What America has that Europe just doesn’t…

Senior Lindsey Parsons enjoying a large coffee.  PC: Jorrdan Bissell

Senior Lindsey Parsons enjoying a large coffee.

PC: Jorrdan Bissell

Coming back from Europe can be a shock. There’s nothing quite like the European culture, the European history, the European food and the European fashion. It almost seems like everything is better there…right?

Wrong! There are a few things America has to offer you just don’t experience across the Atlantic. So read on and remember these things the next time a snobby Adventist College’s Abroad (ACA) student says, “Well, we did it like this in Italy…”

24-hour stores

As a college student, we live lives of constant cravings. We crave Raising Canes, DeLeons, Village Inn or snacks from your local gas station or Walmart.

One of the things America has to offer are places open 24 hours a day. If you run out of toothpaste at 1 a.m. and desperately need more, never fear! If your car suddenly is out of oil in the wee hours of the morning, I’m sure there’s an open convenience store nearby.

In Italy, business hours were strict and if you needed something outside those hours, sorry. Many times we walked two miles to the grocery store at what we thought was a reasonable hour (3 p.m.) only to find it unlit and locked.

In my mind, this tied into Europe’s lack of emphasis on customer service. America makes it a point to have toll free numbers for almost every product. My experience in Italy regarding customer service was shared by Melissa Ratter, who attended the ACA school in Spain. “America focuses more on customer service and how the customer is feeling rather than just a job,” Ratter said.

So count your blessings, American residents. At least you can buy ice cream and chocolate at any time of the day.

Large iced coffees

This might seem silly because coffee in Europe is on its own level. Italian cappuccini are incredible and quickly became the only thing I spent money on. However the size of Italian coffee leaves something to be desired. There are two sizes: tiny and tinier. In America, you can buy whatever sized coffee you want! Starbucks (which I’m not advocating for, I definitely did not miss Starbucks in Italy) offers the Venti size, with 20 fluid ounces of hot coffee.

Also, Italians don’t use ice. Ever. Because they don’t, one could and should assume iced coffee is off the table. This puzzled me because I’m a massive proponent of iced coffee and drink it almost year-round. In America, you can have huge massive cups of iced coffee and people don’t judge you for it! Kudos, America, for your ice and your generous serving sizes.

Europe, and Italy especially, is wonderful and has so many things that America doesn’t. But in those moments that kid who just got back from a year abroad won’t stop talking about all his “adventures,” just dump your 24-ounce iced caramel latte on their head and call it a day.