Ways Americans And Europeans Are So Different

By Joy Boyd 1 year ago

1. Americans are more rigid about sexuality

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When it comes to sex and relationships, Americans are a little more conservative than Europeans. While only 30% of Americans consider sex before marriage to be immoral, that percentage is still significantly higher than in Europe. Adultery is frowned upon in both places, but Americans are even more likely to consider it wrong.

2. This includes nudity!

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Americans definitely aren't prudes when it comes to sexuality, but they're still more conservative than their European friends. When it comes to nudity, especially in public, there's still a stigma around it in the US. Nude beaches are way more common in Europe, and people there seem to be more comfortable with the idea of other people seeing them naked.

3. Europeans are overall less religious

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While nearly 53% of Americans consider themselves religious, countries like France have a population of less than 14% that hold faith in a high regard. Typically, it's seen that the wealth of a country sees correlation to its religiosity. Countries with higher wealth are less religious. America is an outlier to this as a wealthy country who values religion, so much so that they often identify with their religion before their nationality.

4. Americans subscribe to the theory that they're in control of their destiny

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Most Europeans feel that success and life are both pretty much outside of their control, with both things being determined by outside forces. Their American counterparts believe that hard work will help them get ahead, and that if you keep working hard you're bound to see success.

5. European dining is more leisurely

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You know how it is when you go to a popular restaurant on a Friday night at a big city in America. A lot of times, the hostess will remind you that you only get 90 minute (or 2 hours if you're lucky) service at your table. And then, once you're seated, your waiter will check on you, sometimes at what feels like a rate of every 2 minutes. In Europe, you get a true dining experience, likely because waiters aren't working for tips.

6. Speaking of tips...

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Most places in Europe don't require a tip for their service. If you feel super awkward not tipping (some habits die hard), then just 10% will work. If you're at a high end restaurant in Europe, you'll likely still want to tip, but if you're taking a cab or dining at a cafe, you don't have to worry about it. Also most places include tax in the listed price.

7. We need to start this in America ASAP

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Did you know that a lot of places in Europe celebrate Name Days? Basically every day of the year is assigned with a different name, and when your Name Day rolls around, you get to have a big celebration! It's such a big deal that a lot of people consider it like a second birthday. Honestly, any reason to get to eat cake.

8. Americans LOVE their central air

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Scientific American
Pretty much every house in the US has central heating and cooling in their home depending on the climate. Air conditioning is less common in Europe, not only in houses, but also in restaurants and offices. So keep those windows open if you need some ventilation!

9. Americans have to wait longer to drink

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We know that in America the legal drinking age is 21. There's also a HUGE underage drinking problem. In Europe, people are introduced to alcohol earlier with the legal age being 18 in most countries, and most people in Europe are introduced to alcohol even well before the legal age. It's said that this results in people understanding alcohol and their bodies more compared to Americans.

10. Frozen Yogurt vs. Gelato

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Americans love their FroYo. You can find a frozen yogurt shop in nearly every city, boasting a variety of flavors and do-it-yourself toppings. It may not actually be better for you than ice cream, but it somehow feels better?! In Europe, you'll find delicious gelato nearly everywhere. Would truly eat either or both every day, so no complaints here!

11. Americans are workaholics

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More than most other countries, Americans live to work. Most other countries work to live. Even when it comes to maternity leave, a lot of American women are back at work within a couple of months. In Europe, some countries will give you literal YEARS of paid maternity leave. It might only be a portion of your salary, but you get to spend those formative years with your little one.

12. Patriotism is of high value in America

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Americans really really pride themselves on being American. The word patriotic is used often and is considered a positive sign of loyalty and love for one's country. However, this term is rarely used in Europe. Europeans (for the most part) are willing to engage in rational critique of their political system, where a lot of Americans take offense if you disagree with their political views.

13. Americans pay way more for schooling

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Pretty much any person you meet in America who's been to a four year university has insane college debt. In places like the Czech Republic, students get to do their Bachelors AND Masters degree completely paid for. That is wild! Not having to pay back student loans for 10+ years is the way it should be.

14. No bumper stickers in Europe

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This is a weird American phenomenon putting bumper stickers on your cars. People in America use these to express their beliefs, their religion, their sports teams and more. It's very rare to see them in European countries, and I would pay big money to never see another "Honk if you love..." bumper sticker ever again.

15. Cash is often still king in Europe

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America is the land of cashless pay, Apple pay, and the like. In fact, there are a lot of places in America post-Covid that don't accept cash. Wild. In Europe, it's almost the opposite! In shops, restaurants and convenience stores,  you're very likely to find yourself in a "Cash Only" situation. So if you're traveling from the US, be sure to get some money exchanged!

