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10 Things That Happen When You Move From Europe to the US

This past year I moved all the way from Lisbon, Portugal to rural Ohio. I like to think that I still maintain most of my European-ness, but some things are bound to change when you move many, many kilometres (or miles, as Americans insist on using) to the West. Here’s ten things that happened when I crossed the pond:

1. You become everyone’s token foreign friend. And everyone asks you to say things in your native language. 

2. You become an expert on the really important parts of your home country’s history, for explanatory reasons. For example: yeah, I’m from Portugal. Yes, it’s a tiny country of about 11 million people in Southwestern Europe. No, we’re not part of Spain. No, we don’t all have a moustaches. 

3. You learn to accept that you are now in a place where your name is unpronounceable to everyone around you. Yes, I’m aware that my name sounds weird, and no, I don’t know why my last name is so long. 

4. You suddenly have to become a lot better at math, specifically in terms of converting numbers. Okay, so 15 C° is 59 F°, and $10 is about 7€. Don’t even ask me about converting kilometers to miles. 

5. You get used to calculating tax + tip every time you have to pay for something. And then you go back home to Europe and not having to pay those extra $10 becomes a celebratory occasion.

6. You resign yourself to a life of no alcohol consumption (for now), thanks to the elevated drinking age. Hold up – what do you mean I can’t order a glass of wine with my dinner? Or go into a bar?

7. You become everyone’s go-to-gal when they’re confused about football (or, soccer, as it’s only called in America). I don’t even watch soccer outside of the World/Euro Cup. And no, I’m not Cristiano Ronaldo’s close personal friend just because I hail from Europe (but I sure wish I was)

8. You become painfully aware of your accent. So I sound a teensy bit British. Get off my case.

9. Your health somehow seems to improve and deteriorate simultaneously.There’s a lot less smoking but a heck of a lot more pizza (not that I’m complaining).

10. And finally, despite all of the strange things that come with moving to America….You learn to love and miss your American lifestyle whenever you’re separated by an ocean during breaks. I love you, America!

So there you have it. I’m still excruciatingly European, but at this point I’m into just enjoying the best of both worlds while I have them.

Inês was one of Her Campus Kenyon's Campus Correspondents and Editor in Chief from 2015-2017. At Kenyon, she majored in English and Comparative World Literature. Currently, Inês is pursuing a PhD in Spanish and Portuguese Literature at Yale University.
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