everyone of the house sitting around the table.
- Relation with people and general mood: In Sydney when going to the groceries for the 1st time, I was quite surprised and didn’t know what to answer when the cashier told me: “Hi Mate, how’s your day been?”. In Australia you are very likely to engage a conversation with random people such as a cashier, a bartender or someone you come across in a quiet street. Generally, I would say that Aussies are very open to conversation and more polite than the average European.
- Prices: Prices (and wages) are a lot higher in Sydney. If a good bottle of wine would cost around €8 in France, in Sydney you would be charged minimum $20 for it. Food is expensive as well, a kilo of tomatoes costs maximum €2 in France and you would be charged at least $4 in Sydney! Hopefully, wages are a lot higher since the Aussie minimal wage is 15€ an hour instead of €8.50in France. Conversion: AUD $1 = €0.80
- Saying hello when meeting someone (informal): In Australia people would go for a handshake when meeting unknown people (whichever the gender) and they may have a shy touch cheek when saying hi to female friend. In France, with females you would do two, three maybe even four touch cheeks and with kissing sound, and handshake for males!
- Weather: French winter can go down to -10°C easily and it will snow for sure! However, the French summer is nearly as hot as the Aussie one. In Australia, you have nothing to be afraid of regarding summer since its “cold” period is really short, and won’t go under +10°C. Also, the beginning and end of winter are sunny and quite warm, however, freshness will show up as the sun goes down.
As the weather is colder in France, you will also see heaters in every room of the house and good insulation against cold.
- Christmas: “Oh my God, that means… Christmas comes in SUMMER!” This was me, couple of months before flying to Sydney. Indeed, Christmas comes during winter in France and in the mind of any Frenchies (and most Europeans), it’s deeply linked with snow and a warmly dressed Santa riding a sled pulled by deer!
- School: In France you will most likely have 20 to 30 hours of class a week, more than 7 subjects and homework given by lecturers is quite intense. Whereas in Australia, people seem to have 4 subjects maximum, around 12 hours of lectures and tutorials a week and few homework! To be honest, I’m quite afraid of returning to France because I got used to this chill and relax pace!
What are the differences between Australia and your home country?
What do you miss most from home?