What Not To Do When Out Of the Country Even If They Are Legal
You are underage and curious, and so many things are legal and open for you to try once you cross over international waterways. Your mother keeps reiterating to you the same phrase she has repeated since you were two years old: “Curiosity killed the cat.” Is there a way to experiment safely while still respecting your parents’ wishes and maintaining your own personal safety?
A Personal Experience
When I was seventeen, I went to Spain with my father and my stepmother to attend one of my step-cousin’s weddings. I could have sampled alcohol at any point on the trip, but the wedding proved to be the most available opportunity for me to do so. The combination of the crowd and the activity on the dance floor prevented my father from keeping up with me. I ran into my step-cousins and they insisted that I have a drink. “You’re in Spain!” They told me “You can’t not drink!” So they ordered me chocolate milk with a splash of coconut rum: an intriguing combination that left my stomach warm, but my mind still fully in tact. I didn’t tell my father about the drink until after I turned 21.
What to Expect
While it may not be true that if you can see over the bar stool you can get a drink in Europe, they do have a lower drinking age there. According to the National Youth Rights Association, only seven nations actually have set the minimum. These countries include the Ukraine, Russia, Honduras, Egypt, South Korea, Malaysia, and, of course the United States. So it is highly likely that you will have access to alcohol if you travel outside the U.S.
What to Do?
Understand a few things when making the decision as to whether or not to partake in the legal liquid.
1). If you have no concept of your alcoholic tolerance, it is not a good idea to try and find this out in an unfamiliar environment.
2). Make sure you know the rules! If you are with a study abroad group, don’t let your curiosity disturb a great experience. You want to be able to study abroad again with the group of you have the opportunity arises.
3). If you are traveling with friends, assign someone to stay sober, almost like a DD. This will help ensure that you are safe during transportation and that you arrive back at your place of stay safely.
Alcohol is not the only substance that you may come across in Europe. If you are in Amsterdam, you may find access to what is referred to as “soft drugs.” Don’t get too excited, drug use in Amsterdam is tolerated, not legal. According to drug websites, international law will not allow The Netherlands to legalize drug use, including marijuana. Also, coffee shops that frequently sell soft drugs such as marijuana are only allowed to sell 5 grams to someone over 18. But, if you find yourself in a position to try, remember that experimenting in unfamiliar surroundings is not a safe idea.
And then, there is prostitution. Remember two things: A). STD’s are not fun. B). You never know what wonderful European treasure you can take with you. Save your money for that!