7 Weird Cultural Differences Between Australia And England
The decision to study and travel abroad by myself was certainly a big leap out of my comfort zone, that for me, choosing somewhere English speaking was quite important. So, where did I choose to go? England of course! However, Australia and England are not as similar as I had assumed. In fact, there are so many subtle differences that I was unaware of and found quite surprising:
Shopping and food.
Whoever knew zucchini is called courgette, eggplant is called aubergine and capsicum is called pepper! I’ll admit, I was definably confused on my first shopping trip in England. However, for students who aren’t so great with cooking (guilty), England supermarkets are actually really convenient. Frozen meals are very popular in England meaning supermarkets stock a wide range of options and cuisines that actually taste decent. As well as this, supermarkets have you covered at lunch offering a choice of snack, drink and meal deal for just £3! These are so perfect for the student budget that I wish Australia had them!
Unlike in Australia where you can watch TV for free, in England, you need to purchase a TV licence to watch or record any live programs on any channel. Unfortunately, this was not something I could fit in my budget, which was quite disappointing considering how much the British get into their TV shows!
Fashion in Australia is very casual and laid back due to our lifestyles revolving around the beach and outdoors. Whereas with England’s colder climate, everyone dresses up so stylish! They really know how to embrace unique looks that you just don’t see as often in Australia. I particularly noticed this on nights out when I found my usual clubbing attire and makeup left me feeling underdressed in comparison to the locals. I was also stunned by how little the girls would wear when it was only about 3°C outside when us Australians struggle without our jackets when the temperature reaches anywhere close to 10°C outside! Do they not feel the cold?!
For the most part, university was pretty similar in the way classes are structured into lectures and tutorials. The main difference I noticed was that it is much more common to move out of home and live on campus in England. Whereas, in Australia, we generally live at home and pick a university that is close to travel to. While it may be more expensive for the English to move out of home, it is definitely a fun way to go through university.
Australia is very strict when it comes to alcohol and drinking culture. Due to lock out laws, students usually leave for a night out around 10pm, yet in England, this was considered too early. Most times we waited at least until midnight before leaving pre-drinks. I also discovered to work in pubs you didn’t need any qualifications such as the ‘RSA’ (Responsible Service of Alcohol) that is a requirement in Australia. Furthermore, it was much easier to buy alcohol in England than Australia, as rather than having to go to a bottle shop, England has an off-license supplier in almost every corner shop.
Of course, I was aware of the difference in accent and slang as us Australian’s are notorious for shortening every word possible. Yet there were some phrases I didn’t expect. For instance, when something is cool or sweet it is ‘sound’ or ‘mint’. Also, when British people greet you they often say ‘you alright,’ however it took me a long time to learn this was just a form of saying hello rather than actually asking ‘how are you,’ so answering with yes may result in a few blank stares… just like many other Australian slang words I accidentally used.
Christmas is much more festive.
Finally, this one relates to most of the United Kingdom and Europe but I have to say they really know how to do Christmas over there! Don’t get me wrong, I do love an Aussie Christmas in the warm weather by the beach; however, it is defiantly a holiday that was made for winter! In the city I was in, they even had a Christmas show and firework display just to celebrate turning on the street lights! Every other small city also puts on a German Christmas market full of sweets, gifts and mulled wine that is perfect in the cold weather. I put it down to the fact that when it gets cold things aren’t all that exciting, so everybody really gets into the festive spirit (Christmas sweaters and all) to have something to look forward to. While here in Australia, we’re generally just excited for the long summer holidays.
Honestly these were just a few of many differences, but in the end, the real fun comes in exploring, appreciating, and enjoying these culture differences!