Lara Fourie is an American TikToker and social media influencer who moved from Texas to Melbourne in 2017. The teen has been attending an Aussie school there since, but the whole experience was like nothing she was used to back in the States.

So she made a series of TikTok videos that have since gone viral, describing the exact culture shocks about the Australian school system. From everyone being totally fine with swearing to being able to go outside during the break, these are some of the differences that shed light on how these two big cultures deviate in profound ways.

Scroll down to see what Lara has discovered there below and to all our beloved Aussie pandas, hit us in the comments with some more cultural differences you have in mind!

#1

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

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Eslamala
Community Member
1 month ago

Most countries do not have metal dectors/cops in schools, though...

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Bored Panda reached out to Lara, the TikToker and RMIT University student in advertising who’s behind this viral video, who said she moved to Australia four years ago with her family. “My dad was an engineer and his company moved us all around the world. We’ve lived in Texas, New York, and Singapore as well,” she added.

“The culture shock was definitely the hardest thing to become accustomed to. People are simply different in other countries, not good or bad, just different,” Lara recalled and added that “the concept of change for me overall was the hardest.”

When asked what American things she misses the most, Lara said it’s “Chick-Fil-A, a fast food restaurant with the best food in Texas that you can’t find in Australia.”

#2

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

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Hans
Community Member
1 month ago

Where else to have a break?

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#3

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

In Australia, students can pretty much get away with swearing in class, swearing in front of teachers, that kinda stuff, in America, that was not tolerated at all and it was straight-up detention.

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Mohsie Supposie
Community Member
1 month ago

I would be with America on this one.

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In many schools across the US, metal detectors are something teens and school staff go through every day. They were first used in a Detroit High School during the 1989-1990 school year, so they’re not an entirely new concept as many would like to believe.

However, recently, more and more schools are implementing the use of metal detectors on their sites due to the rise of school shootings. They serve as ugly reminders of the problem of violence in the US, and how sadly, the leaders have failed to ensure safety of their young generation without such extreme measures.

#4

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

So in America, I woke up at 6 am every morning so I would be picked up by the bus at 6:30 for a 7 am start at school. Whereas in Australia, I start high school at 8:30 in the morning

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Aroha
Community Member
1 month ago

7 am start?!? In Finland my high school started at 8, 9 or 10am depending on which classes I chose...

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#5

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

Buying lunch at a cafeteria is a lot different to Australia as well. The cafeteria usually only makes a meal of the day and they only have a few snack options that are usually are all processed. We also have vending machines at school and a lot of them have soda, whereas in Australia, they have a canteen. They have so many more options and the food is way better overall.

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RiverStyxJix
Community Member
1 month ago

You have vending machines?! Why don't we have that!

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#6

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

This is the most generic Texas school outfit. And this is pretty much every Australian school outfit for girls

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CalicoKitty
Community Member
1 month ago

The check dress isn't super common past primary? A lot of secondary schools, especially the private ones, are either blouse and skirt or a generically tailored dress.

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At the same time, there isn’t a lot of research about the positive or negative safety or social effects of metal detectors in schools. A study published in the journal of the American School Health Association detected mixed results as one study found that less students carry weapons to schools with metal detectors than the ones without them, though it’s not entirely clear how and if that translated into less violence in those schools.

Moreover, some experts claim that in more severe and lethal cases of mass shootings, metal detectors will do little if any good. Some believe that students in line for the detectors and the operators would likely be the very first victims.

#7

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

In America it's mandatory to take a second language, a sport, and an art subject. But in Australia you don't have to.

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ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

this second language thing is good!

Monday
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, I like America's way here. A second language is great, a sport is great for some exercise and an art subject is great for expression.

