Travelers and workers trying to establish a new direction in life in a wonderful land of opportunity located south of the Equator need to remember a few things. While Australia is becoming well-renowned for its penchant for receiving migrant workers from all over the world and encouraging their growth and assimilation, one must remember that the culture and the community is still different from your home country.
There are plenty of Filipinos in Australia and some of the notable destinations where Pinoys are located are in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne (to name a few). A feeling out and adaptation period is necessary to get acclimated to the new surroundings. It is not every day you will get to mingle with a lot of cultures in the workplace and in the immediate neighborhood. Getting to know people from different walks of life is important to create a good impression and represent your nationality well.
How to Behave: Tips When Visiting The Land Down Under
Here are some things that you must remember to do when you are in Australia:
- Call people by their first names, even if you’ve just first met them. Aussies are casual people, who like to make you feel comfortable. Formalities are tolerated but are not really advised. Call everyone by their given names and you’ll go along just fine.
- A handshake, a smile, a g’day will do. And don’t forget to call them ‘mate’! As we have mentioned earlier, casualness is observed among the Australians. It would be good to accommodate them. And don’t forget to call them mates!
- Do keep eye contact and observe personal space. While it is important for them to be casual, it is also important for us to note that part of their culture demands personal space restriction. So be casual but be observant of personal space.
- Do bring your booze to the restaurants. It is cheaper to bring your own beer in restaurants. But do not make the mistake of drinking in public.
- Do learn your sports. Bonding with Aussies always goes back to sports. Learn the rules and the sporting events. It will make your transition to Australian life easier.
- Do wear your safety gear. When you are on a car, wear your seatbelts. When you are riding your bike, wear your helmet and other personal protective safety gear.
- Do make appointments. When making business calls, it is advisable to create appointments to ensure that your target client is at work. It is proper business etiquette to do so.
- Do arrive punctually. Punctuality is another good etiquette to own. While it is okay to be casual, it is much better if you come in early for all meetings. Not only will it reflect your dedication, it will also allow you to prepare and possibly ham it up with the secretaries who hold the doors to the offices.
- Be conservatively dressed for businesses; casually dressed outside. Be formal if you have to, but conservatively dressing for business meetings is acceptable and recommended. However, once the business is over and done with, stick to casual clothes.
- Do be straightforward and brief. They appreciate straightforwardness and a direct to the point approach. Keep things brief and simple. Australians also have a sense of humor that may border on deprecating and might be offensive for some. Just go with the flow.
Here are some things that you have to avoid doing when you are in the Land Down Under to save face and be accepted wholly:
- Don’t drink, smoke, eat and litter in public places. Quite self-explanatory isn’t it? Never try to drink alcoholic beverages, smoke cigarettes or cigars and eat in public. This is considered improper in their culture, so it is best if we follow.
- Don’t blow your nose in public. This is another social faux pas that must be avoided. Never blow your nose in front of Australians. Excuse yourself and use the privacy of the bathroom to do this.
- Do not put your elbows on the table. Mothers everywhere rejoice as this is taken seriously in Australia. You must not place your elbows on the table as this is seen as a sign of disrespect.
- Don’t just swim in the sea. Look at the signs first because as you well know, Australia is home to several deadly animal species.
- Don’t be surprised at the swimming attire. Some beaches are considered nude beaches. So do not be surprised with the beachgoers sunbathing in the buff.
- Don’t come into a meeting unannounced. Always try to make an appointment first before coming in to a meeting. This is good business practice for Australian. They do not want to be surprised when it comes to business.
- Don’t extend you middle finger. It’s downright rude and has negative connotations in Australian culture.
Remember that Australia is one of the most promising countries for migrants. It’s been accepting of foreign immigration and has a great multicultural base that makes it a virtual melting pot of people all over the world. Being open to so many cultures is an integral part of living in Australia. Adapt to whomever is in front of you and you’ll go places in the Land Down Under. Fail to make the necessary connections and you’ll be wishing you’re swimming with the sharks.