Overcoming Challenges in Australia

Hi there!

So far, adapting to life in Australia has been fairly easy for me. Although there are many noticeable differences between the United States and Australian culture, none of these differences have made adapting here too challenging for me.

The first thing that I noticed about living in Sydney is that it is a very expensive city. With all of the new foods and fun stores around me, it’s hard not to want to try everything and eat out for each meal. However, I have had to budget my money and learn to cook the majority of my meals in order to not overspend my money. I have found that learning how to cook while I’m here and trying new recipes has been really fun and rewarding, and that treating myself on the weekends makes for a really great balance.

The weather here is also a huge adjustment. Australia is currently in their summer months, whereas it is winter at home. One thing I wasn’t anticipating was how much I would need to use sunscreen while being here. There happens to be a gap in the ozone layer right above Australia, making us much more susceptible to stronger UV rays and skin damage. Because of this, applying sunscreen frequently, even when it is not visibly sunny, is extremely important in order to not get burned. This has been a big adjustment for me as I have fairly tan skin and do not burn easily back at home, so I am not used to using much sunscreen. However, I got a bad burn on day one of being here and have learned my lesson ever since. 

Another thing that I have had to grow accustomed to while living here is the way that Australians talk to one another. Australians tend to abbreviate almost every word that they say. For example, people here say “arvo” rather than afternoon. At my internship, my supervisor tends to use a lot of slang when talking to me, so I often have to ask her to clarify what she means when she says certain things. Typically, she’ll laugh and realize that I don’t know what she’s talking about and then give me a run down of what different abbreviations mean in Aussie slang.

The last challenge that has been particularly hard for me to deal with is the time change. Since Sydney is 16 hours ahead of the time zone of my home in Pennsylvania, it has been difficult at times to stay closely in touch with my friends and family from home. Oftentimes, I’ll be asleep while my family is awake and vice versa and it is hard to find a good time to chat with them. I manage this by trying to set times to talk to my family ahead of time, usually when I wake up early in the morning while it is evening for them.

That’s all for now!