Living in Europe : The Pros And Cons.

By age 18, life gave me a European husband (from the Netherlands), and I did live in Europe for 3 months with him. I loved every second of it but then I realized I've never actually lived in Europe, I've only vacationed there and was never past the romanticized stage.

Living in Europe : The Pros And Cons.

By Melinda Barnes

I really envy people who live in Europe. I feel like life is so much better there than America. It makes me feel depressed. Is life really better there?

When I was in High School in 2013 it was my dream to live in Europe, mainly because I fell in love with it while I vacationed there for the first time. Coming from Texas and Northern Mexico, Europe was everything I was unknowingly waiting for my whole life. The great public transportation, the beautiful landscapes, the way people lived, languages, the lifestyle, the food, the infrastructure, etc. Keep in mind back then I didn't even know about the 4 week vacations, free healthcare, safety nets, etc. available there. It felt like living in a fairytale. I said to myself "If I lived in Europe, I won't mind not travelling anywhere else in the world. Europe has enough to see in a lifetime!"

By age 18, life gave me a European husband (from the Netherlands), and I did live in Europe for 3 months with him. I loved every second of it but then I realized I've never actually lived in Europe, I've only vacationed there and was never past the romanticized stage.

I remember getting concerned with my husband when I realized we couldn't do monthly trips throughout Europe like I thought we could. For everything we wanted to do or travel we needed to save up money, and this could take months to years. Necessities such as a fridge, couch, or stoves could swipe out our entire savings. Saving up money actually meant you had to work hard for it and jobs were extremely competitive and not very high paying, just enough to get by. I doubt I could’ve bought a house because they’re extremely expensive since land is precious commodity and we actually signed up for social housing or rent (I don’t remember which) which had a waiting list. In the US, if I wanted $1000 I could just ask my grandma or my my mom and would pay it back. In NL, nobody had that money in hand to give (keep in mind both my family and Dutch family make average salaries). A car, petrol and a driving license is an expensive ordeal. Being in a biker country means you have to keep up with train and bus schedules or bike everywhere in the snow or rain. Ask me how you transport heavy groceries. Random anecdote: an elderly woman I know had to sign up for driver license classes at 65 because she was getting old and her legs couldn't keep up. The food was appalling, but it was healthy, can't say this is a negative but I somehow lost my joy in eating. There’s rules for absolutely everything. I didn’t have to tip (yay!) but food in restaurants was x3 more expensive. A sushi buffet in Eindhoven was like 30 euro per person while in Texas it’s $11 with 30 sushi variations, Chinese food and dessert included. Honestly? have a $10 tip I don’t mind.

Instead of living close to everlasting art, castles, and quaint tiny streets, I was going to live in a place like this because everything else is just to expensive (this is a typical Dutch housing where most of the population lives):

Life in America is so much different. It is extremely convenient and easy. You can get a job in a matter of weeks (job hopping is not a thing in Europe), I save up $2500 a month and can afford anything I want. Washing machine? Ok no problem, we can get a new one when I'm out from work. Bored? Ok, let's do groceries at 12 am or hop in the car and drive to a different city for fun, gas is dirt cheap. My first house was $128k which would’ve cost 400.000 euros in NL. Life in the US is more materialistic and consumer oriented, but you don't have to be like that. I'm certainly not. Most US cities are really safe, I was never bothered by tipping, I’ve never seen a gun in my life (unless you count police), I think the food here is better (it varies by State though), education doesn’t have to be expensive (mine wasn’t), I even have more fruit and vegetable variety than back in NL and farmer’s market every Saturday. I even introduced my Dutch fam to 10 veggies and fruits they’ve never seen before. I love how if I want to start from scratch I can always do it in the blink of an eye; change careers or jobs, go back to school, move to a new State, and more empowering when I see a lot of my friends doing it. Americans grow with the “shoot for the moon, and if you fall you’ll land among the stars” mentality. I’ve come to appreciate this quote so much more. In NL, the most famous quote is “be yourself, that’s crazy enough.” Being different is not something you do.

