For her operational internship, Emmi jetted off to the breathtakingly beautiful Australia. In her blog, she takes us on a journey through her experiences and cultural encounters Down Under. Emmi's storytelling shows a great deal of openness and curiosity. She explores the cultural differences between Australia and her home country, Germany, in a refreshingly unbiased and judgment-free way.
How does that question make you feel? Like you are valued and appreciated, and the other person is interested in you? Me too! It always brightens up my day. That’s why I really love doing my internship in Australia. I hear that question always and everywhere – from my co-workers to the lady at the coffee shop or just from the bus driver. And even if it might not always mean that they want to know all my problems, it still feels like they care.
This positive and light-hearted way of communicating really reflects the typical Aussie lifestyle: easy going and laid-back. It’s really not a surprise that Australia scores high in Hofstede’s Indulgence dimension. After all, “No worries, mate” is said to be the Australian motto for life. And of course, this isn’t always the case, I was still surprised how true this cliché is. Even before I arrived in Sydney I was already amazed by the relaxed and personal attitude of the Australians. When I talked to different managers from the hotel, it was all on a first name base and when I found an apartment, I didn’t even need to sign a rental contract.
Having landed in Down Under nothing changed: my manager and a colleague picked me up at the airport spontaneously after their breakfast in casual clothes and when I got to the hotel even the general manager was addressed by first name. In my onboarding session Ralf, the general manager, joined and joked around with us and some days later I met him on his stroll through the hotel asking everyone how they’re doing.
That’s why I expected Australia to score really low in Hofstede’s dimension of power distance. I was extremely surprised to see Germany had an even lower score (35 vs 38). Growing up in Germany, I had always addressed older people or people in a higher position with their last name – not only in the business world. So, I had expected that the power distance in Germany would be higher. But I guess, things are changing, or it might be a matter of industry.
However, what didn’t surprise me was the incredibly low score in long term orientation (21 vs 83). Aussies really live in the moment: While I am used to monthly wage and rent and having to terminate my rent contract with a two months’ notice, the rent is paid weekly here, and you receive your pay slip every fortnight.
So, for my well-organised, careful and forward-planning, typical German self, the indulged and relaxed Australian lifestyle, was a real stress factor at first. Stressed by easy-goingness? Yes, I know it sounds silly. But I was just so used to worrying and planning that it kind of freaked me out to let go. I can’t say I’ve managed to adapt completely yet but I think within the next 5 months I will eventually become a true Aussie. So hopefully, when I get back to Europe, I will keep that new Aussie attitude and teach my fellow Germans to be a bit more laid back and stress less. So, if you’re ever planning a trip to Down Under: Leave your worries at home!
Relaxed, friendly, and stress-free. Discover how Australia's culture welcomes you with open arms and a smile.
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