Living in Down Under

Posted: 22 February 2008 in Learning
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Most people do not know what Down Under is. Down Under also known as Australia, it is called Down Under because of it’s geographical position which is located at the bottom of the globe. There are many differences in every aspect of life. The most significant differences are that the city is very clean and organized neatly. People do not like throwing the rubbish everywhere they like. Every housing block has garbage bin that is placed in front of their houses/apartment. These garbage bins are then emptied by waste management worker (AKA “Pasukan Kuning” in Indonesia) before the city gets busy. The pollution in the city is very low too.

There life begins at 9 o’clock in the morning. Shops, offices, and schools begin their activities at that time. Workers usually finish at 5 o’clock in the evening (usually around 4-5 am). Every worker usually wears long tie when they go to work. This includes teacher and school boys too. Shops closed at 5 pm whereas groceries stores closed at 12 am. There is one day in one week that shops close at 9 pm, this is called Long Day Shopping.


There are three types of workers. They are Full time worker, Casual worker, and Part time worker. This division is based on how long the time is spent for work in a week. Full time worker has more time than casual or part time worker. Part time worker has the least time spent for work. There are two types of job; they are physical (such as room boy, garbage man, and postman) and non physical job (such as bank officer, programmer, accountant, and teacher). The salary depends on the level of age and level of skill. The more skillful or older you are the more you get paid. Here are some examples:



Salary/year (A$)


Garbage man

13.000 – 16.000


Store Manager at coffee shop

18.000 – 20.000


Fresh graduate bachelor (S1)

50.000 – 60.000


High school teacher

55.000 – 65.000



70.000 – 85.000

Table 1 Some samples of salary.
Assumed that they work under normal working hours, during weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm.

Everybody who is working has a unique tax file number (TFN).every year the tax which is deducted from their wage (weekly salary) can be returned depending on how much salary they make in a year. If you make around A$ 5000 to A$ 10.000 a year, you will get all your tax money back.

Now I’ll be talking about the transportation. There are four types of transportation. They are (1) public bus, (2) train, (3) tram and monorail. Tram and monorail can be found in CBD (Central Business District) area. Only there is no economy class for bus or train. Every bus and train is executive class, with air conditioner and cushioned seat. The bus doesn’t have co-driver. If you want to stop at particular bus stop all you have to do is pressing a bell. The bus only stops at. The bus and train operate by a time table too. Train stations around CBD are located underground.

Now we turn our attention to education. The level of education is divided into four levels. There are preschool or playgroup, kindergarten, primary school, high school, and university. There are not many pre-school/playgroup or play school and kindergarten (for unknown reason). Primary school starts from grade one to grade six. High school start from grade seven to grade twelve, with grade seven to ten called junior high school and grade eleven to twelve called senior high school. This is the same as SMP and SMU under one roof. There is no school fee for government school. You can pay if you want to, otherwise you don’t have to. In the contrary, in private school you have to pay a lot more. In government school you don’t have to buy a single text book. Also the text book doesn’t change easily, unlike in Indonesia where the text book changes every semester (six month).

Competent based curriculum has already been implemented in high school. Students who are not good at natural science can take subjects that do not need many calculations such as business studies, history, geography, computing studies, laws studies, or economic studies. This is contrary to natural science student where they can pick up subjects like chemistry, physics, or engineering. Teacher doesn’t move from his/her department instead the students have to look for the teacher, i.e. they change room.
The school building across Australia, I believe, is in excellent condition. The facility is complete too. There are library, football field, soccer field, gymnasium, basket ball court, tennis court, and hall for student’s performance/show or exam. Every Wednesday is sports day. This is the time when students all over New South Wales (one of the state in Australia) do sports. They start doing sports from 12 pm to 4 pm.
If the students come to school late, they have to report to school office to get detention slip. Usually the detention is done after school hours, from 3 pm to 5 pm students usually are punished by doing some mathematic questions.

Studying in university is another story. The student’s facilities are complete. One university I am going to talk about is Macquarie University which is located at North Ryde district in NSW. This university is the best in Statistical and Actuarial Science. The university complex is huge. They have 2 football fields, 1 gymnasium, 2 rugby fields, 7 storey libraries, around 10 science departments, and numerous labs. One amazing thing is that internet is free for the students. Many of the lecturers hold a PhD degree or Professor/Associate Professor Bachelor degree students are thought by these doctor or processor. Master degree student or doctoral degree student usually are employed as practicum assistant. There is no Bachelor degree lecturer teach Bachelor degree student. When wills Indonesian Government pay their attention to educational.

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