As I grew older my goals also changed. I realized Europe is not the fairy tale I thought it would be and I actually wanted to travel the whole world and retire early, and for that I needed money, and that's something Europe couldn't give me no matter how hard I tried. I know money isn't everything, but unless you want to settle, have kids, caravan around France once a year and retire at 65 with your pension, Europe was not going to do it for me because I’m naturally a more ambitious person. I saw more opportunities in the US and I no longer envied the European life when I fell in love with my dreams. I don't think they call the US the land of opportunities for nothing. It feels good knowing you can have big dreams and also knowing you can achieve them if you keep working hard for them and you can always start again if you fail with zero shame but encouragement as well. In NL I felt there was an invisible ceiling and people secretly don’t want you to be better than them whereas in USA success is applauded.

Living in three countries overall was a real eye opener to me and I realize how lucky I feel to be able to live in the USA. I used to dislike it, but as a grown-up I appreciate the opportunities so much more and I l also love how I can feel like a true American and feel part of the community without someone looking at me twice. My husband too, is going to become an American citizen.

So it depends on what you want in life, really. There is something in this world for absolutely everybody, but to think Europeans have it better just because of what you are constantly being told is a myth. You have to go out there and experience the world itself and find out what you want in life, it might shock you! :)



Is Austria a good place to live?

I would not recommend it.

Even if it‘s true that people tend to be nice, Vienna is beautiful and clean and education is free, there are a few things I would like to point out:

There are very few studies that can be done in english, for the rest, even if the studies are not 100% in german, you need a certificate/proof that you speak german at C1 level.

You have to wait for months for an appointment at the doctor and if it‘s urgent but you are not dieing, you will wait some hours on the hallway of the hospital. This unless ofcourse, you are willing to pay 100 to 200 euro for a consultation at a private doctor‘s office. I have seen enough Doctors who will shout, ladies at the reception will be rude sometimes. I was even asked at one big hospital in Vienna „what is this for a s**ty time to come to a consultation? This is when I went there with an emergency.

If you don‘t speak German, it is very hard to find a job. It‘s very hard even if you don‘t speak perfect German but if you don‘t plan to learn it, then I wish you the best of luck!

Rent prices are rarely find something under 700 euro.

Uber drivers are usually foreigners who don‘t understand 100% English or German.

People will often roll their eyes and openly show their displease for having to speak English with you.

Customer Service is not the same as in America. If you buy something and have the bad luck to need some more info, be warned: agents will often not speak English, it has happened to me multiple times that they hang up the phone or the actual agents starts arguing with you, and this at companies such as Apple or H&M.

Everything is closed on Sunday.

There would be much more to say but I it is best that you know about these aspects instead of having a surprise.

Best regards!

Lived in 6 countries.Updated Oct 2

As someone who has lived in both Europe and the United States, which do you prefer?

I’m an Indian and I lived and worked in the US. I live in Europe for about 10y (France, Germany and the UK). My wife is from the US, so we visit pretty often, at least once a year.

My 2 cents on this topic:

Europe: (mostly Germany)


Heath care: Hands down the best, cheapest and most easily accessible health care system. I can’t emphasize this enough. In my 8y in Germany I’ve paid only once €7 for an injury. My wife takes a very expensive experimental medicine every month for free. I pay into the Public insurance.

Education: Free education means studies through my engineering until PhD with zero loans. On top got paid during PhD while paying taxes, which counts towards my PR and citizenship. My wife got her Masters in Germany for 300 eur a semester and received 2 scholarships throughout her studies. That being said not all universities are free.

Traveling: Europe is pretty compact, which means within 4h driving we could reach France, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands etc. Flying within Europe is cheap and doesn’t take much time, although that’s changing post Covid. Cities are built around public transport and I really appreciate that I don’t have to drive so often.

Food: Great quality food options which are also cheap. Even fast foods are of better quality compared to the US. Although I miss the variety of foods.


Language and integration : In Europe you need to learn the language and integrate. European countries being much smaller than the US, non integration makes you stand out and might work against you. Learning French or German to the point where you can work comfortably takes time and effort, which you gotta make alongside studies or building your career. There’s a bigger pressure to integrate in any European country than in the US.

