According to the Code of Student Conduct, students can purchase and consume alcohol abroad if they are of the legal age in the country or region to which they are traveling. However, programs can establish group expectation contracts with restrictions above and beyond the code. In addition, at some locations abroad, the local host organization may not allow consumption. Regardless of the expectation and legality, if consumption of alcohol violates an expectations contract, impairs your ability to participate in a program, threatens the health and safety of yourself or others and/or causes harm to the relationship Ohio State has established with organizations in the host country, you may be subject to a violation of the code and subject to sanctions including dismissal from a program abroad.
Drinking alcohol can seem deceptively harmless, especially when you travel to countries where attitudes, customs and drinking ages may be different from those in the United States. Nevertheless, excessive alcohol consumption impairs your judgment, reduces your situational awareness and can lead to disruptive behavior and risk of harm to yourself and to others. You should never feel pressured to drink if you do not want to, or feel embarrassed to order non-alcoholic beverages. If you choose to drink, be responsible and adjust your limit to retain awareness in your new surroundings. Educate yourself by talking with your program leader or education abroad coordinator about the customs, etiquette and drinking age laws for your host country. Cultural norms for drinking are often more moderate than expected.
There are some instances in which the “common sense” you would employ at home works just as well overseas. Students who choose to drink abroad are encouraged to do so with the same caution that they would at home:
- Avoid accepting drinks from a stranger
- Don’t leave a drink unattended
- Utilize a buddy system
- Practice bystander intervention by not leaving anyone alone or behind in an impaired state
- Avoid drinking to impairment
People impaired by alcohol are more at risk of being the victim or perpetrator of attacks, robberies, muggings and sexual assaults. Making sound choices about alcohol consumption is one of the most proactive steps you can take to protecting your health and personal safety abroad.
Under the Ohio State Code of Student Conduct, the use, production, distribution, sale or possession of drugs in a manner prohibited under U.S. and Ohio law is prohibited conduct while overseas as an Ohio State student. This includes, but is not limited to, the misuse or sharing of prescription drugs. The use of prohibited drugs, even if permissible by local law, can lead to dismissal from the program and subsequent discipline under the code.