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American Woman Shares The 4 Reasons Why Moving Abroad Is 'Worth It'

Photo: Piotr Orlinski / Shutterstock
woman admires view from cliff by the ocean

One American woman decided she wanted to experience life outside of the US and explore what the other side of the world has to offer. 

After four years of living abroad, she was pleasantly delighted by the “stark” differences she experienced.

The woman shared a video with four reasons why moving abroad to Europe was 'worth it.'

Kayleigh Shayne, a travel content creator, explained how she applied for a working holiday visa and was able to spend over four years living in Ireland. During her time there, she identified four major reasons Europe’s quality of life far surpassed America’s. 

   

   

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1. European workers get 20 paid vacation days a year

The average working American only gets 11 paid vacation days a year, accruing more days with time the longer an employee stays with their company. However, the US federal government does not require companies to offer any paid time off, so this decision is ultimately left up to businesses. 

   

   

Meanwhile, the European Union passed its Working Time Initiative in the early 1990s, requiring all European countries to offer a minimum of 20 paid vacation days a year, not including holidays. Many companies typically offer even more.

Shayne revealed she had 29 paid vacation days a year during her time working in Ireland. She was encouraged to use them and traveled to countries like the Netherlands, Greece and Amsterdam.

2. European companies offer unlimited paid sick days

American companies are not federally required to offer paid sick time, and only 14 states currently have sick paid leave laws in place. Even so, these laws allow companies to limit the amount of sick time employees can receive. For those who do have paid sick time, employees are considered lucky if they can earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. This means employees commonly earn 40 hours of paid sick time per year. 

Sick leave laws vary by country in Europe, but in most countries, not only are employees not required to build up or ‘earn’ sick time, but every employee is given adequate time to recover, and it’s paid. Imagine that!

In another video, Shayne described the polarity of her experiences getting COVID-19 in Ireland versus in America. In Ireland, the company she worked for at the time was more than understanding of her circumstances and told her, “Take as much time as you need.” Shayne was out of work for a week and a half, which she was paid for. 

   

   

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Recently, when Shayne got sick with COVID-19 in America, because she had already used up her four hours' worth of paid sick time for the month, her employer informed her she would need to use her paid vacation days as time off to recover. Shayne naturally opposed this, as she already used most of her vacation days and she had an upcoming trip planned.

Consequently, Shayne is now “in the negatives” for her vacation time, meaning if she left the company before being able to earn the time back, she would be required to pay the company back for those days. This experience clearly proves the absurdity of the American system.

3. Europeans care more about their health

Shayne shared how she struggled to lose weight while eating healthy and working out in America, yet as soon as she moved to Europe, she shed nearly 50 pounds. She blamed the availability of unhealthy food loaded with sugar, additives and preservatives that American products are modified with, as opposed to the fresh and natural foods available in Europe. 

While the infamous American diet is highly processed, Europe’s Food Information Council and Food Safety Authority “prohibit hormones and advise against preservatives.”

   

   

According to The Beacon Beat, “The FDA allows additives to be used in American foods until they are proven harmful. Europe, on the other hand, will only allow certain additives in food after they have been proven to be unharmful, demonstrating that American corporations care less about the health of their foods than those in Europe.” 

Europeans place much more significance on taking care of their health through physical activity and eating all-natural foods. Shayne shared how upon moving to Ireland, she spent much more time walking and bicycling to destinations, rather than driving.

She additionally shared how there is much easier access to natural food through the use of neighborhood vending machines that local farmers can use directly to sell their fresh produce and goods.

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4. Traveling in Europe is affordable and accessible

Thanks to the abundance of vacation days, traveling around the continent is a common commodity. 

While the average plane ticket within the US costs around $380, flights within major European cities can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. Europeans also have the ability to purchase a range of Eurail Global passes for multiple train trips in one month starting at $235.

   

   

According to Shayne, she was able to find flights to other countries in Europe for less than $50. “Being able to experience so many different cultures through traveling opened my eyes to the world,” Shayne expressed.

For many, Europe’s quality of life is significantly better than America’s.

Content creators like Shayne are raising awareness of America’s flawed systems and poor consideration of Americans’ health and happiness, driving many to escape its dystopia for the much more appealing lifestyles promoted in European countries.

There are many reasons why Europe is characterized as a continent of supreme quality, from its countries’ stunning views to their rich histories. While everywhere has its flaws, it’s clear that Europe places much more emphasis on designing a flourishing environment where people can be happy and carefree.

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.