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Title Goes Here. UNDERSTANDING AUSTRALIAN CUSTOMS. GREETINGS In Australia there are many different ways of greeting people Men usually shake hands when greeting other men and sometimes when greeting females In work or social situations women may also shake hands to greet each other.

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understanding australian customs

In Australia there are many

different ways of greeting people

Men usually shake hands when greeting other men and sometimes when greeting females

In work or social situations women may also shake hands to greet each other

Understanding Australian Customs
understanding australian customs1
Understanding Australian Customs

Formal Greetings are:

“How do you do?”

“Good Morning”

“Good Afternoon”

  • Young people usually greet other people with “Hello” or “Hi”
  • Sometimes it is nice to use someone’s name when greeting them: e.g. “Hi, John”
understanding australian customs2
Understanding Australian Customs


  • Social Invitations can be received informally (telephone) or formally (written note).
  • It is good to reply quickly and honestly to invitations
  • RSVP means “Please Reply” by the date that is stated
  • It is polite to ring to let your friend/colleague know if you are going to be late/delayed

Understanding Australian Customs

  • When going out for lunch/dinner or to the movies/theatre with friends usually you will pay for yourself
  • If your friend offers to “shout” this means they will pay for you. If you are not sure, make sure to ask!
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Understanding Australian Customs


  • In Australia servants are very uncommon
  • If you are used to having a servant in your home country you will need to adjust to helping out in your homestay home
  • In Australia males often help with housework and this is not considered shameful
  • Some families may hire someone to do

their cleaning or gardening for them

understanding australian customs4
Understanding Australian Customs


  • While in Australia you may be invited to a barbeque (BBQ) and you may be asked to “Bring a Plate”
  • This means bring a plate of food not an empty plate!
  • You may like to take along some chips and dip or you may like to take a plate of food from your home country
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Understanding Australian Customs

BYO – Bring Your Own

  • If you are told that a party is BYO this means that you are expected to bring your own drinks – either soft drink or alcohol.
  • Some restaurants are also BYO. At these

restaurants it is acceptable to bring your own

alcohol – usually beer or wine. Soft drinks will be available to purchase.

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Understanding Australian Customs


  • Don’t be worried if you are not fluent in English.

Conversations are a great way to practise your

spoken English.

  • If you are having a conversation and an English speaker is speaking too fast, ask them to speak slowly – this will not be seen as rude!
  • Sometimes it is rude to ask certain questions. For example it is not polite to ask people their age (especially an older person).
  • It is also not polite to ask men and women how much money they earn.
  • If you would like to know the cost of something, ask the question in a general way. Instead of saying “How much did your jeans cost?” you could say “What is the average price of a pair of jeans?”
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Understanding Australian Customs


  • Thank you is a phrase used often in Australia
  • In Australia it is polite to thank shop assistants and waiters after they have provided a service to you
  • If you are invited to a celebration (birthday or Christmas) it is polite to take a small gift. The gift shouldn’t be expensive but it should be thoughtful, either flowers, chocolates or a souvenir from your home country.
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Understanding Australian Customs


  • Australians usually have two or three names. The last name is their family name or surname and the first one or two are their given names.
  • On official documents it is important that you always write your name in the same order.
  • In Australia names are written First Name, Second/Middle Name ( if you have one), Last Name. Some official documents may ask for your Last Name to be written first.
  • If you are unsure – make sure you ask for help!
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Understanding Australian Customs

Guidelines on the use of names:

  • First names are used more frequently in Australia.
  • It is usually okay to use a person’s first name if he or she is about the same age as you or younger.
  • Teachers at your school will like you to call them using Mr, Ms, Miss, and Mrs. For Example, Mr Smith or Ms Brown.
  • Ms is used for both single and married women. If you are unsure you should address women with Ms.
  • In Australia most high school students call

their female teachers “Ms” and their male

teacher “Sir”.

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Understanding Australian Customs

Guidelines on the use of names:

  • If you are unsure what to call someone

just ask, “What shall I call you?”

  • If people seem unsure what to call you, tell them the name you prefer.
  • Using “nicknames” in Australia is very common. A nickname is not a person’s real name but a name given by friends or it may be a shorter version of a person’s first name.

For instance someone named Andrew may be called Andy by their friends.

  • Nicknames are often a sign of acceptance and affection.
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Understanding Australian Customs


Australians eat 3 meals a day:

Breakfast (6am to 8am)

Lunch (12 noon to 2pm)

Dinner or “tea” (6pm to 7pm, or sometimes later)

Supper is only common after an evening social event and is usually tea/coffee and a light snack

Breakfast Lunch Dinner

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Understanding Australian Customs


  • While you are in Australia you will usually have breakfast and dinner with your Homestay family.
  • Most schools have “canteens” or “tuckshops” where you can buy your morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.
  • Most school students take food from home for their meals during the school day.
  • Buying your lunch at school can cost up to $10 per day
understanding australia customs
Understanding AustraliaCustoms


  • Australians eat with their fingers only at

barbecues or picnics.

  • Inside the house, you are usually invited to sit down at a dinner table and it is polite to use knives, forks and spoons.
  • Feel free to ask your Homestay family if you prefer to eat according to your own country’s custom.
  • In Australia there is no cultural significance in eating with your left or right hand.
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Understanding AustralianCustoms


If you have medical, dietary or religious reasons for not eating certain foods, it is important to let your Homestay family know.

It is Australian Custom to offer food and drink only once. If you say “No” out of politeness, your “No” may be taken literally and may not be offered again.

When wanting to leave the dinner table

it is polite to ask for permission

to leave the table.

Australian families practice many

different religions and it isn’t always

common for a family to pray before

eating meals. Your Homestay family

may or may not practice the same

religion as you.

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Understanding AustralianCustoms


Tipping is not the usual custom in Australia except in the more expensive restaurants.

If the service has been above satisfactory, people usually tip the waiter or waitress about 10% of the bill.

Tips are not given in cafes or fast food outlets (like Macdonalds).

Sometimes Taxi Drivers are given small change as a tip.

Hairdressers do not accept tips.

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Understanding Australian Customs


In Australia you can’t bargain for food items.

Goods are sold according to the price they are marked.

In some street and weekend

markets you may be able

to bargain.

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Understanding Australian Customs


It is against the law to do the following in

public places:

  • Swear
  • Talk indecently
  • Urinate
  • Behave in a sexually indecent way

In Australia there are local council regulations against spitting. If you need to clear your throat or nose, use a handkerchief or a tissue.

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