Whereas many people from all over the world are seeking to enter the United States to take refuge from persecution or to seek their fortune in this ‘land of opportunity’ there are also many Americans who are considering moving to Europe for good. They have different reasons, but we can see the election of Donald Trump has been a catalyst for the desire to swap the USA for Europe. What do Americans hope to find in one of the ‘old countries’?
1. Affordable health care
As a non-resident, not all European countries will allow you to get into their excellent public health care system. Depending on your age and health history, you can get excellent private health coverage for a couple of hundred dollars a month. And even without insurance there is one thing you can be certain of… they will treat you for a much lower price than hospitals and general MD’s in the States. The same goes for medication… much less expensive. If you still have qualms, check out the movie ‘Sicko’ from Michael Moore. He gives a nice overview of the health system in France and the UK.
2. Less rules and laws
You want to go to a park and have a nice bottle of wine on a bench? Just do it! Most European countries have a very relaxed attitude towards drinking in public. No brown paper bag needed. Of course it is not advisable to get too drunk to stand up or to pee against a 1000 year old monument. As long as you behave, public boozing is no problem.
Also, there are much less rules concerning law suits. In Europe, people still believe in personal responsibility. If you want to join a sport club, usually it is enough to pay a subscription. No long documents to fill with waivers. You drop a weight on your foot, that’s your problem, not the club’s.
3. No guns
Of course, there are parts of some harbor cities and some slums where you don’t really want to walk around with a laptop case at night, but they are few and far between. In any case, there are very few guns around and death by gun shot is very very rare. It is just not an issue anywhere. For some, the lack of ‘protection’ may make them feel a bit naked in the beginning. But once you realize there is nothing you need to protect yourself from, you will feel much safer.
4. Slow life
You know why the French like to eat snails? Because they are so easy to catch. Slow food is all the rage in Europe, especially in the more southern parts, including Italy, Spain and Portugal. People like to take their time to enjoy sitting around a table shooting the breeze. So don’t expect to be served your drink within minutes, or have someone hover at your elbow the moment you sit down. Learn to take it slow. Or, if you’re really in a hurry, drop by at MacDonald’s, KFC or Burger King and get served the American way.
It’s not all good
Americans who move to Europe will soon find plenty to complain about. Slow and lousy service, shoddy craftsmanship, no client courtesy, uncooperative civil servants and almost everybody speaks a foreign language. But this article was about the good things, and all in all, they do outweigh the bad parts.