Exploring Australian Culture

Australia is much more than kangaroos and the iconic Opera House. Australia’s indigenous population—the Aboriginal and Indigenous Australians groups are the oldest living cultural group history in the world extending back at least 65,000 years—have a profound impact on culture and visual art. Indigenous Australians have a unique spirituality and belief system. They identify themselves through their land areas, their relationship to others and their language and stories—which may be expressed through ceremony, the arts, family, religion, and sports.

Australia is a continent with vast and beautiful spaces and landscapes, however most Australians live in cities and regional towns. The interior of the country is very dry and arid so most people live in the narrow, fertile coastal plains and on the southeastern coast. In Australian culture, outdoor life rules: swimming at stunning beaches, playing cricket, or having a barbecues in the park are popular activities.

Study abroad in Australia Host an Australian student in the U.S.

Australian People and Community

A beautiful beach in Australia

Australians are family-oriented but may not be as physically expressive as families in other cultures. Family members may hug or kiss each other but not necessarily every day. Families in Australian culture can be more matriarchal compared to some Latin or Asian families, with mothers usually responsible for discipline and decisions regarding the children. In Australian culture, everyone shares in the housework. Families usually get together for dinner and it’s common to get take-out for a quick meal.

Families also express affection through participating in activities such as watching television, working around the house or garden, having picnics or barbecues and going to sporting events together. Smiles and laughter are signs of strong affection in Aussie families – family members may even tease one another but will do so in good fun and Aussie humor.

Homes in Australia can range from large properties on farms in regional areas to small apartments in the city.

Language and Communication Styles in Australia

There are over 300 languages spoken in Australia. English is the dominant language in Australia however Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Italian are the most common second languages spoken–many migrants and their families are bilingual. It is important to note that Australian and British English spelling is the same however the Australian accent and use of creative and colorful slang distinguishes Australian English from British and American English.

Australian Food

Food in Australia

Australian cuisine has been influenced by a range of cultures. What is considered typical Australian food such as a Sunday roast is derived from British and continental cuisine.

Australians generally eat three meals a day and do not eat snacks between meals. A lot of Australian food is similar to food from the United Kingdom, such as meat pies and fish and chips. Vegemite, pavlova, and lamingtons are regarded as iconic Australian foods. But there is also a heavy Asian influence, and recently there has been a renewed interest in “bushfoods,” or foods traditionally eaten by the Aboriginal community. Other popular dishes include steak, lamb chops, sausages, seafood, and pasta.