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107 replies
Differences between US & EU?
papyr
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Hi everybody.

I have never been to America. Or Australia. Actually, I never left Europe in my life. My horizons are limited by Spain on one side and Ukraine+Greece on the other. So, I would like to take advantage of many people from overseas reading this forum regularly, and I would like to ask especially Americans and Australians:

Is there anything you found hard to accustom with in Europe? What was the biggest European surprise you encoutered? What was the greatest difference you found between living in America (Australia) and living in Europe? Anything you considered weird/better/worse/strange/just different in Europe comparing to your home country?

They say that an outsider’s view may really broaden your horizons, so I’m looking forward to your observations Smile

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

mb
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Beer is better in Europe.  Europe seems to be much cleaner.  Munich had recycleable containers for glass, paper and plastic.  That would never work in the states.  People are more slender on the average.  America has been bombarded with fast (unhealthy) food.  McDonalds is horrible for you.  Run it out of Europe.
Don’t see boob jobs in Europe.  The girls are very attractive.  Europe is safer.  No way would I walk downtown at 1:00 in the morning where I’m from.

Now that the dollar is taking a beating, Europe is more expensive than it used to be.

Europe has less processed foods.

Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, and end up getting charged double.

papyr
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Europe seems to be much cleaner.  Munich had recycleable containers for glass, paper and plastic.  That would never work in the states. 

Whoa. I knew I would learn something I didn’t know. So you guys don’t presort trash? That’s strange. Here even many little villages have separate containers. And they do use it, since if you stick the trash into the presort container, it won’t take up space in your own dustbin, which you must pay for each time it’s emptied. In densely inhabited towns, it’s worse, since you pay a certain amount of money “for trash” each month regardless of which container you throw it in. It’s on your conscience then if you presort it or don’t.
Quote:

People are more slender on the average.  America has been bombarded with fast (unhealthy) food.  McDonalds is horrible for you.  Run it out of Europe.

We can’t “run it out” – how would we do it? But as far as I noticed here, in Czech & Slovakia, a traditional meal at a restaurant is often cheaper than a menu at McD. And it’s brought on porcelain right to your table. But, sadly, McD and KFC quickly become a magnet for kids, they feel it’s fashionable to eat there.
Quote:
Don’t see boob jobs in Europe.  The girls are very attractive. 

Boob jobs, you mean breast augmentation operations? They are here, too, but maybe in a lesser extent. In many corners of Europe, a girl who would undergo such an operation would be labeled as a shallow person who thinks only about tits and has nothing else to impress with. People would laugh at her behind her back. Unless, of course, she’d have a really good reason, such as one breast being smaller than the other one.
Quote:
Europe is safer.  No way would I walk downtown at 1:00 in the morning where I’m from.

What size is the town/city you live in?

BTW, I really appreciated your input, thank you very much. Since many of us Europeans are constantly whining about how bad it is here (sometimes including me), your words fell on a fertile soil. Maybe I’ll start thinking positively, that it’s not all that bad after all Smile

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

oldlady
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So you guys don’t presort trash?
  Actually, many of us do sort and recycle at home and at the office.  You see the separate containers in some airports and at some parks and tourist destinations, but it’s not as prevalent as in Europe. 

Beer and Bread are definitely better in Europe.  Good European style breads are as well as imported and specialty beers are now widely available, but the regular run of the mill American brands of bread and beer are pretty awful compared to European.

You pretty much have to have a car to live in most of America.  While the biggest cities generally have decent bus, train and subway systems, most of us live where public transit is either non-existant or only for commuting to work. 

Except on the east coast there really aren’t any passenger trains.  www.amtrak.com  Except on the east coast, most of these limited routes have only 1 train a day.

Smoking is still much more common in Europe and as a non-smoker you’re exposed to a lot more smoke in Europe than at home.  There aren’t many public places where you can smoke in many of the states.  The smoke and the smell of stale cigarette smoke is the worst thing about Europe to me.

While the streets are generally much cleaner in Europe, you’re less likely to step in dog crap on the sidewalk in most American cities than in Europe.

papyr
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Actually, many of us do sort and recycle at home and at the office.  You see the separate containers in some airports and at some parks and tourist destinations, but it’s not as prevalent as in Europe. 
Aha. That’s something we don’t do here so often. Recycling is possible if you have your own house with your own backyard, but it’s next to impossible in an apartment building. My family only recycles paper. The paper factory employee comes each month and gives you a roll of toilet paper for each kilo of old paper you give him.

Quote:
Good European style breads are as well as imported and specialty beers are now widely available, but the regular run of the mill American brands of bread and beer are pretty awful compared to European.

Heheh, I remember the disgust of one American tourist in a Czech food store, where he wondered how come we let the bread sit unwrapped on shelves exposed to air and flies. He was really shocked Smile

Quote:
You pretty much have to have a car to live in most of America.  While the biggest cities generally have decent bus, train and subway systems, most of us live where public transit is either non-existant or only for commuting to work. 

Public transportation, aside from being cheap (compared to fueling your car) contributes to our slenderness. There is no better morning exercise than running as hell trying to catch your bus or tram, then standing in a crowded bus and then quick-pacing through the transfer station’s platforms to catch a connection Smile But people here generally don’t regard the public transport as a convenience, it’s more like a necessity.

Quote:
Smoking is still much more common in Europe and as a non-smoker you’re exposed to a lot more smoke in Europe than at home.  There aren’t many public places where you can smoke in many of the states.  The smoke and the smell of stale cigarette smoke is the worst thing about Europe to me.