16. Offensive speech is more accepted in the US

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The majority of American citizens believe that it is acceptable to say things that might be considered offensive to people's religious beliefs. In countries such as Italy, Poland, and Germany, less than half of the population thinks that offensive speech should be allowed. People in the US also think that saying comments that are offensive to minority groups are okay.

17. Europeans drive manual cars

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It's very rare to find an American driving a manual (stick shift) car, especially in a city. We have self-driving cars and automatic cars, and we don't want to spend time actually having to drive. Lol. Europeans often drive manual cars, and one thing I noticed when car shopping is that they're often also a little cheaper than their automatic counterparts! Win win.

18. Less credit card fraud at restaurants

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This is starting to happen more in America, but most restaurants in Europe, you'll see the waiter bring a credit card machine to your table to swipe your card. We've all heard the stories of credit card theft or overpayment, so the more often you get to keep your eyes on your card, the better!

19. Americans are way more obsessed with their cars

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Because most people in the US can't rely on public transport, the majority of Americans own a vehicle. However, the public transportation systems in European countries are fantastic and practical and affordable. Whether you're taking the bus or the metro or renting a bike, you'll be able to get around with ease without a car.

20. Europeans love their sparkling water

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While America has seen an increase in sparkling water consumption (thanks, La Croix!), you'll find that when you go out to eat in Europe, sparkling water is often the standard. Speaking of, it's less common to get "free" water at a restaurant in Europe, and you should specifically ask for still water if you don't want the bubbles.

21. Americans smile a LOT

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It truly kind of weirds out the rest of the world sometimes how smiley Americans are. We love smiling and nodding at strangers as we pass them on the street. Studies have shown this is likely due to the fact that the US is made of up so many immigrants trying to find common ground with each other.

22. British English just sounds cooler IMO

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There's something so lovely about talking about going on a holiday or discussing the design of your new flat. If you travel Europe, you'll find most English speakers use British English. It's so cool that even though two people are speaking the same language, they may have vastly different vocabularies.

23. What's mine is mine

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Americans feel a strong possessiveness over their property. They're less likely to share or give away any property. Most European communities see a stronger sense of communal property and space and are willing to share and help each other out. Which way do you prefer it to be?

24. Americans don't like coins

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In the US, most people only use coins when they absolutely need to for spare change. Maybe to throw in a parking meter or a toll booth. In Europe, coins are still very common and a lot of countries have 1 and 2 dollar coins. So while your pockets may be heavy, a pocket full of change could be enough to buy you dinner!

25. Europeans care less about your personal space

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Maybe because we all drive around in our own little machines, there's an unspoken rule in America of a 2 foot bubble around you at all times. Because of public transportation, this kind of goes out the window in European countries. You'll also notice people brushing past you or bumping you on the shoulder more frequently in crowded places.

26. Free public bathrooms in America

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In Europe, you may often find that if you need to use a public restroom, you'll need some spare change. Most public bathrooms cost around 50 cents to use. In America, most public bathrooms and free and open to anyone, which is probably why most people avoid public bathrooms in America at all costs. Gross.

27. If you're in Europe, don't forget your reusable grocery bags

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Similar to the no free water at restaurants, most groceries in Europe don't offer free bags. You either have to pay for your own at the store or bring some reusable ones. Places in America are definitely starting to implement this more. Maybe they got it from the Europeans! But either way: reduce, reuse, recycle!

28. Surprisingly, Europe is even more dog friendly than America!

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If you love taking your furry friend with you everywhere, then Europe is the place for you. In America, of course, your pup can accompany you to many places, but there are indoor restaurants, public transportation, and even some hiking trails where your dog can't go. Not so much the case in Europe. You're bound to see the best good boys everywhere you go!

29. Doggos don't have to be on a leash

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This may not be everywhere in Europe, but apparently in Prague, most dogs are walking around like people and not on leashes. You might even see them out and about without an owner! Honestly, this sounds like my personal dream come true, so brb going to look at flights to Prague.

30. Americans care more about individual liberty than the greater good

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Over half of the people in the United States think that everyone should be pursuing their life dreams with little to no interference from state government. This often creates greater socio-economic disparity, which is likely why the majority of Europeans think that the priority should be ensuring no one is in need.

31. The driving age

image source: reddit.com
If there's one thing we can all agree on no matter what country we come from, it's that we want to get behind the wheel ASAP and hit the open road! The legal age to drive a car in the US is 16, but in some European countries it's 17. Also, Driver's Ed classes exist at school, which European schools don't have.

32. And health insurance!

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The UK in particular is known for its free healthcare, called the NHS, whereas in America health insurance is a must if you want to cover your medical bills. Healthcare is free in most European countries for the big bills - but there will be certain extra payments, like emergency bills or paying for medication.

33. You aren't rushed in restaurants

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In America, it's commonplace to feel 'rushed' in certain restaurants, or constantly bothered by waiters asking if everything is all right, and this can often be because they're working for tips. In most European places, you won't be bombarded by servers - half the time you might even struggle to get their attention!

