Paris vs. London Culture Shocks

After living in the US for years now, then moving to Paris for a month and getting used to their culture, to coming to London for yet another month, I’ve noticed particularities that each city/country has. Even within Europe, cultures differ and the culture in Paris is different than the one in London.

To start off with Paris, most –if not all– restaurants give you a basket of baguette to enjoy with your meal, for free! And when you’re done with that little basket, they give you another one! This was actually one of my favorite things about the Paris, and I was surprised at first. I remember one time I was at a restaurant with my friend, and the table next to us was a big group of American tourists. They also had that culture shock with the bread and started questioning the waiter if it’s free, why, how much can they have, etc. This made me chuckle and realize how uncommon this would be back in the US.

Another culture shock in Paris is eating outside during the warmer days. It is no surprise at this point that European countries don’t really use air conditioning (AC), but even during the hottest days, people still sit outside. In fact, during the heat wave this past month, it reached around 106 degrees Fahrenheit, and while my classmates were all looking for places with at least some AC to stay inside (like the mall), plenty of Parisians were casually having lunch in the scorching hot outside.

Moving on to London, the main one that most people have trouble getting used to when they get to the UK is the fact that cars drive on the opposite sides of the road. This means that instead of looking left and then right, you have to look right before looking left; otherwise, you might get hit by a car. This definitely takes some time getting used to, and even after almost two weeks here, I still get confused by it.

Last but certainly not least, there are so many free museums around the city. This really surprised me because in the US and even in Paris, you have to pay a fee or buy a ticket in order to enter that museum. Just a couple days ago, we had to visit a museum for a class, and instead of standing in line to buy a ticket to enter, we just went in, and it was a very relaxed environment.

Regardless of those differences, each city is beautiful in their own way and I would definitely love to live in either of them. Every country will be different and it’s a matter of finding one that fits your lifestyle and life goals, and getting used to the pace of the place.

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.