Backpacker beware

One of the best things about uni is that it gives students opportunities to live, study, and work abroad. If you ever have the opportunity to visit another country, make sure you do some research on its laws and customs before heading over there. Most universities that have some international liaisons and activities have an office that deals with these issues, so you can ask them for help. Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse anywhere in the world, but it can lead to some nasty surprises, or at least mild bemusement. Here are some examples of some of the oddest laws from around the world.

France:

All dolls must have human faces. E.T. dolls, for example, are banned.

California, USA:

Under Californian consumer protection and standards law, any beverage advertised as a “smoothie” must be perfectly smooth – if it contains lumps, it is legally not a smoothie and customers are entitled to a refund.

England:

Any stamps bearing the Queen’s face must be placed right side up – to do otherwise is an act of treason.

Thailand:

It is illegal to leave your house without underwear.

Rome, Italy:

Eating or drinking too close to landmarks of particular cultural or historic value (which is pretty much all of Rome) could lead to a fine of 500 Euros.

Greece:

It is illegal to wear stiletto heels when walking through historical sites.

Canada:

No more than 25 one-cent coins can be used in one transaction.

Bangladesh:

Students aged 15 and above can face imprisonment if they cheat in exams.

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Samoa:

It is illegal for a man to forget his wife’s birthday. I feel that a lot of wives would support this.

Looking at this list, it’s clear that it’s impossible to predict all possible laws that could apply in a country, so always check! Finally, if anyone reading this blog is going to Florida, USA, I trust you do not need to be told to avoid avoid singing in a public place while wearing your swimsuit, or eating an orange while in a bathtub.┬áThere are laws that specifically forbid those acts.

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