College students who study abroad drink more, according to a study released last month.
A new study from the University of Washington has found that not only do students who study abroad consume more alcohol, but those who go to Europe, Australia and New Zealand almost double their normal alcohol intake.
Rob Hallworth, the director of GW’s Office for Study Abroad, said his office is aware of the differences in alcohol culture around the world and works to teach students about their respective destination’s customs.
“Our most pressing concern is the health of our students and helping to educate them to avoid potentially harmful situations, regardless of the cultural mores involved,” Hallworth said.
Chris Geissler, a senior who studied abroad in Germany last spring, said the resounding point of a seminar he took before departing was “Don’t be ‘that American.'”
“For most of us, [going abroad] wasn’t about getting a 30 rack and partying in dorms,” Geissler said. “There were so few times I could say, ‘This is a Thurston moment.'”
Although Geissler lived in a co-ed flat with nine other international students, he said the few “ragers” they threw lacked drinking games and focused more on socializing than chugging.
Senior Bonnie Epstein had a different experience when she was abroad in Australia, where she said partying was the norm. One popular bar was located 20 feet from the main American dorm.
“You’d go out Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, everyday,” she said, adding, however, that drinking was not the sole focus of her semester abroad.
The study found a decrease in drinking rates once students returned home, although Geissler said remnants of European drinking culture lingered with him, particularly due to underage drinking restrictions in the U.S.
“When I saw a bottle of nice wine at the grocery store, I wanted to be able to buy it. And I couldn’t,” Geissler said.
In his own words, he “tried everything, did everything, conquered Europe.”