Moving to the U.S. – How the American Mentality Differs from the European One

When contemplating whether the United States or Europe is a better fit, it is important to assess the various cultural differences that exist between the two. The American way of life is substantially different than the European one. Each lifestyle surely has its corresponding benefits and detriments. Consider the following differences between the United States and Europe before deciding to reside in either culture:

Differences Between the United States and Europe

  1. Workweek: One of the primary differences between the United States and Europe is surely the workweek. The workweek is something that showcases a fundamental difference between the cultures, which is related to the importance placed on the workplace versus leisure. In Europe, there is substantial time offered for families to spend time together in the way of maternity leave, extended vacation, and much more. For this reason, the workday is shorter and the vacation is longer. This is particularly true for countries such as France.
  2. Hour of Dining: In certain countries in Europe, the hour of dinner is much later. For example, in Spain, it is customary to go to dinner at ten in the evening. This is something that is a respected tradition and leads to visiting a bar far later in the evening. In contrast, the United States tends to close down much earlier given that dinner can be between seven and nine o’clock in the evening. This difference in culture affects how late individuals stay out and how late bars and restaurants close. Due to this difference, the United States tends to have a reputation of being stricter than countries in Europe, which is why many Americans dream of spending extended periods of time in Europe.
  3. Portion Control: One major disadvantage that the United States has compared to Europe is the size of their portions. There is a very high obesity rate in the United States, which is caused by the excessive portions that are served. Many times, there is more than double the amount of food necessary to consume in the United States. This is where Europe has an advantage in that they have less processed food and have healthy portions available to their populations.
  4. Multi-Cultural Society: Europe and the United States both have multi-cultural societies; however, the Europeans tend to try to keep their distinct cultures preserved. Given that the United States was created on a mixture of cultures, it is easier for groups to mix in the United States than in Europe. That being said, within Europe, there is more of an interest in diverse arts and performances than in the United States. Even though the United States is surely catching up on this, it has a long way to go in order to remain competitive with the Europeans.
  5. Educational System: The educational system that exists in Europe surely has an advantage over the United States for the university level study. Within Europe, there is more of a possibility of obtaining a post-secondary education without investing thousands of dollars. This is a major asset that Europe has over the United States because their students are not graduating with thousands of dollars of debt, rather they are entering into the workforce and able to invest in properly at a younger age than Americans.
  6. Linguistic Talents: One factor that is fascinating about growing up in Europe is the incentive to speak many different languages. This is surely due to geographic proximity. In the United States, it can be frowned upon at times to not speak English. This is an advantage Europe possesses because in Europe, there is a drive to speak many languages and the Americans are struggling to keep up with this trend as the world continues to globalize.
  7. Employment Opportunities: Regarding employment opportunities, both the United States and Europe are about on par with the exception of certain European countries that are recovering from the aftermath of 2008. What is important to understand is that there are employment opportunities available for those that have adequate credentials and connections. Each market has come a long way since the economic crisis and jobs are starting to become available once more, which is delightful to see.
  8. Space of Real Estate: Another fundamental difference between the United States and Europe is the amount of space for homes and shops. The United States is surely the land of the suburban sprawl; however, Europe is far more compact given the great difference in size between the two. If you are looking for a more compact lifestyle, Europe is a more ideal fit than the United States.

Final Remarks on the Subject

There is a great difference between the American mentality and the European one. The reason for this is that the two societies essentially practice two entirely different ways of life. The attitude that can be found in Europe is far more family oriented and tranquil, whereas the United States has a different approach of working many hours and having less vacation. Each lifestyle has its benefits and detriments; however, it is up to the individual expat to decide which pace of life is best for their families.

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