Frat Brothers, Unite Calm Down!
A summer abroad may literally be one of the best experiences of your life. No doubt you will have more fun sitting in a train station in Europe than attending a Major League baseball game back home, however, keep in mind that you aren’t travelling to an amusement park and the places you will be living and undoubtedly partying in are part of people’s everyday lives.
Case in point – I was at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich, one of the most historic and well known beer halls in Germany, and quickly realized that this was not the type of venue I had first imagined. Real-life German families, complete with young children and old women, were enjoying the beautiful afternoon indoors. One is able to order dinner and sing songs and nurse infants at the table simultaneously. I was appalled, however, when I spent a good two hours watching an American student group take their seats at the tables; awkwardly get to know each other; fervently down 1 liter beers; proceed to get completely drunk to the point of laying topless on the table and picking fights with lovers only to end up sick or crying. This, my friends, is what constitutes the Americans-are-idiots mentality that most other well traveled countries share.
You will meet amazing people on your journey and you will find plenty of places, all in good time, to exercise your party plans, but please keep a tactful eye on when and where your beer-pong-style party persona is deemed acceptable. A good trick to doing so: do as the natives do. If you realize the Parisian, outdoor café is generally quiet and low key, try and follow suit and only order a quarter liter of house wine. That being said, if you happen upon a pub at 2:30 in the afternoon and realize everyone there is smashed, please don’t hold back. Prost!