Alcohol Consumption among International Students

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24 March 2016

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Norms are not the same for every culture, the legal drinking age differs creating a gap between the number of adults and youth who consume alcohol. Also, in some countries people drink very often for different reasons such as celebrations, in order to gain confidence, and also to get rid of stress, or just because they like its flavor. Moreover, some religions don’t allow alcohol consumption, so most of the followers don’t consume alcohol. However, none of these boundaries completely stop people from drinking alcohol. Society nowadays uses it to socialize, as leisure and for special occasions in almost every country. The purpose of doing it is to provide Ilac students with knowledge about consequences of drinking, and provide professional help to those who suffer from alcoholism.


This report outlines the results of a survey carried out to see how alcohol consumption among international students changes when they come to Canada, and similarly to understand how often they drink, if they are moderated when drinking, and their reasons for doing it. Similarly, the goal of the survey was to find the difference in habits and opinions of students from each country. In order to be able to do it, twenty students from ten different countries were surveyed including Venezuela, Russia, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Vietnam, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and Canada.


Most of the people who were surveyed have consumed alcohol including one student from Saudi Arabia, where Islam prohibits them from consuming alcohol. Only two people said they have never tried it, one of them is Saudi Arabian and the other is Vietnamese. Therefore, 90% of students drink alcohol, so it is very common not only in America, but in Asian and European countries, too. It was surprising that one Saudi Arabian drinks alcohol due to its strict rules against it. Punishment for drinking alcohol is a public lashing (BBC News). However, when they come to Canada, where alcohol is legal, they can take advantage of being here to try it for the first time and perhaps do it often if they like it. In the case of the Saudi Arabian student who said he has consumed it, he also said he likes it and he drinks once a week or less. In conclusion, alcohol consumption is so widespread that even people from places where alcohol is banned become consumers at some point in their life. In addition, 45% of people said they drink alcohol once a week or less in Canada just as in their countries, except for a Korean woman who said she drinks from three to five times a week in her hometown and she consumes enough to become heavily intoxicated 50% of the times she drinks. South Koreans are well known for drinking heavily.

According to Time Magazine, South Koreans are the world’s biggest consumers of hard liquor, at 11.2 shots per week on average. They make Russians –the world’s second largest consumers– seem like lightweights at a mere five shots a week. Isn’t it surprising? Furthermore, a large proportion of people replied that they rarely get drunk and one third said they never get drunk, indicating that international students are relatively efficient while controlling themselves when consuming alcohol. On the other hand, three students said they get drunk everytime they drink. Among them is a 19 year old Russian, a 19 year old Turk, and a 31 year old Venezuelan. Indeed, two of them are very young, which isn’t surprising, but it’s abnormal that someone who is more than thirty years old gets drunk every time he drinks because normally the older a person is the more experience he´ll have. Thus, they´ll have more control over their alcohol consumption.

Furthermore, the majority of the surveyed students answered they drink alcohol “to have fun”, followed by “to celebrate something important” while only a Japanese woman chose “to feel confident” and a Canadian man chose “because I like its flavor” as the first reason for drinking. Moreover, everyone under nineteen said they don’t really enjoy consuming alcohol. Most people said they like it, and only two said they like it a lot. Finally the last question was “Have you ever been in trouble with the police for drinking?” and everyone answered no, so we know most of international students never get in trouble for drinking alcohol.

International students could completely change their life style in Canada, such as people who are underage here but are officially old enough to drink back home. Similarly, It could be very stressful for students who are used to hang out with older people because a large number of overage students go to pubs and nightclubs almost every weekend, excluding underage people from events that only allow adults to enter. Thus, alcohol divide relationships between youth and adults, and consequently for so many underage people, becoming adult is very exciting for the sole reason that they are going to be able to purchase and consume alcohol, while others would get fake identifications because they cannot wait until they are officially allowed to drink. It seems as if alcohol pushes people to find alternatives to consume it as if it were necessary to live.

Evidently, a great part of the young society nowadays is not completely aware of the consequences of drinking alcohol excessively. Alcohol is one of the oldest drugs known and it affects every organ system in the body. The number of physiological systems affected is staggering both in scope of medical consequences and in terms of the economics of medical treatments of alcohol related disorders. Alcohol damages the heart and can elevate blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart failure and stroke. Excessive alcohol consumption can injure various tissues, produce diverse physiological changes, and impair or interfere with the hormonal and biochemical regulation of a variety of cellular and metabolic functions. Chronic alcohol exposure increases the risk for certain forms of cancer. Furthermore, both acute and chronic alcohol use significantly increase the risk of accidental injuries and impairs the recovery from those injuries (Brick 9).

Are those enough reasons to quit drinking alcohol? It seems that they are not. Even knowing all the consequences people continue drinking for several reasons such as to have fun, escape stress, gain confidence, or because its flavor is enjoyable, while health is often not taken into enough consideration. Since a person is affected by the amount of alcohol consumed, people must concern about how much alcohol they drink, rather than what kind of alcohol they drink. Beer and wine are not “safer” than hard liquor; they simply contain less alcohol per ounce. According to The New York Times moderated drinking is measured as no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. In this case, “One drink” is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 8 – 9 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces (a jigger or shot) of 80-proof liquor. People should not exceed that amount of alcohol. Similarly, low-risk drinking is defined as no more than 4 drinks a day, or 14 drinks per week, for men, and no more than 3 drinks per day, or 7 drinks per week, for women.

