Communicating successfully

Studying and living in a new country requires personal social and cultural adjustments. Your diverse cultural background might be different from the typical Australian culture. Here are some guidelines to some common Australian practices.

Verbal Communication

Australians are generally open and confident when communicating and interacting with others:

  • When greeting others in Australia you say ‘hello’, ‘hi’ or ‘how’s it going?’ in a very relaxed and informal way
  •  Australians often greet people by their first names.
  •  You may find that Australians speak quickly and abbreviate or shorten words. For example, tutorial becomes tute and university becomes uni.
  • Australian accent and Australian slang is sometimes difficult to understand. If you are unsure of what is said, say ‘pardon’ or ‘sorry, I didn’t catch what you said.’
  • When requesting service, use polite expressions such as, ‘I would like to’ or ‘could I / may I ?’ instead of ‘I want ’ (‘I want’ is considered rude and demanding)

Non Verbal Communication (Body language)

Non–verbal communication relates to posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice, touch, appearance and physical distance. Learn to adjust and adapt to some of the non -verbal communication skills in the multicultural Australian community.

Maintain a reasonable social distance when interacting with others. An arm’s length is reasonable in most occasions

Making Social and Cultural Adjustments

  • Australians respect a person’s privacy. They avoid starting conversations with people they have just met by asking them personal details.
  • Friendships in Australia generally start through talking about common interests. Talk to as many people as possible, initiate conversations whenever possible
  • Develop your own network of useful contacts. Join a university club or student volunteer group
  • Australians are often keen spectators of sports like cricket or ‘footy’ – the Australian Football League.Have a willingness to adjust, adapt and adopt to your Australian environment
Appointments and queuing upMaking appointments is a normal Australian practice.

  • Be on time for your appointments, and inform those waiting if you are running late or unable to make it
  • Queuing up for a service is a common practice. Do not jump the queue and be considerate to the elderly, pregnant women and the people with disabilities
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