Cultural Differences Between Europe and America

My Opinions on Political/Social Differences

Can Yucel, Writer

Ownership of  Property

If you are a person from Europe, when you hear the question “What are you doing on my  property,” you are shocked. People in the United States who own property are kings of that area. No one can get into their property without  permission. Even the police are not allowed to enter. In fact, there are some strict rules about personal property such as if a man enters a person’s property without permission, the owner of the property has the right to shoot him in some states. 

When I’m looking from a European perspective, it is very strange because trespassing or entering someone else’s property is not a huge deal. For some Americans, it is. 


Gun Carrying

In the U.S., almost half of the population has a gun in their houses. This is because the U.S. laws allow people to carry guns without any permission or restriction (except some states). In Europe, if you want to be a gun-carrier, you need a valid reason approved by the government, and you need to  receive training for that. 

I could never understand, and I will never understand why American people are allowed to carry guns. It is uncontrollable and so irresponsible to me. It means that lives are always in danger in the U.S. which is extremely scary. Democrats and Republicans are arguing about gun control. This is unbelievable to me. Democrats say there should be gun control and Republicans say it would be a violation of the 2nd Amendment. I think they should start thinking about putting all the guns away.

Public Healthcare

In Europe, every country has its own healthcare system which means when people get sick or have a health issue, they can go to a public health center for free. However, in the US, there is no such public health program.  Anyone who has any health issues has to pay to get treatment. And almost half of the bankruptcies are caused by serious health issues because if people have a health issue, no matter how much they pay, they have to go to a health center.

This is also another thing that is unacceptable for me. Why do people in The United States pay taxes if they don’t get healthcare? Governments exist to protect the most basic needs of people.  If the government cannot do this, then what’s the purpose of it?


Most European countries have a multi-party system, but in the U.S. there are two major parties that run for the elections. One other difference is the winner-take-all system. In the U.S., when a party takes the most votes in a state, it means that the winner takes all of the delegates from that state for the presidential election. This sometimes means a candidate who takes the popular vote, can lose the election

In Europe, the multi-party system allows lots of parties to run for the election, and the elected form coalition governments. Parties that create coalitions have to find a common strategy. 

The other big difference is there are also left parties in Europe such as socialist parties, green parties, social democratic parties. In American politics, there are only two major parties, and one of them is right-centered (Democrats), the other one is further-right (Republicans). There are some minor parties too, but they lack power. European politics range from far left to far right parties.

People in the U.S. think that the Democrat Party is a left party. It’s not as right as the Republican Party, but they are not even close to left. Economically, being liberal has always been right-centered. Left starts from social democracy and goes until communism, or even anarchism.

Feeling of Distance

In Europe and in the U.S., most of the people have cars. However, in the U.S. it’s necessary because there is no public transportation and distances are too far away from each other. Roads are not built for walking. The distance a person walks in 45 minutes, a car can drive  in 3-5 minutes. In Europe, this gap is not that big. The distance a car drives in 3-5 minutes,takes 15-20 minutes to walk. 

One or two hours of driving is not that long for American people, but it’s too much for Europeans. In two hours, Europeans can pass by two or more countries in Europe depending on where they are. In the US, a person can hardly leave the state in two hours of driving. 

Almost none of my friends have a car license in Europe, but in the US most of them do. I think it’s because for the students using public transportation is faster and cheaper in Europe. In the U.S., people don’t have that option at all, or maybe they’re not choosing to use public transportation except in big cities. 


In the U.S., people only speak English which is quite understandable because English is lingua franca. That means it’s the common language of the world. In Europe, most of the people are bilingual or even multilingual. People speak their native language, English, and the language of one of the closest countries’ language. Also, in some European countries’ schools, European students are required to take Latin classes too.

Dates and Time System

In Europe, the 24 hours system is used by most of the countries, but in the U.S. the 12 hours system (AM/PM) is used. So in Europe, instead of 6pm, we say 18. 

The system that Europe uses on dates is dd/mm/yyyy. In the US, it is mm/dd/yyyy. The European system makes more sense because it’s big-bigger-biggest. When you put the month before the day, it can get complicated.

Measure System

The U.S. uses the Imperial System which includes pound, inch, foot, yard, mile, league. Europe uses the Metric System which includes, kilogram, meter. The metric system starts with pico and goes up until tera. 

The only common measurement used by both America and Europe is league. Seamen use leagues all around the world.


In Europe, sports are about passion, devotion and a mix of intense feelings. In the U.S., it’s more like fun and entertainment. It doesn’t mean that in Europe people are not having fun or in the U.S. there are no emotions. Of course there are, but that’s how people consider it. 

I think the biggest reason is there is a huge common sport in Europe which is football (soccer), and other minor sports such as Formula 1, basketball, volleyball. In the U.S., there are 3-4 sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey) that we can easily say a huge part of the population watches. 

One other big difference between European sports culture and American Sports culture is the length of seasons. In Europe, seasons usually start in late August and end in late May or early June, so a season is around 9-10 months in Europe, but in the U.S., it’s around 5-6 months.