One of the best experiences you can have while you’re abroad is getting rip-roaring drunk with your buddies and taking a bunch of ridiculous photos to remember the night. My time in Dublin proved to me that drinking with people you’re familiar with, and even those you just met, is worlds better than staying in and doing nothing.
The most important thing I took away from being abroad was a small set of rules to follow whenever you are out and about, gallivanting around town.
Note: I’ll try to keep this article lighthearted as much as I can, but it does dive into some pretty serious topics.
1. Always drink with a team
They say there’s strength in numbers, and when you go out to your favorite watering hole, it’s best to have friends. Not only do they increase the amount of fun you’ll have, but friends will always have your back for when things hit the fan.
You never want to get in a heated argument with an Irishman without some mates to back you up. You’ll just walk home with a black-eye and a pounding headache.
2. Try new drinks
Personally, I am all about the classics: Bud Light, Natty Light, and my boy, Keith Stone. While you’re abroad, you have to realize that there are so many different beers that you won’t really get to try back home.
Don’t waste your time with drinking the normal beers you could have in the states. Go out and be adventurous with your drink choices. Hell, you didn’t travel 3000 miles for another Coors Light.
3. Know your limits
I’ve had a problem with this rule for so long that I constantly stop myself during the weekend to assess where I’m at regarding my drunkness level. If you already know when to stop, perfect.
But my guess is that the excitement of being in a new country is too overwhelming and you’ll drink heavily to help celebrate. So, my caution to you is this: don’t drink too much that you forget where to go. It’s happened once, it’ll happen again.
4. Save the exploring for the next day
Dublin is an awesome city because it is so small but there’s so much to do. At the same time, it was a lot like Boston — if you don’t have the streets memorized, you’ll get lost instantly.
From experience, nothing good comes out of stumbling around drunk, so make sure you take the cab home, or at least get someone more sober to guide you along.
5. The pregame is a wallet-saver
It’s the beginning of the semester, so don’t blow all of your euro/pound/quid/money on bar drinks. Find the closest liquor store and become fast friends with the owner. People are friendly for the most part, so be friendly back and you’ll most likely see some payoff. Plus, each game of Kings makes you feel like you’re home again.
6. Politely decline any invite to a house party
Allow me to sound like a concerned father talking to his kid heading off to school for a minute: these are not the same house parties that you’re used to school. You will not know everyone, and the people you don’t know will most likely not be too excited you’re there.
I have heard too many stories to confidently say that everything will be fine at a house party abroad, so please, just keep your wits about you.
7. Keep the hook-ups at the bar
I know, I know, I know. This one sucks, but the last thing you want is to wake up in a room that you aren’t familiar with, next to a person you don’t recognize, in a country you are just getting to know.
If you really like this person, feel free to ask their number and treat ’em to lunch the next day. Unless you enjoy having to sneak out of the room to get to class on time, just say your goodbyes at the bar.
8. If you have a bus ride the next day, being hungover sucks
There is nothing worse than having a horrible hangover the same day your class takes a field trip to the outskirts of Ireland. Bumpy roads and pounding headaches are a recipe for the worst ride imaginable. Especially when those other people who didn’t go out drinking start playing “who can scream the loudest” in the back of the bus.
Going abroad will be the best time of your life, no doubt about that. Just make sure you stay smart and drink responsibly.