Here are some tips to protect yourself:
- Pay attention to the drinking culture and laws. While the drinking age may be lower in some countries, it may be frowned upon to consume alcohol quickly or in large quantities. Conversely, alcohol consumption is illegal for people of all ages in some countries.
- Even if it is legal for you to consume alcohol in your host country, do not consume excessive quantities as intoxication puts your safety at risk. Intoxicated travelers are more likely to be victims of crime or injure themselves due to alcohol-related incidents.
- Stay in a group. Do not leave an intoxicated friend alone.
- Abstain from all types of drug possession or use while abroad, even if it may be legal in the country. Drug laws in some countries can be very strict, with some leading to mandatory imprisonment or even the death penalty. Violation(s) of a country’s laws may also be grounds for deportation.
- Never accept a package from a stranger, or offer to deliver an unknown item. You may unknowingly be involved in a drug smuggling operation.
If you are arrested abroad the Study Abroad Office, nor the U.S. government, can get you out of jail. You will be subject to the laws of arrest in that country and may have limited, or no, access to a U.S. representative, lawyer, phone call, etc.