Oh yes, I agree. The interesting thing is, that smoking increases from northwest to southeast. In the UK, you are not allowed to smoke in a pub. In the Czech republic, pubs are filled with thick smoke, and it’s forbidden to smoke only on bus stops, on board trains and in hospitals. But many people break this rule too, which is sickening. In Hungary, any No-smoking sign is considered just informative, not imperative. And in Greece, I was stunned when a bank clerk changing my currency was sitting in a bank window, smoking right there in the bank as she communicated with me over the counter.

Quote:
While the streets are generally much cleaner in Europe, you’re less likely to step in dog crap on the sidewalk in most American cities than in Europe.

Ah yes. Dog pies. In Prague, that’s how you distinguish a local from a tourist. While tourists look up to see the architecture, locals look down not to step into dog poo. Even though there are now lots of paper shovel-and-bag sets available for free in the streets, many dog owners just don’t give a crap… of their dog a proper treatment. They pretend not to notice that steaming pile just produced by their dog. That always enrages me. Once I saw this public notice on one Czech house, probably made by an angry lawn-keeper: Take your dog to shit in front of your own house!

Thank you, oldlady Smile

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

Don
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Wow—big question. Where to start? Six years in, and I see differences—of course—but I have to remember that the United States alone is over 300 million people, scattered among 50 states, and 5+ time zones, from the Arctic Circle to the south Pacific to the north Atlantic to the tropical Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Vast. And of course, Europe is also vast, with more people than the US+Canada combined, 30+ countries (including some non-EU yet obviously European countries such as Switzerland and Norway), from the Arctic Circle to the tropical Med, stretching between Asia and Africa… vast.

Commonalities? To varied extents… Religion, economics, political systems and government, language.

For me personally, I generally feel safer in my part of northern Europe (Scandinavia), and in some ways more secure. But I loathe the crushingly-high taxes, and prefer having more control over my own financial decisions regarding health, transportation, education, and social benefits.

I enjoy not needing a car in Copenhagen.
I like that I can be out with friends at 3 a.m. in even the dodgiest areas and still be much more safe, relatively, vs. a similar-sized, or even most smaller, cities in the USA.
I love the attitude toward work and lifestyle—making clear separations between them. When you’re at work, you work hard, are in a position only because of proven competence, and at 4 p.m., it’s done. You work to live, instead of live to work.
I love the healthier lifestyle and valuing of quality in foods, and experiences.
I like how friendships take longer but go deeper.

I don’t like the high taxes (as mentioned).
I don’t like the resurgant pockets of racism and xenophobia I see.
I don’t like the light attitude toward heinous crime.
I don’t like it when I hear Europeans say health care and education are “free;” it comes at a very high cost that you have no choice about—unless you can vote.

Maybe my list will grow ….

Oh, BTW, recycling schemes vary widely in USA and all over Europe. In Norway, I had to sort 8 different ways, and faced $50 fine for not doing it properly. In Denmark, they only really care about bottles and cans, maybe newspapers too if you’re a nutter. In the US, my small city had the best system I’ve ever seen—each household provided with weekly curbside recycle bin pick-up, and weekly pay-by-bag rubbish pick-up. When you pay by the bag, you tend to re-think what’s recyclable. People who didn’t recycle much, paid more.

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I did see a very obvious boob job (on a topless French lady my age!) at a beach in Antibes—but you kind of expect it in the South of France, it’s like Malibu in Southern California.
I think pre-sorting and recycling varies in North America (and the American South, with the possible exception of Atlanta, is way behind with it). As Oldlady says, some cities are more organized about it than others. I feel fortunate that my town has any recycling at all.
Actually, Oldlady said all the stuff that I was thinking.
The biggest difference is that our wide-open spaces have so little in the way of public transportation. In the metropolitan areas on the coasts, it’s better.
I was in California a month ago and was so impressed with how I could get around without renting a car. Where I live there are few alternatives to automobiles.
And yes—bread. You have to go to some trouble (and/or pay more $) in order to eat better bread here. (I know nothing about beer.[Smile])
I agree about cigarette smoking (though this is now more regulated in Europe).
When it comes to parenting, raising children, I’ve noticed some cultural differences between the EU and US, but this can vary so much from country to country and region to region.

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Hi Don, what part of Norway were you living in, my local council couldn’t give a crap if I put rubbish in the wrong bin, plus we only have five here, plastic, paper, glass, bio and everything else.
 
I don’t actually find the tax in Norway excessive, the more you owe the less tax you have to pay. My main grip is the cost of cars, it’s excessive and how the govt pay lip service to the environment, they only use it to raise tax. 
 
I don’t have an issue with racism and xenophobia if Europeans don’t want people of other races and colours here they shouldn’t have to put up with them. Considering the social problems which immigration has already caused in parts of Europe I would like to see immigration from certain areas of the world stopped.
 
Right now I think it’s easy to compare Western civilised Europe with America, the Eastern half is like the wild west, places like Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Greece, Russia are complete shitholes, if I didn’t have to go their for work I sure as hell wouldn’t. The only benefit I see in Eastern Europe is that most places are dirt cheap and the landscape isn’t blotted with fatties, the women also tend to be very attractive and slim compared to the lumps in the US.

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At least in Germany, the customer service is often appalling..

And in the States, it’s often excessive..

I think, in general, Europeans are smarter than Americans.  A Polish truck-driver is likely to have more intellectual curiousity and clue about the world, history, etc.. than most American college graduates..  Not black and white of course, but a tendency..

