Home Feamil American backpacker shares ten 'strange' differences between Australia and the United States

American backpacker shares ten 'strange' differences between Australia and the United States


An American traveller has shared the ten key differences he has noticed between his home country and Australia, including how speeding fines are issued, how many men are circumcised and how to behave around school buses. 

Backpacker Tristan Kuhn has been travelling around the country, visiting Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide and Cairns, since moving from Texas in October last year.

In a new light-hearted YouTube video, the 22-year-old adventurer revealed some of the strangest things he has seen in Australia that don’t exist in the United States.

Backpacker Tristan Kuhn has been travelling around the country, visiting Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide and Cairns, since moving from Texas in October last year

Backpacker Tristan Kuhn has been travelling around the country, visiting Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide and Cairns, since moving from Texas in October last year

1. In America a speeding ticket will land you in court

In America getting a speeding ticket is considered to be a ‘criminal offence’, Tristan said, and the only way to get rid of it is to plead your case in court.

There are harsh consequences for those who misstep around this side of the law, particularly if they are driving under the influence, known as a DUI. 

‘Here in Australia if you get a speeding ticket it’s just going to be a fine and you pay for it online,’ Tristan said.

The process is quick and effective, rather than long and drawn out.

In America getting a speeding ticket is considered to be a 'criminal offence', Tristan said, and the only way to get rid of it is to plead your case in court

In America getting a speeding ticket is considered to be a ‘criminal offence’, Tristan said, and the only way to get rid of it is to plead your case in court

2. In Australia building numbers are much smaller 

‘In America I’ve never seen a house number less than a thousand, whereas in Australia they tend to have one, two or three digits,’ Tristan said.

This is because in Australia a building number starts at one from the start of the road and only goes up as high as there are buildings in the street. 

Whereas the States issues house numbers based on ‘blocks’ in a neighbourhood, so each new block will go up automatically by a hundred. 

This is because in Australia a building number starts at one from the start of the road and only goes up as high as there are buildings in the street (stock image)

This is because in Australia a building number starts at one from the start of the road and only goes up as high as there are buildings in the street (stock image)

3. In America everyone has unlimited mobile data 

Typically American mobile providers will ask if you want four, five or 10 gigabytes of data. 

Because this is so small most people choose to spend more and get the unlimited option, which Tristan said he has had ‘all his life’.

Whereas in Australia it’s far less common to find an unlimited offer and instead they have extremely high gigabyte usage, like 100 or 150 per month.

‘No one would ever get through that much but those are the options. Having a limit on your cellphone just doesn’t happen in America as much,’ he said. 

4. In Australia calamari is an everyday food

This struck Tristan as odd because in America calamari is considered to be a ‘fancy’ treat and isn’t available everywhere. 

‘In Australia it’s really common. Really cheap and really accessible. It’s like finger food here,’ he said.

This may have something to do with how readily available calamari is Down Under, as it can be purchased from every fish and chip shop.

This struck Tristan as odd because in America calamari is considered to be a 'fancy' treat and isn't available everywhere (stock image)

This struck Tristan as odd because in America calamari is considered to be a ‘fancy’ treat and isn’t available everywhere (stock image)

5. In America there are lots of advertisements about drugs

Tristan argued that most commercial stations on television will advertise medicines to customers, or even lawyers in the event you need to hire one.

‘Commercials involving drugs are actually illegal in Australia but they’re really common to see back home,’ he said. 

He finds these types of ads ‘very weird’ but nonetheless said they were apart of the culture in the States and weren’t likely to be banned any time soon. 

Tristan argued that most commercial stations on television will advertise medicines to customers, or even lawyers in the event you need to hire one

Tristan argued that most commercial stations on television will advertise medicines to customers, or even lawyers in the event you need to hire one

6. In Australia you can drive past school buses dropping people off

In America typical yellow school buses have to flash out a stop sign when they are dropping kids off and cars coming in either direction have to halt. 

‘Whereas in Australia you only need to drive at a speed of 40km if a bus is pulling out from the kerb, and it has right of way,’ he said.

This is far more convenient for other cars on the road, who would be stopping and starting constantly if the rule existed in Australia’s city centres. 

7. In America every high school has a mascot

It’s well known around the world that American high schools are extremely passionate about their sporting teams, so much so that every one of them has a mascot.

‘In Australia schools in different regions don’t generally have mascots,’ Tristan said.

While sport is still a popular activity Down Under it’s not necessarily watched on a Friday night as a social activity, like it is in the States.  

8. In Australia KFC is really popular

Australians enjoy eating their KFC just as much as a McDonald’s burger or Oportos chips.

This isn’t the same as Americans, who would lean towards one of the more upmarket food chains like In-N-Out over KFC.

‘We have it but I’d describe it as the bottom of the food chain. Here KFC is much better and I guess that’s why it’s more popular,’ Tristan said.

Australians enjoy eating their KFC just as much as a McDonald's burger or Oportos chips

Australians enjoy eating their KFC just as much as a McDonald’s burger or Oportos chips

9. In America most men are circumcised

According to Tristan being circumcised at birth is really common in the United States, whereas he has found this not the be the case in Australia.

Better Health reports that there are fewer than 20 per cent of boys in Australia circumcised today.  

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin that covers the tip of the penis. 

This final point continues to confuse Tristan and it surrounds the selling of cheese Down Under (stock image)

This final point continues to confuse Tristan and it surrounds the selling of cheese Down Under (stock image)

10.  In Australia there is ‘tasty’ cheese

This final point continues to confuse Tristan and it surrounds the selling of cheese Down Under.

Supermarkets sell a form of block or grated cheese called ‘tasty’ which is equivalent to the American ‘cheddar’ variety, he said. 

Tristan didn’t understand why they didn’t just label it cheddar, because it tastes the same. 

A commenter replied: ‘Tasty cheese is just cheddar. The mass-produced versions have flavour ratings – mild, medium, strong, tasty, sharp, extra sharp, mature, old, or vintage – which shows how long it is matured’. 

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