At the beginning of 2017, I flew to Queensland, Australia to live on the Gold Coast for 4 months. Over this period of time I have noticed quite a few differences between living in Australia and living in America.
1. The Coffee
Before traveling to Australia I was not a coffee person. I didn’t like the taste so it had no appeal to me. That is until I finally tasted good coffee. While studying on the Gold Coast I stumbled on a little cafe that would be my saving grace in the world of caffeine, The Blackboard Cafe. The Blackboard’s cappuccino was my first real taste into what coffee was supposed to taste like and from there on out I was hooked. Then started my coffee journey, finding new cafe’s and coffee shops around Australia. My two favorites by far are the Blackboard Cafe in Robina, Gold Coast and El Gordo’s in Bendigo, Victoria. Now back in America, I am still searching for a good cafe and longing for one last sip of good Australian coffee.
2. The Food Quality
I am not an adventurous eater, plain and simple. My go-to’s in America are always simple and uncomplicated, meat and two veg, and a lot of beef. Unfortunately when I came to Australia I noticed something that would be an obstacle in my normal way of eating. The beef was different, and I didn’t like it. So, I was at an impasse. What was I to do when I couldn’t eat my usual food. Well in my case it ment I was finally going to have to try things out of my comfort zone. Here’s were the trusty Blackboard Cafe comes back into this list for a second time. Not only was their coffee to die for but the food made my heart soar. The food was unique but in a way that was approachable, it was different but I wasn’t scared of it. Other foods that I discovered a love for while I was away were roast pumpkin, sweet potato, lamb roast and much more. Australia’s food in general was better quality, and with fresh ingredients and it made all the difference. Plus, look at that plating, gorgeous.
This apple juice that I ordered in Bendigo, Victoria was from a farm a few miles away!
3. The Cost, Especially Of Alcohol
Alcohol in America isn’t cheap but when I arrived in Australia I couldn’t believe how expensive mixed drinks where. This rose cocktail that I ordered at secret bar in Melbourne called Mantura was $20!
Don’t get me wrong, the cocktail was delicious and the service was amazing but holy moly that’s expensive.
When I arrived on the Gold Coast and went out to the clubs on Surfers Paradise for the first time, I drunkenly spent $100 on drinks in one night! Party people beware, pre-gaming is your best friend.
Everything in Australia is more expensive than in America but the American dollar is stronger so it helps a little. Plus, the tax is included in the price so there are no surprises. What you are really paying for is quality and I am fine with that in every other aspect except getting drunk.
4. No Gaps Between Stalls
Listen, all Americans have been there. You are sitting down in a public bathroom doing and minding your own business and BAM you make eye contact with a stranger through the giant crack between stalls.
But what if I told you that in Australia there is no crack… I know, hard to believe but its true! No more accidental eye contact and that’s not all, bathroom stalls in the land down under are more private and user-friendly, no more premature automatic flush when you’re half way through.
Oh and they just call it the toilet which honestly takes a little getting use to but makes more sense.
5. The Beaches
As a girl growing up in Cleveland, Ohio the choices of beaches were limited to two, Rocky River or Lake Erie. Neither of which are the ocean and both which can have some questionable water at times.
By far my favorite part of living on the Gold Coast was that the ocean was a small bus trip away and the beaches were beautiful.
Plus, I had to the choice of what kind of beach I was looking for.
Touristy beach surrounded by shopping and restaurants: Surfers Paradise.
Beach with cafe’s and bars: Broad beach
and my favorite, beach with nothing around it but condos and chill vibes: Miami beach.
The water was blue and clean, and the sand so fine that it made a squishing noise when walked on.
Theres nothing as relaxing as getting out of class, catching a 10 minute bus ride and lying on the beach until the sun goes down.
6. Feeling Safe
One of the biggest surprises that I encounters while living in Australia was just how safe I always felt. Growing up primarily in America filled me with a tendency to think danger is always a second away and depending where you live in America, that may be true. I was use to getting regular emails about muggings and assaults from my American university with is located in a city. When I moved to Australia it took me about a month to stop being suspicious of people on the street. Thats when I noticed the difference between the way that the people of both countries carry themselves. Australians where never holding onto their belongings like I know I do often, they weren’t afraid of what the night would bring. Slowly but surely I started trusting the night again. I wasn’t afraid to walk the 1 mile to a friend’s house off campus even when the sun had gone down. I didn’t feel the need to take all of my things with me if I was sitting at a table and I had to get up to get something.
Above I mentioned a bar called Mantura. Well, to get to that bar I had to go down an alley, through an unmarked door and up a flight of stairs to get into the bar. If I would have had to do that same thing in an American city, I would have been very nervous for what I would see when I opened those doors because I wouldn’t trust it. In Australia on the other hand, I only felt excitement with no fear in sight.
For once I didn’t fear the night.
Or the day.
Or anything in between.