Discovering OZ! – Part 2: Culture shock

I went through the 4 phases of culture shock during the first semester of my masters taken at University of Melbourne. CP once said that I should have chosen a course which consists of at least 3 semesters: 1st semester=busy adapting, 2nd second=starting to acclimatize but it’s time to leave already! Cannot be any truer!

Australia is the first non-Asia country that I visited. It was also my first time living abroad (for more than 2 months), in an English speaking country. The experience was overwhelming. I got really attracted to the liberal environment. The following shock stood out:-

1)      I can’t find bolster in the departmental stores!

Some of my OZ friends did not even know what a bolster is! -__- Now can you understand why hippo became a dearer toy at the end of my stay in Australia? He’s all that I had to hug to sleep!

2)      I can’t find brush to wash my clothes in the departmental stores!

I bought a nail brush instead…

3)      G’day, mate!

I had problem understanding OZ accent initially, so much so that when I received unfair treatment from some people when I requested them to repeat their statements, I felt the urge to scream, “I can’t understand your accent does not mean I am stupid, ok?!”

On second thought, so what if I am stupid, they should not be rude to me as well right? :p

4)      Self-checkout service

Such a level of trust!

self check-out in australia

self check-out in australia

5)      Openness about sexual matters

One day, while waiting to enter the lecture hall, course mates were chatting.

Someone: Oh! He told me her gf is so good at bed!

They then went on to discuss about the juicy details. I blushed!

the kind of postcards you won't be able to find in / send to Malaysia ;)

the kind of postcards you won’t be able to find in / send to Malaysia 😉

During his visit to Kuala Lumpur, L got a shock seeing this in the train: What's wrong with your country that you can't kiss in the public?

During his visit to Kuala Lumpur, L got a shock seeing this in the train: What’s wrong with your country that you can’t kiss in the public?

6)      No chili sauce for most of the restaurants

Well, I learned to like ketchup and mustard!

7)      Different teaching and learning environment

The learning process is a real eye-opener! Having group mates of various nationalities  for assignment could be a challenge! I must admit, Malaysian education system spoon-fed me too much! Being a rote leaner, I suffered!

Almost like a UN!

Almost like a UN!

Beer is served within the compound of the university :)

Beer is served within the compound of the university 🙂

I asked around, friends who studied in Malaysian government universities responded unanimously that attendance to lectures is compulsory. Attendance was not recorded in Unimelb. That was when I felt that Malaysian education system meddled too much. I mean my body could be at the lecture hall when my mind is totally absent. It takes own initiative and motivation to learn. Oh! And I like wearing casual wear to classes instead of business attire.

SK did warn me of the likelihood of having reverse culture shock when I am finally home but I did not expect it to be that bad for me though. I seriously had a shock of my life when I was restrained from entering the council one day, the female guard quoted, “your skirt is too short!” I was really upset over this. Besides, it took me some time to become accustomed again to the hygiene level of our public toilets. Close friends also worried for me a bit when I first came back. They thought I lack awareness and kept reminding me that I shouldn’t be putting my handbag on the passenger seat, shouldn’t be at the car park alone especially not at night and the list goes on.

dress code at government agencies: no sleeveless, no collar-less, no above knee

dress code at government agencies: no sleeveless, no collar-less, no above knee

Did I look decent in this? Skirt's too short?

Didn’t I look decent in this? Skirt’s too short?

But no worries, (I think) I am really good at adapting and re-adapting 😉 BF said, “Oh Sam! You are recovering your Malaysian accent real quick!”

Part 1 | Part 3 | tips


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