International students 'shocked' at British drinking habits

International students at the University of Southampton have said they are shocked at the amount of booze consumed by Brits at university.  Recent statistics have shown that one in five students at the University […]


International students at the University of Southampton have said they are shocked at the amount of booze consumed by Brits at university. 

Recent statistics have shown that one in five students at the University of Southampton have come from abroad to study in Britain.

Whether they come for the tip top education, the English language or just because they took a shine to the Old Blighty, it’s unlikely that any foreign student will arrive entirely prepared for what they’re getting themselves into.

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Spanish student Antonio Sanchez Hevia and friends adapting to English-style predrinks

In the wake of the new statistics, we decided to find out how Southampton’s international students take to British student culture.

Corina Cojocaru, a fresher from Romania studying Criminology and Psychology, came to Britain for the first time in September 2014.

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She was taken aback by the amount of alcohol consumed on nights out. She said:

It was sad to realize that it is okay for some British students to get absolutely drunk until they don’t even know what’s going on and throw up innumerable times and consume to the point of unconsciousness.

A girl once fainted next to me on the bus on our way to a club, which left me quite surprised!

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Corina enjoying an Oceana night out with friends

I was shocked that lots of other students seem to support this behaviour. My block has a chunder chart on the first floor and for chundering you get one point, while for getting hospitalized because you’ve had too much alcohol you get three points. Yay.

Emanuele Francesco Pirrozi, a Second Year student from Italy studying Politics and International Relations, was similarly surprised by drinking habits among Southampton students. He said:

I was surprised to discover that English people do not drink to get drunk, they drink to get wasted.

Don’t get me wrong, in Italy people get wasted. But they do it very rarely. In Soton, I’ve seen people getting wasted seven days in row.

Emanuele did, however, admit to this habit being an admirable one, adding:

I do think it’s a sort of talent…. We Europeans have a lot to learn from you guys.

Meanwhile, Andrea Chan, an exchange student from Shanghai studying Law, commented specifically on the madness during Freshers’ Week:

The frequency they drink and party really surprised me, especially in the first week. In the first week of term, every night at around 3am, drunk people came back, gathering and singing.

Once a drunk guy accidentally pushed the fire alarm,  getting the whole building of people out of bed at 2am.

Andrea added her shock at the scantily clad female students:

And how can girls wear so little in the cold weather!

Lucie Mougin-Steiner, a graduate from France who studied Linguistics at Southampton, was surprised at the behaviour of British students on nights out.

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Lucy (middle right) immersing herself in Southampton’s nightlife last year at Voodoo

She said:

British students are heavy drinkers but they drink a lot of light alcohol like beers or cocktails so I think that the amount of “consumed” alcohol is the same as in my country.

But what surprised me was the behaviour of some students under alcohol especially on nights out in town. There are fights, people falling over and shouting… I’ve never seen that happening in France!

Marcus Khoo, a Fresher from Singapore studying a Bachelor of Laws, also noted the aggressiveness that drinking can lead to in Britain. He said:

British students tend to drink too much too quickly. Things usually end up getting rowdy- far more than back home. Sometimes it even leads to brawls and fights.

Omar El Hossieny, an Egyptian student in his Engineering Foundation year, has witnessed some shocking antics among drunken Brits. He said:

The drinking in Britain is sometimes excessive. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the weekend, middle of the week, morning or late before going out, students drink.

I’ve seen a drunk guy sprint right into a glass door. I’ve also seen another guy chip his tooth from biting a tree…

Finally, Nicky Nguyen, a graduate in Civil Engineering from Vietnam, explained the the drinking culture in Britain is completely different from that in his country. He said:

British students drink a lot! Since I came from Vietnam – a country where ‘café culture’ dominates, I got a culture shock when I first came to Britain, where ‘drinking culture’ reigns.

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Nicky out on the town with British friends

Nicky was quick to explain that, despite the differences, how great he thinks it’s great. He added:

 But guess what, I love it! The night would’ve been so damn boring in my flat without hearing people screaming, vomiting after coming back home from Sobar or Jesters.

It sounds like the mid-week boozing, the chunder charts and the blurry nights that make up such a huge part of university life are in fact unique to Britain.

Is it time we took it down a notch and chilled out with the alcohol consumption? Or is it something we wouldn’t want to lose?

Are you an international student? What are your thoughts on British student drinking habits? Let us know in the comments below!