While abroad, you will be subject to the local laws present in your host country. Be aware that many countries have laws under which you can be held “guilty by association.” It is wise to avoid others who are in possession of illegal goods of any sort. Below are some useful pointers to avoid legal trouble:
- Deal only with authorized outlets when you exchange money.
- Avoid areas of unrest and disturbance, such as protests or riots.
- Do not deliver packages for anyone unless you are certain they do not contain drugs or other prohibited items.
- Become familiar with local regulations before you sell personal items such as clothing, cameras, and jewelry.
- Do not assume that what is legal in your home country is also legal in other countries. Adhere to local laws strictly. The penalties you risk are severe.
You will not be able to posses or use any marijuana, products containing marijuana, or other illegal drugs while participating in a GEO study abroad program or while traveling on a commercial air carrier leaving the U.S. due to federal law. Disciplinary sanctions may be imposed on any student or employee found to be in violation of the policies related to marijuana. Drug laws vary by country and may be more severe abroad than in the U.S. For example, many countries consider marijuana to be illegal, and students with marijuana (even with a prescription) or other illegal drugs can be arrested, prosecuted, and/or deported. Do not travel internationally with any amount of medical marijuana or you will risk being detained, arrested, or deported, missing your flight, or fined a minimum of $1,000. GEO cannot help students who are arrested while abroad. You are subject to all local laws and you will face any consequence resulting from breaking the law of your host country. Avoid all illegal drugs at all costs.
Alcohol consumption may be legal, as permitted locally, but excessive drinking is disruptive to the program and is a violation of the UO Conduct Code. Take the time to observe cultural norms in the location(s) you will be traveling. If you choose to drink alcohol during your program, drink only in moderation, and be cautious of your surroundings. Follow your best judgment, but remember that you are in an unfamiliar environment and the culture about alcohol consumption in other countries may be very different than what you are used to in the U.S.
It is always important to keep in mind the legal requirements of the countries you visit. When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its local laws. There are no exceptions, so use common sense and do your research. The U.S. Department of State notes local laws for all countries on its website.