We realize that spending time traveling for a study abroad program can lead to concerns about sustainability. However, there are several steps you can take to stay green while you’re traveling and living in a foreign country.
Finding your place
According to a 2011 list of the top ten greenest European cities by Fodor's Travel, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Copenhagen were recognized by the European Green Capital (EGC) for their eco-friendliness. Grist.org recognized 15 cities for greener living in 2007, including Copenhagen, London, Sydney, Barcelona, Freiburg, and Quebec City.
Getting where you need to go
you have to fly, choose non-stop flights and airlines with all-economy seating. Pack lightly. Once you’ve arrived at your destination for your program, use public transportation, rent a bicycle, or walk. When this isn’t feasible, share rides whenever possible.
Your host country may not have the available supply of water that we’re used to in the U.S. Start shortening your showers before you leave home. You can also save money and cause less waste by carrying a reusable water bottle—water might not be free in public places like you’re used to. Wash your own clothes and avoid laundromats, which tend to use more water. Learn more about the effects of tourism on water consumption from the Case for Responsible Tourism report.
Buy and eat local when you can. Avoid disposable items and instead, purchase reusable alternatives with minimal or no packaging.
Minimizing electricity use
Turn off the lights when you leave a room and unplug your laptop and other devices when not in use. Hang your clothes out to dry if you have the space where you’re staying.
Sustainable Study Abroad (Middlebury College)
Information about Middlebury's commitment to addressing global warming and Sustainable Study Abroad Grants available for students studying abroad through their programs.
Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator
Calculate your impact on the planet.
Green Passport Program
A program for students interested in minimizing their impact on the environment and participating/giving back to host communities.
20 Steps to Sustainable Study Abroad
Tips from GoGreenTravelGreen.com.
Sustainable Travel International
Dedicated to promoting responsible travel, sustainable development, and protecting cultures and environments visited.
Learn about this study abroad provider's mission to integrate environmental awareness and responsibility into study abroad, and read advice about reducing your own carbon footprint.
Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL)
A non-profit organization with study abroad programs in Central America, Africa, Iceland, and the Middle East. This provider offers various sustainability tips regarding shopping, electricity, transportation, etc.
World Wide Opportunities Organic Farms (WWOOF)
A network for those who wish to volunteer with organic farmers in exchange for food and accommodations.