Australia: Social Acceptance

Submitted by Michael Davis on the 2020 spring semester study abroad program in Sydney, Australia sponsored by the Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition…

In my time in Sydney, Australia, I have noted a lot of similarities to the United States. However, I have noticed how there are different norms in Australia which seem to make it easier to be socially accepted. Australia is the laxer of the two countries.

To begin with, you will quickly notice how many people have tattoos and tattoo sleeves that are visible while they are in business and work attire. While in the United States, tattoos are becoming more of a norm, it is still common to conceal them when at work to avoid looking “unprofessional.” Here, it seems you are in the minority if you do not have one.

I would say that the same goes for piercings as well. Many people have nose rings, septum piercings, etc., that would be considered unflattering in the workplace in the United States. I believe that the lax nature is because the Australian workplace understands that appearances don’t determine a person’s work performance.

While the country may seem more relaxed and easy going, it does not mean that the country suffers from productivity. It may be the opposite. You do not have to spend time worrying about social norms that are unrelated to your work and can spend more time doing work with less pressure.

One of the many tattoo and piercing shops I pass on my way to work