Reverse Culture Shock

Autumn in Melbourne

This was not the Australia that I had imagined and dreamed about for so long. My initial excitement turned into reverse culture shock as the wind tossed and turned the autumn leaves across the ground past modern buildings and trams trundled along wide, well kept streets of elegant Victorian architecture.

Winter in Melbourne meant he sky was grey and the clouds heavy. Three days of seemingly non-stop drizzle dampened my mood and 10 degrees felt literally freezing cold after months of temperatures that barely dipped below 30 degrees centigrade.

View of Melbourne

View of Melbourne from St Kilda

The cold weather, the expensive currency and adjusting back to being in the western world was more of a reverse culture shock than I had anticipated.

I was back in a place where everything is clean and ordered but now feels sterile and somewhat fake. Life is lived behind closed doors and neatly manicured gardens instead of the noisy, heady streets of Asia that are alive with life, sights, sounds smells and activity. Everything is all too familiar but yet not quite like home.

Whilst Asia can sometimes feel overwhelmingly different, the challenges of adjusting back into the westernized world are different. I have to budget for everything, cook for myself and I can’t just hop into a cheap rickshaw. I have to worry more about how I look, opening a bank account, setting up a tax file number and applying for a medicare card and worry about applying for jobs.


Despite this and the cold weather, the Australian people are generally really friendly and welcoming and their warmth, energy and enthusiasm can brighten up a cold day.

Despite my reverse culture shock, I could soon see that Melbourne is a beautiful city of culture, art galleries, museums, restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world, parks and colonial, Victorian and modern architecture that gave it a European feel.

However, winter in Melbourne wasn’t my idea of the Australia that I had been dreaming of for so long. So I’m heading up to warm, tropical North Queensland and looking forward to finding work and settling in one place for a few months.

But I’m not saying goodbye to Melbourne – I’ll be back in the summer to drive along the great ocean road and experience this beautiful, cultured city at it’s best.


Iconic Flinders Street Station

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