Meet Helene Sula, an American lifestyle blogger who not just loves traveling but has made it her full-time job, moving to live in different states, countries, and even continents! As you can imagine, Helene has gathered a bunch of intercultural experiences and having lived in Europe for years, knows the subtleties of life here pretty well. And saying it’s really different from life in the States would be an understatement!

In fact, she has dedicated her whole TikTok video series to explaining common American things that Europeans think are weird. From prom nights and portion sizes to distances between things and hours spent driving, there are many things that simply bamboozle Europeans. With a whopping 8.4M likes in total, Helene’s videos have gone viral, showing how fascinated we really are by these cultural and societal differences.

More info: Heleneinbetween.com | Smart.bio

Image credits: heleneinbetween

@heleneinbetween American things Europeans think are weird! #tiktoktravel #expat #travel #usa #europe #america #fyp #foryou #americacheck ♬ original sound - Helene Sula
#1

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Maternity leave. In the USA there is no standard paid maternity leave, but you can get 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Whereas in Europe, there is at least 14 weeks of maternity leave, with many countries offering much more. For example, in Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Sweden and Hungary, they offer a full year or more of paid maternity leave. In Germany, you can actually take up to three years off, and it's not just for the moms. There's paternal leave too.

heleneinbetween , Sarah Chai Report

YinzerGhost
Community Member
6 months ago

Take your newborn to work and get them used to the dimly-lit offices. Stop being such an unproductive member of society, newborns.

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Bored Panda reached out to the author of these viral TikTok videos, Helene Sula, who has been a full-time travel blogger for 8 years. Helene runs a wonderful blog “Helene In Between” and shares some great videos about travel, cultures, and everything in between on her TikTok channel. She was happy to share some insights into her adventures around the world with Bored Panda.

“TikTok is such a great platform for sharing travel, life abroad, and connecting and learning with others,” she said. Helene started her blog after falling 25 feet rock climbing and breaking her ankle and leg. “I was out of work so I started a blog, writing about my travels. This snowballed into social media and now it's my husband's and my full-time job,” she recounted.

#2

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Money. In the US, cash is all the same shape, size and color, which is green, while in Europe it comes in all different colors and sizes, which also helps people immediately understand the difference. Also some countries like Romania and the UK have plastic bills.

heleneinbetween , Karolina Grabowska Report

Nolgoth
Community Member
6 months ago

Newer US dollars are starting to come out as different colors. We dont mess with the shape/size because various vending machines and whatnot are only set up for one size.

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#3

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Tipping. In America, it's standard to tip 15 to 20%. In Europe, tipping isn't mandatory, but in some countries it's a few euros or maybe 10%. Europeans are generally paid a salary to wait tables, while Americans make more money through tips.

heleneinbetween , Sarah Gilbert Report

MaddaPanda
Community Member
6 months ago

A wage that doesn’t depend on the amount of clients and their willingness to tip, is by European standard just an obvious thing. Should be standard in any developed country.

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#4

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Paying at restaurants. Most of the time at restaurants in the US, your server will hand you a bill, take your credit card and walk to the back to charge it. In Europe, your server will charge your credit card right at the table. Also, most Nordic countries are almost all cashless, while some places like in Germany and Italy they still heavily rely on cash.

Also at American restaurants, they bring the check when they think you're finished eating, while in Europe, that's often considered rude and they won't bring you the check until you ask for it.

heleneinbetween , Marco Verch Professional Photographer Report

Marianne
Community Member
6 months ago

I was shocked when a waiter took my credit card away for the first time. Here, we learn to never give it away because of fraud.

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Having lived and traveled to so many places both in Europe and America, Helene argues that she loves that there are so many differences between cultures, countries, and continents. “It's what makes each place so wonderful and interesting to travel to. I think Europeans and Americans have different outlooks on living day to day, especially with regards to work,” she said.

Europeans have more time off than Americans, which means they spend time traveling more, Helene argues. “Because Americans don't, we often seem ‘busy,’ cramming in and doing as much as possible.” When Helene moved to Europe, she thought she'd slow down when it came to travel, but the opposite happened. “The more I travel, the more I realize I'm just scratching the surface.”

#5

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Driving. In America we drive nearly everywhere, even really short distances and sometimes even across the street. However, we also drive if it's super far away. Also, Europeans tend to say a location is blank kilometers away. Well in America, we say it in hours. For example, we are 10 hours away from the beach.

heleneinbetween , Ethan Hooson Report

Twodogsandapicnictable
Community Member
6 months ago

Yeah. I'm definitely more concerned with how long it takes to get somewhere than how far away it is.

