One of the beautiful things about traveling is going to a place and realizing that life doesn't have to be the way you grew up to believe. By exposing yourself to different customs, you get the chance to reflect on and reevaluate yours.

So in an attempt to see which European 'lessons' stuck with Americans the most, Reddit user AppleberryJames asked them what culture shocks were the biggest they had in the Old Continent. From the prevalence of tourist scammers to hike-in restaurants, here are the answers.

#1

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Was in Sweden a few years back when a kid in my charge broke his collarbone. Medics drove him to the hospital. Like two hours later, after X-rays, an exam, and getting set up in a fancy sling, he walked out of the hospital. Total cost: $0.

anon , Our SportingLife Report

SoapMonkey76
Community Member
1 month ago

Welcome to the rest of the civilised world my friend.......

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#2

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird The colorful, cartoonish gravestones in north western Romania that depict how the person [passed away]

rosewater___ , Remus Pereni Report

LisaMarie
Community Member
1 month ago

Beautiful! 😀

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To learn more about going abroad, we contacted Lee Abbamonte, the youngest person to visit every country in the world plus the North & South Poles.

Abbamonte said that whether or not you should research the place you're traveling to depends on the country in terms of familiarity of culture. "If it's a similar culture then [simple] common sense and decency usually work," he told Bored Panda.

"If it's something totally different or if you're unfamiliar, then I think i'’s imperative to do some research to not offend or embarrass anyone including yourself without realizing it. A little research goes a long way and it shows. People appreciate the effort."

#3

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird WTF in an awesome way are the stands and restaurants in Germany where you basically have to hike in. There's no casual foot traffic and it's not a simple drive. You are hiking and come to a beautiful view and there's a little restaurant or stand where you can get wine or beer and wurst and fries or whatever. Then you sit and enjoy the view you hiked to while enjoying your delicious food and excellent beverage. It's fantastic.

streamstroller , ph0on Report

Timmy Pillinger
Community Member
1 month ago

One of my favorite UK pubs is like this. Easy by canoe or foot or bike.

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#4

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird In Paris I saw a gang(10+) of police officers patrolling on rollerblades.. I heard them before I saw them. vrrrrrrr vrrrr vrrrrr

Jukka_Sarasti , Álvaro Millán Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

This is so cool!!

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#5

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird People that work 32 hours a week get over 30 days paid off every year no matter who they work for or more.

meta_uprising , anniespratt Report

sturmwesen
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

ehh this depends. The trend is to work 32-35 hours in our new hires, old contracts have 40 hours. I've 26 payed days off +overtime, my sister would not sign less than 30 days.

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"Often times I see tourists on vacation in foreign countries blatantly taking photos of local people without their consent. This is so rude," Abbamonte said. "They’re not animals or tourist attractions-they’re people. Just ask, people will usually say yes and if it’s a no-then it’s good you asked!"

Of course, European culture can differ depending on the country you're visiting. "Most of Europe, even Eastern Europe is pretty liberal these days," the traveler explained. "But as you go around different European countries, especially with older people, they can be more buttoned-up and private."

"As you move further east in Europe you’ll see the older generations still hardened by the Cold War. So just be respectful to their privacy and potentially appearing rude or cold to you. You’ll also find less English spoken the further east you go in Europe so keep that in mind as well."

#6

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Not being harassed by police.

I did some dumb s**t on a scooter in Paris and instead of spending 20 minutes going through all the bull s**t and puffering cops usually do, he just wagged his french finger at me and message was recieved.

How it should be

Firinmailaza , Erik Mclean Report

Susie Elle
Community Member
1 month ago

"He just wagged his French finger at me" I'm dead

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#7

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Drinking a beer and noticed that the brewery was established in 1489, 3 years before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”

bigedthebad , Sebastiano del Piombo Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

there are breweries in Bavaria which were founded three hundred years before Columbus went on his journey...

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#8

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird I fell in love with Sweden. But every time I go and visit, I’m still shocked at how many people just lay out and tan. On the sidewalk. Next to this Fika shop. Next to a museum.

Literally, people lay out and tan ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE in this country.

I’d be walking through Gamla Stan or Djurgården, then BAM out of nowhere, I nearly trip over a lady trying to tan. åh! jag är väldigt ledsen!

dark-rippedjeans , Nathan Anderson Report

Ranch Dressing
Community Member
1 month ago

Swedes are like cats in a sunbeam

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#9

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird No gaps in the bathroom stalls. Felt like I was pooping in an exclusive club and it was nice not having to make eye contact with m**********r trying to go next

AppleberryJames , Scott_Yancey Report

Sue Lynn Chan
Community Member
1 month ago

Whoever comes up that that idea, I hope your cookies fall into the milk

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#10

The two medications that are keeping me alive cost a whopping $300 a month per prescription, so $600/month or $7,200/year.

