You are eager to discover the culture and the traditions of your new country, adopt them, blend in; you cannot wait to let your friends home discover new liquors in your full bags when you come back for Christmas.
You have probably noticed Erasmus parties can be a bit wilder than those back home, and it could even come down to you having a drink every night just for the sake of it. Pre-parties and drinking games can be a lot of fun, but those are just the start of the night and we tend to forget there is also an end, and a tomorrow.
While a glass of wine per day may reduce forgetfulness and the older generations will tell you a shot of palinka boosts your immunity, over abusing alcohol can escalate towards binge drinking and liver deficiencies. To have a safe night means more than not drinking and driving.
Studies show that students on their exchange drink on average larger amounts of alcohol than local students, while 18% of students can be considered intense binge drinkers.
People usually drink either to feel more comfortable, or to forget. They also may have something to hide or they are just afraid of feeling left out. Peer pressure or boredom are big contributing factors.
Being tipsy feels like a smile through your entire body, but from there on everything goes downhill with each new glass, working its way to tomorrow’s hangover. Not feeling pain is just a temporary feeling - and is there someone in the entire solar system who really likes shots?
Don’t settle into a routine of drinking and partying. You should take advantage of your time abroad and make as many memories as you can, not repeat forgetful nights.
We are used to pre-parties which usually take place at our friends’ apartment or in the student dorms. As most of these parties are byob (bring your own beverage), it’s up to you to decide your drinks for the night. These pre-parties also offer you the chance to spend less later on, once you reach the bar.
Always have water on your mind - think of your body, hydrate it so it can endure more. Also, don’t forget to eat! So many cultures have already adopted the tradition of having food with their drinks - those who invented tapas sure knew what they were doing. Even if it won’t prevent you from getting drunk, eating before drinking will slow the absorption of alcohol by the body.
Think about the last time you had real fun. There’s more to a party or a trip than drinks - the music, the atmosphere, the people you choose to be with, the feelings, the comfy shoes… quality, not quantity. You definitely have other things to be remembered for than for sliding under the table in the pub; and it’s better to enjoy the sunrise from a rooftop rather than hugging your toilet. It is definitely unpleasant to have to send a message the next day to ask for your online pictures to be removed or to wake up in a stranger’s house. And wouldn’t you rather take in all those calories by trying delicious local food?
If it just so happens that you get intoxicated with alcohol, keep your friends close and remember to drink as much water as you can before going to sleep, as well as the next day. Milk or bananas when waking up will also work well against gastric pain.
Remember: practice makes perfect.
Don’t get drunk, get awesome!