Ever thought about studying abroad in Ireland? It would be hard not to want to with Ireland’s rich heritage, beautiful scenery, and as most college students in the U.S. knows…the lowered drinking age. The idea of being able to drink at a ‘younger’ age is an interesting one; there are different aspects to each side of a story and it’s important to keep an open mind. So, two students who studied abroad in Ireland before turning 21 were interviewed about their opinions of alcohol awareness.
Question 1: How did you feel about being able to legally drink while you were in Ireland?
Interviewee 1: “It was weird being able to drink; I had to keep reminding myself that it was actually allowed. Also… it is way more acceptable social/culturally and almost everything involves drinking (or having the option to).”
Interviewee 2: “I thought that drinking while overseas was awesome. It was a novel concept being able to go to the store and purchase alcohol without the persecution.”
Question 2: Did you feel that alcohol education was a major part of college life while away in Ireland as it is in American universities? If not, explain why.
Interviewee 1: “I think that alcohol education is different in Ireland. You more or less learn yourself from experiencing the awesomeness and dangers of it all first hand, as opposed to someone lecturing you.”
Interviewee 2: “No I did not feel as though alcohol education was nearly as emphasized, simply due to the fact that there was not a great penalty for being caught drinking at my age. There was some alcohol awareness being pushed, however it was more so ‘don’t overdo it.’”
Question 3: How do you feel that this experience and your awareness of alcohol were affected? If you do not feel this impact, please explain.
Interviewee 1: “Since I really didn’t drink before I went abroad, all of my knowledge of alcohol is a result of being of legal age over there. I’ve always been careful and aware of alcohol dangers just because of my dad and stuff, but I learned how it can really aid in having a great time if you respect it and yourself by knowing your limits.”
Interviewee 2: “The ability to legally drink under the age of 21 in another country made me feel as though the age limit in this country is purely the result of us having a different culture. I feel as though the U.S. has higher standards of public health awareness, which of course has it benefits and detractors depending on who you ask.”
No matter where our travels take us, embrace the culture and environment since no two places are the same! Remember, different laws are in place for different reasons—try to learn more about them and most importantly when studying abroad, be safe and have fun!
Written by Jordan Buckley, Peer Educator