What Do Europeans Think About American Life? | NYT Opinion

We asked young, ordinary Europeans to take a look at U.S. policies on everything from food to guns. As they discover facts about America, they’re not impressed.

Sometimes it’s useful to get an outside perspective. In the Video Op-Ed above, Europeans are shocked to learn that the American government does not guarantee social protections that citizens in other advanced economies take for granted.

Their reactions reflect how European governments prioritize citizen welfare, offering national assurances like universal health care and affordable education. Americans have grown accustomed to the exorbitant costs of basic human services, the absence of parental leave protection and the unregulated presence of chemicals in food — things that would “cause riots” in Europe.

It’s true that the United States grapples with a larger and more diverse population than that of any European country. But with the resources of the world’s largest economy and as keepers of the American dream, can’t policymakers find solutions?

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100+ comentarios:

Agent Smith
Agent Smith:
I remember dreaming about living in the US when I was a kid. Now as an adult I thank God I live in Europe
Gabrielle Chamberland
Gabrielle Chamberland:
One fact that I find especially despicable is that you can be a victim of a school shooting and then you go to the hospital and they charge you 1000s of dollars to fix you.
Sinjin Reed
Sinjin Reed:
America: FREEDOM!!!!
*terms and conditions may apply
me as a kid: i want to go to america
me now: actually the netherlands is the best wouldnt want to move
A Friske
A Friske:
“I’m surprised there isn’t riots”

Well when you look at the police and military forces you can kind of understand why
"In Germany we dont wave flags." Yes, our european neighbours get nervous when we do that.
Deer Prophet
Deer Prophet:
I love my country so much! 🇫🇮 Free healthcare, free education, social aid, rental aid, KELA, low criminal rate (no school shootings), people dont need to own bunch of guns. Finland is one of the safest country to live in 💙 as a kid I always dreamed about living in America but as I grew older I started to appreciate my country so much more for how much more developed we are and how much better our system works for everyone. Not just for the rich and elitists.
Wf Coaker
Wf Coaker:
"What surprises me is that people aren't rioting in the streets." Dude, what's even more astounding is they are actually proud of it!
Noa Jurcevic
Noa Jurcevic:
I come from Europe and this is not really an exchange of opinions but rather a showcase of American failure.
Anna B
Anna B:
We’ve lived in the USA for five years, and it was pretty interesting to discover another culture and try to understand it.
However we were always sure that Europe is where we would like to settle down. Now when it’s down, we are more than happy with our choice 🤗
IcameIsaw S
IcameIsaw S:
I have international friends who find it odd that that we don't include taxes on the price tags.
As a Dutch person living in Germany, I was asked by a German, what the meaning was of the word "gefusilleerd",which she saw on sites in the dunes of the Dutch coast. It means the person was shot, the dunes were used as execution sites during the war. The conversation went dead as well..
Alan Tyson
Alan Tyson:
I love how they neglected to cut to the British woman in the university fees segment. Ahem, we're a little behind in Europe in that respect.
Thomas Allen
Thomas Allen:
How Americans are still persuaded to vote against policies that would make them safer, their environment less polluted, a healthcare safety net for whatever life has in-store and an improve work-life balance is beyond me.
Fun fact: Education/college in USA is very expensive, yet their education is ridiculous comparing to the rest of the world.
Shamekia Walker
Shamekia Walker:
“Honestly, that’s disgusting for a first world nation.”
Zah Ra
Zah Ra:
I used to look at the US and imagine it being so advanced and being “The Future”, but as I grew older, USA is just such a scary place for me I don’t ever wanna live there, especially with the racism and mass murders
As an european I'd like to see the reverse. Americans reacting to ridiculous things here. It'd be interesting to see what we don't think about
"In Germany, we don't wave flags"

