Americans have been coming to Europe for as long as there has been an America. Our colonial ancestors began planning their return on a 10-country all-inclusive vacation the instant they departed the old museum-piece of a continent.
We still refer to it as “The Continent,” as if there weren’t at least a half-dozen others. Sure, counter-intuitive types will occasionally slip off on some exotic flying — to Brazil, New Zealand, or Japan — but is it ever the same? Dutch tulips, Italian cypress, and Provençal lavender will always be present in our ideal landscapes.
Some argue that Americans are drawn to Europe since so many of our forefathers and mothers originated there. They’ll tell you there’s a “common tie” between Americans and Europeans.
Europeans had a very good run for a while, developing democracy, the printing press, gravity, and Krautrock. However, their influence has decreased significantly. It’s no surprise that the US has a long-standing inferiority mentality.
We lose all of our powers as soon as we step foot on the Continent, much like Superman returning to Krypton or Rudy Giuliani returning to New York. We are unable to communicate effectively due to a lack of basic speech abilities. Our ATM cards, phones, and hair dryers have all stopped working.
7 Reasons Why Some Americans Love Europe
1. Free (or cheap) university-level tuition
Lower Saxony was the last German state to remove university tuition, joining a growing number of European nations that provide free higher learning.
We got rid of tuition fees because we don’t want higher education to be based on the parents’ money, said Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, Lower Saxony’s minister of science and culture, in a statement. In Norway, Finland, and Sweden, public education is likewise free (excluding non-EU students in Sweden since 2010; these fees can vary).
Austrian universities impose a low tuition price of roughly €363.36 ($458) each semester for full-time EU nationals (or €726.72 ($921) for non-EU students.
2. The politics are less crazy
The US federal government shut down for 16 days last year owing to a deadlock between the Democrat-controlled Senate and White House and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives; both houses have been under Republican control since November’s midterm elections.
Tina Lowrey and L.J. Shrum, both marketing professors at the Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris, relocated to Paris last year from San Antonio, Texas, and were relieved to be free of party politics. Not that French politics are rational, Lowrey argues, but as ex-pats, we’re amused rather than humiliated.
Of course, France is infamous for its strike-breaking labor unions, bureaucracy, and presidents’ personal problems.
On a more serious note, openly racist ultranationalist political groups such as the British National Party and the National Front Party in France have gained seats in parliament; the NFP’s first senate seats were secured last month.
3. Efficient national healthcare services
In a 2014 report of the Commonwealth Fund on global health care, the United Kingdom was placed first, including data from the Commonwealth Fund, the World Health Organization, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Switzerland was ranked second, ahead of Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany (tied for fifth place), New Zealand and Norway (tied for seventh place), France, and Canada. The United States came in the bottom place among the 11 Industrialized nations on the list (although this might change with Obamacare).
In terms of acquiring timely information, coordinating care, and dealing with administrative concerns, physicians in the United States have unique obstacles.
4. People get vacations — and take them
The United States is one of the few industrialized countries where employers are not obligated to provide paid vacation time. According to the Center for Economic Policy Research, a non-profit left-of-center think tank in Washington, D.C., workers in France get 30 days off a year on average, 28 in the United Kingdom, 22 in Portugal, and 20 in Germany.
Mike Owens, 35, is a Seattle native who came to Brussels in 2002 and currently works in communications. He also claims that the work environment in his new nation is more relaxed. Whenever we get visitors from the United States, they wear suits, and we wear jeans.
He does, however, miss America’s customer service, and many other Americans have stated that they miss American pay.
5. Property prices are still cheap
According to Eurostat, house prices across the E.U. grew barely 1% year over year in the first quarter of 2014, but declined 0.3% in the Eurozone, which only includes nations that utilize the euro (and excludes the U.K.).
Croatia, Slovenia, and Cyprus all had price drops of 9.7%, 6.6 percent, and 5.7 percent, respectively (although they rose 8 percent in the U.K.). Marc Flanagan, 66, a screenwriter who relocated to Dublin from Los Angeles in 2010, claims that renting in Dublin is less expensive than in a big American metropolis.
For $3,400 a month, I have a two-bedroom Georgian house with a garden and a driveway, he says. In Santa Monica, he was paying more (where, admittedly, the weather is far better).
6. A more live-and-let-live attitude
Some Americans believe that Europe is a more liberal and permissive country. Americans are regarded as being more gregarious and open, but British people are far less judgemental, says Eugene Resnick, a 26-year-old publicist who relocated to London from New York in 2010.
Britain is perhaps the most tolerant and cosmopolitan civilization on the planet. Anything is OK. You blend in, become British, and assimilate into Britain. Lance King, a 40-year-old La Jolla, Calif. native, works as a TV news producer for France 24 in Paris.
He enjoys sitting by the canal with a glass of wine or a cigarette in an outside café. In New York City, it is illegal to do either. You’re not doing anything illegal in Paris.
7. Slower pace of life
Europe’s economic recovery may be sluggish, but so is life’s pace. Lisette Bellizzi, a 34-year-old English teacher, relocated to Milan last year after becoming ill in the United States, losing her job, accruing $20,000 in medical debt, and losing her condo in Tampa, Florida.
Everyone thinks I’m on some kind of ‘Eat, Pray, Love, Bellizzi, who now lives in Calabria, adds. However, there was nothing left for me in the United States. I’ve come to be reborn. Bellizzi appreciates the fact that stores are closed on Sundays, which is still considered a day of relaxation.
Dara Colwell, 46, a Los Angeles teacher, went to the United Kingdom from San Francisco in 1988 and then to Amsterdam in 2005. She claims that a plant facing the light can only grow in one way. In America, I didn’t have time to develop other aspects of myself; I didn’t do anything except work.
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