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7 Uncomfortable Truths About Living in Australia

Australia Student Work
by Sara Schneider Nov 7, 2015

1. Women still belong in the kitchen.

Sure it might be a first-world country full of progressive thinkers, but subconsciously Australia still puts women at home raising the children and preparing dinners. Many citizens (mainly men) are trained tradesmen that work away from home for weeks at a time leaving the Aussie mums left to manage the home. This lifestyle lends itself to traditional gender roles. About 85% of all fathers with a youngest child under the age of five work full-time, but for mothers in that category, the rate is about 19%. For better or worse, living in Australia feels a bit like stepping into your favorite episode of Leave It to Beaver.

2. You’ll probably get skin cancer.

According to the Australian Cancer Council, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. When there is a hole in the Ozone Layer directly above you, it’s pretty important to take every precaution possible when living in the Outback. And even then, you’ll probably get skin cancer one day. Sorry.

3. You don’t really know how to talk about the Aboriginals.

Even if you try to stay out of the great debate, you will eventually find yourself swimming in the horrible truths that surround the issue of the native Australians, or Aboriginals. You’ll hear racial comments galore and cringe as you drive past one of the government-sanctioned “communities.” You’ll feel helpless and unsure on the best method to remember their past in the present. Get used to your mixed emotions – they’re probably going to be there a while.

4. It is really white.

Australia is 92% white. For perspective, the United States is 63% white. If you’re used to living amongst diversity, well, Down Under might be a slight culture shock. This is most likely thanks to the infamous White Australia Policy that was in place until the mid-1970s. Since the abolition of this policy, non-European immigration has increased (mainly Asian), but as the percentage above shows, the scales are still heavily weighted white.

5. Deadly animals are everywhere.

Can you think of anything more uncomfortable!? Australians are just living with the knowledge that a large portion of the world’s deadliest creatures reside just outside their front doors. From jellyfish to spiders to sharks to snakes, there is a high likelihood you’ll come across one of these death threats at some point in your Aussie life.

6. Getting to the nearest hospital might require a plane ride.

Australia is a big country mostly consisting of dry, barren land. If you happen to live someplace other than the handful of major cities, getting your skin cancer patches removed might mean more than a quick car ride to the local hospital. Oh, and you’ll be waiting in anticipation for a week while your lab results are shipped down to Perth for processing. Don’t worry, it’s probably nothing, and at least you can bask in the joy of free healthcare while you’re waiting.

7. Drinking is the #1 pastime.

The number of alcohol-related deaths in Australia is four times its road toll. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise since the Aussies have a known reputation for loving their beers. Because of this, the country also boasts some of the strictest liquor laws known to man. Good luck trying to get a license for your new restaurant. And America, you think .08 is strict? Try .05.

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