**waves flag unenthusiastically**

💀 this guy kills me.
The very last comment absolutely cracked me up, "in Germany we don't wave flags" Everyone els in europe, "Yes and you know why!"🤣
mats smaling
mats smaling:
Europe is like America's older brother who got his life a bit together
Gustavo Chavez Madrazo
Gustavo Chavez Madrazo:
You'll be SHOCKED to know how expensive or inaccessible are all those services in a developing country, either you have money or you don't have access to healthcare, education or a formal job. Besides, obesity and violence are in historical highs. Greetings from Mexico...
"European countries guarantee 14 weeks of maternal leave, some even cover paternal"... In Czechia you get maternal leave, which is 28 weeks (including 6-8 weeks before the expected delivery) and then you have parental leave (which can be taken by the mother or the father or they can even take turns) that lasts 2-4 years. And it always blows me away that elsewhere instead of years, they only count it in weeks...
Fennec F
Fennec F:
"in Germany we don't wave flags" SO TRUE and I feel the need to talk about it for some reason!
Cloudy Skies
Cloudy Skies:
If you want an analogy for American life, Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” is a pretty good one.
Don’t mind me
Don’t mind me:
US: Costs 3000$ to get an ambulance
EU: Its illegal to not call an ambulance
Alex Mackenzie
Alex Mackenzie:
What baffles me and blow my mind is the fact that companies would go to extreme lengths to prevent labor unions, like ??? It's the laborers right to have right and benefits from where they're working!
Llama Latte
Llama Latte:
Awwe that's so nice of them to see all of these issues (that honestly just scratch the surface with America) and go "Their younger generation gives me hope though"
Fine Fish
Fine Fish:
"The younger generation is giving me hope about the future of America"

Tiktok: "Hold my degeneracy"
Aнтония Стойнова
Aнтония Стойнова:
In my country if you get good grades, you can get into the 'country order' list. Basically the country has a number of spots in each university that can be filled by those with good grades and they will study for less money. There is also help for those whose families are not well off but I am getting off the point. I classified for the list and now my yearly tax for university is 640 lev! That's like 320 euros give or take a few.
PS: Хей! Приятел от България! (Hey, a friend from Bulgaria- my country)
Fun fact: I got carbon monoxide poisoning & had to tell the fire department not to use the ambulance or give me oxygen bc my dad was in between jobs and we couldn't afford it (: i literally couldn't afford o x y g e n
wtf_ usa
wtf_ usa:
This is great to watch. Sometimes it feels like the whole world has gone crazy. Then you realize it's just us. That's fine. The world will get along much better without us, just as long as we don't blow the planet into an asteroid belt on our way out.
While I agree with the points made in this video, including lowering college costs, using MIT as your choice for a college is wrong because it’s a private university not state run and is notoriously expensive. If you want to talk about actual college costs, take a public university and use their in state costs instead.
Im Fatloser19
Im Fatloser19:
As an American the only ones that really surprised me was College and Healthcare.
I didn’t know it costed people close to nothing in other countries.
I give 'murica no1 on marketing, they do miracles on convincing people to act against their own interests!
poke frosch
poke frosch:
When the guy in the end says: "In Germany we don´t wave flags."

Thats the most german thing ever.
My country - Italy- has many flaws if compared to others like Denmark or Germany, but if I had to choose, I still prefer it to the U.S.A.
jake ☁️
jake ☁️:
somehow i knew they wouldn’t be told how many lives are saved per year by defensive use of firearms and before anyone calls me a gun toting conservative i actually want to leave america it just seemed disingenuous. i’m also pretty disappointed they weren’t told the cost of having a baby

edit: i think overall they could have been told more about our awful healthcare system as well, and the lower overall life expectancy and conditions of absolute poverty in my region of the country especially
Computer Curry
Computer Curry:
Interesting video, I liked hearing their perspectives.
Anthony Sr.
Anthony Sr.:
I love living in America yes its hard sometimes but it creates such beauty from its turmoil music , art and acts of kindness . The struggles and hardships make the journeys end so much more meaningful .
Soton mush
Soton mush:
I want to see the reverse video - Americans' opinions of us Europeans.
Kenneth Cargill
Kenneth Cargill:
And yet all that guaranteed paid maternity and paternity leave in Europe is not exactly stimulating their birth rates. This kind of policy can't be viewed as an incentive to have children.
When fast food unhealthy food and guns are cheaper than health care that speaks a lot of a country. They have over accessible unhealthy things but can’t afford to pay after using that unhealthy thing. And that’s a problem
I wouldn't mind paying more taxes if I knew my government would use it wisely and to support the people. In America I feel like I have very little idea of what happens to my money. It barely goes towards education or healthcare, which I feel are among the top responsibilities for a government to provide. It mostly goes towards our vast and expansive military.
Ilman Hamzah
Ilman Hamzah:
You know after about 6 years seeing how Americans live their normal lives with everything from this video, I've decided not to vacation in Seattle and instead chose the 3 countries closest from Malaysia where I live 🇲🇾.
Americans: Hate Obamacare and want it to be cancelled
Also Americans: Why can't I afford health insurance
lived in america my entire life

