In my humble and completely unbiased opinion, Europe as a whole is better than the United States.
I have been to Europe three times, twice to France, twice to Italy, once to The Netherlands, once to Switzerland and once to Poland. And oh my goodness, is the public transportation better.
There are trains, first of all, that you can use to travel all across Europe, and in between cities in individual countries, and, at least in Warsaw, you can take a metro between places in the city. Plus, there are buses that don’t suck. They arrive on time and everyone uses them.
There are also intricate bike lanes and sidewalks. In a lot of places, you can even rent scooters and mopeds to get you where you need to go.
Not only is this way better for the environment, it is also so much less expensive. When I was in Poland, I was able to buy a 75-minute metro ticket in Warsaw for .59 cents, or 2.20zł (złoty). The tickets between cities are obviously more expensive, but a train ticket between Poznań and Warsaw is only between 15 and $20.
If you have a car, you need to worry about gas, oil and general maintenance. If your car starts making a funny noise, or there’s a new warning light, or the air conditioning suddenly stops working, that is all on you. And it is an expensive pain to deal with.
According to AAA.com, the cost of owning a car has gone up as well.
“Overall, the average annual cost of new vehicle ownership climbed to $9,282, or $773.50 a month. That’s an increase of $433 – or nearly 5% – from last year,” the website said. “Drilling down further, AAA found that average costs increased in every expense category.”
These expense categories include the cost of fuel, maintenance, insurance and the cost of registration.
This isn’t to say that Europeans don’t own cars, however my friend is looking for one right now, but it also isn’t a ride or die so to speak.
Another benefit of living in Europe is the fact that tax is included in the tag on items. Is this as big of a benefit? No. However, it is really cool to see that an item costs €2 and then hand the cashier that amount and be done. You know exactly how much you will need to have.
They also have coffee vending machines. I had so many cappuccinos that only cost $1.33. Admittedly, this is because the currency in Poland is worth less than the currency here; however, the fact that we do not have coffee vending machines is a crime against humanity.
Europe isn’t always amazing, and there are a few things that the United States does better, like air conditioning. A lot of European homes do not have A.C. and that really sucked considering I was there in August.
However, the lows at night are much lower than they are here in August, so it really isn’t the worst thing in the world when you can just open the window.
After I graduate, I do plan on moving to France, and while I know that Europe as a whole isn’t, A. one country, and B. all sunshine and rainbows, I do prefer it majorly over the United States.