Living Life on the Edge… of Cliffs
I would like to start my first blog post off by saying that Australia has exceeded all expectations that I had before coming here. Before I left, I anticipated Sydney being as chaotic as Philadelphia, but just on a smaller scale and with more polite people. I was excited, but a bit hesitant to interact with Aussies that I passed by on the street because I did not know how they would treat me with my American accent.
Every fear of mine was washed away when I realized how helpful and outgoing Aussies were. Whether in a formal or informal setting, Aussies are willing to go the extra mile to make sure I am comfortable and have all the necessary information to get me where I need to go. The terrain of Sydney was a surprise to me because it’s extremely hilly and the beaches have massive cliffs surrounding the beached area. My walk to work is through downtown Sydney and is completely uphill on my way there. One of the hardest cultural aspects to get used to was walking on the left side of the sidewalk. I found myself unconsciously walking on the right side of everything and bumping into everyone that was coming from the other direction.
Watching YouTube videos from first hand cultural experiences of Americans in Australia proved to be the most helpful in preparing for this experience. The videos were helpful in comparing aspects of American culture that I do not normally think about, such as tipping norms and the overall structure of the work day, and detailing how it is different in Australia. However, learning how to interact with the locals is something that no YouTube video can prepare me for and can only be learned through first hand experience.