15 Things the US Does That European Countries Should Learn From

Europeans and Americans have many differences, often leading to heated debates across the internet. Many Americans feel that Europeans think of their country and way of living as much better, which causes friction between the two. However, there are several things they can also learn and improve looking at the United States.

1. Tipping

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According to travel expert Rick Steves, tipping isn’t the norm in European countries. However, in the U.S., people do tip servers and staff working long hours in appreciation of their hard work. Europeans should also lend a helping hand by sparing some extra cash to show gratitude and help out those working on minimum wage.

2. Being Friendly To Strangers

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If you’ve ever visited the States, you know people strike up random conversations with strangers or just smile at them and wish them a good day. This is something that Europe could adopt because there’s no harm in being kind to people even if you don’t know them personally.

3. Portion Sizes

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Experts at Business Insider report that portion sizes are much bigger in the U.S. Whether it’s pizza, drinks, fries, shakes, or anything else, the sizes you get here are large. In comparison, most European countries have relatively smaller meals for the same price. Upping portion sizes could really improve the value-to-money ratio.

4. Disability Access

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According to the European Parliament, 80 million people in the European Union (EU) currently have a disability. Despite this large number, the U.S. is much more accessible than Europe. Many places in Europe have steep steps and sharp edges, meaning it’s nearly impossible for older and disabled people to visit those locations. While America isn’t perfect, it is much more consistent in this area.

5. Barbecue

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According to Webstaurant, American barbecue refers to cuts of meat that are smoked until tender, paired with a wide array of delicious sauces. In Europe, many people use “grilling” and “barbecue” interchangeably, meaning that anything they cook on the grill is automatically barbecue. To enhance the smoky flavor of the meat, they should try making barbecue the American way.

6. More Public Toilets

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A common complaint from travelers visiting the cities of Europe is the lack of public toilets. This makes it difficult for tourists and older people to travel to destinations that are far from home. Even when there are public toilets, they often have a fee, which is not the case in the U.S. since bathrooms are simply more accessible.

7. Take-Out Boxes

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In America, getting the remainder of your meal packed up in a take-out box when you’re full is quite common; however, asking for one in Europe is complicated. This is because of the stigma around it that causes people embarrassment. But I paid for it, so why can’t I take it home?

8. Individualism

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A Pew Research Center survey reports that Americans are more individualistic than the public of Britain, France, Germany, and Spain, with 58% believing in the freedom to pursue their goals. This is a lesson Europeans could take to heart because it promotes growth and innovation.

9. Free Water at Restaurants

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Americans are used to being given free water alongside their meals, so many don’t expect to be charged while traveling to Europe. Water is a basic human need, so Europe should also try to follow suit instead of charging hefty fees for water that ramps up your bill for no good reason.

10. Not Smoking Everywhere

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According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 19.1% of adult Americans smoke, as opposed to 34% of Germans and 27% of French or English residents. In European countries, smoking is less taboo, which also leads to more health-related problems. Strict regulations and restrictions should be imposed to curb the number of smokers.

11.  Grid System

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Most states in America use a grid system, meaning streets run at right angles. This is a much more efficient city planning method as it logically makes more sense when you’re trying to find locations quickly. European countries would benefit from layouts like this to improve their tourism and general accessibility.

12. Lemonades

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If you order a lemonade in Europe, you’ll likely be served a carbonated lemon soda that does not resemble the American lemonade. Even the Cambridge Dictionary has different meanings regarding this delicious drink. Europeans should try making lemonade without carbonation.

13.  Trusting the Idea

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There is a reason why America is the hub of cutting-edge ideas and innovation. They value ideas and are willing to invest in them if they see the potential. Europe could use this strategy to promote more venture capitalists instead of looking solely for sustainable business models to prove their worth.

14.  Giant Superstores

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Convenient superstores with everything you could need inside them are more of an American thing than most people realize. London in Real Life reports the UK doesn’t have massive stores like Walmart and Target, so you can’t buy in bulk for cheaper prices.

15. Multiculturalism

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While no one claims America is more diverse than the many different European cultures, it’s more about the attitude and acceptance of diversity than anything else. According to Pew, Americans are likely to say that diversity improves their country overall. This attitude could benefit Europe and make it a more accepting place.

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