7 Funny Differences Between the U.S and Europe

Talking with my American friends, I realized that they have no idea that things in Europe are completely different from here. I’m not talking about obvious things like the language, the weather, or the food (pizza in Italy, or croissants in France) I’m talking about things that are so simple and taken for granted that people don’t notice them.

I found seven funny facts that shocked my American friends when they realized are typical only of the U.S:

  1. Coffee cups. In the U.S., seeing people walking around carrying a cup of coffee is the routine. You can see people carrying paper cups, or termoisolated cups that can be reused. Strange fact: people are used to carry also water in those reusable, enormous, and fancy cups. When I was young and watched movies set in America, I was always surprised and asked myself: “why are all those people walking carrying a coffee?”. That’s because in Italy, you can’t find cafeterias that sell coffee “to go” (in paper cups). Coffee is always served in ceramic cups and people just order and drink it in the bar. Drinking a coffee is considered a unique moment of relax, that lasts until the coffee is finished. On the contrary,  in the U.S, people drink coffee all day. Always carrying their cups with them, running from one place to another. Coffee is not just “a moment”, but is something that literally never ends!

  2. Water. If you go to a restaurant in the U.S., water is free and waiters simply refill your glass when it is empty. In Europe, water is paid and is quite expensive (sometimes even more than 3 dollars for half of a liter)

  3. Sodas and beverages. The number of different sodas you can find in the U.S. is crazy: more than 10 flavors of Coca Cola, different flavours of Fanta (in Italy I saw only two of them), just not to mention all the other brands of soda that are not even imaginable for an European (Dr, Pepper, Mountain Dew, 7up). I recently discovered that Coca Cola also developed local flavors inspired to different states (Georgia Peach, California Raspberry)

  4. Bread. In a supermarket in the U.S., you can find more than 50 different types of sliced bread: honey bread, potatoes bread, reduced calories bread, sprouted grain bread, bread with raisins or dried fruit for breakfast, ecc, ecc … Moreover, the quality of the sliced bread is superior, as it usually has less preservatives than the sliced bread in Italy. In fact, Italians usually buy bread that is daily prepared in bakeries or supermarkets (as baguettes).

  5. Eggs. The most shocking thing was finding eggs in the refrigerator of the supermarket. In Italy, eggs are positioned in normal shelves, and that’s because they are not washed and treated. They also last outside the refrigerator for a longer duration.

  6. Vitamin D. Okay, I still don’t understand why milk here has additional vitamin D in it. And it is not only in the milk, because you can also find pasta “enriched”, or rice “enriched”! Almost everything has something more added! In Italy, we don’t add anything to our food: no vitamins, no surplus of fibers, nothing.

  7. The table of nutritional facts on the food packages. Here, the ingredients are listed in all packages in the same way, the format is standard. In Italy, each brand develops a different format of nutritional facts.

I completely understand that those facts could not seem funny at all. But in my opinion, are simple things that make us realize how different we are all around the world! That’s why travelling is the best thing of our lives: it changes our perspectives.


Elisa Moras