Ten Things You Learn as an Expat in Australia

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live as an expat in Australia? I feel like everything I read or see portrays life in Australia completely differently. In fact, if you’ve never been to Australia yourself, you probably have an idea in your head of what it’s like. You may picture people lounging on the beach in the sun all day. Or people in the middle of the Outback surrounded by deadly spiders and snakes. Maybe you picture people riding around on kangaroos and saying “G’day mate” to everyone they see. There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to Australia! But spoiler alert: most of the stereotypes are a bit exaggerated. Like everywhere in the world, there are many different sides to Australia.

I moved to Australia in November 2015 and spent 15 months living there. As soon as I arrived, I absolutely fell in love with the country and its culture! I’ll admit that I myself even had some stereotypical expectations of Australia, and while not everything turned out to be the way I expected, more often than not, it surpassed my expectations by far! As I’m sure anyone who has lived as an expat in Australia knows, there is just something special about the country. It has this draw to it, and within a few weeks there, I felt completely at home and like I was where I was meant to be.

During my time in Australia, I did notice a number of things about the country…

Australia is the land of no worries and no stress.

And you will hear Aussies say “no worries” to you approximately 100 times per day! You will even start saying it yourself without even realising. It is literally un-Australian to worry.

There aren’t actually deadly animals and insects waiting around every corner to kill you.

In fact, unless you live in the middle of the Outback, there’s a good chance that even after years of living in Australia, you wouldn’t have seen any deadly creatures in the wild.

You haven’t actually experienced a sunset until you’ve experienced a WA sunset.

Myself included as Western Australia is the only state or territory I haven’t been to yet.

Australia is ridiculously huge.

Like comparable in size to the US huge. For some reason, Australia gets an international reputation as being a fairly small country. While it doesn’t have the population of some other large countries, it definitely makes up for that in area. Doing a road trip around the country really puts its size into perspective.

Any food intolerances or allergies? No worries! Restaurants will cater to your needs.

As someone who is lactose intolerant and can’t consume dairy, I was so pleasantly surprised at how well Australia deals with food intolerances and allergies! Coming from the US, I found it really hard to find decent dairy-free alternatives, but even tiny cafes in Australia have lots of options for you whether you’re dairy free, gluten free, vegan, or anything else.

The high wages make most other countries’ wages look like a joke.

I earned a lower hourly wage in my awful and stressful office job in New York City than I made in a fun casual job in Melbourne. So imagine how much people in stressful office jobs in Australia must earn! Even making minimum wage in Australia, you are able to live comfortably, so it shows that the government really cares about its people’s happiness and well-being.

Vegemite isn’t too bad when eaten the right way.

Never try to eat Vegemite on its own—you will be disgusted if you do! But do it the right way—on toast with butter and a light spread of Vegemite—and it really isn’t that bad!

Holidays don’t feel like big celebrations here.

Everyone still gets excited for holidays like Christmas and Easter, but it doesn’t compare to the festive spirit you’ll find in North America or Europe. The lead-up to Christmas was always my favourite time of year back in the US, but it definitely isn’t as big a deal in Australia. I think celebrating Christmas in summer versus winter is a big contributor. Something about celebrating Christmas in extreme heat doesn’t say “festive” for anyone coming from the Northern Hemisphere! But while Aussies don’t make a big deal of the holidays themselves, you better believe they make a big deal out of bank holidays and getting a day off from work!

Aussies use the “C” word as a term of endearment.

This can be a bit surprising for anyone coming from North America, but you quickly get used to it! People use the “c” word when talking to their mates or about someone they like. I have never heard it used in an offensive way here.

Australian is basically its own language.

Aussies love to shorten everything they say! Some examples—avocado becomes avo, afternoon becomes arvo, breakfast becomes breakie, McDonald’s becomes Macca’s… I could go on and on! Aussies also have their own name for certain things as well, which could easily confuse people from other countries. For example, bell peppers are capsicums. And when people ask you about your thongs, they’re not referring to your underwear! Thongs are flip flops in Australia.

I absolutely loved my time living as an expat in Australia and would highly recommend it to anyone. I am now in New Zealand as my visa in Australia has come to an end. While NZ is great, there’s no denying it doesn’t quite compare to Australia for me! Of everywhere I’ve ever lived—Massachusetts, North Carolina, France, New York, Australia, and New Zealand—Australia is the only place I could really see myself returning to as a resident. So if you’ve ever thought about moving to Australia (or even just visiting), I would recommend it with all my heart!

Have you ever lived or travelled in Australia? Let me know what you agree with from this list and if there’s anything else you would add!

Expat in Australia

Like this post? Pin it!

By Girl Sees The World on June 2, 2017 · Posted in Australia, Expat Life, Living Abroad, Melbourne & Victoria, Oceania, Outback Australia, Queensland, South Australia, Sydney & New South Wales, Tasmania, Travel

28 Comments | Post Comment

Lexi @ TheGirlOnTheT says:

Woo hoo, you’ve stepped your blog up a lot over the last few weeks! When you come back to the states for a few weeks in July, you should use the “C” word to deserving people and when they get pissed, say, “It’s a term of endearment where I lived!”
Lexi @ TheGirlOnTheT recently posted…What’s in My Bag?My Profile

Posted on June 3rd, 2017

Lauren says:

I love your photos! Stunning! Australia is on my bucket list! (:

Posted on June 5th, 2017

Sandra says:

I’ve never been, but can’t wait to go now!