Colder people: People are generally colder and aloof compared to the US. It takes time to form connections. A new arrival to the country could be lonely for years before he feels a sense of belonging . It generally takes time to make genuine friends. Most of the time international people hang out with other expats in big cities.

Lower salaries, difficulty finding a job and lesser flexibility: Salaries could be much lower compared to the US although your quality of life might be better depending on where you live in Europe. The absence of hire and fire policies makes it extremely tough to find jobs in some domains. Germans in particular are less flexible compared to Americans regarding skill sets required for a job. You need trainings and certificates to get hired for a particular job, whereas America demonstrates a better ‘anybody can learn anything’ mindset.

The US:


People: Amazing people all over, friendly smiling, curious, adventurous. Once I’ve passed immigration I’ve almost never met a rude person. People are courteous and really big hearted. I’ve met really fun people in this country, and I love their big smiles.

Higher salaries and ease of finding jobs: You could work multiple jobs or one job and earn really a lot of money in the US and live cheaper lives in some places. Finding a job is much easier, even when I was working as an expat here I would get receive offers all the time on LinkedIn. This also means you can switch jobs easily to get bigger salaries or also get fired very easily. Switching careers and trying out something new is really encouraged.

Food: I really miss the diversity of food that I can find in the US. Any big city offers such much more diverse foods than big European cities. Probably only Berlin and London could be compared to the diversity of foods you would find all over the states.


The politics: This is probably the biggest con for me to live in the US. The swinging political ideologies is a big turn off for me. Which means as a POC, racism could be pretty overt everywhere. Medieval laws such as banning abortion and religious fanaticism makes it difficult to envision a life raising kids in this country.

Health care: Definitely a big con of living in the US, even with a great health insurance through your company you could pay exorbitant amounts for small procedures. One of my colleagues is giving birth and even though she has great insurance she is going to pay over $5000. This is crazy for me. I’ve never been to a doctor in the states, even though I’d expat health insurance.

Visa: The complications that come with the uncertainty of visa approvals in the US is just mind boggling. I’ve never had to once worry about my visa in all these years of living in Germany. It’s just awful that even after paying taxes for years and being a legal resident, your visa could be denied and you might have to leave the country on short notice. I’ve known people who couldn’t go back home to see family members who passed away, since they were processing their visas.

It’s very difficult to say which country I prefer over another. Overall both places are great, but at this point in life I just prefer visiting the US for travels and not living permanently.

Fall festivities in the US. That’s my wife’s nephew, not our kid.

Edit: Unless I have explicitly mentioned Europe, my experiences are mostly Germany related, which is also mentioned above. Quit complaining about all of Europe is not the same down in the comments section.

Eduardo Marqués Collado

upvoted this

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Studied Media Studies at Metropolitan University Prague (Graduated 2018)10mo

Is living in Europe really as unappealing as it sounds?

Yep, we suffer every day and millions of ppl from whole world want to suffer with us so they come here.

I made an extensive answer about one average smaller EU country. Very unappealing :D

Vojta Rod · 1y

How bad is it to live in Czechia?

Seriously bad. I don't understand why anyone would live in this wasteland in the middle of Central Europe!!! 1 2 The empty main town square in small central bohemian town Kouřim where all locals committed mass suicide because they realized their really pathetic existence. These events are quite common…

Well, let's be serious. There are tens of countries. This question is like to ask How is the life in Asia? There are so many different possibilities and every single person has an unique set of preferencies. From global point of view - most developed countries are located jn Europe and even countries that are not developed are mostly the richer ones from the global perspective.

Most countries are very safe, with developed social system, strong and democratic institutions and high living standart. We have currently one open war conflict in the continent (hybrid attack of Russia to Ukraine) but majority of the continent enjoy mostly really great period for decades. Yes, some countries/regions are richer, others are poorer but generally and there is not any paradise for lazy bones. But It's great here and you win often a “life lottery” when you born or live here.

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Chris Ebbert

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fluffy-slippered civilianUpdated 1y

What cities in Europe have you lived in? Which one was your favourite?

