Australia is a popular destination for South African expats. Some people believe Australia is “just like South Africa, but without the crime” and yes, while it does have similar weather, a great rugby team, beautiful beaches and scenery, there are subtle differences to life in Australia. Here are some tips to ensure your transition is as happy and as successful as possible.
Tips for an expat in Australia
Be prepared to work hard
South Africans are used to hard work, so this shouldn’t be a big change. Australians have a strong, dedicated approach to their chosen professions and don’t tolerate slackers lightly, they wear their jobs as badges of honour. As an expat, you’ll be expected to haul out all the stops to make an impression. Good tips are to be both punctual and a team player and you should quickly fit in.
Australians expect expats to fit in and not rock the boat. A tolerant, easy-going attitude is welcomed, as is a positive attitude – especially with regard to working with any of Australia’s systems. A confrontational attitude will never achieve any results, so be calm and open to any differences. Australia has a culture of giving everyone ‘a fair go’ which reflects their feelings about tolerance and the general lack of hierarchy or a class system.
Respect the natural environment and species
Australians are very proud of their natural habitat and the unique species that live there. They do everything they can to protect both the flora and fauna. Expats must be ready to welcome recycling and green initiatives and be equally passionate about working with the environment rather than destroying it.
Australia has a very sociable culture. Everyone regularly gets together for a barbeque either in their homes or in the local, pristine parks. Be prepared to join in and return any invitations and you’ll soon have a new circle of friends.
‘Mateship’ is almost a religion in Australia. Mateship is an Australian cultural idiom that embodies equality, loyalty and friendship. Mateship derives from the word ‘mate’, meaning friend, and is commonly used in Australia as a form of address. The Australians like doing things together with their friends and family, whether it’s watching a rugby game or cycling.
Mateship can also be expressed towards society at large and Australians are proud of their inclusive culture. As an expat, it would benefit you to embrace mateship and you should soon be benefitting from its positive aspects.
Have a sense of humour
Australians don’t take life too seriously and always enjoy a great laugh. British expats note that Australian’ don’t tend to enjoy sarcasm or irony, especially the British ‘black’ sense of humour. So keep your humour light and upbeat and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Embrace the good life
Australians are very proud of their culture and their outdoor lifestyle. They tend to be active sportsmen and sportswomen and spend a lot of time enjoying the great weather and scenery. If you get involved in outdoor pursuits and join a sporting club, you’ll soon be well-integrated into the Australian way of life.
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