If you're an American living abroad, there are a surprising amount of things you won't find in European homes that you're used to back in the States. Although it's difficult to get hard numbers on the amount of Americans living abroad, it's easy to agree that Millennials in particular are drawn to Europe's cities; be it because of the reduced (or non-existent) cost of higher education, the art and cultural scene, or a desired to connect with their heritage, there are tons of reasons Americans choose to live abroad. There are some Americans who go abroad to avoid paying their student loan debt (which I, personally, do not recommend as a viable plan) and others still who choose to live abroad long-term to be with a partner or spouse.
But regardless of your reasons for going abroad, there are (likely) going to be some things you miss about your home country. If you're on good terms with your family, friends, and coworkers, they're likely to be the parts of your life in America you most wish could magically appear in your European home. But, on a practical level, transitioning from life in America to life in Europe may surprise you, as well: If you never thought you'd miss an air conditioner, for example, be sure to read on and see what other differences Redditors notice between what you're likely to find in an American and European home.
For more differences, check out the full thread on AskReddit.
1. White Bread
Now, I enjoy a few slices of processed white bread as much as the next person, but I have to admit, America's bread gets a pretty bad reputation
. The general consensus is that there is nothing better than homemade, fresh bread to begin with, and that kind of bread seems to be more of the norm than the processed stuff we tend to find in American kitchen cabinets.
2. A Garbage Disposal In The Sink
Not every home in the United States has a garbage disposal, and I think they're actually more common in urban areas to begin with, but nearly every apartment I've lived in has had one come with it. Indeed, it's become such a common occurrence for me that I'm actually surprised when someone doesn't have one in their kitchen. To be fair, I don't know that I'd go as far as the Redditor above and pay to have one installed — but hey, sometimes you've gotta invest in the things you think will make your daily life better. For some people, that's a garbage disposal unit.
3. Screens In The Windows
Depending on where you live in the United States, the thought of a window without a screen is actually terrifying: If you're in a hot climate where there are tons of bugs and you're choosing between leaving your window open and letting bugs in... Well, I wish you good luck. Personally, I'd take a sweaty night of terrible sleep over waking up covered with bug bites, but there are pros and cons to either choice.
In Europe, though, it seems that window screens are often less necessary because they don't have the same bug problems we have in places like Florida or Texas. Still, I like screens: What if I balance something on my window and knock it outside? You never know.
4. Multiple Cars
Personally, I don't have a car because I live in a city with a decent public transit system, and I can walk anywhere the trains don't take me. For many Americans, though — particularly those not living in urban areas — it's the norm to have more than one car per household, with many American teenagers getting cars to celebrate their high school graduation or their sweet 16. In Europe, it's generally more common to have one car per household and to make use of carpooling, biking, walking, and public transit instead.
5. Maple Syrup
As someone who grew up in New England, I was raised pouring maple syrup all over my pancakes. It actually surprised me to find out that people used anything else on their breakfasts (though melted Nutella on French toast
might be the best breakfast I've ever heard of).
6. Massive Medical Bills
While people in Europe do pay towards their medical expenses, and things vary depending on where exactly you live, Europeans generally do not face the massive medical debt many Americans
shoulder, frequently thanks to nationalized healthcare.
7. Thin Mints
You're unlikely to find Girl Scout cookies in Europe. This makes sense, considering Girl Scouts are an American thing, but saying goodbye to Thin Mints sounds nearly as difficult as saying goodbye to my extended family... Though hopefully my family would mail them to me overseas.
And there you have it! To read more responses, you can check out the thread on AskReddit, where users are talking about what Americans have in their house Europeans don't. Whether or not you're planning to live abroad, it's always interesting to think about how your life would be different in ways you might take for granted: Sure, going abroad is likely to have major obstacles (like language fluency, for example) but small ones too, like the differences you find inside your home versus the one you grew up with in the States.
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