I moved to the UK and the same medications cost £9 apiece for a three month supply. Grand total is £72 a year.

I know the conversion rate isn't a perfect 1:1 but the fact my medicine here is literally a hundred times cheaper blew my mind.

Iximaz Report

JD
Community Member
1 month ago

You are paying prescription prices. If you have a lot of medication you can also pay a flat fee of £120 a year that covers everything you need

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#11

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird I lived in Holland for five years. I could say something about the bikes or beer, but the only thing that stopped me in my tracks was a Sesame Street sign. It turns out Big Bird is *blue* in the Netherlands!

I mean I know they say he’s Pino, Big Bird’s cousin, but I’m not fooled. You know Big Bird just moved over there to seek an alternative lifestyle.

Andromeda321 Report

Joran Quinten
Community Member
1 month ago

This picture is not completely accurate: Pino has a bright orange beak instead of a blue one

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#12

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Not an American, but a Bulgarian.
My family had a relative from America who came back with his child who all luve has been in America.
(Somewhere in Detroit, but I am not sure where.)
When we were walking around the streets he had a look of shock on his face when he saw the papers with people pictures put on trees, bus stops, street lambs etc.
He thought they were wanted posters of criminals and was impress with how many crime we had.
I explained to him that those things are called nechrologs and are essentially posters of [passed away] people that family members put around to spread the news and pay respect to the death.
He was even more shocked after that.

BugThonk , Edal Anton Lefterov Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

We have those in Greece too!

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#13

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird The sheer amount of scammers in tourist areas.

Like, American tourist areas have some, but it's no where near egregious as Europe.

Even at the Vatican it's unbearable. Fake petitions, friendship bracelets, guys wearing vests telling gullible visitors they bought the wrong tickets. It definitely put a damper the experience.

A positive WTF moment was realizing how awesome people generally were in Paris. I can't tell you how many times I heard the rude Parsian cliche, but every interaction I had was genuinely pleasant. What I picked up fast was that people in France in general expect some form of respect. It's amazing how a small amount of politeness can go a long way with strangers.

soonerguy11 , Mika Baumeister Report

Ranch Dressing
Community Member
1 month ago

The French were fantastic when I travelled there

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#14

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird I'm from Norway, but moved to America.

My husband and I recently came back from a vacation visiting family in Norway. During the visit we went to a supermarket where you have to put a coin (roughly 1 dollar) into the shopping cart to loosen it from the rack. When your done you reattach the cart and your coin gets returned.

I had never thought twice about it but for him it was amazing.

NightCrawler85 , Markus Spiske Report

Alysha Pursley
Community Member
1 month ago

Aldi in the US does this

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#15

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird In Spain, you have to sorta wave and call for service, especially for the final check.

They will literally leave you at a table with empty glasses for hours unless you ask. They consider it rude to intrude. and it makes Americans feel pushy to ask or wave our hand for attention.


It's pretty easy to do if you watch the locals...a little wave, a smile and a nod, etc and they come right over.


But if felt intrusive on our part at first for sure.

Cranky_Monkey , k8townsend Report

Saint Thomas
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

In Myanmar, the way to signal the waiter is to make a double "kiss" sound with your lips... Like "psssk psssk". Very awkward at first for a european... Calling them or waving at them may work if they happen to look right at you. But a simple "tsssk tsssk" and a waiter beelines to your table in a few seconds.

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#16

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird The absence of obese people was shocking.

Slothboy12 , Kenny Eliason Report

Katrin Krueger
Community Member
1 month ago

Don't worry, we're about to catch up with you guys on this one.

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#17

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Robust public transit systems (relative to the major city I live in in the US).

hunter15991 , Mediocre Studio Report

RedCorvette
Community Member
1 month ago

Yep, I’d get rid of my car in a heartbeat if we have as good public transportation. Here we have to wait 30+ minutes and sometimes hours for a bus. I was amazed to see buses every 8 minutes in London.

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#18

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Studied in France and I was shocked to see the Cafés turn into bars at night.

They just switched out the menu and it went from selling hot cocoa to whiskey on the rocks!

is_it_soy , WayTru Report

Anna Banana
Community Member
1 month ago

Well why would you have a business which only operates for half a day, when you could be open from morning-ish until late at night? And as a patron I appreciate not having to wonder which nice place is open when - I just go and see what they are serving at this hour.

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#19

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird I wouldn't say this was a "WTF" moment so much as just a bit funny and embarrassing on my part.

I was visiting a friend in the Netherlands. I had just gotten back from a year abroad in Asia, so I was not accustomed to anyone being able to speak English.

I went to purchase a train ticket in.... Amsterdam, I think, though it may have been Utrecht. At any rate, I approached the counter and asked, "Excuse me, do you speak English?"

The bemused counter clerk laughed and said, "Of course. Do you?"

I turned beet red. It's very silly looking back on it.