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George-Florin Constantin
Community Member
1 month ago

The second language is a very good thing. A third one is even better. I studied German starting from the 2nd grade, English from the 6th grade and French for 3 years in College. My foreign language skills have been the best advantage when applying for a job. Since I started working in 2003 (legally), I haven't had a single jobless day. If the state is willing to invest in your foreign language skills, freakin' take advantage of that as much as possible! I am talking, of course, about states where education is free (or most of it), including college. Also, sport is good for your health (I had sport class all the way from kindergarten to college graduation) and art can't hurt, it might even make you a better human being.

Data1001
Community Member
1 month ago

Not mandatory "in America". Maybe in your school district. But after a certain grade, you didn't even need to take Phy(s) Ed, and certainly not an art subject or a second language. You did need to take English classes, at least up to a certain point, lol.

Cory Tollman
Community Member
1 month ago

My school had PE everyday unless you were out for a sport. (USA in the 80s). The second language wasn't required and no mandatory art classes. English, literature and writing pretty much and ongoing thing.

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aleksandra
Community Member
1 month ago

in Serbia I had Italian, English, Latin and Serbian classes all 4 years

Vic 404
Community Member
1 month ago

On the one hand that's a good thing, of course. Otoh : when I see how bad some Americans are in their first language.....

Jarno Flinkers
Community Member
1 month ago

Over here in the Netherlands we have 6 in some cases. Dutch, English, French, German, Greek and Latin.

Brandi VanSteenwyk
Community Member
1 month ago

NOT EVERYWHERE in America.

El Dee
Community Member
1 month ago

In our secondary schools you'll take at least a second language for the first two years - we had three languages on top of English. Art and sport were compulsory too BUT in your third year you choose what subjects and nothing is mandatory anymore after that..

Gracie Jay
Community Member
1 month ago

I haven’t heard of sports being mandatory?! American here.

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
1 month ago

When in was in high school in California in the 1970s, four years of P.E. was definitely mandatory.

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SykesDaMan
Community Member
1 month ago

In my country we have two foreign languages in junior high school and high school.

Guinny
Community Member
1 month ago

In new south wales we have the HSC, and literally the only compulsory subject is english. no maths, no science, no history nothing cept english.

Beans
Community Member
1 month ago

Interesting back in my day you needed four sciences minimum to graduate, this was in WA

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fire bug
Community Member
1 month ago

This is not mandatory in America. Maybe only in the school she went to in the states.

Queen Jackson.
Community Member
1 month ago

It mandatory for at least 3 years for my (u.s.) high school.

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xvslnx
Community Member
3 weeks ago

On this one I envy the Americans

Bonnie Edwards
Community Member
1 month ago

My high school had a 1year, second language requirement (Brisbane, Australia)

JD Lee
Community Member
1 month ago

The second language is a good thing, but as far as art and a sport... um. No. So far from the truth I’m starting to wonder if this post is a joke. PE is optional at most US schools at this point - and that’s not a good thing. wt* ?

Evelyn Haskins
Community Member
1 month ago

It does depend on whether or not you want to matriculate

Arenite
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, gotta say, America is right in this one.

Makabert Abylons
Community Member
1 month ago

Even 20-25 years ago when i whent to school we started with a second language in 3rd grade (english). Then choose a third language that wasnt mandatory but most did ,in 7th grade

OhForSmegSake
Community Member
1 month ago

To graduate in Australia you must take English all the way through and a maths class (basic, calculus, algebra,etc) and a science class (biology, human biology, chemistry, etc)

Mari Bryant
Community Member
1 month ago

That must be new. We didnt have that for high school. No 2nd language or art requirements. You had to take pe for two years, i believe.

zel onirak
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Yet, even in public so many Americans get annoyed and even become verbally or physically abusive/violent with other people/strangers speaking a different language other than English.

Farid Red
Community Member
1 month ago

So that's why in American movies, they always take Spanish as 2nd language.

