Sydney vs. San Diego: A List of Observations

Hello everyone! I am currently on exchange in Sydney and have been here for a little over three weeks now. So far I haven’t experienced too much culture shock, however, there are a lot of little differences I’ve noticed. Please enjoy this list of observations that I’ve accumulated during my stay in Australia so far.

  • When crossing the street, look right left then right before crossing. Trust me.
  • People here use their forks differently when eating. It almost looks like they hold their forks backwards.
  • If you’re trying to catch the sunset, don’t go to the beach.
  • Even though it’s winter here the sun feels so much stronger than it does back home. In other words: The hole in the ozone is very real.
  • Ditch the Mexican food. You may not find the best guac here but you can get the BEST curry.  
  • Sydney is super diverse. Yay for multicultural areas!
  • Ferry rides along the Harbour Bridge is a casual way to get the beaches
  • Although locals think otherwise, the public transit here is incredible — especially in comparison to the nearly nonexistent public transit in San Diego. The lines run from early in the morning to late at night and take you everywhere you need to go. Even right to the beach!
  • On Sundays you can take as much public transit as you want and it’ll only charge you a max of $2.50 for the whole day!
  • You have to pay extra for ketchup!! 😦 And any sauce really.
  • Don’t call it ketchup here — it’s tomato sauce.
  • San Diegans have a tendency to wear flip flops and tank tops year round, even if it’s 50 degrees out. People here actually dress for the weather!
  • On the flip side it can reach 70-plus here in the winter but people will be dressed like it’s the middle of winter in Antarctica.
  • Vegemite with smashed avo on toast is a magical combination.
  • There are so many vegan options! From vegan “meat” pies to entirely vegan Vietnamese and Indian restaurants. That’s probably my favorite thing about living in Sydney.
  • It’s called hot chips, not french fries.
  • Every bathroom has a water saving toilet. Yay for being eco friendly!!
  • One of my favorite observations is that you don’t have to tip ever! Since the minimum wage is much, much higher here, it’s the norm to not leave a tip.
  • Tax is already included in the price. The price you see is exactly what you need to pay.
  • Loose leaf tea is much more common than tea bags.
  • Aussies love their coffee and the coffee here is great. 

    Reut Golan is a marketing major. She is studying at the University of Technology, Sydney in Australia for a full semester.

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