I can be honest and say I have never been to the US. Was I nervous? Slightly. But it was eye opening least to say and when I got the opportunity to go for work, there was no hesitation. But here is what I learnt and noticed as an Aussie from my brief visit.
Poverty Levels LOOK higher
This was definitely alarming. The amount of poverty I saw in LA compared to Sydney / Melbourne was apparent and obvious. I had been warned about it but was just not ready for the big difference. I also noticed that the homeless were much more direct and would approach you in LA and SF compared to say in Australia. I would also never leave your valuables in the car AND always plan your routes accordingly, especially when creeping towards midnight.
A free mixtape or gift is not ‘free’
Pretty obvious right? It’s funny that I ended up ‘donating’ for a mixtape but when I asked fellow Aussies who went to the US, a large amount actually had the same experience happen to them. When you’re at the walk of fame (or probably anywhere), DO NOT give any eye contact to those giving out ‘mixtapes’ or ‘sandwiches’ etc. If you think everyone’s being friendly because you’re on holidays you can definitely kiss that thought good bye. Best thing to do is ignore because they will 100% ask for a ‘donation’.
Quick Rundown of Road Rules / Ethics
Although I was only in Cali, make sure you know your road rules! At least with me, what I learnt very quickly is that:
- Turn on red (right turn) is allowed if there is no sign or red light stopping you
- The intersections with 4 stop signs is based off WHO stopped first
Ask for more at the Restaurant
This is one thing I liked to do more and you should too. Tipping is important but that means there are certain things you would struggle to do in Australia but would be much easier in the USA. One big example is splitting bills. It was a piece of cake literally to split bills in the USA compared to what treatment I usually get in Australia. I mean it’s fair enough — Australians don’t get tipped usually. Another thing I enjoyed was asking for refills for certain drinks. Ask and see what you can get away with!
Both are English speaking countries but both vary so much. I only scraped a few of the things I noticed as over only 2 weeks, I was shocked with the differences I found. Have you experienced the same? Let me know what you think if I missed something!