A recently released survey by On Call International has found that half of college students who drink alcoholic beverages also admit to increasing these activities while traveling outside of the United States.
The survey finds American students are not only likely to drink more alcohol while abroad, but they are also more likely to participate in risky and sometimes illegal behaviors, too. Survey results showed 50% of participants admitting to drinking more while abroad with 11%, or about one in nine students, saying they are more likely to drink so much that they "black out" while traveling outside of the US.
The report suggests that such behavior could be a costly mistake, especially to those under the age of 21. Data from the CDC agrees, as 4,300 deaths of underage youth each year in the US can be attributed to excessive alcohol consumption.
Binge drinking is easier to participate in outside of the United States, with the drinking age in many other countries being 18. While it is legal in other countries, the CDC states that the results of doing so include a number of health and safety issues such as accidental injuries like car accidents or falls, sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintentional pregnancies.
The survey also discovered an increase in drug use while abroad, with 11% admitting to trying a drug for the first time and 29% saying they use controlled substances while traveling. In addition, 32% of students admitted to participating in a casual hookup with a stranger while outside the country.
Other dangerous activities were also found by the survey, as one in five survey participants said they have accepted a ride in a car from a stranger who was not a taxi or Uber driver, and 11% of students said they have been detained by police while abroad.
Despite these risky activities, students are not admitting what they have done to their parents, with over 30% of participants saying they have lied to their parents about what they have done while abroad.
"Students may feel invincible, but there are many real dangers when they venture out on their own," said Jim Hutton, Chief Security Officer, On Call International. "To mitigate these risks, universities should institute mandatory pre-travel training sessions for any students who are heading overseas, as it is the institutions' responsibility to ensure student safety."
The authors recommends that college and universities take a closer look at their international safety policies and guidelines in an effort to ensure that they coordinate with their travel risk management initiatives, saying that doing so will work to protect the schools as well as the students.
Participants of the Google Consumer Survey included 1,000 current and recent college students from across the United States who have traveled abroad within the last two years.