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#6

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Americans wear their shoes in the house - yes the same ones we walked around in all day. Many Europeans and other countries take their shoes off at home and in Germany they have special house shoes that they wear just around the house.

heleneinbetween , Ivan Samkov Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
6 months ago

Lots of Europeans wear their shoes in the house. Lots of Americans take their shoes off in the house. This is a very poor example.

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#7

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird The way we write the dates. We write the dates, Month-Day-Year. Almost everywhere else including Europe, it's Day-Month-Year. There's no real reason why we do it.

heleneinbetween , Marco Verch Professional Photographer Report

Tuna Fish
Community Member
6 months ago

We write them how we say them. If someone asks what day it is we say March 25th. So we write it the same way.

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When asked what’s very American that she really misses (or missed) while in Europe, Helene said it’s the “convenience.” She explained: “Stores stay open later. I remember being in Germany and there would be gas stations that you had to pay in store. Stores would be closed so you couldn't pump gas late at night! Or, in Germany, stores closing on Sundays always blew my mind. Just a different way of life. And, of course, Tex Mex! You can't beat it and you really cannot find good Mexican food in Europe.”

#8

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Christmas lights in the USA. We go crazy for Christmas lights and over the top Christmas decorations. Even though the movies might make it look over the top, it's totally accurate. We like to cover every square inch of our house in twinkling lights. In Europe, the city centers are often decorated and beautiful, but homes don't usually have such over the top decorations.

One of our favorite traditions in the USA is to go Christmas light looking. We grab hot chocolate and drive around listening to Christmas music while looking at lights

heleneinbetween , Anthony92931 Report

John Smith
Community Member
6 months ago

Some people do go light wild in the UK, unfortunately there are a huge amount of assholes that see your lights and go "That's nice. I will have it" and you come home to your lights gone, HD video footage of the whole thing and police saying "we don't have enough evidence". Its easier to put the lights inside the house.

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#9

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Eggs are refrigerated in the USA but not Europe. In the United States, egg producers are required by law to wash the eggs in chlorinated water. This kills any bacteria that might be clinging to the shells. This also washes off the eggs natural protection so that they might spoil more quickly if they're not refrigerated. In Europe, egg producers do not wash this off and so they are safe to store unrefrigerated until used.

heleneinbetween , Edouard Gilles Report

Scarlett Fox
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

They also vaccinate chickens against salmonella in Europe, but it's not mandatory in North America.

Marie
Community Member
6 months ago

Oh... I've always wondered why salmonella was such a big dill in the US. Thanks!

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Will I Will-Ham
Community Member
6 months ago

Also the production standards are better in europe so no need to wash eggs

Hrefna Frederiksen
Community Member
6 months ago

Eggs are also refrigerated in Denmark.

Maria R
Community Member
6 months ago

In Sweden we refrigerate eggs.

Sonja
Community Member
6 months ago

I always put eggs in fridge. And I live in Europe.

LeeAnne B
Community Member
6 months ago

This is interesting. I'm in South Africa and the eggs are almost always covered in crap. I put them in the fridge. I don't know if it's wrong or right though.

Deborah Shearer
Community Member
6 months ago

I store my eggs in the fridge, I live in Scotland, I have always done this as does my Mother. UK eggs stored in the fridge will stay fresh for up to 3 months, I know as I have done this

Tuna Fish
Community Member
6 months ago

Most of my neighbors (American south) raise chickens so we don't refrigerate ours either. We eat a lot of eggs so they very rarely last long enough to go bad.

David Elliott
Community Member
6 months ago

According to my googles, this is correct.

Paul Z.
Community Member
4 months ago

Idiots... again

Angela White
Community Member
4 months ago

In the UK, most people put eggs in the fridge.

Salty Wild Hair
Community Member
5 months ago

I bought eggs in Greece that still had feathers on them.

Pernille Dyre
Community Member
5 months ago

We have refrigerated eggs in Danmark... but not washed!

Tam illo
Community Member
5 months ago

In Austria most people who don't own chickens themselves store eggs in the refrigerator

Wednesday
Community Member
5 months ago

I guess the lesson here is, stop chlorinating our eggs, and start washing them right before you use them...

