Struggling To Cope-Up With The Australian College Culture? We’ve Got A Few Quick-Fixes To Get You Sorted and Started
 - by Anurag Gade - CollectLo

Struggling To Cope-Up With The Australian College Culture? We’ve Got A Few Quick-Fixes To Get You Sorted and Started

Anurag Gade - CollectLo

Anurag Gade

Content Writer

7 min read . Jun 15 2023


Until now, we have all been exposed to a particular culture in the classroom and outside. We’ve adapted to everything our educational institute asked us for and found comfort in the same.

Whether it’s standing to greet our teachers as they walk in or referring to them strictly on a ‘sir/ma’am’ basis, we’re all accustomed to a particular academic culture.

But when you move to Australia, we find out how Australia is the law of exception we’ve all learned about throughout our lives. Moving to a new country is a big step in every aspirant’s academic and professional career.

Throughout our lives, we’ve all been taught that change begins with a single step. However, no one ever told us how significant a change we should expect. And this is precisely what we’re here to talk about today.

Do International Students Struggle Up With The Australian College Culture?

From an extravagant outdoor lifestyle to cuddling up with Australia’s native animals, excitement is guaranteed when navigating Australia. But what others term excitement might not be as exciting for someone who has just landed in Australia. Keeping up with your studies in a different land and environment will be challenging.

But know that a challenge is one of the many reasons you pursue higher education oceans away from home. Moving overseas is never easy. While Australia’s unique demographics make it geographically isolated, it remains a hot destination for International students.

Given what you may have learned from the tabloids or learned from your educational consultants or colleagues, you know that there are few cultural quirks in the offing when you move to Australia. From a highly laid-back approach to things to telling you exactly how things are not, Australia’s college culture can be a struggle for many international students.

But you should know that every change will bring about a few cultural shocks, which is normal. While life may work vastly differently in Australia, taking a step back and reflecting is your first step towards adjusting to life in Australia. I have said this before, and I’ll repeat it. It is entirely normal for you to experience a cultural shock. And it all becomes regular with time.

Are you planning your move to Australia soon? Worried about what the land down under has in store for you? This might be of help.

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

How Can I Adapt To The Australian College Culture?

Whether you’re studying domestically or planning to go International for your studies, college always remains a time of growth. But most importantly, your college life is all about exploration and studying in Australia will give you heaps of things to explore.

From the vast diversity to the many cafes, you’ll see around you, there is so much to explore. But the way they do academics down in Australia can come as a cultural shock to many making it relatively complex for one to adapt to the same.

The best thing is that everything you do in Australia is an enriching and thoroughly exciting experience. And for you to make the most of your college life down under, here are a few tips that will help you navigate your way through a vibrant, diverse, and immersive Australian college culture.

1. Listen And Observe

There is a reason why god gave us two ears and just a single mouth. And Australia asks that you implement the very same principle in reality. The Australian slang gets to you first when you first arrive in Australia.

No matter how much you secured in your English learning tests, none of that gets you through the Australian vocabulary.

Getting into conversations only to reason you don’t understand Jack is perhaps the worst feeling ever. Believe me, as I speak from experience. Talking to fellow Australians can be challenging when midway through the conversation, you’re trying to understand what’s being said right from the start.

Whether in the university or out exploring the streets of Melbourne, knowing what is being said and implied remains a vital part of your student life in Australia. And to fix that, we urge you to listen as much as possible.

Even if that means being the quietest in the group, listening will lead you to understand things in the first go. And once you’ve understood what is being said, speaking out becomes relatively less complex and less awkward.

The more you observe how things work, the sooner you’ll be able to fit in, even if that means taking a step back solely for listening and observing. The more you observe the Australian way of things, the lesser questions you’ll have going forward.

2. Embrace The Laid-Back Attitude

While many have slammed the over-casualisation in the Australian college culture, it is one of the notable things you need to know about the Education system down under.

Until now, most of us have been exposed to a specific educational environment that loves doing things by the book. But that will change radically once you start your higher education in Australia.

The Australian college culture features a relaxed and laid-back attitude. While it may come as a big shock to many, one of the many ways of adapting to the Australian college culture is by making an effort to embrace this laid-back environment.

This is a gradual process and takes a certain amount of time. Find things that will help you adapt to this casual environment. If having fun is what the situation demands, don’t be afraid to take a step ahead and have fun, even if it means going out of your way.

3. Familiarise Yourself With The Academic Expectations

While the overall environment in and around your university may seem laid-back, Australians have high expectations from their students regarding their academics.

Knowing what those expectations are is step one. And trust me; you’re going to be stuck on step one for quite a bit if you don’t play your cards right.

The Australian academic system is complex to understand and equally complex to master. Every college has its unique set of requirements and expectations.

To understand them better, you must attend orientations, read the course syllabi repeatedly, and determine the assessment criteria.

Assessments in Australia are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Reading the assessment criteria repeatedly will still make you confused about what’s expected of you. Therefore, keeping in touch with the respective faculty goes a long way.

They will be able to assist you through the assessments by laying down the requirements in the simplest of words. If in doubt, reach out to your peers and seek clarification as much as possible.

4. Take A Step-Back

When down under, you get to meet people of all ethnicities around the globe. There is no shortage of diversity when it comes to Australia.

However, it all can get overwhelming at times. You might feel like being the only person either trying to hold on to a conversation or might run out of things to have a consecutive chat.

This might lead to the chat going nowhere, ultimately leading to you feeling down. In such cases, let me first tell you that it is completely normal and okay to go through this as this is a part of the international student package. This is your queue to take a step back or even a break, for that matter.

There is nothing wrong with a step back; it only portrays you as the bigger person. Actively switching between listening and responding can help you break through the cultural barrier as quickly as possible.

Everything can get overwhelming between settling into your new dorm and choosing the proper subjects for your course.

In such scenarios, taking a step back to reflect on what needs to be done will smoothen the entire process.

Note that taking a break doesn’t mean you should be conversing with people altogether. Interacting with a few chosen ones will help you get things off your chest while simultaneously easing the tension (if there is any).

The Bottom Line

Moving to Australia for my higher studies was perhaps the major cultural shock of my life. Nor could I understand the Australian slang or uphold a conversation. But the more time you spend with people outside your comfort zone, the easier it gets.

Although it might get awkward or make you feel left out, spending some time with folks that aren’t familiar goes a long way. Australians are incredibly hospitable. They’ll ensure you don’t feel left out at any point in time. They’ll make it a point to repeat things until they are understood.

While making an Australian friend is tricky, I assure you it's worth it. Having a friend from the land down under is perhaps your most straightforward way of coping with Australia's college culture and mixing with Australia's deep and beautiful diversity.