The example of George Bush says an awful lot.

In Europe, money doesn’t necessarily automatically buy status the way it does in the States.  In other words, a rich geek won’t necesarily be seen as cool, as I’ve witnessed in the States.  The States is FAR more materialistic and consumer-oriented.  They even define themselves as consumers..  I hate this.

One thing I recently noticed was that, despite also hating high taxes and socialist tendencies, I have to admit that somehow, Germany seems to work.  And specifically what I noticed was that when I look around at the people I know, there aren’t these HUGE differences in income and advantages as there are among my American friends..  There are some of course..  But here I feel more like I’m taken for who I am, and less for what or how much I have.  This was an interesting realization for me…

NONE of my friends from uni in the States understood why I wanted to go off and live in Europe, if it wasn’t to get paid a lot for some great job.. And even then..(you know, the ketchup is different, you don’t get ice in your drinks, etc.)

My main gripe with Europe – or at least Germany, is the weather, which absolutely bloody sucks for 6-8 months out of the year.

I also have issues with the huge numbers of minority communities who live here and mooch off the state systems, NOT assimilating, etc etc..  Some might want to wave their finger at me cuz I too am a foreigner, but 1.) I work and pay taxes, and 2.) I’m here because of an interest in the culture, not despite it..  I have no sympathy for Turkish or African economic opportunists, however bad their problems at home,  who come here and muddy the cultural waters(veils in schools, not speaking the language, brutally murdering film-makers, spitting on pensioners, etc etc etc…), so to speak.. I don’t mean that to sound as racist as I suppose it does, but then sounding PC has never been high on my list of priorities(or on it..)

But because being surrounded by uncultured, clueless flag-waving fools in America who think they’re anybody’s equal is so nauseatingly intolerable for me, I’ll take the German winter.  AND the six weeks annual holiday..

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Recycling varies widely by location.  We have “curbside” where I live.  They give you a bin and you put in newspaper, other paper and light cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, clear glass bottles and all cans.  You put flattened, corregated cardboard under the bin.  It’s picked up weekly on the same day as garbage collection.  All soda, liquor and beer containers have a 5 cent deposit and any business that sells those items has to collect the empties and give you your 5 cents back.  Any business that sells motor oil has to have a system for recycling used motor oil — usually just a sign that tells you where you can take it.  I  have to go to the recycling center if I want to recycle aluminum pie plates, batteries, styrofoam packing materials, colored glass bottles.  We also have a center where you can take household hazardous waste — paint, insecticides, herbicides, electronic stuff, etc.  and you have to pay a fee for disposal.  I was surprised when we stayed in Southern France that garbage was picked up daily at 2:00 AM.  Garbage is picked up on a weekly cycle and during the day in residential areas here.

I would agree that customer service is generally better in the US and the attitude about customer omplaints is different.   Most US companies want to  hear your complaint even if they can’t/won’t fix the problem.  You don’t often get that feeling in Europe.

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Petrol (which Americans refer to as gas or gasoline) works out to 91 cents per liter ($3.39 per gallon, today) which converts to about 0,60 euros per liter.  How’s that compare to today’s price in Europe? 

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ORIGINAL: oldlady

Petrol (which Americans refer to as gas or gasoline) works out to 91 cents per liter ($3.39 per gallon, today) which converts to about 0,60 euros per liter.  How’s that compare to today’s price in Europe? 


The average prices at gas stations in my city (Presov, Slovakia) are these:
unleaded petrol, 95-octane: SKK 40.20 (€1.25) per liter
unleaded petrol, 98-octane: SKK 42.70 (€1.33) per liter
diesel fuel: SKK 42.60 (€1.32) per liter

Since 1 U.S. gallon equals to 3.785 liters, and 1 EUR equals to 1.54 USD, the prices after calculation to U.S. unit come to:
unleaded-95: $7.29 per gallon
unleaded-98: $7.75 per gallon
diesel fuel: $7.70 per gallon


If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

papyr
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ORIGINAL: Jake the Peg
Right now I think it’s easy to compare Western civilised Europe with America, the Eastern half is like the wild west, places like Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Greece, Russia are complete shitholes, if I didn’t have to go their for work I sure as hell wouldn’t. The only benefit I see in Eastern Europe is that most places are dirt cheap and the landscape isn’t blotted with fatties, the women also tend to be very attractive and slim compared to the lumps in the US.

Hm, now I don’t know if Central Europe (Czech rep., Slovakia, Poland, Hungary) counts as Western or as Eastern Europe in this point of view. There is a huge downward difference when you cross the Hungary-Romania border, or a Slovakia-Ukraine border, but, there is also an upward difference when you cross the Czech-German or Hungary-Austria border.

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

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  Europe is safer.  No way would I walk downtown at 1:00 in the morning where I’m from.

 
Where do you live?  Even downtown Detroit is safe (statisically safer than most downtown areas in the US).

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Quote:
ORIGINAL: positiveman

At least in Germany, the customer service is often appalling..

And in the States, it’s often excessive..

I think, in general, Europeans are smarter than Americans.  A Polish truck-driver is likely to have more intellectual curiousity and clue about the world, history, etc.. than most American college graduates..  Not black and white of course, but a tendency..

The example of George Bush says an awful lot.

In Europe, money doesn’t necessarily automatically buy status the way it does in the States.  In other words, a rich geek won’t necesarily be seen as cool, as I’ve witnessed in the States.  The States is FAR more materialistic and consumer-oriented.  They even define themselves as consumers..  I hate this.

