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Miami students can learn something about drinking when abroad

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

For most Miami students under 21, a typical weekend night will begin with the recruitment of a fraternity brother, older brother or next-door neighbor. They all pitch in, coming up with enough money for a case of Natty, bottle of Kamchatka or both (plus a little extra for their white knight's pack of dip).

Once the feeling of being forever in debt to their booze-buying savior gets old, they'll spend their money on something more useful and freeing, like a fake ID. But for now, they're stuck in their rooms, safe from the scrutiny of the law enforcement.

They binge drink. A few beers, a shot of vodka, some more beers, another shot of vodka. They get belligerent and then they head Uptown for a night of incipient cavorting.

Sadly, this is what is expected in Oxford.

However, when they venture to another corner of the world, a semester or year abroad ahead of them, students' views on alcohol consumption shifts.

It is widely believed that other countries, specifically countries in the European Union, have more laid back drinking cultures than the United States.

Recent research from the World Health Organization found that while 15- and 16 year-old teens in many European countries, whether the drinking age is 18 or younger, have more drinking occasions per month, they have fewer dangerous intoxication occasions than American teens.

In many European countries, alcohol is not viewed as a commodity for overindulging, but as an experience - it can complement a meal or cleanse the palate.

While European teens have a good majority of their teenage years gaining an appreciation for alcohol, American students often come to college having never drank before. This causes them to overindulge.

Miami students can learn something from their European counterparts, and for a time, they do.

Most students report drinking more casually and less often while abroad. It can even be cheaper to order a beer or glass of wine with dinner than a bottle of water.

It is the binge drinking, not the casual beers, that packs the double punch of being dangerous and giving Miami students a bad rap.

This issue occurs when a large number of Miami students are in one place, like Luxembourg. The predominate Miami culture overpowers the unfamiliar one and the atmosphere becomes similar to nights Uptown at Brick Street.

But the notion that "Miami students will be Miami students" is unacceptable. It is embarrassing and demands a call for a heightened cultural appreciation.

How do Americans feel about foreigners who fail to meet U.S. standards? Any scroll through Yik Yak will illustrate what Miami students think about the Asian students studying abroad here.

So why do Miami students act the same way when they study in a foreign country? There's a major double standard. It is manifest of Americans' delusional belief that they are somehow privileged.

The point of studying abroad, whether it is in Luxembourg, Peru, Kosovo or anywhere else, is for students to immerse themselves in an unfamiliar culture, or at least try to learn from it. When students are no longer in the "Oxford bubble," they should act accordingly.