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.
The Global Learning Hub has a zero tolerance policy on substance abuse. If you abuse alcohol or drugs (illegal or legal) on a global learning experience, 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 U.S. 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.
Health and accident insurance resources: GeoBlue Global Health Insurance, UC Traveler Insurance Coverage, Extended Overseas Travel Coverage, Gap Coverage for Domestic Insurance, and Trip Cancellation Coverage.
Staying healthy while abroad requires following many of the same good habits needed for staying healthy at home—with additional precautions depending on your location.
Some countries have specific vaccination/immunization requirements that need to be fulfilled before departure. There may also be vaccinations that are recommended rather than required—sometimes based on the areas in the country you will be visiting.
If you are sexually active while abroad, please be aware that laws, cultural norms and risks related to sexual activity may vary widely, and it is important, to consider the context of your individual situation and assume a greater degree of caution.
Before you travel, research safety issues in the specific locations you will be visiting by consulting U.S. State Department reports on those locations, and register your trip with the State Department so that they can better assist you in the case of emergencies.
Living in a new culture can be exhilarating, rewarding, and stimulating. It can also be disorienting, frustrating and depressing. Such distress or “culture shock” is due to the twofold challenge of being in a new environment with unfamiliar customs, language, etc., and being away from home.
Travel to any part of the world, including within the United States, includes risk of natural disaster, terrorism, severe weather, criminal activity, disease, accident and injury.