One thing I recently noticed was that, despite also hating high taxes and socialist tendencies, I have to admit that somehow, Germany seems to work.  And specifically what I noticed was that when I look around at the people I know, there aren’t these HUGE differences in income and advantages as there are among my American friends..  There are some of course..  But here I feel more like I’m taken for who I am, and less for what or how much I have.  This was an interesting realization for me…

NONE of my friends from uni in the States understood why I wanted to go off and live in Europe, if it wasn’t to get paid a lot for some great job.. And even then..(you know, the ketchup is different, you don’t get ice in your drinks, etc.)

My main gripe with Europe – or at least Germany, is the weather, which absolutely bloody sucks for 6-8 months out of the year.

I also have issues with the huge numbers of minority communities who live here and mooch off the state systems, NOT assimilating, etc etc..  Some might want to wave their finger at me cuz I too am a foreigner, but 1.) I work and pay taxes, and 2.) I’m here because of an interest in the culture, not despite it..  I have no sympathy for Turkish or African economic opportunists, however bad their problems at home,  who come here and muddy the cultural waters(veils in schools, not speaking the language, brutally murdering film-makers, spitting on pensioners, etc etc etc…), so to speak.. I don’t mean that to sound as racist as I suppose it does, but then sounding PC has never been high on my list of priorities(or on it..)

But because being surrounded by uncultured, clueless flag-waving fools in America who think they’re anybody’s equal is so nauseatingly intolerable for me, I’ll take the German winter.  AND the six weeks annual holiday..

 
Stay in Germany.  What I just read was total rubbish.

papyr
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This is a very inspiring post – thank you. I will react in detail, and I hope I don’t upset or bore anybody. No intention of that Smile

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At least in Germany, the customer service is often appalling..
And in the States, it’s often excessive..

Yes, I heard that in America they will go beyond possible to please the customer. While here in Europe (especially in parts that suffered from that ugly red disease called communism) we mastered the art of making the customer go away and if possible, not bother us with his dumb problems. That’s something that enrages me, when the shop makes it too obvious.
Quote:
I think, in general, Europeans are smarter than Americans.  A Polish truck-driver is likely to have more intellectual curiousity and clue about the world, history, etc.. than most American college graduates..  Not black and white of course, but a tendency..

I think some Americans have this attitude of “Non est vita extra America” (there’s no life beyond America). Sometimes I read American newspapers in cafes or at McDonalds. And they really don’t care much about the rest of the world. There’s often a detailed, two-page article about some American TV celeb I’ve never heard of, and then they devote the same area to all the world news. Which is especially about wars, soon-to-be-wars, and peculiarities (glowing cat was bred in China, etc.). America is quite isolated, also geographically, and Americans think their country is a best place on Earth. Which it may be, but in order to keep it that way, they should at least sometimes question that basic premise by looking elsewhere.

Here we are also centered on ourselves. But since “international” affairs always begin a few miles behind our house – the size of a country in Europe is often small – we care more about what’s happening abroad. Because if we don’t, the “abroad” can one day come very quickly to our doorstep.

Not to mention history. The USA have a relatively short and boring history. I had to study it in order to get my state exam from English, along with the history of other English-speaking countries. The only war on the US territory was the Civil war. There NEVER was a foreign attack on the US territory (except Pearl Harbor and maybe 9/11, but these are minor-scale attacks, not like the whole country is occupied or something). History here is longer and full of interesting atrocities.

Just in the last 100 years, in my small country/countries (I disagree with dissolution of Czechoslovakia and usually still treat it as one country), we experienced one world war, declared independence from Austro-Hungarian kingdom, formed a democratic and wealthy republic, underwent Hitlerian occupation, became separate (a fascist state and a German protectorate), exterminated Jews, suffered another world war front moving across the whole territory (actually Hitler’s first territorial claim was on Czechoslovakia in 1938, and the last place under Hitlerian control was Hradec Kralove in Czechoslovakia on May 11, 1945 – so it started AND ended here), reunited the country, underwent communist overturn, experienced Stalinist 50’s with exterminating loudmouths, democrats and intelligents, tried to make a socialism with human face in the 60’s, failed when our own “allies” occupied us with force, experienced the 80’s thaw, then Velvet revolution – end of communist rule, then Velvet divorce – dissolution of Czechoslovakia, then a short period of half-authoritarian regime of Meciar, then democracy, then acceptance to EU, and now introducing the euro currency. The history is happening to us every day, maybe that’s why we are interested in it Smile

But anyway. In top 50 world universities, just 9 are from Europe, and 38 from America. In top 25 universities, only 3 are in Europe, all of them in Britain, and 20 (!) in America. There is only one university from a post-communist country in the top 100 – Moscow State, ranking 67th. So maybe we are generally more curious, but it’s you who are more focused, encourage students to think more, and have better scientific facilities. You know how to pay for thinking.

Quote:
The example of George Bush says an awful lot.

It’s just strange for you to have a leader who is dumb, because it’s your first time. We have LOTS of experience with that At least you can freely say bad things about him in public. Many times, you can’t do such a thing here and that’s where I see a very important difference. Or did they already disposess you of that freedom, too?
Quote:
In Europe, money doesn’t necessarily automatically buy status the way it does in the States.  In other words, a rich geek won’t necesarily be seen as cool, as I’ve witnessed in the States.  The States is FAR more materialistic and consumer-oriented.  They even define themselves as consumers..  I hate this.

