Australian culture is upbeat and forward looking: in fact their national animals - the kangaroo and the emu - were chosen as they cannot move backward, exemplifying the Australian spirit of progess.
Australians are generally friendly and welcoming of newcomers. Sydney in particular is a multicultural city home to many international students and communities. You may find nonetheless that Australians are less politically correct than what you are used to in the U.S.
The abundance of warm weather and access to public beaches make the coastline an important part of Sydney life - Sydney harbour boasts 240 kilometres of shoreline with plenty of places to picnic, swim and enjoy the stunning views.
Sport and culture also play a big part in the life of the city: go to the Sydney Cricket ground to see the Sydney Swans play a game of Aussie Rules football; visit the architectural icon, the Sydney Opera House, to watch performances from the best talent from around the world; or visit one of the many art galleries housing contemporary indigenous art throughout the city.