Europeans and Americans, while sharing many similarities, have their fair share of cultural differences. Some of these differences can be quite baffling to Americans. These quirks range from the way Europeans drive to their dining customs and more.
1. Obsession With Roundabouts
Europeans have a love affair with roundabouts that can be bewildering to Americans. While Americans prefer traditional intersections with traffic lights, Europeans favor the circular, traffic-flow-smoothing marvels. For Americans, it can feel like navigating a never-ending maze of roundabouts, often leading to confused directions and missed exits.
2. Dining for Hours
Europeans take their dining seriously, often indulging in leisurely meals that can stretch on for hours. In contrast, many Americans are accustomed to quick and efficient restaurant service. Europeans view dining as a social experience, savoring each course and engaging in lively conversation, while Americans may find the wait between courses a tad too long.
3. Tiny Cars With Manual Transmissions
European roads are filled with compact cars, many of which come equipped with manual transmissions. This preference for smaller vehicles and stick-shifts baffles many Americans, who favor larger, automatic cars. Navigating narrow European streets in a tiny, manual car can be daunting for American drivers.
4. Lack of Air Conditioning
When the summer heat kicks in, Europeans often endure sweltering conditions without the comfort of air conditioning. On the other hand, Americans are accustomed to having cool, air-conditioned spaces to escape the heat. Europeans may prioritize energy conservation or have a higher tolerance for warmth, leaving Americans wondering how they manage without A/C.
5. Multiple Languages in One Day
In Europe, it’s common for people to switch between multiple languages in a single conversation or day. This multilingual fluidity can be impressive but confusing for monolingual Americans. With their diverse linguistic backgrounds, Europeans effortlessly transition between languages, while Americans may struggle with a single tongue.
6. Public Transportation Etiquette
Europeans take their public transportation etiquette seriously. Queuing orderly, giving up seats to the elderly and pregnant, and maintaining a tranquil atmosphere are common practices. In contrast, Americans on public transport may experience a lack of such etiquette, leading to befuddlement over the differing norms.
7. No Free Refills
In many European countries, free refills at restaurants are practically unheard of. Americans, accustomed to bottomless soft drinks and endless coffee refills, might find themselves taken aback when they receive a bill for every additional beverage. Europeans prefer quality over quantity when it comes to dining.
8. Socialized Healthcare Systems
The concept of socialized healthcare in Europe can be a head-scratcher for many Americans. In Europe, access to healthcare is considered a fundamental right, with universal coverage. Americans, often navigating complex insurance systems and high medical costs, may find it hard to fathom a healthcare system funded by taxpayers.
9. Extended Store Closures
Europeans are accustomed to stores closing early, especially on Sundays and holidays. This practice can be quite inconvenient for Americans used to the convenience of 24/7 shopping. Europeans prioritize work-life balance and relaxation, even if it means temporarily shuttering businesses.
10. Kissing on the Cheek
Europeans commonly greet friends and acquaintances with kisses on the cheek, which can perplex some Americans. In the U.S., handshakes or hugs are more common forms of greeting, and cheek-kissing is often reserved for close family or romantic partners.
11. Taking Long Vacations
Europeans are known for their extended vacations, often taking several weeks off at a time. On the other hand, Americans often find it challenging to secure such lengthy breaks from work. This disparity in vacation time can perplex Americans, who may envy the European commitment to leisurely travel.
12. Café Culture All Day Long
Europeans are masters of café culture, with locals enjoying espressos and pastries at outdoor cafés at any time of day. In contrast, Americans typically rush through their coffee breaks or opt for a quick drive-thru fix. Europeans relish the opportunity to relax and people-watch, while Americans might find spending hours sipping a single cup of coffee puzzling.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.