News Flash: Study-abroad students drink a lot
We've all seen Facebook photos from semesters spent studying abroad: No drinking age! European beer! Flaming shots! Tour de Franzia! Hot Italians in dance clubs! Booze for breakfast!
Yes, yes, studying abroad is an absolutely amazing opportunity to immerse oneself in a different culture, become fluent in a foreign language and rack up even more student loan debt. But, come on, it's also an opportunity to party.
University of Washington researchers found that college students doubled their alcohol consumption while abroad. At home, they had about four drinks a week. Abroad, eight. It's unclear if that drinking is risky (a crazy Saturday night filled with binge drinking) or more tame (a glass of wine with dinner every night), researchers said in a university news release. But when students returned to the states, they again reduced the amount they drank.
The legal drinking age in foreign countries is usually lower than 21, and underage students nearly tripled their weekly drinking allotment when overseas. The drunkest study abroad destinations: Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
The researchers recommended that colleges create prevention programs that target students who are already heavy drinkers or plan to drink heavily while abroad. They explained why in a news release:
Like heavy drinking on campus, consequences of drinking while studying abroad can be mild, such as missed classes due to hangovers, or more severe, such as fights, injuries and regrettable sexual experiences. But heavy drinking while in a different country can present additional problems, including disrupted travel plans, promoting negative stereotypes of American students and even legal issues with a foreign government.
The study is based on a survey of 177 students who studied abroad for three to five months. Before they left, they completed a survey saying how much they drink each week, how much they planned to drink abroad and their perceptions about study abroad drinking habits. A month after they returned, they filled out another survey. The research was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and was published in the latest issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
| October 13, 2010; 12:57 PM ET
Categories: Night Life | Tags: University of Washington
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