I moved to Europe for grad school in September and I already miss a few things about the US.
I miss more variety and accessibility of products and services, especially food.
Luxembourg feels confined to me and I miss American campus culture.
I moved from the US to Luxembourg in September to attend a two-year Master’s program — but after just a few months, I miss a lot of things about home.
Of course, there’s plenty I wish the US would import from Europe — long lunch breaks and vacation days (that people actually take), national health insurance, and better public transportation, to name a few.
But, hey, no place is perfect. Here are a few things I miss about the US:
I miss quality, around-the-clock customer service
I appreciate the chill European attitude toward cafe culture and slower-paced restaurants. However, when it comes to essentials, I miss the American “Get it done NOW!” attitude.
For example, when I tried to open a bank account in Luxembourg (a feat for any American abroad), the bank incorrectly scanned some documents. This resulted in my complete inability to access funds for an entire week.
I was shocked the issue took so long to resolve because I’m used to 24/7 customer-service lines back home, particularly in emergency financial situations. It was especially rough because I’m alone in one of the most expensive countries in Europe.
It took multiple calls to get the issue resolved, and many of my international friends here told me they experienced similar difficulties with banking.
Shopping is more limited than I’m used to
Most European shops don’t have the extended hours you’d typically find in American cities. Many stores will close near the end of the business day, which is rough if you work full-time.
I’ve also noticed there’s less variety on the shelves in these stores.
Depending on where you live in Europe — I’m looking at you, Luxembourg! — online orders can also be a bit of a pain to get delivered.
I’m desperate for more food variety
Many parts of Europe, like Italy or Spain or France, are known for having incredible food.
But in Luxembourg, I’ve had a tough timing incredible food that’s not super expensive. Most “nice” restaurants here that I’ve tried seemed overpriced for the quality.
I also miss being able to easily access a diverse range of foods — back home I could simply order or pick up high-quality Mexican or Asian cuisine. Neither are very common here.
There’s also no Trader Joe’s, which is one of my favorite grocery stores back home.
I’m unexpectedly longing for open spaces
In tiny, land-locked Luxembourg, I easily become claustrophobic.
I came from Seattle, which has plenty of waterfront and mountain views. There’s not much of that here.
The local nature is nice, but it’s quite confined. I feel like even the most elevationally-challenged states back home still have views that go on for miles and miles.
Many living spaces in this area are also quite compact and cozy with limited outdoor spaces beyond a terrace or balcony. Windows are smaller, too, which makes me miss natural lighting — and this is coming from a Pacific Northwest girl very familiar with clouds and rain.
I’m glad I experienced university culture before hopping across the Atlantic
Since I relocated here for graduate school, I was excited to experience Luxembourg campus life. I quickly found out that it doesn’t really exist — at least, not like it does in America.
Dorms are for international students or others from further afield, as more local students tend to live at home. There are sports and clubs, but the school is nowhere near the level of US “resort” (as one Bulgarian friend put it) campuses.
My university is also quite new and small, so the campus community is still developing.
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