I have lived in… (favourites in bold print - you can tell that I’m getting better at living in places I actually like):

Passau, Germany (very pretty, and worth seeing; feels quite churchy)

Vienna, Austria (loved the vibes, but it is a big city)

Bad Aussee, Austria (and surroundings; fantastic area, but you can’t really become a local)

Straubing, Germany (very pleasant place, with a beautiful centre)

Wissembourg, France (fairy tale Alsace town; you can take photos forever)

Heidelberg, Germany (a way of living in Germany with a touch of class and the international at a higher level; it appealed to the snob in me, which only very few German cities can do)

Karlsruhe, Germany (mellow and pleasant, with a nice, huge park in the centre; originally intended to be the emperor’s holiday destination, and it still feels that way)

Manchester, England (good grief, people! What is going on in this place. Never in my life have I been so scared of walking anywhere, day or night. You get freaks jumping out at you at every street corner. I’m so done there)

Warrington, England (where hooligans of Manchester and Liverpool meet to beat each other to a pulp - sometimes in my driveway! The experience freaked me out enough to move all the way around the earth to New Zealand. Can’t say I’ve ever missed it)

Nantes, France (wonderful city, with a castle in the middle and a vibe that takes its inspiration from early sci-fi author Jules Verne; even has a steam punk museum. Highly recommended)

Nottingham, England (I had a picture book England experience there, for several years; it’s a very attractive city with great architecture and surroundings, and it really made my “English Dream” come true)

Sundsvall, Sweden (it won the trophy “Sweden’s most beautiful city” recently, and I think it deserves it in every way; the surroundings also are amazing).

Östersund, Sweden (just imagine a small, Swedish city with all amenities by a large lake, surrounded by semi mountainous scenery, in a dry and sunny climate with fantastic seasons and a lake monster legend; I don’t think it can get any more idyllic and convenient at the same time).

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Samia Afrin

Seo Expert at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (2020–present)Apr 12

What does a wealthy neighbourhood look like in Europe?

Global Billionaire's Playground: Romazzino Hill (Sardinia)

Romazzino Hill is a little window into paradise in the Mediterranean. Also, it has the costs to coordinate! Since the 1960s, this area of Sardinia hoasts a group of lavish lodgings and homes. It's likewise been the jungle gym of a huge number, including regal relatives and, surprisingly, Russian oligarchs!

Tranquility On The Water: Oud-Zuid (Amsterdam)

his district has had well off beginnings that proceed right up 'til today. In 1998, two affluent areas, the Amsterdam-Zuid and De Pipj chose to combine. The region flaunts the Van Gogh historical center, the Vondelpark and the Heineken Museum. The way that the Amsterdam Canal goes through it presumably makes sense of the cost!

Rich In French Villas: Boulevard Du General De Gaulle (France)

This French area in the city of Nantes was named after General de Gaulle fourteen days after his demise. A region named after a renowned recorded figure will in general accompany some high land. There are numerous extravagance estates to be viewed as here, as well as an expert chocolatier!

Surrounded By High Fashion: Avenue Montaigne (Paris)

Arranged in the core of Paris, in the Champs-Elyssés quarter, Avenue Montaigne is known for bragging a wide exhibit extravagance shops, like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. It has since turned into a focal point of high design in the city and has gotten a lot of global consideration.

Brushing Shoulders With Royalty: Kensington Place Gardens (London)

It says everything in the name! Not exclusively is this area in the core of London with numerous popular organizations in it, including Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial College, yet it's in a real sense home to individuals from the British government. It's accounted for that homes in the space can cost up to $14 million!


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Franklin Veaux

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I've written a memoir about my unconventional lifeAug 5

If you had the choice of living in the USA or the EU, which would be your preferred choice and why?

Oh man. That’s not even a hard question. EU, hands down.

I’ve lived in the US and Canada and traveled extensively in the EU, and there’s no comparison. It’s like asking “would you rather win the lottery or drop a sledgehammer on your foot?”

The EU offers:

Greater standard of living

Greater personal security

More individual respect for personal liberty and freedom

Less chance of being murdered

Better healthcare

Longer life expectancy

It’s such a lopsided comparison it’s really not fair.

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