it's not perfect but it's home :D
gauthier maillard
gauthier maillard:
"American dream" is a myth... We always hear about the one who have success, but rarely or never about the hundred thousands who had no success or fail....
Lived in the US from 2000 to 2001. Ever since I appreciate more and more living in Europe.
In that small period, came across a police chase with dozens of police cars passing next to me and woke up one day with a SWAT team entering an apartment next to mine. I did not live in a bad neighborhood or city.
But the more I learn, if I had stayed there, probably the food would be biggest threat because companies' profit comes before our health.
Life expectancy in the US was slightly higher than in my country in 2000. Now, just 20 years later, people in the US live over 3 years less. Similar in other European countries.
McDonalds isn't a universal American food. It is more of a foreign idea of what Americans eat. I once went ten years without eating it, and still rarely go. In America we have endless choices of what we can eat – that is the real truth.
Alphas Anime Kitchen
Alphas Anime Kitchen:
In Germany it would be illegal not to call an ambulance.
Omg I love the German guy when he talks about uni tuition fees - he looks like he's just heard the biggest scandal of all time!
I once had to spend my tuition for one quarter on medical bills. My partner loaned me the money thankfully for my last quarter of college.
I have found that foreigners think of the whole of the US as either LA, NY, or Texas. I mean, you can go from a place that looks like it's straight out of one of those "Normal Day in Russia" videos straight to a place that fits most of the stereotypes. I mean in my town my neighbor owns a tank and bears wander around, but that's not usually what comes to mind when people think of the US.
Alan Wilson
Alan Wilson:
To make European brothers and sister let me say, these "facts" are highly skewed, remember america is as diverse from state to state as the EU is from country to country. I am a southerner and in this region these facts don't really apply to us
7 year old me: "when I grow up, I want to live in America!"

17 year old me: "hold on, lemme stay in Europe thanks. Auf Wiedersehen!"
Gabe Scipior
Gabe Scipior:
I would just like to say I agree with the overturning of the gun restriction law in Washington DC. Being an American myself I can say we take it very seriously that we are able to keep the rights that constitution gives us and our ability to be independent from the government, so in the case that we have something go wrong with the government we are not reliant on them for regulating everything in our lives. Think about it ,in a country where you are reliant on the government to pay for everything for you, would you be able to Live the life you have now if something occurred in your government that stopped the funding of those things?
John Grillo
John Grillo:
As far as tuition is concerned in this country, I believe this video is misleading. He may pay $18 per semester, but the population in Denmark is around 5.8 million people. In Germany the population is 83 million, around 1/3 that of the United States. I grew up in a relatively low income area of Florida. At the end of my four years of University, I had incurred a debt of about $55,000. Nearly 3 years after school, all my debts have been paid off and I have my bachelors degree. I may have not gotten a free education, but the morals and values gained during the process of putting myself through school has been a pillar for me to stand on in the future. There are positives and negatives to both styles, however the judgmental and quite frankly ignorant rhetoric that’s spewed through this video is misleading and false.
Nasa's budget is around 1% of the military's, so if we took out at least 10% of our military budget and spend it on stuff that would help our citizens ( healthcare, education, etc) then most of our problems would be solved. Also, that might help with our $32,000,000,000,000 debt.
I once lived in a dorm with larger number of people from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. I would get very quiet when people would talk whose country did what really well or who had really nice cities and stuff like that.
Amr Abdellatif
Amr Abdellatif:
"What surprises me is that people aren't rioting on the streets TBH" me too, buddy! Me too!
Abhay Mhatre
Abhay Mhatre:
When I was small I used to think US is the best . It was my goal to go there . But now I want to go to Finland
2:22 love the evil laughter ;D in denmark it is free. actually you get paid to study besides it being free.
although you indirectly will pay it all back later in life through taxes. so it is not exactly free. but it wont put you in debt. and it lets everyone have a chance to get educated in the line of work they desire. not what they can afford.
Ruby Froggatt
Ruby Froggatt:
"Everyone secretly has an American dream, so, I mean, we can still all resubscribe to that"
*Waving flags*
"In Germany we don't wave flags"

