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American expat Katie Payne reveals the biggest culture shocks she experienced in Australia

An American expat has listed the culture shocks she faced since moving to Australia – including the country’s obsession with coffee and the speed limits in different states.

Katie Payne left Iowa in the Midwestern United States in August 2019 for a four-month stint in Newcastle, 163 kilometres north of Sydney, but she enjoyed her time so much that she returned in January 2020.

The 22-year-old has since been adjusting to a new life in Melbourne where she quickly noticed the differences between the US and Australia. 

‘As we know, my friends, Australians and Americans have very many differences but I wanted to hit you with something you might not think about,’ she said in a TikTok video. 

‘What about the differences between Australians from an American’s perspective? You didn’t know you needed this, but here we go.’

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American backpacker Katie Payne (pictured at the Sydney Opera House) listed the differences she’s noticed about Australian states since moving down under

In the TikTok video, Ms Payne said prior to moving to Melbourne she was 'warned' she would drink more coffee due to the city's massive café culture.

Secondly, after going on a road trip around Queensland, Ms Payne noticed how people have a tendency to disobey the speed limit and drive faster.

In the TikTok video, Ms Payne said prior to moving to Melbourne she was ‘warned’ she would drink more coffee due to the city’s massive café culture

In the TikTok video, Ms Payne said before moving to Melbourne she was ‘warned’ she would drink ‘a lot more coffee’ due to the city’s massive café culture.

‘I was like “nah I don’t drink that much coffee”, wrong! I drink five a day and it’s not even by choice,’ she said.

‘I’m just concerned for your kidney health.’ 

Secondly, after going on a road trip across Queensland, Ms Payne noticed how people have a tendency to disobey the speed limit and drive faster. 

‘I went on a road trip around Queensland and those mother*****s were going 20 to 30km over the speed limit. I get to Melbourne and it seems as if no one’s in a rush, ever. Not one time. I’m in a 70 (km/h) zone and everyone’s going 50,’ she said.

‘Peachy keen going 50, what is that about? Speed the f*** up or don’t.’

She said another thing she thought was unusual was the way Australians pronounce the word ‘baguette’, which is a long type of French bread.

‘To me it’s bag-ette,’ she said.

Ms Payne (pictured) recently moved to Melbourne after living in Newcastle, New South Wales

Ms Payne (pictured) recently moved to Melbourne after living in Newcastle, New South Wales

The video has been viewed more than 159,000 times since it was posted and has attracted attention from hundreds of Australians offering their take on the notable differences.

Many said those who live in Melbourne have a tendency to drive slower because the city has ‘the most speed cameras per capita and per square kilometre’ compared to others.

For Ms Payne, the differences came as a culture shock compared to what she has experienced in the US.   

In another TikTok video shared last year, Ms Payne revealed the unique Australian habits that make her swoon – such as ‘cute’ slang and the way people text.   

Ms Payne posted a clip fawning over Australians for their ‘obsession’ with KFC and electronic music, slang terms and penchant for signing off messages to people they like with a line of ‘kisses’.

She said it ‘makes me die’ when her Australian friends leave ‘x’s at the end of texts and had a similar reaction to use of the term ‘lollies’, which is the Australian word for candy or sweets. 

‘If you text me with an ‘x’ at the end of the message, I’m a die (sic). I can feel your kiss through the phone,’ she says in the video.

She adds: ‘And your love for KFC… You know we forget about that in the US. It’s kind of like – ‘oh, KFC’ – but you guys f*****g love it, and that’s cute.’

In another TikTok video, Ms Payne (pictured) said she loves when people say 'lollies', which is the Australian term for candy or sweets

In another TikTok video, Ms Payne (pictured) said she loves when people say ‘lollies’, which is the Australian term for candy or sweets

Standing testament to Ms Payne's self-professed love affair with everything Australian is her Instagram feed, which is filled with gushing tributes to the Land Down Under

Standing testament to Ms Payne’s self-professed love affair with everything Australian is her Instagram feed, which is filled with gushing tributes to the Land Down Under

Standing testament to Ms Payne’s self-professed love affair with everything Australian is her Instagram feed, which is filled with gushing tributes to the Land Down Under.

Photos show her beaming as she soaks up the very best of Australia, posing in front of the Sydney Opera House at Circular Quay and gazing out over the Victorian coastline from the Great Ocean Road.

Her TikTok video, which has been viewed 317,000 times since it was posted, has drawn hundreds of comments from Australians discussing their preference for food, music and writing style.

Photos show Ms Payne beaming as she soaks up the very best of Australia's east coast beaches (pictured)

Photos show Ms Payne beaming as she soaks up the very best of Australia’s east coast beaches (pictured)

‘All of us Australians are confused how the rest of the world doesn’t sign off texts with ‘x’ and ‘xx’ when it’s someone you really love,’ one woman replied.

‘Okay but Aussie KFC is unbelievably superior to any other KFC,’ said a second.

Another KFC enthusiast added: ‘That’s because we have like three fast food options and Wicked Wings and Zinger burgers just happen to be superior.’

Others said the Australian obsession with KFC is ‘probably because there’s only Red Rooster as the other option for chicken’. 

Ms Payne’s favourite Aussie habits 

· The nationwide obsession with KFC

· Love for electronic music

· Saying ‘lollies’ instead of candy or sweets

· Signing off text messages with ‘x’s to loved ones and love interests


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