How to Handle Your Guinness!

Some Tips to have a fun safe night out by an international University student studying in Ireland.

There is so much excitement that comes along with studying abroad in another country; new places, new food, new friends, and of course new experiences!

With everything feeling so new, there comes a sense of freedom. Of course with any newfound freedom there comes quite a bit of responsibility. As a study abroad student from the United States, my newest experience was with the lower drinking age. In America, the drinking age is strictly 21 years of age, and many universities have become ‘dry’ campuses, where alcohol is prohibited. Now let me say, it is quite a new experience coming into a college atmosphere where there are pubs on and around campus!

Because of the different drinking age here in Ireland, many of us American students have not had much experience with alcohol. When you are new to alcohol, it can be difficult to gauge just how much you can tolerate. You may feel the social pressure to drink as much as your friends are drinking, because they seem to be having such a great time! But depending on how old your friends are, and where they come from, they may have had more experience with drinking alcohol and have built a higher tolerance for it.

As a student from the United States, I have certainly experienced many of these feelings when it comes to drinking on a night out, so I have compiled a list of ways that you can keep your cool and have fun without drinking too much:

First, read the alcohol percentage on the can or bottle.

The alcohol percentage is different in every country, and it may be higher than what it would be in your home country. Do your homework beforehand if you are going out to a bar. It’s always good to know what you are ordering!

Limit yourself. 

Start out with just one drink, or maybe 2. It can take around 30 minutes for you to feel the effects of alcohol. If you are having more than one drink within a half hour, you are drinking too much too quickly!

Don’t rush. 

There is no reason to drink quickly. You are not in a race, and you don’t need to measure up to how much others are drinking. Find your own pace.

Pick a Liability Partner. 

Make a pact with a friend. Tell them what you want your limit to be, and no whining when they say no if you ask for more than your limit! Do make sure that they are sober enough to hold you to it.

Only bring money for what you can handle. 

Going out? Only bring the amount of money that will cover what you want to drink. If you can’t afford it, you can’t buy it, (and try not to beg your friends for money once you run out.)

Drink water. 

Alternate between drinking alcoholic beverages and water. This will stop you from drinking too much too quickly, and it will help prevent dehydration.

Learn your Limit. 

If you haven’t had much experience with alcohol, it is important to learn how much you can handle. The only way to do that is to take baby steps. We all have nights where we pass our limits, and drink just a little too much. What is most important is that you learn what your limit is, so that you can go out, be responsible, and of course have fun!

Remember, you do not need to drink to have fun. 

But, If you do choose to drink, it is important to take precautions and drink responsibly. We all want to go out and have a good time with our friends-You want to remember your time in Ireland as an experience of a lifetime, and drinking too much can hinder your experience if you are not careful.


By University of Limerick International Student Michaela Shimkus

This blog is run by the UL International Student Ambassadors, read more about our  student bloggers here

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