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Alcohol and Drugs

Prior to your departure, familiarize yourself with both the laws in your host country regarding alcohol and drug use and the rules of your study abroad program. While you may be allowed to consume alcohol under the laws of your host country, be aware that any alcohol-related incident abroad will be treated by W&M just as it would be here on campus. If you have any questions about alcohol use in the host country, please consult with your program director and/or local program staff.

In many countries, the drinking age is 18, which can be appealing to many American students studying abroad. However, in many countries, binge drinking and drunkenness are considered socially unacceptable and immature. Americans are often stereotyped as not being responsible about drinking and are frequently preyed on by thieves and other unscrupulous individuals who use American students' intoxication to their own advantage. Irresponsible consumption of alcohol is a factor in the overwhelming majority of crimes committed against American students abroad. If you drink, do so in moderation and in keeping with the social norms of your host society. Intoxication impairs your judgment and can easily lead you to put yourself in unsafe situations. Only you can keep yourself safe while abroad; please make healthy and safe decisions.

W&M students are expressly forbidden from using drugs, regardless of whether drugs are legal in your host country. In addition, many countries have more severe punishments regarding drugs than those in America, and while abroad, you are subject to the punitive measures of your host country. Should you be arrested on drug charges, there is nothing the U.S. government or W&M can do to exempt you from your host country's legal process. Please see the U.S. State Department's "Tips for Traveling Abroad: Special Warning About Drug Offenses Abroad" for further details.

Always keep in mind that you represent William & Mary while traveling abroad. In addition, as a W&M student, you are bound by the Honor Code, even while away from campus.