Also, same trip, but in Brussels, I asked a local store clerk where to find a particular bar I was searching for. She gave remarkably detailed directions, and listed off many other recommendations for places. I was a little bit surprised at the level of detail, and I guess she noticed that because she laughed and said, "I like to drink. A LOT."

Isaac_Masterpiece , snapsbyfox Report

Vera1
Community Member
1 month ago

It’s not silly at all to ask a Dutch person if they speak English. In fact, it’s greatly appreciated! Although, brownie points if you can ask that in Dutch 😉

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#20

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird In America we work ourselves to the bones.

Hell, the fact I’m now working what’s called a “straight 8” shift is boggling to me.

But as back as I can remember, working 8-12 hour shifts with a 30 minute lunch is pretty much the norm.

So when my current boss was sent to France for a couple of weeks and the fact that in an 8 hour day, you got 90 minutes for lunch and a 20 minute break for cigarettes and coffee he couldn’t comprehend it.

That and wine while at lunch for work was mind blowing to him.

Cananbaum , Lala Azizli Report

K. Lange
Community Member
1 month ago

30 minute breaks are mandated by law in Germany, when you work 6 hours or more. Thst is also the usual break time. 1.5 or 2 hour breaks normally are used in businesses which close during lunch time

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#21

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Seeing women walk into the men's room when the ladies' is full (Paris).

shleppenwolf , jcmarin Report

Luna
Community Member
1 month ago

When you gotta go, you gotta go.

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#22

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Paris is FILTHY. The architecture was gorgeous, the food was excellent, but the smell of cigarettes and urine is everywhere. I felt like I needed a shower every time I left the hotel.

Amsterdam on the other hand is the cleanest and most well organized city I've ever been to.

BoxofLazers , Redd Report

Peter Thielen
Community Member
1 month ago

Amsterdam and Paris don't really compare, Paris is easily 10x the size...

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#23

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Constantly having to remember to carry around change to use the bathroom in Germany.

courtneylakebmx , SmartSign Report

Anna Banana
Community Member
1 month ago

That's a good point. I don't mind terribly that we have to pay for them, but they should all accept cards at this point, not just a bunch of select few at a train station.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#24

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird I was on a trip that went from Italy, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Every city we were in at least one bar played country road take me home by John Denver and the locals went crazy for it. Knew every word

Also

In a Oktoberfest tent in Munich Germany. Waiting in line for a stall(terrible choice but when nature calls) guy walks past the line and try to just cut everyone. Front man prolly 6-2” German man goes in after the guy who tried to sneakily take the stall. It was like a cartoon of fighting noises in the stall and everyone was so casual. It only made me love that county more lmao

Shnorlax_Twitch , 46137 Report

Hphizzle
Community Member
1 month ago

Country Road Take me Home is super well known in Japan, too!!

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#25

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird How drinking out in public is no problem. Especially in balkans and Germany

darkkiller1234 , Jarritos Mexican Soda Report

sturmwesen
Community Member
1 month ago

I would not say no problem. It is legal in most places unless city goverment decides to ban it at special places. The drunken people trashing glass bottles on the street or fighting are an issue depending where you live.

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#26

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird In Europe, when you order orange juice, they take fresh oranges and squeeze them in to a glass. I've never seen that recipe in the states.

GringoDan , Mateusz Feliksik Report

Giovanna
Community Member
1 month ago

Not always. You have to ask for fresh juice, at least here. We have packed juice too.

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#27

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Not really WTF, just amusement, but when I went to Prague, there were a number of chocolate shops that had large, chocolate penises prominently on display. I remember one that had melted white chocolate drizzled down from the tip.

JedLeland , samanthasophia Report

oktopus
Community Member
1 month ago

Sounds like they're catering for the stag/hen night crowd.

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#28

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird Switzerland. How safe it is to walk across the street. Probably has something to do with the whole "the vehicle is always at fault" thing that would probably never fly here. Cars would slow significantly if I was sort of within the vicinity of a zebra crossing. Made it sort of awkward for me even if I was actually intending to cross there.

Also Switzerland. Hearing all of the cars at a red light start up again when the light turns green.

Granted, this was Wil. I'm not sure if the size of the city has anything to do with it.

RPGCollector , raysontjr Report

Ban-One
Community Member
1 month ago

It actually is quite safe to cross the streets here. Just in Basel or Zürich you gotta look out for them "trams" (streetcar/cable car). They're quiet....and it's their right of way.

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#29

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird There was a day care or kindergarten located directly above the [call girl] display booths. Amsterdam, 2007.

LiquidSoCrates , Sigmund Report

Fester Sixonesixonethree
Community Member
1 month ago

Those are for the [call girl's] kids!

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#30

“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird So many pharmacies in Spain.

Skwonkie_ , Florian Olivo Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

They are in a lot of (S)pain :(

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