Culture shock in Sydney

As I speak with friends, they’ve mentioned their curiosity about the culture shock upon my return. I’m also curious as to how this “culture shock” will affect me or treat me when I hit home in a month or so.

For the last 6 months we’ve been traveling in various parts of Asia including Jordan, Iran, India, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. We’ve gotten accustomed to different traditions, foods, currencies, languages, and more. I figured Australia and USA are similar countries and I would experience some type of culture shock when arriving to Sydney.

Fortunately (or unfortunately?) I don’t think I’ve experienced culture shock. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten so used to change in my life (not only during traveling) or because I expected the differences? Or maybe because I’m still traveling and have a traveler’s mindset? Culture shock has not hit, the lack of dried squid being sold in the middle of HK, nor animals delaying traffic in Jordan and India, nor the monkey or kangaroo signs on the street have given me culture shock just yet.

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However, there are a few things that surprised me (not necessarily culture shock but more of a surprise) in Australia:

  • advertisement for places I’ve been to like Kerala and Indonesia at the airport, it was a surreal experience
  • ethnic restaurants from places I’ve been to in the past few weeks and the costs being 10 times the price I used to pay
  • grass! you can walk on grass!
  • lack of wifi in Australia (it feels as if I’m in the USA 15 years ago in regards to telecommunications)
  • seeing kangaroo meat sold at the grocery store
  • the rules and fear of getting sued (can’t do this, can’t do that signs)


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I suspect going back to San Francisco and living the “normal” life will be a “culture shock” experience, or maybe I’ve gotten so used to change that I will just plug myself back into “normal” life. Whatever the case, I’m looking forward to this experience in itself and to the new chapter in my life!

Have you experienced culture shock? Did it affect you? How, what should I look forward to? Leave us a comment!


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