The Off-Campus Studies Office is committed to helping promote sustainability in study abroad. We encourage students with a strong interest in environmental studies and a sustainable way of life to discuss this with an OCS adviser. We can help you find a program that suits you and your interests.
You will find that sustainability is often not as much of a priority in other countries as it is in the U.S. However, you can incorporate it into your experience by volunteering at a local environmental organization, researching the environmental issues in the area, and encouraging sustainable living within your program. Some off-campus study programs allow students to incorporate service-learning or a research project into their course of study. You could take advantage of those opportunities to learn more about a specific environmental issue in that region and even get credit for it.
In some countries people will be more receptive to your ideas than in others. It is important to start small – begin by doing simple things that will conserve energy and natural resources. Many countries do not have formal recycling program, but re-using plastic water and soda bottles is an easy way to help cut down on waste. Small steps can really make a big difference when it comes to being environmentally conscious.
Some consider reciprocity and giving back to the local community as part of sustainability in study abroad. We encourage you to consider ways that you can contribute to your host community while away, such as tutoring English, volunteering in local schools, making presentations on life in the U.S., etc. Be creative – your host community will appreciate your willingness to contribute!
Middlebury College – Sustainable Study Abroad
Whitman’s Environmental Commitment