Cerca Articolo

Share |

Italy vs. Britain - Will my child become a drunken hooligan?

Dicembre 2016
Se non si è ubriachi non ci si diverte: una mentalità ancora oggi assai radicata nella psiche britannica che ha origini storiche. Purtroppo è anche contagiosa. Come difendersi se si è astemi o si è abituati a bere con moderazione? Ce lo spiega Rachel Roberts.

di Rachel Roberts

Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts

Last year a student of mine went to study in Liverpool. When she came home for a visit, she told me about her time there. On the whole her experience was extremely positive. This particular girl had already had a few long trips to English-speaking countries, so she was quite familiar with the culture. However, inevitably, there were one or two things that she found very difficult to deal with. The first of these was British drinking habits.


Many Italian parents worry when their children say they want to go to the UK to study. They have probably read about British drinking habits, or even witnessed firsthand the unpleasant behavior of drunken British tourists or football hooligans. My own daughter wants to study in the UK and I share these worries, particularly because I know them to be well-founded! However, I can put your minds at rest. Italian kids grow up in Italian culture and are therefore exposed to Italian drinking culture from an early age. It is extremely unlikely that, as adults, they will change their attitudes to alcohol just because they see some heavy drinking by British students.


Not all Brits are alcoholic and not all Italians drink sensibly, but, statistically speaking, Italians have a much healthier attitude to alcohol, and by the time they are 19 or 20, this attitude will be part of their mindset. They may therefore feel uncomfortable in some situations. For example if they are invited out for a meal with some British students, they may discover that their British friends will do their best to drink a bottle of vodka or a six pack of beers BEFORE THEY LEAVE. The reason is that drink costs too much at the restaurant, and of course, one has to drink!

a sense of history

British drinking habits go back centuries. In Medieval times most of the population was slightly drunk most of the time, because drinking weak beer was safer than drinking untreated water. The Puritans, under Oliver Cromwell, closed many inns and theatres and banned numerous festivities, so the consumption of alcohol became linked in the British mind with something pleasurable but illicit. The reign of Queen Victoria, which lasted 64 years, reinforced this idea. It was a time when women were expected to behave with great decorum and it was considered extremely vulgar for anyone to talk about sex or even one’s feelings. It’s no surprise that alcohol became a means of letting go of one’s inhibitions.


Young Italian students will discover that, in Britain, having a drink is synonymous with having a good time. And this is where the problems start. If you don’t enjoy getting outrageously drunk, you will probably be accused of being boring or of not knowing how to enjoy yourself. I come from a family of teetotalers, and when I went to university I heard those comments all the time.
Fortunately I developed a series of strategies which I’m happy to share with you, so that our young Italians can enjoy themselves in the UK without destroying their livers. Enjoy!

Strategy 1: Discredit the idea that you don’t know how to enjoy yourself. Always be the first one on the dance floor at any disco or club and dance with wild abandon. Then no one can say you’re not having a good time.

Strategy 2: Claim to be on medication. Antibiotics are a good excuse. Don’t use this strategy too often, or people will suspect!

Strategy 3: Say something like “Oh, my God! I had such a wild night last night, I can’t remember anything.
I can’t possibly drink tonight.” Again you can only use this once or twice.

Strategy 4: Italian sophistication – “Sorry guys, but I only drink the Nebbiolo from my uncle’s Piedmontese estate!”

Torna all'inizio
submitting your vote...
Hai già votato per questo articolo




Non bevo, devo guidare!

No thanks, I’m driving!