10 Things To Miss About The United States While Studying Abroad In Europe
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

10 Things To Miss About The United States While Studying Abroad In Europe

When tap water becomes a delicacy.

10 Things To Miss About The United States While Studying Abroad In Europe
Sara Pipe-Mazo

Culture shock is a typical component of study abroad. Living and studying in a foreign country will obviously differ from what college students are used to at their home universities. There are clear differences, and then there are little aspects of daily life for which you begin to long after awhile. Based on my experiences, here are 10 things to miss most about the United States while in Europe:

1. Free public bathrooms.

For someone with a bladder the size of a pea, this has been one of the most expensive parts of my trip! At nearly $1 a trip, you can see how the costs add up. Sometimes museums and restaurants where you have already paid for a ticket or a meal, charge you additionally for a bathroom. This may have led to me ducking under a bar through a child's entrance on one or two occasions...

2. Free tap water.

I am honestly shocked that more people are not dehydrated in Europe! At 2 to 3 euros a bottle, water in restaurants can be more expensive than a beer or a cocktail. Obviously if you are paying for it either way, many side with the cocktail and dehydrate themselves even more. Sometimes, restaurants even charge you for tap water!

3. Smoke-free areas.

European culture is all about one cigarette after another. I participated in an event in Germany sponsored by Marlboro where I could not enter a certain area because I do not smoke! It is the norm in Europe. Many restaurants and clubs will fill with smoke and you spend more time coughing than you actually spend your time there.

4. Unlimited phone access.

Study abroad is a great chance to unplug -- many study abroad students opt out of expensive data plans and solely rely on Wi-Fi. While some days it can be extremely gratifying not to check your phone, other days you spend hours searching for barely accessible Wi-Fi just to reach someone and talk for two minutes. And if you are like me and you enjoy actual phone calls, you waste more time saying, "Can you hear me?," than actually conversing with them.

5. The food.

You may think I sound ridiculous as parts of Europe have some of the best food around! It's true, but after awhile I found myself craving my local Thai or Vietnamese place. The food here is great, but it's not the same as the restaurants I frequent at home and it is hard to subdue the familiar cravings.

6. Allergen-friendly options.

In Europe, most waiters and waitresses receive a salary and do not value tips as much as in the United States. Additionally, European culture is much more relaxed and laid back. It can take hours in a restaurant and they will never bring your check without being asked first, which can take even more time. A quick meal is unheard of and you always need to allot substantial time for dining.

8. Driving.

I miss cars. Granted, this could be the control freak in me who likes to go wherever I want, whenever I want, at my complete and total convenience. Public transportation in Europe is amazing, but it can take so long to go such a short distance. I miss the ability to get in my car and go to the grocery store without needing to lug my bags on public transport and up and down the streets.

9. Your friends and family.

Call me a sap, but sometimes the best part of being home is being with those you love. It can be hard enough adjusting to a foreign country, but doing so without "your rock" and others close to you can make it even more difficult. Just remember that they are only a phone call or text away, even if it takes two hours to find Wi-Fi to reach them.

10. English.

While learning a foreign language is an incredible skill, when it's been a long day and your brain is fried, finding the words can be difficult. Sometimes I just missed easily asking for what I was looking for and the person actually understanding me. This can actually work to your advantage when you feel the urge to mutter under your breath, as chances are a lot of people have no idea what you're saying.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Panic! At The Disco Announces Breakup After 19 Years

Band Makes Breakup Announcement Official: 'Will Be No More'

panic at the disco

It's the end of an era. Originally formed in 2004 by friends in Las Vegas, Panic! At The Disco is no more.

Brendon Urie announced on Instagram that the band will be coming to an end after the upcoming Europe tour. He said that he and his wife are expecting a baby, and the life change weighed heavily in his mind to come to this decision. "Sometimes a journey must end for a new one to begin," he said.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Top 3 Response Articles of This Week

Odyssey's response writer community is growing- read what our new writers have to say!


Each week, more response writers are joining the Odyssey community. We're excited to spotlight their voices on as they engage in constructive dialogue with our community. Here are the top three response articles of last week:

Keep Reading... Show less

To Mom

There are days when you just need your mom

To Mom

There really is no way to prepare yourself for the loss of someone. Imagine that someone being the one who carried you for 9th months in their belly, taught you how to walk, fought with you about little things that only a mother and daughter relationship could understand. You can have a countless number of father figures in your life, but really as my mom always said, " you only get one mom."

Keep Reading... Show less

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

I need someone to show that they want me for me, not that they're using me to chase the idea of being in a relationship.

The Way People In Society are Dating is Why I Don't Date

You hear your phone go off. He's asking you to hang out. Then, of course, you get the advice of your friends to decipher this text. Is it just hanging out or is it more than hanging out? You've probably done this at least once in your life or at least seen a tweet where someone posted their screenshots with a potential love interest.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Winter Break As Told By 'Friends'

Is a month at home too much to handle?


If you're anything like me, winter break is a much-needed light at the end of the tunnel after a long, stressful semester. Working hard for 15 weeks can really take a toll on a person mentally, physically AND emotionally. It's a nice change of pace to be back at home with your family and friends, but after a couple weeks, it can get, well... boring.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments