Moving Down Under Soon? Here Are Five Major Differences Between AU and PH Culture to Prepare For

Thanks to its strong economy, stable government, and relatively plentiful opportunities for higher education and career advancement, Australia remains to be a popular choice for many Filipino migrants and their families.


And hey, the fact that you don’t really need to learn another language helps too. (Sure, Aussie slang can be tricky, but it doesn’t require memorizing a whole new alphabet.)


Still, such a move doesn’t come without significant adjustments. Australia is, after all, a whole different country with its own customs and culture. 


Thus, if you’ll be migrating here soon, you may want to consider five major ways in which Australian culture differs from ours:


  1. Time Management.
  2. Time Management

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    Ah, which of us isn’t familiar with the term “Filipino Time?” You know, that’s when someone sets up a meeting at 8 AM, only to show up an hour or two later because of “traffic.” Though this is highly inconvenient, this offense is usually granted a free pass here as it happens all the time.


    Right, well, that won’t fly in Australia. While Aussies are somewhat laidback, they are also quite punctual. If you arrive long past the agreed time, expect to get a lot of dirty stares. Down Under, being late is akin to wasting everyone’s time, and is thus considered rude. 


  3. Work-Life Balance.
  4. Work-Life Balance

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    That said, Aussies value ending work on time just as starting on time. Overtime isn’t really a thing here. The country-continent was even one of the first to implement a 40-hour work week.


    So, if you find yourself burning the midnight oil at work, you’ll probably be alone – or alongside other Filipino workers.


    Remember, diligence and hard work is admirable the world over, but working smart (and being punctual) trumps just about everything else. 


  5. Boundaries Between One’s Personal and Professional Lives.
  6. Boundaries Between One’s Personal and Professional Lives

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    One of the best things about working in a Filipino office is that it can be a very energetic environment. Filipinos are very sociable, and their enthusiasm is contagious.


    Hence, working alongside Filipinos doesn’t just mean clocking in and working on deadlines. Birthday lunches, happy-hour invitations, and mini-Game of Thrones discussions abound in our local workplaces. It’s not even unusual to invite your officemates to stand as godparents to your kids here. 


    In contrast, Australians are more concerned with individual results. Sure, you can have short chats every now and then, but Aussies like to reserve their exuberance for social functions outside work. 


  7. Seniority and Rank.
  8. Seniority and Rank

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    This may sound contradictory, but no matter how carefree Filipino offices can be, the hierarchy remains clear. Here, you would always address your boss as “ma’am,” “sir,” or with an honorific.


    On the other hand, Aussie workplaces are less formal. There’s far less emphasis on the hierarchy than on equality. More interestingly, not only can you call your boss by name, but you can also have straightforward debates about strategies and policies with them. 


  9. Emphasis on Independence.
  10. Emphasis on Independence

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    In the Philippines, it isn’t unusual to live with your parents until you get married. Thanks to strong family ties, many adults continue to live at home even if they can afford their own digs. And what do they do with the extra cash, you ask? Well, many of them provide for immediate or even extended family members.


    Such an arrangement is almost unheard of Down Under. As with most Westerners, Aussies move out of the family home at the earliest opportunity. While I’m sure they love their families as much as we do, establishing their independence is also a top priority. 


    This might sound rather lonely, but you can take comfort in the fact that there are plenty of thriving online Filipino communities in Australia. Check out this list to find out more.


In summary, while there are key differences between Philippine and Australian culture, learning how to successfully merge the two can be highly advantageous. They don’t call it having the best of both worlds for nothing. 


So, rather than be daunted by all this, take it as a marvelous opportunity to expand your horizons. Such a mindset would definitely come in handy in the days to come. 

Serena Estrella

Serena joined Remit back in 2016, and has tormented its Marketing Head constantly ever since. To get through the rigors of writing about grave concerns like exchange rates, citizenship requirements, and PH-AU news, she likes to blast Mozart, Vivaldi, ONE OK ROCK, and Shigeru Umebayashi in the background. She does a mean Merida voice in her spare time too.


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