I have spent this entire month traveling around Europe with my friend who lives in Germany. As expected, the ways of life are a little different here. This is what I learned, and what you should prepare yourself for if you're going to Europe.
1. The beds are not soft.
This was one of the biggest adjustments for me. I am used to ultra-soft beds, but that is not what you will find in Europe. The beds here feel as if you are sleeping on concrete covered by about an inch or two or padding. While both of my hips are bruised due to this, I have gotten used to the bedding.
2. Wine is super cheap.
I am the ultimate lover of wine, so I am very familiar with the prices of wine in America. I was shocked and elated when I got to Europe to discover that wine here is about HALF the price. This has made my trip so enjoyable, and totally makes up for the price of the plane ticket...right?
3. Pedestrians do NOT have the right-of-way.
Do not think that a car will stop for you if you cross the street, because they won't. Cars definitely take priority here, so be careful when crossing the street!
4. Europeans eat a lot of bread and meat.
Not even kidding they have bread and meat with every single meal. I thought they ate super healthily so this came as a big surprise to me.
5. They use Whatsapp to communicate, not SMS or iMessage.
Like most Americans, most Europeans have iPhones, but they don't text using the regular SMS or iMessage texts, they use an app called Whatsapp. Apparently phone bills are too expensive here so they improvise by using the app.
6. Starbucks is not as easy to find.
This was a struggle for me as I am a huge coffee lover. The coffee cup sizes over here are extremely different. Their large is an American small. Therefore, I wanted Starbucks as I know I could get my coffee in a size that would satisfy my espresso needs. This is when I realized that there really aren't that many Starbucks here. There might be one or two in the big cities, but that's it! They cannot be found in small towns or on every street like in America.
7. They don't have AC in their homes.
This was a major adjustment as I am used to air conditioning in every building I enter in America, especially my home. They do have it in malls and restaurants, but not in some shops and not in their homes.
8. They have Happy Hour here too!
As a college student who attends happy hour religiously, I was very excited to find out that many restaurants and bars have a happy hour here. The drinks were even better than at my college town bar and only a few euros more. Definitely worth it.
9. People walk/take the train more than drive.
Don't get me wrong people still drive, but walking and taking the train are much more common ways of transportation here. This is because gas is extremely expensive, and traffic is horrendous. The only bad thing about being a visitor is you have to purchase train tickets every time you ride, and they are about five euros per ride, so that adds up.
10. Most people speak English.
This was a relief for me as I only speak English and some Spanish. Unlike in America, most Europeans know their native language along with English. This made ordering food, going shopping, getting directions, and pretty much everything a whole lot easier for me.
All in all, there are some similarities and some differences, so the culture shock is very manageable.