Australia: Taking Time to Talk

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

Since I have been in Sydney, a lot of small things have really stood out during my time here. Maybe it is because it sometimes feels like it is the opposite of what I am used to. It started out by noticing how everyone went out of the way to say thank you for every little deed. Saying thank you to the bus driver, to people who hold the door open, etc. It’s not like people in America don’t say thank you, but sometimes they are so busy that they forget. However, no one is upset if you forget to say thank you. In Australia, it does not matter how busy you are, you stop and say thank you. It’s something that I have enjoyed since being here. It makes you stop and appreciate the little things, even when your life is hectic.

I also noticed that people like to have conversations with others, even if you have never met them. I have had several conversations while waiting for the bus or sitting on a bench, and none of them felt awkward.

In the United States, I have worked in small offices where I have never spoken to or known half the people that work there. Everyone seems content at doing their own thing. However, at my current internship, I have had 30-minute conversations with everyone from facilities to the head of research. Throughout the day, you can hear people having conversations not related to work, and it really takes the pressure off the work environment. Everyone is friendly and enjoys chatting and learning about others. Hopefully, it is something I can continue when I get back.