There’s a bit of a socialist in every European. Money will buy you respect in Europe, but not admiration. If you try to buy admiration, you will get derision instead. You have to have some human qualities here to be admired. A good example is one of the richest Europeans, Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA. He comes to IKEA branches for inspection always using public transport, not a limo. That is why he is admired – for not becoming big-headed – not for the wealth he has accumulated. Putin is probably the richest European – and what status does he have in Europe? Who likes him beyond Russia?

Also, if we look at poverty – it doesn’t deny you of basic human rights. If a homeless guy slips on the frosty Prague sidewalk and hits his head, he is rushed to the hospital and undergoes a CT and a complete neurological examination. So what that he is poor and the insurance company doesn’t get a cent from him. That’s no reason to let him die. And if a wealthy businessman is rushed into the hospital at the same time, and his injuries are not that threatening, he has to wait until the homeless guy’s examination is finished.
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One thing I recently noticed was that, despite also hating high taxes and socialist tendencies, I have to admit that somehow, Germany seems to work.  And specifically what I noticed was that when I look around at the people I know, there aren’t these HUGE differences in income and advantages as there are among my American friends..  There are some of course..  But here I feel more like I’m taken for who I am, and less for what or how much I have.  This was an interesting realization for me…
Many people here think it’s a matter of their craftsman’s pride to do the work they do properly and thoroughly. Less it is a matter of salary. The dark side of this mentality is, that in Central Europe, manual workers get more money per hour than teachers and doctors, because doctors and teachers feel that the discontinuation of their service to public would cause such a damage that it’s not acceptable to go on strike. The salary conditions of teachers, nurses and physicians are a GREAT SHAME for us in Central Europe.

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NONE of my friends from uni in the States understood why I wanted to go off and live in Europe, if it wasn’t to get paid a lot for some great job.. And even then..(you know, the ketchup is different, you don’t get ice in your drinks, etc.)

You can buy Heinz here, too, and you can get ice in your drinks if you order it Smile But the ketchup brand is never the reason someone leaves the country. Mentioning NONE of your friends (and they were intelligent, schooled people!) understood this, gives me a scary feeling and arises some unpleasant questions, such as: How do you define a friend in America? What are the top priorities of Americans, after money? But maybe the reactions from your friends (colleagues?) were the result of not being comfortable with the idea that someone might like it better somewhere else – they may have felt it’s a blasphemy to the sacred “America is best” opinion.
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My main gripe with Europe – or at least Germany, is the weather, which absolutely bloody sucks for 6-8 months out of the year.

SO TRUE!!! The weather in Central Europe is horrible half a year! I hate winters here SO MUCH!!! Fogs, low pressure, rain or snow, and this obtrusive cold fog that gets under whatever clothes you put on… But the good news is, that this ugly period ends right now

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I also have issues with the huge numbers of minority communities who live here and mooch off the state systems, NOT assimilating, etc etc..  Some might want to wave their finger at me cuz I too am a foreigner, but 1.) I work and pay taxes, and 2.) I’m here because of an interest in the culture, not despite it..  I have no sympathy for Turkish or African economic opportunists, however bad their problems at home,  who come here and muddy the cultural waters(veils in schools, not speaking the language, brutally murdering film-makers, spitting on pensioners, etc etc etc…), so to speak.. I don’t mean that to sound as racist as I suppose it does, but then sounding PC has never been high on my list of priorities(or on it..)

Here in Central Europe we have that problem not with immigrants, but with our own citizens, Gypsies. Every single American I met said that we are racists, because we don’t like them. Not true. Gypsies who go to work, pay taxes, send their kids to school and don’t demand everything for free – not only they are widely accepted, but also they are very honored by the “white” majority. The majority feels that it’s necessary to reassure the “civilized” Gypsies that they are not anything less because of their race. Sadly, they represent only a tiny portion of them. And the working Gypsies themselves often hate those other Gypsies who live in slums and steal and milk the social system and want not to be connected with them in any way.

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But because being surrounded by uncultured, clueless flag-waving fools in America who think they’re anybody’s equal is so nauseatingly intolerable for me, I’ll take the German winter.  AND the six weeks annual holiday..

Do they just wave flags and speak about equality, or do they ever go to a poor quarter and DO something concrete? Like pay for a homeless black guy’s surgery?

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ORIGINAL: papyr
Do they just wave flags and speak about equality, or do they ever go to a poor quarter and DO something concrete? Like pay for a homeless black guy’s surgery?

 
If the “homeless black guy” needs surgery he can go somewhere and the cost is covered by our taxes.  Most people wouldn’t have a problem with that (or shouldn’t, anyway).  But he would likely have to seek out help.  I don’t think there’s very many&nbspeople searching the alleys and streets looking for homeless that may or may not need medical attention. 

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Jake the Peg wrote:

Hi Don, what part of Norway were you living in, my local council couldn’t give a crap if I put rubbish in the wrong bin, plus we only have five here, plastic, paper, glass, bio and everything else.

