Alcohol abuse and intoxication are a leading cause of injury and disruption on study abroad programs. The abuse of alcohol is often tied to becoming a victim of a violent crime or accident.
Drug possession and abuse abroad can subject you to harsh criminal proceedings and severe punishments. In some cases drugs that are legal in the U.S. are illegal in other countries, and aspects of the U.S. legal system (such as the presumption “innocent until proven guilty”) are not followed.
UC Davis Study Abroad has a zero tolerance policy on substance abuse. If you abuse alcohol or drugs (illegal or legal) on a Summer Abroad or Quarter Abroad program, you will be dismissed from the program – which may result in immediate return home, full liability for all program fees and campus disciplinary action. You should expect similar consequences on UCEAP and Independent programs.
The problems associated with alcohol can become more acute when students are in countries with lower minimum drinking ages than in the US and are drinking for the first time. If you are going to drink, drink responsibly, and look out for the safety of your fellow students.
In addition to safety concerns, keep in mind that in many countries excessive drinking is not culturally accepted. You should also never feel pressured into drinking more than you wish to drink, or engaging in any other potentially dangerous, illegal, or unhealthy personal behavior against your will because you think you may offend another culture. Find ways to say "no." Often a friendly but firm "no thank you" or hand-over-the-glass gesture does the job.
To learn more about alcohol and drinking responsibly, visit the UC Davis Student Health Services' page on Alcohol Poisoning and the Safe party website. Current Alcoholics Anonymous members can locate International General Service Offices to learn about meetings in their destination country on the A.A. website.