Australia’s good, bad, and strange from a Dutch point of view

As a social psychology student you are flooded with interesting experiments, facts and fictions about stereotypes. For example, did you know that thinking or reading about old people can make you walk more slowly? Also, thinking about Einstein can improve your exam results whereas thinking about someone stupid (say soccer hooligans, or Mr Bush) will make you temporarily dumber.
In short though, we need them, but they are also a driving force behind things not so great, like discrimination
As for me, I should know better but I actually quite like them and find they make great conversation and discussion material.

So, here are a few of my own stereotypes/judgements/opinions about life in Australia (Sydney):

– Lifestyle:
Definitely more relaxed than in the Netherlands. More outdoor activities, less need to plan ahead, slightly less career focused. Also more open to people that make different choices, where Dutch people would ask: ‘but why would you want to do that?’ Australians tend to say: ‘wow, good on ya!’

– Sydney weather
Big blue skies, light like nowhere else. But also: lots of very heavy rain. It either rains or shines. I like it (when it shines that is).

– Men
Usually one or two out of the following three: too feminine, too macho, too short. This doesn’t mean they aren’t good looking!

– Women
Less is more…but they take it a bit too literally! I’ve heard this is typical for Sydney but I’ve seen in it Melbourne too. At the same time they live by ‘more is more’: shorter skirt, higher heels, straighter hair, more make-up, more jewellery, more perfume. And coats are for losers.
(With this point I’d like to stress that I know a lot of girls that are not like this!!)

– Sports
I can never remember the difference between rugby league and rugby union (I do right know but only because there was a game on last night), but both are not bad to watch. One thing is for sure, our soccer players have a lot to learn from these guys. After seeing the Aussies play they would be horribly ashamed of themselves for falling to the ground pretending to be in agony. They don’t know what pain is!

– TV
Good and bad. It’s kind of good that Australian tv is so ridiculously bad: you don’t ever want to watch it!

– Pubs
Carpet?? TVs?? I rest my case.

– Traffic
Too many cars in too many places. Crossing lights for pedestrians stay red forever. Road signs are sometimes there, sometimes not, sometimes before the turn, sometimes after…even someone with a great sense of direction will easily get lost driving in Sydney.

– Food
Good and cheap. Or deep-fried and cheap. And always in your face. Resisting is difficult.

– Views
Views of the Harbour, the ocean, the city, the Opera House…amazing! So much better than in a flat country. Not much to see when you are not on a hill. Or when there’s no hill to look at. Unless you really love the horizon….

Of course I could go on and on, but let’s not.

Australia (and Sydney in particular) is a great place and I will really miss it (heaps).

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