Stavanger. The 250kr might have only been Rogaland fylke? 1. Clean dry paper & cardboard—broken down, 2. food scrap (bones separated, since my landlord composted), 3. batteries, 4. lightbulbs, 5. glass, 6. metal, 7. bottles for return of deposit, 8. rest of rubbish, household furniture and appliances had to be delivered to recycling center at 50kr per car load. So it was actually more than 8 ways that refuse had to be properly sorted. We had brown bins (food scrap in green starch bags), green bins for newspaper/paper/cardboard, grey bins for rubbish. The red hazard pick up box for lightbulbs and batteries came 2x yearly. Everything else you had to do deliver on your own. I’ve never seen a recycling center as tidy and organized as the one in Forus for Stavanger/Sandnes area. They were hard-core. I wish they had watched Penn&Teller’s “Bullshit” episode on recycling before implementing such drastic programs (which, by the way, airs there on TV2).
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the Eastern half is like the wild west, places like Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Greece, Russia are complete shitholes, if I didn’t have to go their for work I sure as hell wouldn’t. The only benefit I see in Eastern Europe is that most places are dirt cheap…
I’ve also used “wild west” to describe Romania. I tell people “it’s a little rough around the edges for tourists used to western Europe.” And I’ve def. noticed the difference when crossing from RO to HU—it’s like stepping out of eastern Europe and into western Europe.

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the Eastern half is like the wild west, places like Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Greece, Russia are complete shitholes, if I didn’t have to go their for work I sure as hell wouldn’t. The only benefit I see in Eastern Europe is that most places are dirt cheap…

Boy, this is really off for me. I much prefer Eastern Europe to Western Europe. I’d take the central European capitals of Prague, Bratislava, Budapest over Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, Rome, Berlin, any day. Slovenia and Croatia would rank as my favorite countries. As for farther east, it is a little rough, but I’d still take the lack of toilet seats over the hoards of tourists, and huge city sameness of Rome or Paris.

I worked in Kharkiv, Ukraine for a month and it’s certainly not Paris, but hardly a shithole. The roads in rural Ukraine were awful, but the trains were fine. The city (a couple of million people I think) was “under construction” and a little rough in some areas, but beautiful in others. It had more trees than any other city I’ve ever been in — not great for the allergies. My impressions of Romania were similar. Bucharest is pretty “rough around the edges” but much of Romania is truly beautiful. Greece is another mixed bag. I didn’t care for Athens (like Paris, everybody ought to see it once, but I probably won’t be back) but the islands are all different, and each interesting in it’s own way.

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I’m in Croatia right now and it is a stunning place, I was in Russia, Romaina, Ukraine, Bulgaria last week and I wouldn’t consider taking my family anywhere near them, horrible dirty places full of miserable people, although the women in Russia are something else, wow the best looking in the world.

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My town is about 300,000 people.

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Mississippi.

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MB wrote:
My town is about 300,000 people.

Hmmm… I’d be a bit afraid to walk in Ostrava (320,000) or some parts of Bratislava (430,000) in the night, too. But strangely, I never felt fear in the middle of the night in Prague (1,250,000). Guess it varies from city to city.

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Don’t know anything about Ostrava but I would walk around there before here. Too many people have guns in the USA that shouldn’t. I think my area has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the country.

How come there are so many gorgeous czech models?

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And what would the cost be to take a class at Charles University? Maybe I could meet a czech model there.

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MB wrote:
And what would the cost be to take a class at Charles University? Maybe I could meet a czech model there.

The whole education is free as long as you do it in Czech language. And lectures are usually open for public, it’s only seminars, consultations, tests and exams where you have to be a student to be let inside.

Anyway, during my 7 years at Charles Uni, I never met any supermodel. Not that there weren’t hot girls. Sure there were, whole loads of them. But Czechs and Slovaks are generally good-looking people. Lately, DNA tests proved that Czech population carries gene segments from nations of all five European language groups – Celtic, Anglosaxon, Ugro-Finnic, Roman and of course Slavic. Czechs are a cross-breed of everything.

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And about the shootings – you must obtain a Gun Pass in Europe if you want to buy a gun. This is issued by the police and usually requires a psychological examination. So drive-by shootings are unheard of here. But you can always be beaten to death or stabbed by a knife Smile But I think the number of deaths by suicide is much larger here than the number of deaths by murder, and suicide rates in Central Europe are among the highest in the world. Don’t really understand why.

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And they really don’t care much about the rest of the world. There’s often a detailed, two-page article about some American TV celeb I’ve never heard of, and then they devote the same area to all the world news. Which is especially about wars, soon-to-be-wars, and peculiarities (glowing cat was bred in China, etc.). America is quite isolated, also geographically, and Americans think their country is a best place on Earth. Which it may be, but in order to keep it that way, they should at least sometimes question that basic premise by looking elsewhere.
Sadly, very true. It’s almost impossible to get international news — BBC is really the only television source and 1 or 2 of the best and biggest newspapers.

American university level education is still the best in the world. Europe’s currently trying to upgrade its universities to worldwide standards — very quietly trying to copy the US without admitting that’s what they’re doing. Even 2nd and 3rd tier US universities’ wouldn’t even look at a PHD from any but the very top European universities for a teaching job — and even then it would only be for a position in an academic area where that university had an international reputation.

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papyr wrote:
MB wrote:
And what would the cost be to take a class at Charles University? Maybe I could meet a czech model there.

The whole education is free as long as you do it in Czech language. And lectures are usually open for public, it’s only seminars, consultations, tests and exams where you have to be a student to be let inside.

Anyway, during my 7 years at Charles Uni, I never met any supermodel. Not that there weren’t hot girls. Sure there were, whole loads of them. But Czechs and Slovaks are generally good-looking people. Lately, DNA tests proved that Czech population carries gene segments from nations of all five European language groups – Celtic, Anglosaxon, Ugro-Finnic, Roman and of course Slavic. Czechs are a cross-breed of everything.

