The American Dream vs. The European Reality: 11 Splurges Europeans Normally Enjoy That Most Americans Only Dream Of

Many Americans find themselves dreaming of what it would be like to take part in some of the pleasures Europeans enjoy as a regular part of life. From taking advantage of free healthcare to affordable education and long vacation days, here are 11 things average Europeans enjoy on a daily basis that Americans consider a luxury.

1. Long Vacations

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One American says that they reached out for support from their contact at H.Q. in Europe, and they were told to ask someone else, as he was skiing in Switzerland for three weeks. This was shocking as they felt nervous about taking more than three days off in a row, as they’d return to loads of emails.

2. Private Bathrooms

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Have you seen the spaces in American public bathroom stalls? Several people agree that public bathrooms in America do not make sense. One says they do not need to know the type of shoes the guy in the next bathroom is wearing.

Another adds that it gets worse when the floors are shiny and polished. You can look at the person in the next bathroom in the eyes if both of you lean forward. European bathrooms go to the floor, so you don’t expect any weirdness.

3. Human Bosses

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Another commenter says that their boss from the U.K. recently talked to them about taking leave. He was concerned that they hadn’t taken some time off over four months and thought he should remind him.

Their company also had mental health days during the pandemic. People working in the non-customer-facing departments took time off to rest. Employees in customer-facing roles got an extra day added to their annual leave that they could take at their convenience.

4. Affordable Universities

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A parent shares that their daughter is attending university in Scotland and their U.S. friends are shocked at the luxury of attending an overseas university. Furthermore, their friends cannot believe that it costs them half of what a U.S. college charges, inclusive of travel expenses.

5. Sensible Work Benefits

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Some of us are deep in toxic work environments; it’s hard to believe favorable working terms exist. Someone states that their American friend was gobsmacked after finding out they receive great pay as head of the department.

They don’t work unpaid overtime and get benefits like thirty-three days of paid holiday annually, with eight days for public holidays.

6. Reliable Public Transport

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One American says they were blown away by the transport system when they traveled to Europe. They say that even if you are in the middle of a farm town, there’s proximity to the train station. You can hop on the train and go anywhere you want.

They would have loved to have this in America, but they’re limited to rail links between major cities. Since they come from rural areas, they must drive more than four hours to get everywhere. In Europe, the train station was twenty minutes away. They’d arrive at their destination after a few hours.

7. Access To Different Cultures

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Another admits they hate it when people refer to Americans as uncultured or untravelled. They live in Ireland and can reach a dozen European countries within five hours of flying. From where they live, they can drive to places like Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, or Wales based on ferry times.

They say you can drive for five hours in the U.S. without getting close to an international border. In some cases, you’ll barely leave the state. Traveling to multiple countries with little hassle is an underrated advantage of living in Europe.

8. Fluid Borders

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Imagine traveling to multiple countries without enduring the agony of border checkups and controls. A responder comments that they can sit in their car and drive to France or the other countries in the Schengen Agreement. They only realize they are in another country because of the different traffic signs.

In one instance, they sat on a train for about thirty minutes and slept. When they woke up, they were in the Netherlands. They toured the city before hopping on a train headed in the right direction.

9. Real Bread

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Numerous foreigners agree that it is hard to find bread that doesn’t have the sugar content of a cake in America. Someone who recently moved to the U.S. says they’ve visited several grocery stores searching for fresh bread.

All stores have the same soft and sweet type. Finally, they express they are appalled by what Americancallas whole-grain bread.

10. Being Allowed To Be Sick

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Finally, multiple comments covered the frustrations Americans face over the healthcare system. For example, a commenter says sick leave is inaccessible and preventative care is insanely insufficient in the U.S. Surprisingly, the U.S. spends more on healthcare than European countries but still can’t provide a universal healthcare system.

11. Higher Quality Food

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Even though Americans have access to some of the world’s most delicious food, Europeans are able to enjoy higher quality food with fewer preservatives and additives through their supermarkets and farmer’s markets. One user says that the EU has stricter food quality standards, and that’s why a lot of American foods are banned for import in Europe because they contain too many prohibited chemicals.

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