Dating in Australia is a bit like driving through The Outback. Sometimes it feels like everything is going by very slowly, there aren’t always clear road signs, and you might feel a little lost. This is because, in Australia, there aren’t formal dating rules like in some cultures. Australians aren’t big on rules – unless it’s Aussie Rules Football (AFL). This makes for a pretty fun and flexible dating culture, which forces people to get to know one another in a more casual manner.

We’ve answered some common questions from international students to help you navigate the Australian dating scene.

Where can I meet people?

There are so many places you can meet new people. Here are some of the most common:

  • At your educational institution
  • At international student meet-ups, or through international student clubs and societies
  • Through social sports or other hobbies and interests
  • At local pubs and bars – noting that there isn’t a huge pick-up culture in Australia, so approaching someone in a friendly way is more likely to have a successful outcome
  • Through dating apps

What about dating apps?

In recent years, apps have become a very normal avenue for meeting people. In Australia, some of the most popular dating apps are Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Happn, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel and OkCupid. We’ve also put together a list of some of the best dating apps for international students. All of them work in different ways, so you can try each app before settling on one that suits your preferences.

If you decide to go on a date with someone you meet through an app, make sure to read through our tips for staying safe on a night out.

How do I approach someone in person?

Firstly, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female – anyone can approach anyone.

The main thing to remember is that we don’t have a huge pick-up culture here. Generally, people will want to know someone a little bit before they agree to share contact details or hang out somewhere. Starting with ‘you seem nice, want to get coffee?’ might be a bit direct. Try to have at least one decent conversation before you ask to see more of someone.

Where do I take someone on a date?

This totally depends on what kind of people you are.

If you’d like to keep it casual, suggest getting a coffee somewhere you both know. Otherwise, group dates and movies are an easy way to get to know someone without too much pressure.

If you’re younger, a dinner date might seem a little formal. But if you’re feeling mature and confident enough to sit across the table with someone for an hour or more – go for it.

Who pays?

As a general rule, whoever suggested the outing should at least offer to pay first. But it’s becoming more common to split payments on dates – especially when you’re both students – so don’t be alarmed if your date wants to contribute as well.

Australians seem to use Facebook a lot. Is it important?

We do love Facebook. There are more Australians with Facebook accounts than without. It’s a useful intermediary in a culture that stresses getting to know people first, and sending someone a friend request is a nice way of saying that you’d like to do just that.

Is it common to date several people at once?

Because Australia’s dating culture is pretty casual, it’s not unusual to date more than one person in the early stages of getting to know someone. This doesn’t mean it always happens, but don’t expect to be exclusive straight away. If you’re unsure, you can always tell the other person you’d like to date them and only them.

What marks the beginning of a relationship?

In a lot of cultures, the first or second date can mark the beginning of a relationship. But in Australia, you’ll probably find yourself doing a lot of ‘couply’ activities before the relationship starts.

A very average Aussie relationship might go something like this: You meet, and you talk and get to know each other. The first time you hang out, it’s probably not on a formal date. One of you might suggest going out with a group of friends, or choose something that you both have a mutual interest in. From there, if you both enjoy the relationship, you’ll start seeing more and more of each other.

This gives you some room to get to know each other before you make up your minds.

We hope you’re now feeling a little more prepared to enter the world of Australian dating. Good luck.


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