5 Challenges Every International Student Faces When Navigating Australia’s Diverse Culture

5 Challenges Every International Student Faces When Navigating Australia’s Diverse Culture

Anurag Gade

Anurag Gade

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3 min read . May 08

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Moving overseas is always tough. Whether you are shifting places for work or to pursue further education, the change can be overwhelming and needs a lot of getting used to before you can work through it. Australia, just like India, is a vibrant, multicultural country. 

The land down under houses a rich assortment of backgrounds, cultures, and different communities. All these things hold the power to influence everything right from the food you eat to the festivals you celebrate. 

Known primarily for its hospitality, it takes time for everyone to adapt to the Australian culture. So, if you are an International student in Australia, you are bound to face a few challenges when navigating Australia’s diverse culture. 

Challenges To Tackle When Navigating The Australian Way Of Life

Backed by a rich heritage, Australia’s culture comprises of some of the most exciting traits and communities that contribute to form the Australian way of life. While this may seem like fun and games to start, we assure that it has the potential to be the exact opposite of what you expected it to be. 

Adapting is a broader concept when used in Australia’s context. This is because the land down under holds plenty of shocks, surprises, and dozens of reality checks at every interval. Ultimately, it all comes down to how you tackle these challenges when studying or travelling in Australia. 

As an International student, you are bound to come across numerous obstacles during the initial stages. This will serve as a guide that will brief you about the most common challenges you’ll come across when navigating the Australian way of life. 

  1. Teaching And Study Pattern 

Apart from the heaps of opportunities this continent provides, students move to Australia primarily because of the open-learning environment (OLE). An OLE is an assertion of units that provides you opportunities to not only extend your skills but also explore other fields of study simultaneously. 

As tempting as it sounds, the OLE is a big change and opposite to the pattern and style of education one is used to back home. In the land down under, education is a complete blend of theory and practice with an enhanced onus on the practicals. 

Adjusting to this pattern can be overwhelming and even induce stress in certain individuals. However, several universities in Australia have now started focusing more attention towards their international students. 

As helpful as that sounds, you will need to adapt to the OLE as effectively as you can. To help you with the process, there are different tools and study materials available that can aid the adjustment process. 

  1. G’day, Mate! No Worries, Mate! You’re Alright!

Scratching your head in confusion? You’re not the only one. While navigating the Australian way of life, the first thing you need to get on board is the Australian lingo. Up until now, the majority of us would have been exposed to plain and simple English as laid down by the Brits. 

Similar to its culture and influence, Australia’s English needs thorough understanding, particularly if you are new to the country. This is perhaps the hardest thing to do down under but a few interactions with the Australian public can help you board the Australian lingo train. 

Whether you are a native Englishman, or had English as your first language in school, moving to Australia will perhaps be the greatest shock to your English skills, for it takes people years to completely understand Australian lingo including the occasional Australian slang. 

Think of Australia’s English as a secret code that can only be cracked through trial and error. 

  1. Winters Are Dreadful

Some of you might be wondering if we exaggerated by calling the Australian winters dreadful. But as someone who has been onshore for 2 years now, I ain’t kidding when I say that the winters are dreadful.

Every tourist brochure and magazine you come across will portray the best of Australia’s sun and turf. However, reality hits you hard once you come face to face with the dark, grey, windy, wet, and extremely chilly winters of Australia. 

Whether you are located down in Hobart or up top in Darwin, Australian winters are perhaps your worst nightmare. Not only do you have to tackle the extreme cold, but also need to fight through the gushing wind and rain that follows the cold.

For someone born and brought up in subtropical conditions, the Australian weather is a test for your immune system. While an average Australian will deny all these claims, you won’t have the strength to debate winters during winter.   

  1. Everything’s Shut By 8 PM

When we say everything, we mean everything. From shops to restaurants, everything in Australia is closed by 8 PM. Having spent the entirety of my life in India, I wasn’t used to a restaurant’s kitchen being closed by 8 PM.

But that is exactly what you can expect down under. You are bound to get a decent cup of Joe at 5 AM but won’t get one 12 hours later. This can either be a surprise or perhaps the worst cultural shock you’ll receive post moving to Australia. 

Leaving aside the weekends, you can pretty much expect a dead city by 6 PM. Whether you are out clubbing in Sydney or Melbourne or surfing your way through the Goldcoast, the whole of Australia undergoes extreme radio silence by 6 PM on weekdays. 

  1. Cook Your Own Rice

Australian cuisine is world-famous. You get numerous types of cuisine in Australia. Whether it’s a Greek Souvlaki, Thai curry, or a Danish Bagel, Australia will serve you the best of everything. As an outsider, you will probably experience cuisines you may have never heard of before. 

But for someone born in the sub-tropical, you tend to miss the home staples, particularly rice. If you are craving rice in Australia, you’ll have to cook it yourself to satisfy that craving. 

The lack of rice in Australian diets is enough to drive anyone crazy. While you will find beer in every social activity throughout Australia, rice remains nowhere to be found. 

While a few of the Australian dishes are served either with or over rice, the lack of rice is what gets you in the first place. 

The Bottom Line

The land down under is extremely diverse housing some of the most exciting cultures and the world’s most amazing communities. As diverse as the country sounds, it is Australia’s spirit that unites everyone thus maintaining the Australian way of life. 

But navigating this Australian way of life, especially as an International student can get overwhelming at times. This is where you must know that you are not alone. There are many young individuals out there still trying to get a grasp of how things work down under. 

Once you have mapped your way through how everything works in Australia, you are bound to have no worries, mate!!!

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Anurag Gade

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