Killed me
Peter G. Barlow
Peter G. Barlow:
It will always be true that with more freedom, comes more personal responsibility. The thing that makes America better than any European country, is that America has more liberty and freedom. America loves liberty and freedom. Europe loves security and safety.
bella fiori
bella fiori:
It’s videos like this that make me proud to be European
I live in Poland - I really cannot imagine a situation when I have to pay for an ambulance to get me to the hospital or to get a treatment when I break a leg, not talking about a situation when you cannot have a proper cancer treatment because you don’t have money for that… it is really mind blowing…
Karine Debray
Karine Debray:
Very good and funny videos bring a great sense of entertainment!
I love how they don't show us the conversation of the British in the university conversation 😅🤣 (no offense)
Oh boy I can't wait for a completely unbiased video about cultural differences between the USA and Europe.
Linus G
Linus G:
As someone from Finland, if I see an accident, I'm required by law to call an ambulance.
As a dutch person i wanted to live in the us but now that i know how weird the rules and laws they got are id rather live in korea
When i have a rough day and feel like things are unfair in life i just remember "i could have been born in the US and would be homeless with dept so i'm really lucky to be where i am tbh"
I grew up in the '60s so America to me was the Vietnam war, civil rights protests, Kent State,
but also progressive music, the moon shot, 'modernism; in music and art. So a mixed bag.
Having travelled in Europe and Asia, and having seen the US for myself, I wonder how they can
now be so behind the rest of the world in social conditions.
zB Matt
zB Matt:
America is both the easiest place to get ahead but also the easiest place to get behind.

I frankly don’t think that people who don’t want to get to the top, especially financially, should live in America. It’s just not worth it.
Sebastian Stoltze
Sebastian Stoltze:
When she said “hmm cancer brownies” i was 💀
Unexplained AF
Unexplained AF:
"The younger generation in America has definitely given me hope about the future of America" Oh the generation that can't work out what gender that are? Ok.
JarJar Binks
JarJar Binks:
Tbh I kind of prefer our larger drink sizes. A big gulp unsweetened ice tea can last me throughout the day while I work outside
Thomas Hayes
Thomas Hayes:
I love it when they say "completely free". Like no honey, you are still paying thought taxes. Not saying I like the US system but I think it's an important point.
Me as a kid : I wish I could go to America one day and live there.
Me as a adult after learning the truth about the so called perfect American Life : I guess we ain't going anywhere
Connor Tan 4896
Connor Tan 4896:
I'm from Malaysia and my grandmother once said: "You study hard, go live in America, there have good future." Now she said: "Singapore is good enough."
Thomas Sz.
Thomas Sz.:
"In Germany we don't wave flags." :D perfect statement
3:08 We've tried the riot thing. Half the country just calls the rioting part lazy and/or ungrateful.
A_swish West
A_swish West:
When i was younger the US was probably in my top 5 travel destinations.

Now it’s probably close to dropping out of top 30.
andy maciver
andy maciver:
I like how we don't hear any of the negative parts about Europe and the positives of America.
Why should you be charged for healthcare? It’s not like you choose to be sick. That’s terrible
as someone who lived in america until i was 10 (i now live in germany), i did not know how weird that country was.
I used to irrationally fear American food as a kid because I thought it was 'poisoned', 0:45 this made me think XDD
jang amit
jang amit:
4:20 They are talking about “California” not America, As an international student who lived in Texas before and California now, I see two very different America.
Jonathan Tosio
Jonathan Tosio:
'In Germany, we don't wave flags..' - I love this on so many levels.
Aubrey B
Aubrey B:
As an American, I appreciate when people from other nations realize the actual problems we have rather than criticizing the stigmas surround us.

Stand by the people not by their system.
When i was 14 i always thought about going to america for studies and to live... But when i turned 18.. Nope.. Never setting a foot on that land😂 now im 19 and im still strong on my decision😂
Annabelle Owl
Annabelle Owl:
The german: "In Germany we don't wave flags"
someone else: "Why?"
The german: *gets WW1, WW2 and NS regime flashbacks* "Bad things happen when we're too proud."
Aoibhin Maguire
Aoibhin Maguire:
I think in Northern Ireland for my course in uni it was maybe 600 to 800 overall I think it’s 220 pre year or a little more
Adrian Klein
Adrian Klein:
Americans are so friendly and hospitable.
Oh, yeah, especially in foreign regions, they gift civilians with expensive cartiges to the body.
Miguel Ángel Trujillo Pérez
Miguel Ángel Trujillo Pérez:
“I can’t afford that” that’s a serious issue America has to fix
The Creative Iguana
The Creative Iguana:
Me as a kid: “One day I’ll study in the US and live in New York 😎 “

Me now: “Ok I live in Italy, best place ever, good enough”
Aubrey Bryant
Aubrey Bryant:
I was born in southern California and now, 56 years later, I want nothing more than to live in the Scottish countryside.
Martha Benitez
Martha Benitez:
I guess it’s not employer maternity leave, it’s more like government leave and they call it short term disability
Me as kid: I wanna live in NYC
Me now: Italy is good enough