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Asians feel pressure to drink

For Asian students in Denmark, saying no to alcohol is not always easy. Refraining can lead to an ‘interrogation’, says Pakistani student

The Northern European culture of binge drinking can lead to uncomfortable situations for students from parts of the world where alcohol plays a smaller role in social events.

Zhichao Xue, a Chinese student of Human Biology tasted her first beer and wine at a party in Copenhagen. She found that it was hard to say no.

»They were my new classmates and I felt there was some pressure to drink in a gathering with so many Danes. I could not say no,« she explains.

In India, drinking is not everywhere

Indian student, Raju Podduturi, also feels that it is tempting to drink occasionally.

»I don’t drink by choice. But in future if the situation demands, I might be open to it.,« says Raju, who studies at the Faculty of Life Sciences.

In India, the drinking culture is not as ‘in your face’ as in Europe and many students like Raju, refrain from drinking.

Question after question

But despite social pressure to drink when in Denmark, it is possible to abstain, says Abdul Gafar, a student from Pakistan.

Abdul does not drink, as he practices Islam, which forbids alcohol. He feels that there is no coercion at all to grab a beer at social gatherings.

»For me, there has never been a problem with alcohol here. People respect my beliefs. During parties, I just substitute alcohol with coke or water,« he explains.

But even Abdul has sometimes come under scrutiny for abstaining, from curious Europeans. He has been asked »question after question,« he says. Usually he tries to bring the conversation to an end quickly, because he fears it might lead to an »argument about beliefs.«

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