10 European Cultural Norms That Americans Wish the U.S. Would Adapt

Living in the United States comes with freedoms and opportunities, making it the envy of many others worldwide. As incredible as this country is, some privileges that Europeans enjoy aren’t available here. When an online community was asked to name which European customs they would like to see come to America, their answers will have you nodding in agreement. 

1. Paid Time off From Work

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Numerous community members admire the generous paid time-off policies offered in European countries. The amount of vacation time, PTO, maternity, and paternity leave varies by country. It’s admirable to see some societies are enlightened enough to recognize the importance of paid leave from a job. Everyone benefits when employees feel they’re working to live and not living to work. 

2. Chairs for Cashiers

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In the U.S., it is customary for cashiers in retail stores to remain standing throughout their shifts. In Europe, cashiers are allowed to be seated during their shifts. There’s no reason to make cashiers stand for hours on end. It’s an outdated practice that serves no use except to make them uncomfortable. This is an idea whose day has come, America.

3. Cafe Culture

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Americans have a long-running love affair with coffee. Still, in many European countries, cafes that serve coffee are more than just a pit stop on the way to the office. They are an integral part of the town and the overall culture. A world traveler in the discussion describes how their favorite places to visit are European cities with cafes in the town center.

4. Lemon Fanta

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Fanta soda is a significant part of American beverage culture, especially Fanta Orange. While certain soda flavors are available in the United States, one soda lover is on an endless quest to find lemon-flavored Fanta, which they can’t find here but can readily find in European countries. They claim it’s the best soda they’ve ever had. 

5. The Autobahn

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Specifically, according to a reader in the thread, the portions of the Autobahn where the driving speeds are unrestricted. There are highways in the U.S. with speed limits well over 70 miles per hour, but that’s nothing compared to the rush some drivers feel when they can go as fast as they want to and not worry about getting a speeding ticket.

6. Bidets 

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While some American bathrooms are equipped with bidets, they are far from the norm. In Europe, they’re considered a regular part of restrooms. Americans who have used bidets swear by them, as their usage is regarded as an essential sanitary practice. Fans of bidets say that once you use them, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install one in your bathroom sooner. 

7. Afternoon Siestas

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Made famous in Spain, where siestas are an integral part of the culture, the idea of taking a long nap in the middle of the workday is unthinkable stateside. However, many American worker bees wouldn’t have a problem breaking up their day with a little snooze, even if they must be in the office a little longer to complete their shift.

8. No Tipping

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In the U.S., wait staff typically earn an hourly wage well below the set minimum. Most of their income is derived from tips. In Europe, service industry employees are well compensated for their work. Hence, tipping them is optional and generally frowned upon in most places. If you’re not a fan of tipping, then insist on servers earning a living wage. 

9. Universal Healthcare

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The overwhelming majority of European Union countries offer their citizens universal healthcare coverage, which provides a critical safety net in the event of a catastrophic injury or illness. While the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has helped millions access comprehensive health insurance, the U.S. still lags behind Europe in providing equitable access to healthcare. 

10. Walkable Cities and Mass Transit

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Many American cities require a car to get where you must go because the destination is too far away or unsafe to walk to. Many European countries, which are much older than the U.S., have perfected the art of walkable cities or implemented exceptional, modern mass transit systems that are the next best thing to owning a car. 

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