Furthermore, people who exceed these amounts are considered to be at an increasing risk of harmful effects of alcohol, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lung disease, or even stroke. Moderate drinking, particularly red wine, may possibly decrease the risk of heart disease when it is part of other heart-healthy behaviors. However, even moderate levels of drinking should be avoided in certain circumstances, such as before driving a vehicle, during pregnancy, when taking medications that may harmfully interact with alcohol, or having a medical condition that may be worsened by drinking. According to Mayo Clinic “Alcoholism” is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems such as control drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect (physical dependence), or having withdrawal symptoms when decrease or stop drinking.

An alcoholic cannot consistently predict how much he will drink, how long he will drink, or what consequences will occur from drinking. The person with alcoholism has a compulsion, probably based on a physicochemical reaction, to continue drinking once he has started. This does not mean that every time he takes two drinks he has to have more at that moment but, rather, that whenever he begins to drink moderately he ends up drinking immoderately; eventually he needs more and more alcohol just to keep going. This is a physical compulsion, not a moral problem, nor does it indicate lack of will power. Alcoholics Anonymous rightly stresses that the only time the alcoholic has any real control over his drinking is in his choice of whether or not to take the first drink.

Primarily, the alcoholic needs medical attention. The fact that he does not receive it is a reflection of the attitudes of his family, his friends, the community, and the patient himself, that his illness is self-induced, a weakness. These attitudes must be changed; there must be substituted a belief that alcoholism requires intelligent medical treatment, and can be successfully managed. Such a belief will enable the alcoholic to keep his self-respect and to feel much more hopeful about the management of his disease. (Allen). Knowing the characteristics of alcoholism, it is possible to identify alcoholic people and provide them with help, and support form experts if necessary. At the mean time, based on the analyses of 100 individual country profiles, The World Health Organization (WHO), restates that alcohol causes harm far beyond the physical and psychological health of the drinker, including the harm to the well-being and health of people around the drinker. It is associated with many serious social and developmental issues, including violence, child neglect and abuse, and absenteeism in the workplace.

Harmful use of alcohol results in the death of 2.5 million people annually, causes illness and injury to millions more, and increasingly affects younger generations and drinkers in developing countries. Clearly, alcohol is very detrimental for the world. Finally, 90% of the students drink, but the great majority drink once a week or less, and rarely get drunk. Thus, they are moderated when drinking. Only three of them get severely intoxicated everytime they drink, so they should be provided with help and information of the consequences of drinking excessively. However, they don’t need support form professionals, nor medical treatment because they drink once a week or only on weekends. Moreover, south Koreans and Russians resulted to don´t drink so often either in Canada and back home, except for the South Korean woman who drinks from 3 to 5 times a week in her country, which is very common for them according to Time Magazine.

The results of the survey were effective because after doing the report it was possible to understand how alcohol consumption is among Ilac students, and to compare different results from each nationality. Similarly, it was found that there isn’t any alcoholic student in the group of students surveyed. Thus, the information needed was found. On the other hand, there are some questions that could have been added to get more understanding of the personal opinion and background of each student. In the same manner, adding more open ended questions would have been effective so that the results wouldn’t have been so general. As an example of questions that would have made the report clearer is “Is alcohol consumption over control in your country?

Explain”, this question would have helped to built a clearer idea of each country´s situation of alcohol regulations. Also, “Does any member of your family suffer from alcoholism? If yes, Who?” is another question that would have been very interesting, and it would have helped to understand the family background of each student. o sum up, some important questions were missed to make more understanding of each country’s drinking habits, and people’s back ground. Furthermore, the amount of students surveyed wasn’t enough; 6 of the countries only had one student as representative, so it wasn’t enough information to make specified facts from each nationality.


In conclusion, it would seem that alcohol consumption among Ilac students is regular, meaning that they do not exceed the amount of drinks per week to be at risk of harmful effects of drinking alcohol. Furthermore, drinking habits among international students don’t change a lot when coming to Canada. Nevertheless, all the international students who migrate here have to get used to the country’s rules, and consequently they suffer changes in their lives, such as those who are underage in Canada when they are officially old enough to purchase and consume alcohol back home. Similarly, religion and traditions could be very different in Canada. It influences people to change their drinking habits. As an example, there is a Saudi Arabian student who consumes alcohol here while he would never get a drink in his country. Alcohol consumption could be very harmful for those who drink excessively and the people surrounding them. That’s why it is necessary to be moderated when consuming alcohol.

Works Cited
Hawwari, Adli. “Getting a drink in Saudi Arabia.” BBC News. 8 February 2001. Web. 5 May 2014. Liljas, Per. “South Koreans Slam Down 11.2 Shots of Hard Liquor Each Week.” Time. 14 February 2014. Web. 5 May 2014. Brick, John. “Handbook of the Medical Consequences of Alcohol and Drug Abuse” Second edition. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2008. Print. “Alcoholism In-Depth Report.” The New York Times 7 Feb 2009: Print. “Mayo Clinic” Diseases and Conditions of Alcoholism. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2012. Web. 11 May 2014. Allen, Parry. “Alcoholism” The American Journal of Nursing 65:3 (1965):111. Web. 11 May. 2014. “National Council Researchers on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.” 2.5 Million Alcohol-Related
Deaths Worldwide- Annually. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 2010. Web. 11 May 2014.

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"Alcohol Consumption among International Students" StudyScroll, 24 March 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Alcohol Consumption among International Students [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 5 December, 2023]

"Alcohol Consumption among International Students" StudyScroll, Mar 24, 2016. Accessed Dec 5, 2023.

"Alcohol Consumption among International Students" StudyScroll, Mar 24, 2016.

"Alcohol Consumption among International Students" StudyScroll, 24-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 5-Dec-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). Alcohol Consumption among International Students. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 5-Dec-2023]

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