You might know Australia as the Land Down Under or as the setting for “Finding Nemo,” but the country has much more to offer than just beautiful coastlines and catchy nicknames. According to the BBC News, Australia is the sixth largest country by landmass. The primary language spoken is English. I asked Australian resident Bec Whetham five questions about Australia, and here’s what she had to say about her home country.
1. Why did you choose to come to the United States to study abroad?
In grade nine (freshman equivalent), I decided I wanted to pursue a student-athlete scholarship in America for soccer. For four years, I partnered with a scouting agency, trained harder than ever, took on core courses, traveled interstate to take my SATs and sat in on Skype sessions with coaches all around the states. I was choosing between offers in Indiana, Georgia and Iowa, but it was still so expensive to come to America even with a partial athletic scholarship. I made the very tough decision not to come and stay/study in Australia. I knew I would eventually come over to America to study for exchange in my degree. It was a good alternative and cheaper! I love how diverse America is, both culturally between states and the different landscapes.
2. What is an Australian tradition that the United States might not have (or that might be different) that you can describe?
Our university life is very different! First, we call it “uni,” not college or school. Most degrees, including mine, are only three years.
No one in Australia lives on campus and there’s no dining halls or sporting teams (this also means fees are a lot cheaper). It’s like going into work and returning home. I only study two to three days on campus back home and my social/working life is all off-campus. It’s very different! Everything is on campus here.
3. Talk to me about Australia, what are some of your favorite things about the culture, the country, the people, etc.? Can you list some facts about Australia that people may not know?
Australia is a lot of fun. Naturally, it’s just beautiful. We’re a big country but almost everyone lives on the coast which is where all our big cities are. It takes a long time to drive between states. Like America, our landscape is diverse. Bush, desert, reefs, surfing beaches, rainforests, rolling hills, mountains – we truly have it all.
The culture is very laid back, we love our sports, our barbecues, and our camping trips. It’s been an awesome place to grow up.
I miss a lot of things but it can be hard to put a finger on sometimes. I do stand by our approach to gun control. Following a mass shooting in Tasmania is 1996 (35 deaths) we had a buy-back. Prior to that, we had somewhat similar regulations to America. Since then Australia has had no mass shootings. It’s been weird being here with that stuff going on.
While I love so many things about the states, there have been over 300 mass shootings already this year. I find it hard to empathize with the argument that suggests guns aren’t the problem. I hope that when I come back, things will have changed.
4. What part of Australia are you from?
I am from beautiful Seacliff, a suburb in Adelaide, South Australia. It’s on the coast. There’s a lot of beautiful beaches and wineries, as well as great bush camping spots and a cool city with over one million people).
5. How’s the food in Australia compared to the U.S.?
The food is in Australia is less processed! America adds a lot of sugar to bread and cheese, which I’m not a fan of.
People in the United States are also obsessed with pumpkin spice! What’s up with that? I love the amount of Mexican food here! I eat Mexican every day. Also, drip and iced coffee is all the rage in the United States! We’re all about those hot milky brews back home. Cappuccinos are served with nice froth and chocolate dusted on top — they’re delicious and popular in Australia. But I can’t seem to find a decent cup here.