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The culture clash between Americans and Europeans has been around for centuries. From hot beverages, such as coffee or tea, to everyday slang, both worlds surprise one another.

Inspired by the differences between the two worlds, a user started a thread on Reddit about some European activities that Americans consider luxurious.

The original poster (OP) directed this question at Americans, and the responses were eye-opening.

1. Cheap and Classy Cafes

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A user commented, “Cheap wine by the glass, cheap coffee, and pastries. Cafes in the US are marketed as very trendy and if you want a pastry and a coffee you should be ready to pay like 8–10 dollars. In most of Italy, Portugal, and Spain you can get coffee and a croissant for like 3 euros.”

Europe is known for its delicious food, especially pastries. 

In America, mouth-watering eatables with ambiance come with a price; in Europe, you can have a lavish dining experience for just a few bucks. 

2. Paid Vacations

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In America, you grind through the weekend if you take a day off from work.

Alternatively, in Europe, companies encourage employees to go on vacation. They offer paid leave so you can truly refresh your soul. 

“Six weeks vacation, extra pay just for vacation (at least in Germany), government healthcare,” another user commented.

3. Luxury of Time

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A user commented, “Time! I spent time abroad in Italy for school and there was just so much less of a ‘rush’ everywhere. Everyone really took their time and I didn’t really feel the bustle of constantly ‘going’ somewhere when I was there.”

“Time is money” is a saying Americans take very seriously. Seemingly, everybody is always in a rush.

In Europe, time slows down. Europeans appreciate the calm in life and take time to be grateful for their lives. 

4. Affordable Quality Education

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“Affordable universities…our daughter is going to university in Scotland. Our US friends always respond with shock at the ‘luxury’ of going overseas for school until I tell them it’s 1/2 the cost of an equivalent US college. That includes travel expenses.” One user commented.

Europe is renowned for its quality and affordable education; universities throw away scholarships and welcome students from all across the globe.

Even including travel expenses, the cost of education in Europe is much cheaper than in America. 

5. Quick Transportation

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Another user commented, “Readily available and reliable public transportation.”

No matter where you are in Europe, you will always find a train station to take you anywhere.

The commute is very cheap, and the maximum waiting time is only two to three minutes! 

6. Food on the Go

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Someone remarked, “Local bakeries with wonderful fair-priced food readily available on their walking commute.”

If you want a quick bite before work in America, you likely need to prepare to drive the extra mile.

Meanwhile, in Europe, you will find countless scrumptious cafes and bakeries on the sides of roads everywhere. 

7. Easy Destination Travel 

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That’s the thing about Europe: You can easily hop from one country to another via train, and it only takes a few hours.

You can visit the countries you read about in books with just one backpack!

“They can travel between different countries in Europe without spending days driving or flying.” commented one passionate user. 

8. Privacy in Bathroom Stalls

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“Bathroom stalls that actually go to the floor. I don’t need to know what shoes the guy taking a s*** next to me has on.”

Europeans value privacy, so their bathroom stalls are covered down to the floor. It makes you feel comfortable. 

In America, privacy in public bathrooms is very questionable. 

9. Promising Healthcare

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“Healthcare. Life work balance. Walkable communities. Great train service.” 

Europeans firmly believe that a healthy mind and body lead to productivity. 

This belief is why many European companies also offer paid sick leave, and affordable healthcare in Europe is truly exemplary.

10. Culturally Enriched Schools

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Europe takes great pride in preserving its culture. 

Europeans instill cultural significance in kids at an early age in the form of language learning, an element missing in American school systems. 

“Schools that teach other languages effectively. That would be so nice. Kind of annoying that we don’t teach Spanish from an early age alongside English,” someone commented. 

It’s amusing how we Americans view some basic European necessities as luxuries. It speaks volumes about the cultural differences between the two worlds.

What are some everyday European things that you consider luxuries? 

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This article originally appeared on Financially Well Off.


Chris founded FWO, the ultimate destination for those looking to achieve financial independence, explore the world and stay motivated daily.

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