Living in Europe is very different from living on any other continent on Earth and has a lot of unique advantages and disadvantages. Of course there are lots of different countries in Europe and it’s important to remember that living in one part is not going to be the same as living in another, but generally it’s fair to say that there are many similarities between European countries that can make it easier to choose whether or not living there is right for you no matter where you end up.
Here we will look at the pros and cons of living in Europe then so that you can decide whether it sounds like somewhere you would consider moving. Of course it’s only a matter of opinion whether the pros are an incentive to you or whether the cons are too off-putting.
Pro: The Culture
If you move to Europe then you have a large range of cultures to choose from whether that be something more familiar (Britain is very similar to the US for instance) or something more different and unique. You’ll find too that there are many options available to you in Europe if you want to live somewhere that has a more laid back way of life such as Greece or Southern France and for many this pace can offer a nice break from the frenetic state of modern living.
Pro: The History
One of the things that many people seem to be particularly enamoured with when it comes to Europe is its history and architecture. If you enjoy living somewhere with a bit of background and like looking around ancient ruins or churches, then Europe can offer you that and this makes living there very educational.
You might get a lot to see and do in Europe, but getting to see and do it is not quite as easy as it is in the US due to the high costs of fuel. Doing a road trip in England or France for instance will cost you much more than doing a road trip in the US meaning you can’t just set off on an adventure without feeling it right in the bank balance.
Pro: The Healthcare System
Most European countries have a national healthcare system which means that paying a national insurance will cover you against all your healthcare costs. This means that no one is ever turned away from a hospital who needs urgent attention and that you will end up paying much less overall. Many Americans are under the impression that waiting lists are much longer in Europe and that it’s a struggle to get the attention you need, but actually this isn’t strictly true and most people will get the help they need relatively promptly. Besides, if you do want to go private then private hospitals are still available and those in Germany are considered some of the best in the world.
Con: The Cost of Living
The cost of living in Europe is generally much higher than the US. Sure there are plenty of exceptions such as Poland or Bulgaria, but if you want to live in Western Europe then you should expect to pay a lot more for basics like clothes, food and properties.
Again this varies between European countries, but as a general rule European countries tax their residents highly and find a myriad ways to do it. The very wealthy may do well in Switzerland, but in general the US is a better place to start a small business.
Pro: The EU
The European Union provides one huge benefit for those who like hopping between countries, and that’s that it allows you to travel or even relocate to any country in Europe with minimum hassle. This gives you a huge amount of variation in terms of climate and in terms of cultures and lifestyles.
In Europe recycling is a way of life and in general there are many more concessions to going green than there are in the US – think bicycles, timed lighting and solar powered garden lights. While this might not affect you that much on a day to day basis, it is nice to know that you’re doing your bit for the planet.
Pro: Food and Drink
Europe has a much wider variety of food and a lot less fast food than in the US and this means you have more option when you’re going on a night out. Meanwhile there’s also more alcohol, the pubs are open longer and you can drink at 18.
Cons: Lager Louts
That said the drinking culture has its downsides too and if you don’t like the sounds of having to share your streets with lots of rowdy football fans just out of the pub then Europe may not be for you, particularly Britain.
The US is the home of Hollywood and has a thriving entertainment industry. European countries do too, but not quite to the same extent. The question is, would you rather see a museum or a new film the day it comes out?
Religion is these days slightly less of a big deal in Europe compared to the US, and it’s certainly more diverse in terms of what’s available. If you get frustrated by religion being forced upon you in the US, then Europe can offer some reprieve.
Pro: Train Travel
While Europe may lack the long straight roads or straight fuel prices, it does have a much better train service by and large when compared with many other continents which does provide a quick and affordable way to get around (though prices are going up all the time).
In many ways Europe is slightly behind the US. Sure there are exceptions, but when it comes to the technology available and its integration into daily life, the US is just ahead of Europe which has a tendency to feel quite old, particularly in certain areas.