After twelve short eventful days, the class has inevitably returned back home to Culver-Stockton College. After returning home, I personally have learned to appreciate the American ways. If you have been keeping up with the blogs you must have read the remarkable information my classmates have informed you about regarding the sites of interest, as well as the historical monuments that we have been so grateful to view. With out repeating those stories, I would like to give you an overview of the cultural difference we endured everyday in the city life of London, Paris, and Rome.
The first thing that was noticed when reaching London was the obvious driving of cars on the left side of the road. This was a huge change for us as pedestrians attempting to get use to looking the opposite way to ensure that a car was not coming. When reaching Paris it was even a bit more chaotic even though the cars were back to driving on the "right" side of the road. At this destination we had to get use to the unstructured sense of driving, specifically when cars are allowed to drive any which way to reach their destination, along with no pedestrian walk ways or center median to establish which lane you are driving in. This area was specifically located around the square surrounding The Arc de Triomphe, which represents Napoleon and his victories. Also included are the names of Generals who commanded French troops during Napoleon's regime.
On the flip side of this were the forms of public transportation. Where Americans living in a small town are use to hopping into their cars when you want to go somewhere, it is more likely for Europeans to use the tube, subway, or metro. This transportation method was very helpful in terms of finding our way around the city.
In terms of business there were also several aspects that I noticed differentiating between The United States and Europe. One thing I noticed right off the bat, that I was hugely grateful for, was that it was very easy to locate someone that could communicate with us in English. After returning home, I have learned to appreciate free refills, water, ice, and friendly customer service while dining out at a restaurant. Europeans have a different way of operating. In Europe, communication with a service person is minimal to none. This isn't necessarily the wrong way, it is what Europeans expect. Oppositely, Americans expect interaction between the person giving and receiving the service.
One other huge aspect, that was a little hard to get use to, was terms of personal space. Most Americans act independent having there own little bubble in which they don't expect anyone to invade. In Europe, this space is somewhat violated. We were constantly reminded to scoot in or get closer by our tour guide, Richard, because if there was a gap between us someone would fill it and believe me he was right.
There are many differences between the lifestyles of The United States and Europe, neither of them being right or wrong. Everyone has there personal system that works best for them. These were only a few of the differences I noticed while recapping on this amazing experience in which I am very grateful to have taken a part in.