Coming from Poland, a country not necessarily famous for teetotallers, I thought that nothing could surprise me when it comes to alcohol. My confidence lasted until the first wine & cheese reception in the first week of my PhD.
I still can’t grasp the idea of serving alcohol in the workplace. And in academia it’s omnipresent: conferences, receptions, parties… “Free pizza” posters advertising academic events at my undergraduate university have been replaced by “free beer” at Imperial. Friday evening means a pint (or two) in a pub, unless the department is holding an event in the common room just next to my office.