While I expected to meet Australians and learn about their country’s culture, I was unaware that I would get to experience many other cultures while studying abroad Down Under. This diversity makes Australian culture even more interesting to study.
Australia, like the United States, is a melting pot of different cultures with visitors and residents from all over the world. I think I’ve met more people from Asia or Europe than actual Australians during the first few days of my study abroad program.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about a fourth of the country’s population was not born in Australia. Many arrive with a working visa or a student visa (like us study abroad students). Some even obtain permanent immigration status as an official Australian citizen.
The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship indicated that New Zealand, China, India and the United Kingdom were the largest sources of immigrants. I can definitely say that I’ve observed the Asian and European influence in Australia’s restaurants, shops and architecture. I attended a festival for the Buddha’s birthday and then went to an English pub in Sydney this week. They were just a few blocks away from each other — close in distance yet far apart in culture.
Although I’m so far from home, the wide array of Australian immigrants and their cultures reminds me of the sub-cultures within the United States. The Australian melting pot is brewing!