34. And the difference in those house prices...

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Some European places and cities are notoriously expensive - like London in the UK - and most of the time, American houses will come out on top in terms of affordable price and cheaper properties. But then again, some European places will actually be cheaper than the US - so it's all a mixed bag, really!

35. The schooling system!

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In the US, you have your different grades that move up the ladder, like pre-school, kindergarten, first grade, middle grade etc. In the UK, for instance, they have years: Year 1, 2, 3 and so on. Also, while people in the US will be in high school until they're 18, people in the UK will leave high school at 16.

36. Free water

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In certain European countries, you have to be very clear that you want free tap water - otherwise, they'll bring you an expensive bottle of water to be added to your bill! You have to specifically say 'tap water' and not just 'water', or it'll be chargeable. Unless you'd rather pay for water that doesn't come from a tap, that's fine!

37. And what about those condiments?

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Condiments may also be added to your bill in European places without you knowing, too - they might not come for free. You might be used to getting free ketchup or mayo with your fries in the US, but ask for extra condiments at a European restaurant table, you'll probably find it under the 'extras' section of your bill.

38. Those pesky ID checks

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In the US, the drinking age is 21, but in Europe, it's 18 - not only that, there's a much more relaxed state of mind about drinking. For example, people under 18 are likely to have already drank a lot of alcohol 99% of the time - it's a social thing. And there are many less ID checks in bars in Europe!

39. Free education!

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Think about that student loan you're going to be paying off until the end of time, and the many students faced with the decision to go to university and be faced with the fees. But in some countries in Europe, higher education is completely free - you can get a university degree without having to pay for it!

40. You gotta pay for that grocery bag

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In the US, grocery bags of any kind are usually free. In Europe? You best believe there's a charge! A lot of countries are condemning the use of the cheap plastic bags, so 'reusable' grocery bags are a thing - but you have to buy them, of course. And if you ask for a bag, they'll add it to your bill.

41. Maternity leave

image source: reddit.com
Americans are definitely known for being workaholics, and when it comes to maternity leave, chances are a parent will be back at work after a few months off. Some European countries actually offer maternity leave than can last
a few years
! Not only that, they'll cover a percentage of salary!

42. Dating can have more 'formal' naming terms

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Americans are more likely to put labels on the different stages of a relationship, like 'dating', 'going steady', 'in a relationship' or 'casual' etc. Europeans don't tend to do the whole 'labelling' thing as much. This is because Europeans are more likely to meet people within a friend group or people they already know, for it to happen more organically.

43. Europeans can be more 'reserved' in the dating pool

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Americans are definitely full of confidence - and they like to display that confidence when it comes to dating! They'll put on a show, think of big and bold ways they can really impress their date, spending time and money on dates and all that. Europeans are much more reserved with self-assurance they don't need to overly prove.

44. Americans put a bigger focus on 'plenty of fish in the sea'

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The dating pool (aptly named) for Americans really does come down to the 'plenty more fish in the sea' mentality. Most people are raised to think there are better options out there, or scared to commit in case 'something better comes along'. For Europeans, there's less focus on a 'backup plan'.

45. And they 'dress down', too

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Americans are much more into the dressed down look with casual wear, and even for dates a more smart-casual look can be the go-to. There's more focus on comfort. For Europeans, formal or smart wear is more the norm - it wouldn't be weird for someone to wear a suit on a date or social trip!

46. Europeans tend to have smaller social circles

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Americans usually meet new people, friends and dates in social places like bars and clubs. Let's face it, most American movies have two people 'meeting in a bar'. And that's not even mentioning the popularity of dating apps. In Europe, though, it's very likely people will be introduced through mutual friends or a close-knit social circle.

47. The idea of 'time'

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So this isn't just about the whole time differences in different countries - it's a lot about the overall perception of time. In Europe, they're no stranger to historical buildings, for example. Something 'new' could be 100s of years old. For Americans, anything older than 100 years can be absolutely ancient in terms of their perception of time!

48. Washing machines (yeah, surprisingly!)

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It's random, but it's worth talking about! In the US, it's norm to have a top-loading washing machine that has both a hot and cold water connection. For Europeans, front loading is the norm, and often only have a cold water system which is then heated during a cycle of the machine.

49. Preferred measuring systems

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Most Americans will still use the Imperial measuring system, even if they learned the good ol' Metric system at school. You might find you talk in yards and Fahrenheit, while Europeans use the Metric system, and will talk about temperature in Celsius and work in meters!

50. The date and time system

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Writing the date in the sequence Month/Date/Year is norm for Americans. But you'll need to be careful if you're booking things in Europe! Europeans use the Date/Month/Year format, so you definitely don't want to be getting those the wrong way round for travel and restaurant bookings!

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