Of course everyone knows eating in Europe and in America isn’t the same. Different foods, different cultures… But honestly, as an international student studying in the US, I really did not expect to experience such a culture shock when it came to eating habits.

Not only are the ingredients and general cuisine different, but the entire American lifestyle even differs because of their eating. Here are a few things that differ the most from one continent to the other.

Portion Sizes

Everything in America is known to be bigger than in Europe: the country, the cars, the highways, and the portions are no exception. Here, when asking for a small drink, expect what would be considered a medium or even large in Europe. And don’t be surprised to see that some restaurants, fast food chains, and cafes do not even offer small sizes and skip straight to the regular. Small in America does not exist. Go big or go home.

Cost of Food

bill, cash, money, tea, beer
Anna Arteaga

Something else I have noticed in America is the very high price of vegetables and fruits, and the very low price of processed food and fast foods. And then they wonder why Americans are getting fatter.


candy, sweet, cream, doughnut, chocolate
Elena Bailoni

Yes, America really runs on Dunkin. No matter what day, what time, what occasion it is, it is always the right time for donuts (and coffee, but that’s another story).

Anti-Social Meals

Toasting, cheers, liquor, ice, beer, cocktail, champagne, alcohol, wine
Shelby Cohron

Americans are known to live faster than Europeans. They are always in a hurry, do everything quickly, and eating is no exception. When Europeans will spend hours at the dinner table (think of the French who can spend up to three hours having lunch), Americans prefer fast food and big chains where you are fed in 10 minutes tops.

Chains are Everything

Lauren Murray

And I mean everything. Checkers, Chipotle, Shake Shack… Americans have nailed fast, time saving eating.


whisky, soda, juice, beer, wine, ice, liquor, vodka, alcohol
Alex Frank

So Europeans haven’t nailed fast eating yet, but they definitely have nailed drinking laws. Shoutout to making alcohol accessible from your majority onwards.


Sammy Mintzer

Sodas are always acceptable in America, even for breakfast. A rare thing, maybe, but it’s something I have already witnessed many times in our college’s dining halls and something that never fails to surprise me.