It’s probably free for czechs but not for me. Any idea for an outsider? I have a list of classes that are taught using the english language.

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MB wrote:
Don’t see boob jobs in Europe.  The girls are very attractive

Yup the girls are way better looking than the chubby average American and more natural than the plastic fantastics that make up the very small percentage of attractive American females.

However you obviously don’t know what an enhanced boob looks like, there are women with boob jobs all over Europe it’s a very popular surgery, Eastern Euro women especially like getting the titties done, as do women in the UK.

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Been interesting so far so I’ll keep it up here. Maybe papyr has found me that super model by now.

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MB, it is the way I say – if you take the course in Czech, it’s free, regardless what passport you have. Lots of students from Africa take advantage of this, first paying for one-year intensive Czech course and then taking the major five or six years for free. Anyway – if you have the list of lectures in English language and want to join them, ask the contact person here http://www.cuni.cz/U… or try browsing through that page until you find the answer you want.

But anyway. If you are going to take English lectures at Charles Uni, how are you going to meet those luscious Czech girls who go to Czech classes only?

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
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papyr wrote:
MB, it is the way I say – if you take the course in Czech, it’s free, regardless what passport you have. Lots of students from Africa take advantage of this, first paying for one-year intensive Czech course and then taking the major five or six years for free. Anyway – if you have the list of lectures in English language and want to join them, ask the contact person here http://www.cuni.cz/U… or try browsing through that page until you find the answer you want.

But anyway. If you are going to take English lectures at Charles Uni, how are you going to meet those luscious Czech girls who go to Czech classes only?

I see what you mean. How much is the tuition for the year of Czech language? I haven’t found that yet.

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http://www.ujop.cuni…

1 YEAR, CZECH LANGUAGE INTENSIVE COURSE (i.e. 10 months)

Term September 8, 2008 – June 12, 2009
Exams June 15, 2009 – June 19, 2009
Full cost EUR 3480

This Czech language course is designed for foreigners wishing to learn the whole system of Czech grammar, relevant amount of vocabulary, idioms and syntax structures. Students who enrolled from professional reasons (job etc.) will be able to communicate fluently and efficiently at work and in everyday life.

The full cost of the course includes tuition fees for Czech language training, 25 lessons per week, including basic teaching materials. The course is concluded with an official exam and the issue of the Certificate of Achievement.

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

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Can I work while there? Maybe the American embassey?

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I don’t know. But since there are several thousands of U.S. citizens permanently residing in Prague, I guess they all work somewhere. (And mostly not at the embassy).

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Hmm well there are very few places in my general area where I would be afraid to walk at night. As for recycling in my house we recycle everything, I guess its not the law, but its cheaper if you think about it recycling is free, garbage is expensive. Also my area its pretty much illegal to smoke anywhere. People are not afraid or timid about telling you that you are not suppoused to be smoking somewhere.

As for guns thats one thing I hate about europe I love my guns and that would probably be a big part of keeping me in the states. I do agree some nut jobs get guns and thats bad, but we have some very appropriate limitations. I think hand gun laws should be stricter, hunting rifles and shotguns are at the right amount of control I think.

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jeffstravels wrote:
As for guns thats one thing I hate about europe I love my guns and that would probably be a big part of keeping me in the states. I do agree some nut jobs get guns and thats bad, but we have some very appropriate limitations. I think hand gun laws should be stricter, hunting rifles and shotguns are at the right amount of control I think.

Well, that’s a point where we differ from each other to the maximum possible extent.
How can you LOVE your gun?
(This to me seems like someone saying “I love gallows” or “I love electric chairs” or “I love tanks”).

But now I’m not speaking on behalf of all Europeans, just for myself. I’ve had a very long, ongoing dispute between me and my father about this. My father is a Lieutenant Colonel of the air force. I am a medical student in the last year (hey everyone, my final exam is on June 4, so all of you keep your fingers crossed to me!) so he couldn’t understand why I want to be a doctor and I don’t understand how come he wanted to be a soldier. The funny thing is my Dad faints when he sees blood

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Well i’m a fire fighter in training … Because I like hunting for my meat instead of buying it. I enjoy hunting its one of my favorite past times. Why? Not because I enjoy slaughtering animals but because I enjoy the challenge and I like the healthier meat.

I think its different your talking about weapons in the killing of innocent people, sure some people argue that killing animals is wrong and if your a vegetarian or a vegan thats fine because you don’t eat meat. But if you eat meat and think its wrong for me to shoot a buffalo and eat it whats the difference from when you eat a buffalo burger or a regular burger for that matter? The only difference is i’m paying a lot less for it… I pay for ammunition, the rifle, tag, and the gas to get to wherever i’m hunting.

I do agree that guns in the hands of some is horrible, but do I think I should have to sacrifice any of my guns because of them? Hell no! Not to mention its really easy to buy a gun illegally here in the states.

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papyr wrote:
jeffstravels wrote:
As for guns thats one thing I hate about europe I love my guns and that would probably be a big part of keeping me in the states. I do agree some nut jobs get guns and thats bad, but we have some very appropriate limitations. I think hand gun laws should be stricter, hunting rifles and shotguns are at the right amount of control I think.

Well, that’s a point where we differ from each other to the maximum possible extent.
How can you LOVE your gun?
(This to me seems like someone saying “I love gallows” or “I love electric chairs” or “I love tanks”).