Celtic Pirate Queen
Community Member
6 months ago

We only buy pasteurized eggs. My husband got horrible food poisoning from "old" eggs (as he put it), so now he's super paranoid about them.

Claudia Lorenz
Community Member
6 months ago

American eggs have zero taste.

Torhild Hansen
Community Member
6 months ago

Eggs are refrigerated in Nor.way, even if we don't have salmonella

backatya
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

then they get all the bacteria Europeans want. That's really a stupid thing just so they won't have to refrigerate eggs

Joolz Cat
Community Member
6 months ago

Sounds like USA bleach just about everything!

Mary Leverett
Community Member
6 months ago

Mexico sells eggs unrefrigerated - bit of culture shock for me when we first moved down there 😉

Anne Mitchell
Community Member
6 months ago

Maybe if your egg producing hens were salmonella free....

Nicole Normand
Community Member
6 months ago

Interesting facts. I was wondering why theirs wouldn't spoil.

Annette Jones
Community Member
6 months ago

that's not true... England and several other countries do not wash their eggs, but many other European countries do. Scandinavian and Eastern European countries do.

Mermaid Elle-Jaye
Community Member
6 months ago

Yuk why the hell wash eggs like that 😂 🤢 I only accept poop covered cos I know that protective layer is still there, I eat mine slightly undercooked though. Hence my reasons.

Got Myself 4 Pandas
Community Member
6 months ago

It's better for baking to have your ingredients roughly the same temperature - so room temp eggs and butter make it much easier - I have a wee chicken shaped basket I keep mine in on the worktop - it's cute

Kookamunga
Community Member
6 months ago

I believe butter as well. You just leave a butter bell on the table. butter-bel...920872.jpg butter-bell-623db98920872.jpg

Kesam
Community Member
6 months ago

Yes, we do that. (Real) butter gets rock hard in the fridge. I might be wrong but I think what many Americans (and some Europeans) usually call butter is not real butter but some kind of margerine, which remains spreadable when cold (but tastes awful). 😄

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Farmboyatheart
Community Member
6 months ago

The bacteria dies off after a few days anyway. You can just wipe the poop off with a rag and be fine.

Monkey Spunk
Community Member
6 months ago

That's because we have animal welfare standards which unfortunately you chaps don't so you have to chlorinate your food because it stands a high chance of being riddled with infection. Another "benefit" of Brexit we can look forward to.

Essex Eagle
Community Member
6 months ago

Nope, eggs go into the fridge in the UK as well.

Niamh Gallagher Kerr
Community Member
6 months ago

We can put eggs in the fridge the difference is we don't have to. Where have you seen eggs in a fridge in a shop in the UK?

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Celsius
Community Member
6 months ago

Yeah, they fall out of a birds ass and you prefer it unwashed and warm. Brilliant! Not.

Carol Quinn
Community Member
6 months ago

we keep our birds welfare to a far higher standard and vaccinate against salmonella.

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Winter
Community Member
6 months ago

Milk and cream too...at least in the European countries I've been to. It took me a long time to locate these products, looking in the refrigerated section.

Will I Will-Ham
Community Member
6 months ago

No not true. Only special sterilized dairy products don't require cooling.

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Tilfeldig Forbipasserende
Community Member
6 months ago

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Sorry. Not correct.

Unique
Community Member
6 months ago

It's true in Germany.

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MaddaPanda
Community Member
6 months ago

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This isn’t correct. How about you check your “facts” before posting?

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#10

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Americans like a lot of ice in their drinks, and the rest of the world really doesn't do this. In Europe, you have to ask for ice most of the time, and usually it's just a couple of cubes. We like our drinks cold and we'd like to refill, please.

heleneinbetween , solod_sha Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
6 months ago

Americans like to take a perfectly good fizzy drink and put so much ice in it that it becomes diluted and flat.

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One of the most common misunderstandings about the American way of living that Europeans believe in, Helene argues, is that we only eat fast food. “I can absolutely admit that Europeans have higher quality of food overall. But the USA has its fair share of delicious cuisine from all over the world. Because the USA is a melting pot, there really is a vast array of good, healthy food.”

On the other hand, a very common European thing that Americans would find very weird is the drinking age, Helene says. “I think the European system of drinking younger is better. We drive cars and then drink and I think this leads to binge drinking. Also, that houses in Germany don't come with kitchens, or light fixtures! That blew me away!”

