Five common misconceptions about Australia

KangarooThanks to Hollywood, and some of Australia’s own tourism campaigns, you may have formed some misconceptions about Australia. You might be expecting to ‘throw some shrimps on the barbie’, wrestle crocodiles… or see the local students riding to uni on kangaroos! If any of these sound familiar, read on as we clarify some of the common misconceptions about Australia.

You’re going to be killed by some sort of dangerous creature

Australia is home to a large number of poisonous and deadly animals, but the likelihood of running into a crocodile or snake in day-to-day life (or even a kangaroo or koala) is low for most Australians. While you may come across spiders, you probably won’t encounter other creatures unless you visit regional or rural parts of the country. And you’ll be happy to know that there are many cute, harmless creatures that also call Australia home — the Western Australian quokka, for example, which is native to Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth.

Australians are laid-back or lazy

While Australians may appear to cruise through life with a laid-back attitude, we are actually a very hard-working nation. If you’ve researched visa applications or quarantine laws, you will have realised that Australia has a number of strict rules and regulations. The same can be said for study and work — with a competitive job market, Australians work hard to gain entry into their preferred course or career.

Australians all live on huge blocks of land in the bush

While Australia has a very low population-to-land ratio, the reality is that most of this land is uninhabitable.  The majority of Australians live in metropolitan areas close to the coast. In fact, Australia is one of the most urbanised nations in the world and less than one per cent of the population actually live in ‘the outback’.

Australians are all blue-eyed, blonde and tanned

Australia is a very multicultural nation, which means that there really is no such thing as a ‘typical Aussie’. A large proportion of Australia’s population are immigrants — with roughly a quarter of Australians born overseas — and you’ll see this reflected in the variety of cuisines on offer in most parts of the country and the different cultural districts that exist in each city. You are also likely to find special clubs and societies on campus that help you connect with students from your home country. 

Australia is too expensive for students

While Australian cities can be more costly than those in other parts of the world, they consistently rank well in liveability surveys, so it can be said that you’re getting good value for money. If you’re worried about expenses, don’t be put off — there are a number of scholarships available to international students wishing to study in Australia and, unlike in other countries, international students are given permission to work part time while they study in Australia. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some parts of Australia are more expensive than others — cities like Adelaide and Hobart offer cheaper alternatives to Melbourne or Sydney. Likewise, the cost of living is typically lower in regional areas than in cities.

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