Cultural essentials

Western Australia has a high standard of living and a relaxed lifestyle, as well as being very multicultural.

Like any place in the world, Perth may have different traditions and behaviours to your home country. When coming to study here, international students should be prepared to adjust to a foreign lifestyle and different customs.

Social formalities and behaviours

Compared to some places, Perth has a fairly informal culture. Greetings, conversation and dress code are casual in most everyday situations. When greeting people, it's widely acceptable to use a person's given or first name, even at work and at university. At formal events, at school or when speaking to older people, a formal way to address someone would be to use Mr (male), Ms or Mrs (female) before their last name.

Certain behaviours that are accepted in some countries might be seen as inappropriate here, so be sure to check or ask others for advice.

Dress code

The way of dressing in Western Australia is informal or semi-formal in most situations. Students at private primary and secondary schools, and some government schools, are required to wear a school uniform. Universities, English language colleges and most vocational institutions don't have a uniform. Many students wear jeans, t-shirts and shorts. Students from countries with particular dress traditions should feel comfortable wearing their customary dress in Perth.

Food and meals

The food in Western Australia is very diverse and includes cuisines from many different countries. The first meal of the day is breakfast, then lunch (often between 12pm and 1pm) and dinner in the evening. The local food and way of eating may be different to what you're used to at home, so be prepared to try new things. There are shops and restaurants that sell and serve international food.

Alcohol and cigarettes

In Western Australia, it's illegal for people under 18 years old to buy or drink alcohol, and to buy cigarettes. Drinking alcohol responsibly is acceptable at social gatherings, in many restaurants, bars and clubs. Smoking at some public places is restricted – if you're a smoker you should always check signs or ask others.

Bargaining and tipping

Bargaining or price haggling isn't customary at shops or markets in Western Australia. The marked price of an item is usually the price you need to pay. Tipping at hotels or restaurants isn't common practice and is not expected.

Last modified: 6/02/2014 11:21 AM