What ingredients are needed to have a good time? Some might say good food, others may say good friends, and still others, a good atmosphere. However, the stereotype of a college student going abroad often includes going out and partying. Can you have a good study abroad experience without partying?
Most people will respect your decision to stay sober if you so choose. You can still go out with them and have a great time. However, I have also had people pressure me to do things I felt uncomfortable doing. Stand up for yourself. This is your abroad experience and you get to mold it into the kind of experience you want.
Go to language meetups. I’ve gone to a few. They were all in bars but they were very relaxed. I never ordered an alcoholic drink and no one judged me for it. We were there to exchange languages and get to know each other. I always had fun and felt great after going to a language meetup because I knew that I was using my language skills, as I intended to when I came to the country.
Get plugged into a church. If you are religious, this can help a lot. If you are not religious but you are open to religion, I would encourage you to try this. I have met some of the nicest and most welcoming people in my church community abroad. Not only did I get to have fun and speak other languages but I formed some great friendships.
See if other people in your program are not into partying. When I first went abroad to Spain, I did not know anyone who was not really into partying. This made things harder for me when it came to wanting to hang out with my friends. When I was in France, I met some friends who were not into the party scene and was able to have lots of fun with them in cafés, the movie theater, free events, exercise classes, and spending time at each other’s houses.
I thoroughly enjoyed my study abroad experience, none of which included alcohol or partying. Don’t worry about what others may think or say. Just enjoy yourself and know you can have a great time without partying.