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Local Laws and Customs

  • When you are in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws and are under its jurisdiction. Local laws and penalties are often different from U.S. laws and customs. You can be arrested overseas for actions that may be either legal or considered minor infractions in the United States. It is the student’s responsibility to know these laws and regulations, as he or she will be subject to them while abroad. Country-specific information can be found at
  • Pay particular attention to local laws concerning drug violations; photographs/videos taken without permission, such as that of government buildings; and purchasing antiques where the sale is controlled by the government.
  • Do not assume that because you are a national of another country that you are exempt from local laws, or that the embassy can get you out of trouble. Should you find yourself in legal difficulty, contact a consular officer immediately. Consular officers cannot serve as attorneys or give legal advice, but if you are arrested, they can advise you of your rights under local laws and refer you to local attorneys.
  • You should also note that the study abroad office prohibits the consumption of alcohol to any student under the age of 21, regardless of local laws.