Header Image, Health and Safety

Alcohol and Drugs


Alcohol abuse and intoxication are a leading cause of injury and disruption on study abroad programs. Many injuries and crimes to students traveling abroad are associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Be smart and take care of yourself and your classmates.

Although there may be a different minimum drinking age in your country, if you decide to drink, drink responsibly, and look out for the safety of your fellow students. It is advisable that you avoid consuming alcohol at all for the first few days while you are getting accustomed to your new surroundings. Students on UC Davis and UC programs can be expelled from their program if drinking becomes disruptive or leads to violation of participant contracts.

In addition to safety concerns, keep in mind that in most 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 – whether you are in the U.S. or another country - visit the UC Davis Student Health Services' page on Alcohol Poisoning and the Safe party website. Alcoholics Anonymous members can locate International General Service Offices to learn about meetings in their destination country on the A.A. website. If you need to counseling while abroad, please visit the Mental Health Resources under the Global Learning Hub’s Staying Healthy Abroad web resources. If you need counseling while abroad, please visit the Mental Health Resources under the Global Learning Hub’s Staying Healthy Abroad web resources.

Drugs, Criminal Behavior & Arrests

Know the laws of your destination as drug use/abuse, possession, or transportation of illegal drugs in punishable by severe penalties. In some cases, drugs that are legal in the U.S. are illegal in other countries. If you are caught with illegal drugs, you will be subject to local (not U.S.) laws.

UC Davis Study Abroad will not be able to get you out of jail. Know the laws of your host country and obey them. Ignorance of local laws and foreign customs is not enough to avoid criminal charges. In many locations, you will not have the right to bail, "innocent until proven guilty" may not be the legal custom, and you may be detained without formal charges against you. U.S. or non-U.S. citizenship will not help an individual who has been arrested.

If needed, you should contact your program instructor or program staff so that Study Abroad can inform your emergency contact of your situation. U.S. citizens can contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a list of lawyers. Non-U.S. citizens should contact their embassy or consulate for possible assistance. More information on services provided by U.S. consular officers to U.S. citizens arrested abroad is available on the U.S. Department of State website.