Sophisticated Large Australian City
This essay examines the concept of global competencies needed to study and live in a country that is not Malaysia. This study will look at competencies needed to live and study in Australia, which is a geographically large and culturally diverse country, but which is predominantly underpinned by the influence of British culture and Western beliefs in democracy and justice. For this discussion, competencies are defined as skills, knowledge, attitudes, and abilities considered to be critical to success and achievement (Pech, 2003). Australia is a large continent surrounded by the Indian and Pacific oceans. Wikipedia tells us that it has a population of 24 million people with most of its capital city hugging the ocean, except for the capital Canberra. The majority of the population live around the edges of the continent because the interior is largely desert or is very inhospitable for human life.
This combination of size and desert influence has instilled a hardy, tough characteristic into the population so that while they enjoy the luxuries of their reasonably large and sophisticated cities, they are constantly mindful of the dangers of wasting water, which is often in short supply.
On making the above observation it should however be noted that it is not unusual for Australia to suffer heatwaves, raging fires, and drought in one part of the continent while suffering catastrophic floods in another part of the country. This can easily occur in a country as large as Australia.
The reason the above points are relevant and important to this discussion is because every culture is influenced by its geographical situation. The Arab culture is influenced the close proximity of desert. The Swedish and Norwegian cultures are influenced by their long dark winters and cold climates. Similarly the Australian people are a product of their high temperatures, which can soar into the high 40’s, and the great distances between their major cities.
Australian people are also the product of many different cultural influences. While the majority of the population were white Anglo-Saxons until the mid 20th Century, this has changed over the last five decades with large numbers of immigrants from Italy, Lebanon, and Greece. Melbourne boasts the highest population of people with Greek roots outside of Athens. Over the last 5 years Australia has imported approximately 300,000 new immigrants per year. This surge in the population has a minority of far right conservatives worried, introducing a fear of foreigners for this small but vocal group. The far left on the political spectrum conversely want to bring even more people into the country. These opposing ideologies have caused numerous recent clashes with political protests and other unpleasant issues. Such views need to be taken into consideration when considering living or studying in Australia. Some will welcome the foreigner, others will not.
How can we best examine a culture in a country that is geographically larger than the United States? It has to be stated that there is not one homogenous culture, even in smaller countries. Culture varies in Australia from city to city, even from suburb to suburb. As an example, Sydney has approximately 4 million people. The East coast has a suburb called Bondi which is populated by over 100,000 New Zealanders, making it more like New Zealand than Australia. This suburb has a low power-distance culture, as do most suburbs in Australia, meaning that social hierarchies and wealth are not considered important. The richest and poorest people will easily integrate and socialise without any sense of social discomfort. For them living life is considered more important than who or what you are in life.
Waves of immigrants have introduced large pockets of multi-cultural populations in Sydney. There are suburbs that have large populations of Moslem immigrants who have made their mosque the centre of their cultural and religious beliefs. There are population groups from Africa, Bosnia, Lebanon, and Vietnam. Each ethnic group has introduced its own cultural uniqueness. Melbourne is another sophisticated large Australian city. The culture in St Kilda on its harbour beach is one of night clubs and entertainment, while its Eastern suburbs are sleepy residential cities in their own right, although still considered part of greater Melbourne.
Global Cultural Competencies needed to live and study in Australia with the high number of immigrants, Australia is mostly welcoming of foreigners, allowing and encouraging social integration. The state of Victoria considers itself the education hub of Australia and the large numbers of foreign students provide its third largest net source of wealth.