In this blog, we give you some tips and information on how to get the most out of living in Australia as a French person, whether you are a backpacker in transit or want to settle down for good.
French community in Australia
France is now the second largest source of European immigration to Australia! There are currently between 70 and 90,000 French citizens in Australia, half of whom also hold Australian citizenship. As you can see, the French community in this country down under has many members, so you won't be lost. Sydney has the largest number of French expatriates.
Why you might be surprised in Australia
Life in Australia - a laid-back culture
In Australia, you will find that people are much more relaxed than in France. A little more informal in their interactions, Australians tend to be much friendlier at first. With every greeting, they will also ask you how you are doing. The Australian way of life is much looser and more laid back than its French counterpart. "No worries" is the favourite phrase of the Aussies. In addition to this seemingly innate friendliness, Australians tend to be very trusting of others. That's why you'll probably see stuff left unattended in a park for a moment without anyone really caring. This is a system that needs to be integrated and certain habits need to be deconstructed for French people in Australia.
The language barrier and the famous Australian slang
As in any country where the official language is not your mother tongue, some misunderstandings are to be expected when you arrive in Australia. But even if you are fluent in the language, you may be surprised by the strong accents of some Australians. But you may also be confused by the words they use. Their famous slang corresponds more or less to the slang of the French. If your colleague talks to you about barbie, don't panic, he is probably referring to the last barbecue he was invited to. Australians tend to shorten a lot of their words, so pay attention and learn to decode this new type of English.
There is a large French-speaking community in Australia and it is always nice to meet up for a drink and share your experiences. However, to improve your English, you may want to take classes and/or move away from the core group of French people you've created to meet other nationalities with whom you can practice your English.
The perception of smoking
The French are quite well known in Australia for being smokers. However, smoking can be quite frowned upon in the country. In fact, smoking is prohibited in many places. You are not allowed to smoke in enclosed areas or around some cafes. Smoking is also prohibited on the beaches. Failure to comply with these bans can result in a hefty fine of about A$140. Cigarettes are also quite expensive at AUD 30 per pack.
Driving the wrong way
Finally, how can you talk about culture shock between France and Australia without mentioning the changes on the road. Used to driving on the right, driving on the left, it is the opposite that you will do in Australia. So be extra careful on your first few journeys. Remember that visual cues change and the usual recurring hazards are likely to come from the opposite direction.
Australia is a great place to live and you will quickly acclimatise to its lifestyle and people. However, even if you meet a lot of French people for a drink or an activity, you may feel homesick from time to time. So if you're feeling homesick, we've put together a non-exhaustive list of places that could make you feel like you're in France in no time.
The best places to find French culture in Australia
New South Wales:
- Sacrebleu !, Freshwater NSW 2096
- Le Petit Marché, Newport NSW 2106
- C’est si bon, Rose Bay NSW 2029
- Lavie & Belle, Surry Hills NSW 2010
- The artisan cheese room, Manly NSW 2095
- Saucissons Australia by la Bastide, Eveleigh NSW 2015
- Bistro Molines, Mount View NSW 2325
- Felix, Sydney NSW 2000
- Du Fermier, Trentham VIC 3458
- France-Soir, South Yarra VIC 3141
- Noir, Richmond VIC 3121
- Philippe, Melbourne VIC 3000
Vue de Monde, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Gerard’s Bistro, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
- Greenglass, Brisbane City QLD 4000
- Madame Rouge Bar & Bistro, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
- Orleans Restaurant and Bar, Maroochydore QLD 4558
- Flo's Creperie Mooloolaba, Mooloolaba QLD 4557
Northern Territory :
- De La Plage, Darwin NT 0801
- Ken's Crêpes Mindil, Darwin, NT 0810
Australian Capital Territory :
- Les Bistronomes, Campbell ACT 2612
- Breizh Cafe, Canberra 2602 Australia
- Ondine - European Brasserie, Deakin ACT 2600
- La Baguette by R&M, Acton ACT 2601
Western Australia :
- Chez Pierre, Nedlands WA 6009
- Angel’s House, Fremantle WA 6160
- Tree of Life Cafe, Mandurah WA 6210
- Bistro Breton, Busselton WA 6280
South Australia :
- La Madeleine, Norwood SA 5067
- Garçon Bleu, Adelaide CBD SA
- Les Deux Coqs - Adelaide Central Market, Adelaide CBD SA
- Hey Jupiter Brasserie Française, Adelaide SA 5000
- Miam French Crepes, Hobart TAS 7000
- Hubert & Dan, Rosevears TAS 7277
- Furneaux Restaurant & Comptoir, St Helens TAS 7216
You can also order French products online from the France at Home website.
Visa options for French people
As a French citizen, you have a wide range of visa options available to you. Please note that it is no longer the embassies that manage the obtaining of visas. You can apply online directly through the Australian Immigration website. Here are some of the visas you can apply for during your stay, depending on your personal circumstances.
Visitor Visa (subclass 600):
This visa is suitable for French citizens who wish to visit Australia for tourism or business purposes for a maximum of 3, 6 or 12 months. The visitor visa can also be used for short-term study, but it does not allow you to work in Australia.
eVisitor (subclass 651):
For a stay of up to 3 months (tourism, business, private or family visit), you must hold a French passport and an electronic travel authorisation (eVisitor). The application is made online on the Australian immigration website.
Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417):
This visa is ideal for French citizens with a valid passport aged between 18 and 35 who wish to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months. The Working Holiday Visa allows you to work for any employer in Australia for up to 6 months, study for up to 4 months and leave and return to Australia as many times as you wish during the validity of the visa.
Student Visa (subclass 500):
This visa is suitable for French people who wish to study in Australia for more than three months. The student visa allows you to study full-time at an Australian educational institution, to work while you study and to bring your family members with you.
If you have skills and qualifications that are in demand in Australia, you may be eligible for a Skilled Visa. Skilled visas include the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189), Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190), and Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 491). These visas allow you to live and work in Australia permanently or temporarily, depending on the subclass of the visa.
You can consult the immigration website for a more complete list of the type of visa available to you as a French person coming to Australia.
In conclusion, living in Australia as a French person is a great opportunity and will teach you a lot. It does require a willingness to adapt to new cultural norms and social practices, while managing to retain your identity and traditions. By adopting the local way of life while maintaining your own cultural heritage, you will find your place in this multicultural and diverse country.
If you are a French person looking to study in Australia, this can be a challenging and exciting experience. Getting used to the cultural differences and the Australian way of life may take some time but you will get there!
The welcoming nature of Australians, the high standard of living and the opportunities for personal and professional growth make your temporary or long-term expatriation a very rewarding experience not to be missed.
If you need help with your student visa application, Study Destination can provide the support you need to make the process as simple as possible. Contact us today to find out more!