But now I’m not speaking on behalf of all Europeans, just for myself. I’ve had a very long, ongoing dispute between me and my father about this. My father is a Lieutenant Colonel of the air force. I am a medical student in the last year (hey everyone, my final exam is on June 4, so all of you keep your fingers crossed to me!) so he couldn’t understand why I want to be a doctor and I don’t understand how come he wanted to be a soldier. The funny thing is my Dad faints when he sees blood

Where are you going to intern? Got this in town: http://www.umc.edu/

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jeffstravels:

Oh, I think I can understand this, I can even agree with this. If you use guns for hunting (and then eating) game, that’s perfectly okay with me. I’m not a vegetarian, and I must say that wild animals are much less harmful to the human body than those prefabricated animals from large farms. Not to mention that killing a, let’s say, deer in its natural habitat is much more humane than, let’s say, breeding a chicken which never sees the sunlight or real grass and then killing it on an automated slaughter line. For me, that’s even more important of a difference than hunted animals being cheaper Smile

But that’s the use of a gun you could easily practice in Europe, too. There are numerous hunters’ clubs here, if that is your passion, you can also fulfill it here. Nobody will force you to sacrifice your rifle in Europe. Except we have no law like “every European is entitled to protect his property with a gun”, or “every European has the right to be armed”. You have to prove to the authorities that you are mentally sane and responsible enough, and you have to reason your desire to obtain a Gun Pass. And maybe that’s why drive-by shootings are something we are familiar with only from watching American thrillers.

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MB wrote:
Where are you going to intern? Got this in town: http://www.umc.edu/

Think they will accept me as a graduate of Charles Uni?

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oldlady wrote:

American university level education is still the best in the world. Europe’s currently trying to upgrade its universities to worldwide standards — very quietly trying to copy the US without admitting that’s what they’re doing.
Disagree. I have first hand experience with undergraduate education with 3 major (“top-tier”) US universities. Vast majority of students take consumerist approach to their education. They feel that because they (or their parents or whoever) paid ridiculous amount of money for the tuition, they should not be expected to do much else to graduate. Very few realize that the main point of them being in school for five years is to learn something useful. On top of that you have a system where professorial promotions heavily depend on student surveys where “effective teacher”=“cool teacher”=“easy teacher.” Hence grade inflation and plenty of people on either side who don’t give a s@@t about what the students do and do not know.
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Even 2nd and 3rd tier US universities’ wouldn’t even look at a PHD from any but the very top European universities for a teaching job — and even then it would only be for a position in an academic area where that university had an international reputation.
Yes, because those 2nd and 3rd tier school mainly look for “crowd pleasers.” They are often equally reluctant to hire those US PhDs whom they perceive to be “focused on research more then on teaching.”

It’s hard for me to compare US versus European education outside of my own field. However based on what my colleagues from either side of the pond say about their own experience (both as students and as instructors), I don’t see any reason to declare either system to be superior.

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papyr wrote:
MB wrote:
Where are you going to intern? Got this in town: http://www.umc.edu/

Think they will accept me as a graduate of Charles Uni?

They accepted a japanese intern who couldn’t speak english.

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MB wrote:
papyr wrote:
MB wrote:
Where are you going to intern? Got this in town: http://www.umc.edu/

Think they will accept me as a graduate of Charles Uni?

They accepted a japanese intern who couldn’t speak english.

Heheheheh Did he use an interpreter to obtain case histories from patients?

But anyway. Before moving to USA to start my intern years, I’d first have to see if the U.S. Ministry of Education even recognizes M.D.‘s from our school. Probably I’d have to do nostrification exams in the U.S. I have nothing against going to work to the U.S., but I guess I should gain first years of experience with patients here, I wouldn’t want to arrive to a foreign land as a total “veal”. Not to mention lawsuits for malpractice are still extremely rare here, so better for interns Smile

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

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papyr wrote:
… if the U.S. Ministry of Education even recognizes M.D.‘s from our school. Probably I’d have to do nostrification exams in the U.S…

Here is another “difference”: in the US there is no Ministry of Education. There is no common standard as to what BS/MS/PhD graduates are supposed to have done to get their degrees. As the result employers (and graduate schools) are on their own when deciding what each particular degree paper is worth.
To be honest, this is still not as bad as it sounds. There are still very strict standards for doctors, dentists, etc. And it is still illegitimate to buy degree papers online. Wink

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Bump. I think there could be more good info here.

Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, and end up getting charged double.

Jeffromeister
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In Europe many people dont talk good. They can barely even speak English!

Trying to find a descent Sub or Hoagie can ruin your day. It’s probably impossible. I don’t know how they survive.

The Mexican food is really pathetic.

They dont have NASCAR! Sheesh….They have this funny kind of racing called Formula something. What a joke.

They drive foreign cars.

They call soccer football. REAL Football is not very popular.

I dunno what y’all are always fussing about. I’ve never been to impressed with any of those European countries. I think they still got one foot in the cave.

Legal brothels. OK-gotta admit thats 1 good idea. If we had em here in Georgia I wouldn’t have to go to Europe at all.

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Quote:
The Mexican food is really pathetic.
In most places, so’s the pizza and while there are a few really good Chinese restaurants there’s some truly awful “Chinese” food available.

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This thread is absolutely rubbish. Nearly everbody posting on it hasn’t a clue.

American way of life is inferior in every aspect compared to europes unless we’re talking about the back page of your bank book and the size of your car/house!

The american way of life is very superficial and most europeans wouldn’t entertain it even with a
cash bung start!

Americans = shallow and transient

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Jboy is back!