Australia is different: 10 things you need to adjust to…

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1.     Tipping is not compulsory in Australia.  Generally we will only tip if the service has been very good as our base rate of pay is exceptionally high. 

2.     Our power points –  down is “on” and up is “off” – the opposite of North America

3.     The sun in Australia is seriously hot and really burns.  Every semester we see our residents come back from a day at the beach with lobster red skin.  Please make sure you use sunscreen every time you’re in the sun! 

4.     We drive on the left hand side.  If you have a go at driving while over here, be sure to stay to the left of centre when you position yourself on the road and have a quick read up on how to tackle driving through a round-a-bout before you go.

5.     On weekdays, shopping centres are only open until 5pm; however groceries stores are open until 9pm.  Weekends have even shorter trading hours, with most shopping centres usually closing around 4pm.

6.     We use the metric system for measurements.  We weigh things in kilograms not pounds, measure things in centimetres not inches, we drive kilometres not miles, use Celsius rather than Fahrenheit for temperature, and use litres to measure fluids rather than gallons.

7.      Our clothing and shoe sizes differ from US sizes, as a quick conversion guide:

Category                                        How to get your AU size equivalent

o    Women’s clothing                   Add 2 to the US size

o    Women’s shoes                      Minus 1.5 from the US size

o    Men’s shirts                             Multiply the US size by 2.54 (inches to centimetres)

o    Men’s shoes                             Minus 1 from the US size

8.     Internet in Australia can be slower than what you are used to.  It is definitely more expensive and generally comes with a limit on how much you can download/upload.

9.     The sizing of our coins does not reflect their worth.  Our 50cent coin is the largest and the $2 coin, which is our highest value coin, is the smallest. Also on money, $50 notes are common and can be used to pretty much anywhere other than on the bus!

10.  Australia’s power supply runs on a 240volt 50Hz cycle.  Most new laptops, mobile phone chargers, IPod chargers will have printed on them that their input can range from AC100-240V, 50-60Hz – meaning that they will be safe to use in Australia.  However items such as hair straighteners, blow dryers, cooking appliances etc from the states are better left at home as they are made for your power supply and are likely to blow up if used with ours.

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