#11

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird The drinking age in the US is 21, which is the highest in the world. While in most European countries it's 18, and in some countries it's even as low as 16, if it's enforced at all. Also beer and wine is cheaper in Europe and maybe a little better.

heleneinbetween , Tembela Bohle Report

Tilfeldig Forbipasserende
Community Member
6 months ago

"Maybe" a little better?!?!? There's no maybe about it!

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#12

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird In the US, we work a lot. On average, we only get about two weeks paid vacation. I personally had only five days off on my first job, which in Europe it varies but many countries get a month off. In the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany they take the lead for the most days off.

heleneinbetween , Nenad Stojkovic Report

Nolgoth
Community Member
6 months ago

I do miss the 2.5 days earned vacation per month i got in the navy. Everyone got the same rate of earned days from day 1, no waiting 90 days nor having different tiers depending on seniority/time in service. You could save it all up the whole time you are in. Whatever you have left when you separate or retire you can sell off (or what i did was get home early by 2 weeks while separating). I think this should be the standard. plus a mandatory holiday period of vacation time (like what many european countries have)

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#13

Americans are super loud, especially on our phones and in public areas like restaurants. We tend to air out our dirty laundry by speaking super loudly. When I first moved to Germany I remember I felt like I was whispering at the dinner table.

heleneinbetween Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
6 months ago

Oh BS ! Some Americans can be loud yes, but I've met people from all over the world and some of them were loud too. Not just an American thing ffs.

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The professional traveler and content creator believes that looking at cultural differences is a great way to learn. “I often get very angry commenters that want me to know that ‘Europe is not a country.’ I do know that, I've been lucky to visit 40 different European countries and spend a good deal of time in each. I think each country, of course, has its own set of customs and cultural differences, but comparing the USA and Europe doesn't mean I'm denying that,” Helene said and added that “I just think it's interesting for many Americans to see the differences.”

#14

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Powerlines. Driving around the USA you'll notice power or telephone lines nearly everywhere you look. While in many places in Europe they bury the lines underground. Buried power lines are protected from the wind, ice and trees, but buried lines are more vulnerable to flooding and can still fail. Also burying them is more expensive, but it looks so much nicer.

heleneinbetween , Felix Haumann Report

GirlFriday
Community Member
6 months ago

The US is vast and the land is not the same in all areas. I am from an area close to the Mississippi River. We can't put electricity under the ground in a flood plain. With the rate at which most areas are expanding, it much more cost efficient to have the line above ground because they may be moved later.

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#15

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Americans love small talk. Perfect strangers might ask you how you're doing or comment on the weather. Typically the further south you get in the US the more small talk, darlin'.

heleneinbetween , Canva Studio Report

Nilsen
Community Member
6 months ago

And in Scandinavia if you get an answer at all, it will be an honest one. I worry about work and taxes and the government, my back is bothering me, my mother's healt is failing and maybe the children aren't doing well in school. Are you ready for that waiting for the buss in rain and sleet at half past seven in the morning? That's why we are silent.

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#16

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Bathrooms, and by bathrooms we mean toilets - American bathrooms are what we call them. What's weird is the bathrooms in the US often have wide gaps - why? Well, no one knows.

heleneinbetween Report

Nunya Business
Community Member
6 months ago

We don't know why there are gaps, but we know we don't like them!

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#17

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Americans are not direct at all. Europeans are super blunt, and they tend to tell you like it is. Whereas in America, we tend to give a compliment sandwich. So we stick a criticism in between two compliments, whereas Europeans will just tell you what they think. And they'll tell you they don't like something or if they do, whereas in America in the USA, we tend to not always be as direct.

heleneinbetween , SHVETS production Report

Marcellus the Third
Community Member
6 months ago

I think the American poster here has mis-read a lot of say the British then... When an Englishman replies to a statement with "interesting", he means "that was pure stupidity, now let's change the subject". So, "direct" if you know what was meant, not direct if you take it at face value.

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#18

Windows. In the USA, windows are typically much cheaper. Many windows have a crank to open and close them, or a lever to push them up. European windows are better resistant to condensation. For example, in Germany windows just open with a push in turn, making them easier to open and close and more resistant to breaking. While most North American windows use double pane windows, European Windows usually have triple pane or even quadruple pane. I think the reason for this is that Europeans build things to last, while in the USA we tear down and build new.

heleneinbetween Report

Nilsen
Community Member
6 months ago

....and in the UK you still get single panes with cut-out ventilation that doesn't really close.....

