The Education Abroad team hopes that you are making the most of your time overseas. Take full advantage of your current situation to learn and to explore the country and culture. We look forward to hearing your stories!
Education abroad not only impacts students but also host cities, families, communities, and the environment. From carbon emissions due to air travel to single-use plastics to what we buy, the choices we make can have positive or negative short and long-term consequences for our home and host communities. What can you do to support your host country, host community, and planet while you are participating in education abroad? How can you begin or continue your commitment to sustainability while abroad?
There are countless ways to engage in sustainable actions while abroad. We’ve put together a short list, but you can also find more ideas in the articles linked below as well as by reviewing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Consider the following actions:
- Purchase a direct flight, or minimize the number of flights you take to reach your host location
- If you plan to take trips during your time abroad, consider purchasing carbon offsets for your travel (some airlines include this option at the time of the flight purchase). Remember that there’s a lot to see in your host city and nearby – plan a staycation!
- Walk or use public transportation instead of using private transportation
- Take reusable cloth bags with you when you go shopping (some locations do not provide bags at stores because of the environmental impact)
- Purchase items that are minimally packaged (i.e. vegetables that are not wrapped in plastic)
- Prioritize purchasing items that are made locally (including food and souvenirs!). Support your host city’s local economy
- Limit the amount of meat you eat each day/week.
- Take shorter showers
- Unplug electronics when not in use, and turn off lights when you’re leaving a room
- Use reusable water bottles and coffee/tea mugs. If you’re studying in a region where you must purchase water, purchase the largest size bottle available and fill your reusable bottle.
- Learn about recycling in your host community and recycle. Some locations may also have compost available!
Looking for more ideas about sustainable travel? Take a look at the resources below:
- Sustainable Travel International provides many resources for learning about how to travel more sustainably. Check out their posts on "Top 10 Tips for Sustainable Travel" and "How to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Travels".
"What Travelers Can Do to Save the Planet" from Afar Magazine
"10 Ways to Be Greener While Traveling" from IES Abroad
- “6 Ways to Be a More Sustainable Traveler” from National Geographic
- “How to reduce your use of plastic on a trip” from Lonely Planet
- William & Mary's Green Travel Guide
- Did you know the ISO has a carbon offset program? Learn more on our Sustainability & Education Abroad page!