Chaotic-pansexual-Gemini
Community Member
1 month ago

Loving what appears to be a Quidditch player on the right

Robin Shi
Community Member
1 month ago

I prefer to American one

Freelove
Community Member
1 month ago

Um, not sure where she got this idea from but sports are NOT mandatory here in America. As for the art subject, we had to take one class in our whole high school career and that was it. Choir counted as my art credit.

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
1 month ago

Given how large a country it is and how it’s states and/or counties in the U.S. have control over their curricula, I wouldn’t go around categorically stating what is or isn’t true about the U.S.

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Just Your Regular Avocado
Community Member
1 month ago

A lot of this is compulsory in Australia as well.

Damo Lee Park
Community Member
1 month ago

incorrect. During years 9 and 10 at high school, you must do a secondary language. You don't have to pass it, but you do have to go to classes. Most aussie kids can at least greet someone from France, Spain, China or Italy, and maybe give them directions to the nearest train station or toilet block.

Suzanne Haigh
Community Member
1 month ago

Many can't even speak English correctly so why learn a 2nd one?

Paul Z.
Community Member
1 month ago

I yet have to meet the 1st American that speaks a 2nd language...

Mary Rose Kent
Community Member
1 month ago

I’m not fluent in anything but English, but I traveled in Morocco and Senegal using my French, and I can get around in Thailand and Laos on my Thai. I was born and raised in California.

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Jazzy Mc. Jaz
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

only if you want to go to a collage that needs that

Catarina Pupillo
Community Member
1 month ago

That is nothing to brag about. Learning a second language is a plus, a sport keeps you active and art works the other side of the brain.

Beans
Community Member
1 month ago

Language is required in Australia, it later becomes elective and you just don't need it *to graduate*. Those are her key words. Same with the other subjects. No point forcing a kid who is bad at Indonesia to continue it for six years. I say this as someone who is actually bilingual.

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John Ford
Community Member
1 month ago

You do not have to play a sport. You hafta take gym class. You do not have to play a sport this girl is giving so much disinformation.

Katrina B.
Community Member
1 month ago

Not every HS is mandatory for a sport or art. I didn't have to do any sports after a semester of PE. And I didn't take any art classes in HS

MagicalUnicorn
Community Member
1 month ago

only to year for second language? i started second language in second grade and third in 6th

Jen Gregory
Community Member
1 month ago

Again... WRONG! This girl is just making this up as she goes. All BS!

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#8

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

So in American high schools, you have 7 classes a day that are 45-minute periods. At the beginning of the day, in first period, we would say the pledge of allegiance. The whole entire school would do this during morning announcements, we would turn to the flag that was in every classroom and we would go like this: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, individual [sic], with..." blah blah blah blah blah. I can't even remember anymore. So yeah, the whole entire school would do that at the exact same time, and then we would take a moment of silence for one minute where the whole entire school would be dead silent for a whole minute. Whereas in Australia, it's a bit different. In Australia, you have 4 periods a day that are an hour and a half, and at the beginning of the day, we have something called home room. We have houses like in Harry Potter, and pretty much every student from all different grades gets put into a certain home room

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Eslamala
Community Member
1 month ago

The pledge of allegiance and a moment of silence. In a free country. Oh, the irony!

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#9

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

In Australia we have a 20-minute recess and an hour-long lunch, both of which you spend outside, whereas in America, we only got a 45-minute lunch and we spent it in a cafeteria

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CalicoKitty
Community Member
1 month ago

It's not always 20/60. My first highschool was 15/45, and my second flailed around from 15/30 to 30/60 depending on the day.

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Another problematic aspect of metal detectors at schools is that they destroy trust between school officials and students. Often, the students are the only ones being screened, which may suggest they are being treated as potential threats.

Also, it’s well known that metal detectors are not foolproof. In September of 2008, in Milwaukee, a 15-year-old female student was stabbed several times in a restroom on the same day a $50,000 metal detector debuted at the school. Even though it’s not entirely clear whether the stabbing suspects had or had not been screened, the question of whether such a deliberate monitoring measure is effective remains open.

