When you arrive, you will need to abide by all local COVID-19 laws and vaccination requirements. We recommend all students download the latest Service Victoria app on Google Play or iOS as you will be required to check-in to enter certain venues.
You will also be asked to display your vaccination status to gain entry into many public places and venues. For more information about adding your vaccination certificate, visit coronavirus.vic.gov.
In formal situations, it’s customary for people to shake hands when greeting each other.
People will usually introduce themselves to you by the name they prefer to be called. Australians usually prefer to be called by their first (given) name, including teachers and lecturers.
When you are in Australia, you must abide by Australian Federal and State laws. Specific laws apply against:
swearing or spitting in a public space
excessive noise in residential areas after 10pm and before 7am
smoking inside public venues and anywhere on an RMIT campus.
Bribery is not part of the Australian culture – it is illegal in this country and is not accepted by society.
When meeting someone for the first time, avoid topics about politics, relationships, sex, religion or financial income as they can be sensitive. These are personal topics that a person may not want to share with a stranger.
Topics that are okay to raise with new people include sports, films, music, hobbies, the weather etc.
In Australia it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, social, political or religious beliefs.
Racial vilification (slandering or defaming someone on racial grounds) is also illegal.
Women in Australia are independent and may discuss a variety of issues openly. Women are equal in Australian culture and should be respected as such.
If there is a crosswalk or crossing lights, use these to cross the road. Although it’s uncommon, you can be fined for not crossing at the lights especially in the city.
It is polite to say 'excuse me' when trying to get someone's attention, exiting a conversation, or when trying to get past someone.
Don't forget to say 'please' when you're asking for something and 'thank you' when you receive something.
Being on time is important in Australia, so make sure you check meeting times and places. Contact the person that you are meeting if you are running late or unable to make an appointment.
If you are late for a doctor or dentist appointment, you may have to pay a fee.
You must form queues and wait in line when waiting to purchase something, waiting to get in a bus or tram, waiting at a bank etc. It is considered impolite to push in front of someone who was waiting before you.
Australians value their personal space so you should not stand too close when waiting behind someone or talking to someone.
Place rubbish in rubbish bins. If there are no rubbish bins, you should carry the rubbish until it can be put in a bin. You can be fined for throwing rubbish on the ground (littering).
It is not rude to say 'no' to something you do not want. If you have been invited to go somewhere that you do not or cannot go to, say 'Thank you for the invite but I won't be able to make it'.
Do not feel pressured into drinking alcohol, taking drugs or having sex – it’s your right to say no if you don’t want to get involved.
Smoking is prohibited on public transport and inside any public venues, including restaurants, bars, cinemas etc. and you can be fined. Smoking is also banned on all RMIT campuses.
If you’re at someone's home, it is polite to excuse yourself and smoke outside.
Social functions such as barbeques (BBQs), dinners or parties are common and can be held in private homes, parks and restaurants.
BYO means 'bring your own' drinks or your own meat for a BBQ and will be indicated with the invitation.
When dining with a group in a restaurant, it is common for the cost to be split equally between each person in the group.
Tipping is not compulsory or expected. Australians tip only when they feel that the service they have received has been particularly good.