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#19

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Whenever you meet an American,usually the first question you're asked is: "What do you do for a living?" This doesn't happen the same way in Europe. In the US, people are obsessed with their jobs, and usually think of this as their identity. Don't be obsessed with your job, be obsessed with your life.

heleneinbetween , Alexander Suhorucov Report

GaeFrog
Community Member
6 months ago

I don't think "what do you do for a living" is the first thing you ask here in America. Most people actually consider it rude

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#20

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird In the US, the portion sizes are huge. You might be surprised how big the portion you'll receive when you order a meal is. It's also acceptable to take your leftovers home. while in some places in Europe that's not typical. Also if you haven't noticed, we fry everything.

heleneinbetween , Mollie Merritt Report

Liam F.
Community Member
6 months ago

ooooooooooh okay now I want funnel cake, damn I haven't had them in sooo long

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#21

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird The movies are true. We really do have a lot of high school dances, although they aren't choreographed like this. We have homecoming. And fun fact. My first date with my to be husband was homecoming. We also have Prom, and Prom King and Queen.

heleneinbetween , Amy Kate Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
6 months ago

And the USA does a rocking business in dresses for these events, because the wealthier girls will only wear a dress to one event and then they need a new one. So there are about 4 or so prom-like events per year through four years of high school, with dresses costing easily $200-300.

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#22

In the USA we go all out decorating our homes for the holidays and Halloween is our time to show off our spooky decorations. I rarely see Halloween decor and European homes, but it also seems like Halloween is a much bigger tradition in the USA.

heleneinbetween Report

Florian Gerstmeier
Community Member
6 months ago

Halloween wasn't a thing in Europe (beside GB) till the 2000s.

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#23

Grocery shopping. Most Americans do their grocery shopping once a week, typically buying larger quantities of items to stock up. While in Europe, shopping is typically done every day or every other day. Also, grocery stores in the USA tend to be bigger and have larger aisles. Since many US cities are suburban, there is room to create much larger grocery stores with even larger parking lots. While Europeans might bring home their groceries on public transit or bikes, meaning they don't need to carry quite as much.

heleneinbetween Report

Alain Terrieur
Community Member
6 months ago

That's because in Europe shops and homes are in the same block or street. In USA blocks are typical only commercial, residential or industrial. So the distance between living and shopping is bigger, thus the need for cars, etc.

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#24

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird In America, we drive huge vehicles. Europeans tend to drive smaller compact cars. Since European cities are more dense, the cars reflect that. While in the USA, we tend to think bigger is better and often prefer trucks and SUVs. Also, in the USA gas is typically much cheaper, but overall Europeans tend to be safer drivers than Americans.

heleneinbetween , Ricardo Esquivel Report

Wistiti
Community Member
6 months ago

Unfortunately, consumerism propaganda is very strong and Europe is following US's example. SUVs are in the rise even though they need so much more fuel. Such a waste.

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#25

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird The term America. If you grew up in the US, you may think of America and the United States interchangeable. Most of the time we call the United States America and we call ourselves American. Even though there's also the whole rest of North America and all of South America. Many people can't understand why we refer to the US as America, and people from other countries often refer to our country as the US or the states.

heleneinbetween , Brett Sayles Report

S. Mi
Community Member
6 months ago

As a result of this tendency to refer to the United States as 'America', many Canadians will correct you if you refer to them as 'American' or even 'North American'.

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#26

Fashion. In the USA, we tend to dress casually all the time. Sweatpants, leggings and sweatshirts are normal to wear on a daily basis. While in Europe they tend to be more fashionable and dress up more often. Also, Americans tend to go with what's trendy, while in Europe they prefer a more classic look.

heleneinbetween Report

Susie Elle
Community Member
6 months ago

I'd disagree as fashion styles and preferences vary incredibly between countries.

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#27

“America vs. Europe”: 27 Things Common In America That Europeans Find Very Weird Houses in America and Europe are pretty different. American homes tend to have more space between them, while in Europe, they're more closely stacked together. Most American homes have a yard while many European homes don't. And while many American homes are larger than the European homes, in Europe the outdoor communal spaces are very beautiful and super pedestrian friendly.

heleneinbetween , Sigmund Report

Caro Caro
Community Member
6 months ago

This is utter nonsense. It depends where you live, rural or city and which part of the country. I have a whopping garden here in France and no neighbours stuck to my house. She should get out more ...

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