A large number of incidents abroad involve alcohol. Being impaired in a foreign environment increases your risk for an incident abroad as you are more likely to make decisions that put yourself or others in danger. If you are going to drink, do so in moderation.
Also, consider cultural views on alcohol and be aware of the customs of your host country. U.S. students studying abroad carry a reputation for excessive drinking. To that end, criminals and predators target people who are visibly impaired for pick-pocketing, theft, drink spiking and even assault. Do not leave drinks unattended, and do not consume drinks that have been given to you by others. Sometimes perpetrators are other travelers. If you’re planning on going out at night, go with a group.
Do not do drugs abroad. UW-Madison has a no tolerance approach to drug use while abroad. Students using drugs may immediately by removed from the program at their own cost. Drug laws are often stricter than they are in the U.S., and if you are arrested, the U.S. Embassy, IAP, and UW-Madison cannot help. “I didn’t know it was illegal” will not exempt a traveler from legal action.
You also remain subject to the University of Wisconsin System Student Code of Conduct while you are abroad.