Too frequently, when people think of Australia, radiant tans, blonde hair, the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Finding Nemo, and kangaroos commonly come to mind. While there is certainly some truth to these aspects being a part of the Australian culture, there is a plethora of other characteristics that Australia has to offer to both locals and tourists as opposed to the stereotypically Australian attributes.
While I admittedly had a similar mindset to these other people’s in regards to thinking of Australia only in terms of its popular features, my perspective of the continent has changed rather drastically even throughout these past four days. For one, the people of Australian are incredibly diverse. While talking to Kim on the metro, we came to the agreement that the typical Australian accent is actually not all that common in Sydney. Instead, there is a multitude of accents and other languages spoken around you as opposed to the “traditional” Australian accent. For instance, at the New Year’s Eve festivities there were people from Great Britain, the Middle East, and Asia in equal numbers as there were Australians themselves. While I expected Sydney to be an ethnically diverse city, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much of a melting pot it is.
I was also taken aback by how differently Australians take their coffee as well. In the United States, we have an “anything goes” perspective on coffee. However, putting caramel in coffee, iced coffee, and Starbucks is frowned upon here (no joke, I have only seen a total of three Starbucks so far in Sydney and you can actually see a barista’s face dim in disappointment if you say you want something iced). Australians take their coffee very seriously and believe that there is an art to brewing the perfect cup with simplicity. Their coffee is delicious and there are cafés everywhere. As a shameless coffee addict, I have been very impressed so far.
Furthermore, there is not technically a typical Australian food. Mirroring the diversity of the city, the food is from all over the world and delightfully random. My friend and I had satay and chicken salt chips on a stick the other day and it was fabulous.
Even though I have only been in Australia for five days, my stay has been eye opening and I can safely say that my perspective of Australia has shifted quite a bit during the time that I have been here. There is more to Australia than what the media portrays. Like in any journey to a foreign country, I advise you to do your research before getting on that plane (heck, you can even go through one or two travel guide books on the plane if you feel so inclined) and to avoid making generalized assumptions about a country’s culture. What you will discover instead will pleasantly surprise you!
What are you waiting for? Start reading!
~ The Caro Chronicles