Posted on June 5th, 2017

Shannon Morscheck says:

I have never been to Austrailia, but it is definitely somewhere I have wanted to go! And that’s funny about “no worries” as I remember that being the cool thing to say back in middle school. I wonder if that’s where it stemmed from?!

Posted on June 5th, 2017

Bridget says:

This was a rwally interesting read, Australia is definitely on my bucket list

Posted on June 5th, 2017

Paula says:

I’m so jealous!! I’ve never even visited, and you lived there!! Your post really taught me a lot about Australia. Not sure why I thought it was small(er), but I did! Love the part about the food allergies. I have a nut allergy and a fish allergy. It’s next to impossible to get restaurants here to take them seriously. Thanks for a really informative, entertaining post!

Posted on June 5th, 2017

Miranda says:

Australia is one of my DREAM destinations, and reading this has made me THAT much more excited to go! I’ve heard of Aussie’s shortened slang, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise for me, but yikes hearing the “C” word as an American for the first time down there must have been a HUGE shock! I love love love that you consider it the “land of no worries and no stress!” I feel the US is just drowning in stress; I’m sure it was quite the relief for you when going down there! So many great vibes.

Posted on June 7th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Haha it definitely took some getting used to! Now it just seems like any other word to me… something I might need to be careful about when I’m back in America! Yes it is 100% the land of no worries! Everything is so relaxed there and even corporate environments are so chilled and casual. It was an amazing change going to Australia after living in New York City, which is probably one of the most stressful cities to live in!

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Nuraini says:

I have a friend in Perth who posts pics of sunsets where she lives, and yeah they seem pretty epic…
Nuraini recently posted…Royal Belum Rainforest and the World’s Largest FlowerMy Profile

Posted on June 7th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Yeah I’m hoping to get over to Perth soon! The west coast looks beautiful in photos I’ve seen!

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Tracy says:

Australia is the #1 location on my Travel Bucket List. I am dying to visit as soon as I can. Your photos are great and love the unique points you shared….ex: Food Allergies and Wages. It’s nice to hear.

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Thank you! Australia had been at the top of my bucket list too for as long as I can remember! It’s such an amazing country 💕

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Joanna says:

I have never been to Australia but from what I’m reading it sounds like a really cool and laid back country. I’d love to go one day. It’s good to know that the restaurants cater for every illness/allergy and that the sunsets are so amazing. I heard the beaches are the same, some of the most beautiful in the world.

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Yes the beaches are definitely some of the best!! Especially in Queensland ❤️

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Travelling Dany says:

What always scared me about Australia is the fact that there are deadly spiders and snakes in every corner, trying to kill you. Now you reassured me on that 😀 I’m aracnophobic so I stayed away!
Travelling Dany recently posted…Guide to Pompeii: The city frozen in timeMy Profile

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Haha it’s not like that at all! I never saw a single poisonous spider or snake (except in zoos or animal sanctuaries) and I only saw one huntsman spider in the entire time I was in Australia 😊

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Emily Hines says:

Cool post! I lived in Hawaii for a few years and always wanted to get over to Australia but could never make it happen. One day!

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Aw you were so close! Yes you definitely need to visit! You would love it 😊

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Jas from My Suitcase Journeys says:

Love this post, Christie! I’ve been dying to visit Australia for the longest time now and seeing this makes me want to visit so bad. Wait, what is the c word though?

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Thank you!! And lol it sounds like the first syllable of the word country 😂 It’s a really offensive thing to call someone in North America, so it’s definitely a shock at first to hear it used so freely in Australia!

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Katherine says:

This made me so happy to read! I’m glad you’re enjoying Australia as much as you are. As an Aussie expat in the USA, I miss home sometimes and this post nailed all the great things about home. Thank you!

Posted on June 8th, 2017

Kim says:

Haven’t had the chance to visit Australia yet, but thanks for sharing your experience living there as an expat! So interesting to read about the high wages over there.

Posted on June 9th, 2017

Jackie says:

HAHAH THE C WORD THING LOL, I’m dyiiing. I was SO CONFUSED the first time I went to Australia! I want to apply for my working visa there, its good to know that the minimum wage is still a livable wage. And I also kinda liked vegemite so I think if I can get used to the C word I’d be a perfect fit lol

Posted on June 9th, 2017

Girl Sees The World says:

Haha it’s so funny! You would LOVE Australia! So easy to see how they’re always rated one of the happiest and highest quality of life countries 😊

Posted on June 9th, 2017

Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad says:

Awesome post!! I was nodding to all of these! And I haven’t been to WA either – definitely on my list for loads and loads of reasons, but sunsets is one of them.
Clazz – An Orcadian Abroad recently posted…Clazz’s 2017 Challenges: May UpdateMy Profile

Posted on June 11th, 2017

James says:

Wonderful insight and great post! It’s very interesting to learn such peculiarities from places that you think you knew.

Posted on May 11th, 2018

Tracey Tripp says:

Australia is on my list. Glad you said about the insects as someone also tells me about that and it scares me so much

Posted on August 30th, 2018

Tracey Tripp says:

Eeek, press submit to soon. Fantastic post. Sure hope I go to Australia soon

Posted on August 30th, 2018