#10

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

One of the biggest differences is the size of the school. Just for a bit of context, I lived in Texas, so our schools were huge. This was our football stadium/makeshift track. This is one of our three gyms. Our water tank. One of the pools. The district football stadium. And part of our performing arts center. Because you can get your license at 16, most of the students drove to school, and because we had around 5000, there was also a 3-tier parking lot. Also a band hall, orchestra hall, and two auditoriums. We also had a softball and a baseball field, and multiple soccer fields as well. We also had a separate cafeteria for every grade. Whereas Australian schools tend to be a lot more open. In America you spend the whole entire day inside, whereas in Australia you get a lot of time outside

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A panda-gineer
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm getting the sense that when she says "in Australia", she means "at this particular Australian school". In the US, my kids go to an open concept school.

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#11

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

In America, this is what the lockers look like. They're either halfway or full length. We also had the option to bring our backpacks to and from class if we wanted to. Whereas in Australia, at least the high school I went to, this is kind of what the lockers look like. They're a lot smaller

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Guinny
Community Member
1 month ago

also depends on school, my school's locker won't fit my school bag, but my friend's look like the left

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#12

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

In America we have 7 subjects that we take and we have 7 40-minute periods every day, whereas in Australia, I only take 5 subjects and we have 4 periods every day that are an hour and a half

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Eslamala
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Where I live, a "class hour" is 45 minutes long, but they're usually in blocks of two, so you get 1.5 hour periods, but after the first 45 minutes you get a 5-10 minute break.

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#13

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

So in Texas high school, we have homecoming. Homecoming is the start of the football season and we celebrate by having a homecoming dance. These things right here, they're called mums. Basically, if you've been asked to homecoming by a guy, they will give you a mum and you will wear it on the day of homecoming. It looks ridiculous seeing everybody walk around school with these giant things on. And yes, I did wear one on homecoming, and yes, it's still in my closet. We also have prom and Sadie's dance. Sadie's is my favorite because it's the Valentine's Day one and the girl asks the guy out. Whereas in Australia, at least at my school, we have a year 10 formal and a year 12 formal and it's usually organized by the students outside of the school. In America, there are so many options for electives. We have everything from orchestra to flower arrangements

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Aunt Messy
Community Member
1 month ago

She means a Sadie Hawkins dance.... Americans don't even know their own traditions any more.

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#14

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

In Australia, we don't actually have hallways, so in America, to get from class to class, you go through the school, through your hallways, whereas in Australia, everything's outside other than your classrooms. Lunch, recess, we also have recess, but it's all outside.

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Hayley Futter
Community Member
1 month ago

Same in New Zealand, which actually sucks during winter... Luckily in my later years at high school our tutor teacher would let us stay in our home room during the breaks cause we were part of the academic classes. (Basically talented students)

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#15

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

Everyone knows that American public high schools don't have a uniform, but we do have a dress code. Pretty much, you couldn't wear tops that were less than three finger lengths for the sleeves, and your shorts had to be below finger length. When we had gym or sports, we had a separate uniform that we were given, and we would get changed in the locker rooms before class. Whereas in Australia, the typical uniform looks something like this. We called this formal uniform, and on the days we had gym, we wore our PE uniform, that looked something like this. I've also heard a lot of schools in Australia have a "no hat, no play" policy, but I wouldn't know, because I didn't go to elementary school in Australia

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CalicoKitty
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah if you let the kids out without hats they catch fire and spontaneously grow extra limbs. The sun hates you, it is Not Your Friend

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#16

Culture-Shocks-Of-Attending-An-Aussie-School

So in America, we have water fountains and that's the equivalent to these, which in Australia, they call them drink taps, and they look like that.

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CalicoKitty
Community Member
1 month ago

Bubblers!

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@llarafourie

Culture shocks I had when moving to Melbourne! #australia #america

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