Monday, January 10, 2011

Do You Ever Feel Like A Plastic Bag

Seriously? This song is number one?????????


Oh for the continuation of my analysis.

The college (university) experience is a bit different here compared to the States, from culture to student loans. In Australia, if you're a citizen or permanent resident you're eligible for interest free loans up to $100k for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and $80k for all other programs. The reason for this is because the cost for college depends on what you study instead of how many credit hours you take, like it does in America. After you graduate, repayment of these loans are compulsory (after a certain threshold) and paid through the taxation system, meaning they take it out of your paycheck. The rate ranges from 4% - 8%, depending on how much you owe. This is in comparison to America where there are loans that do not accrue interest while you are in school but accrue upon graduation after a grace period, and loans that accrue throughout your schooling.

Because there are far fewer schools and the cost of living is higher in Australia, the social experience in college appears to be much more "fun" in America. This can be good or bad, because it's easy to piss away your time in college partying while declaring majors like Art History or Latin...good luck finding a job. In Australia, unless you're an international student or go to a school across state lines, you will most likely live at home. This means no Greek life, fewer house parties, and less time spent socializing compared to America. This makes the American college experience unique (and awesome,) and I think this applies in comparison to the rest of the world.


It's pretty much expected in America that once you graduate high school, you're going to college and you're going to move out and become an adult. There's a bit of a social stigma to live at home, especially after graduating college; lesser now, because of the Global Financial Crisis. In regards to the rest of the world, this stigma doesn't exist and it's actually expected that you live at home and only move out when you can afford to do so or are starting a family of your own. Asia? Europe? Africa? South America? Latin America? It's not uncommon to see people live with their parents up into their 30s (combination of high cost of living in some areas or low wages in others.) In America, you're pretty much a walking punchline for living in your parents' basement or something along those lines.

Mom...where are my Hot Pockets?

Because of America's individualistic culture, I think this makes Americans much more open socially...when you're young at least. Since you're off on your own and living away from home you're apt to meet more people and do more things because you won't be restricted by anyone. I suppose you can do all these things if your parents are really cool. The college party scene? Unique to America. Thousands of student organizations in college that host their own performances/conventions? Unique to America. Going out and being open to meeting new people? Mostly unique to America...I've noticed that when Aussies go out, it's to hang out with their friends and not to meet anyone new. Unless you have an "in," conversations can be pretty curt as people probably assume the worst or can't be bothered (applies to men and women.)

The New Guy

This is like anywhere else when you move to a new city, since the people that grew up in the area have friendships established already, so you will be hard pressed to make friends with them unless they're open to it or you're mingling with other people from out of town. This is not to say that Australians are not friendly, far from it. Since Australia's population is much smaller than America's this can make it a little bit harder to break into a group...but I'm just generalizing. However, Australia makes up for the lack of college parties with their frequent festivals...and there's pretty much a festival every week.

Cases in point, October was the International Food Festival, November had Sculpture by the Sea, all of January is the Sydney Festival which kicked off this past Saturday, February has Chinese New Year (biggest outside of Asia,) Gay Mardi Gras, Good Vibrations, and so on.

Culturally, Americans and Australians are very similar, since we both came from the Motherland...England. The main difference can be reflected in work culture, where in America you are perceived as a valuable employee if you work 60+ hours a week while over here you would be crazy. The only other place where you would expect to work that much is in Asia or places with very low wages. People take their time here to do things; if you send an e-mail and you're used to getting a reply within an hour because people are addicted to their smartphones, have fun waiting over here. Just take it easy. Overall, people seem happier because of this.

Because of America's workaholism and focus on your career, the college experience is widely considered to be the best time of your life in America. In Australia, because of the much more laid back atmosphere and love for festivals this is not can enjoy your life all the way through after graduating, instead of reminiscing about the past because you work so much and get paid so little. This goes for people in the low/middle class...generally if you want to make a ton of money you would do so in America and you would run in another crowd or be interested in other things besides festivals (like how to make more money)...if you're not driven by money and would just like to live comfortably without getting worked to death, consider Australia (though if you want to buy a nice house and nice car...I hope you're loaded.) Food for thought.

I'm not even going to touch politics and terrorism (okay maybe a little,) in light of the tragedy that happened in Arizona. That speaks for itself.

*Nerd reference coming up:

Being an American that isn't blinded by partisanship is like being a Jedi in Episodes 1 - 3 witnessing Anakin Skywalker's (as America) downfall. Anakin was the beacon of hope for everyone and had so much potential...but little by little you see him start turning to the dark side and soon people stopped recognizing Anakin for who he was and stood for. Iraq War, Patriot Act, TSA, War on Terrorism, waterboarding, and so on...come on America! You're better than that!


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