“America vs. Europe”: 30 Things That Are Common In Europe That Americans Find Very Weird
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.
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.
The colorful, cartoonish gravestones in north western Romania that depict how the person [passed away]
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."
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.
In Paris I saw a gang(10+) of police officers patrolling on rollerblades.. I heard them before I saw them. vrrrrrrr vrrrr vrrrrr
People that work 32 hours a week get over 30 days paid off every year no matter who they work for or more.
"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."
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
Drinking a beer and noticed that the brewery was established in 1489, 3 years before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Robust public transit systems (relative to the major city I live in in the US).
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!
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."
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.
Seeing women walk into the men's room when the ladies' is full (Paris).
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.
Constantly having to remember to carry around change to use the bathroom in Germany.
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
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
How drinking out in public is no problem. Especially in balkans and Germany
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.
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.
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.
There was a day care or kindergarten located directly above the [call girl] display booths. Amsterdam, 2007.