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Alcohol and Drug Use

Alcohol and drug use carries serious risks, from a health, cultural and legal standpoint.

In addition to these issues, which will be discussed below, it can lead to disciplinary actions. If you exhibit excessive and irresponsible intoxication and behavior that interferes with the rights of others or causes a disruption in the program, the Study Abroad Office may take the following disciplinary actions:

  • Termination from the program
  • Parental notification
  • Return home at your own expense


When studying abroad, you will most likely be going to a location where you will be of legal drinking age in that country.  Although being far from home may lessen your inhibitions, use good judgment if you choose to consume alcohol. 

Drinking heavily is not only a significant danger in a foreign country, it is also seen as extremely culturally inappropriate in many places. Be aware of the customs in your host country. Drinking to get drunk is rarely acceptable and binge drinking is seen as disrespectful and problematic in many cultures. Think about these issues as you choose how to represent yourself as a U.S. student abroad.


DO NOT do drugs abroad – the penalties are much too dangerous! Despite what you may have heard about looser drug laws outside of the U.S., drugs are illegal in most countries around the world and drug laws are often stricter. For example,

  • In several countries, possession of a relatively small amount of illegal drugs can be grounds for mandatory sentences or even the death penalty.
  • In some countries it can be illegal even to enter the country with drugs still in your system.
  • If you are purchasing prescription medications in quantities larger than considered necessary for personal use, you could be arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Once you have ventured beyond U.S. borders, U.S. laws or constitutional rights no longer protect you.  There is very little anyone can do to help you if you are caught with drugs, and it’s your responsibility to know what the drug laws are in a foreign county before you go.  “I didn’t know it was illegal” will not get you out of jail.