One of the most common cultural differences in France concerns the
consumption of alcohol. In France, drinking occurs in different
contexts than in the U.S. People drink in moderation at meals,
whether at home or in restaurants, clubs, and pubs. Your host family
may offer you wine with dinner, for example. This is a normal part
of French culture. Nearly everyone abroad, however, including young
people, considers binge drinking crass and rude. If you drink to
excess, you reinforce negative stereotypes of American students
abroad, and you put yourself and your friends in danger.
Although the following recommendations are sometimes geared towards
specific genders or groups, they are applicable and useful for all
students – women and men of all races. Here are some specific
suggestions for your time in Talloires and France in general to
avoid unpleasant encounters and reduce the risk of being a victim of
- Use discretion and common sense in your behavior
- Never let your friends go home without you late
at night and do not go home after leaving your
friend alone with people you both do not know.
- Be aware of radical groups that target non-host
country residents in Europe. It is not common for
U.S. students to encounter problems but you should
be aware of the social challenges presented.