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We realize that spending time traveling for a study abroad program can lead to concerns about sustainability. But 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. recognized 15 cities for greener living in 2007, including Copenhagen, London, Sydney, Barcelona, Freiburg and Quebec City. Click here to search for programs in these cities.

  • Getting where you need to go

    If 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.

  • Water conservation

    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 here.

  • Shopping abroad

    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.

Additional resources:

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

Sustainable Travel International
Dedicated to promoting responsible travel, sustainable development and protecting cultures and environments visited.

What is Green Travel?
Information and resources from the Responsible Travel Report online magazine about responsible travel practices.

CISabroad Green
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. Visit to search for non-IU programs offered by this provider.

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 and other areas.

As an alternative to our programs, some students may be interested in sustainability projects such as ecovillages or organic farms in other countries. Below are a few examples.

World Wide Opportunities Organic Farms
A network for those who wish to volunteer with organic farmers in exchange for food and accommodations.

It is vital that IU train students for our country’s growing international responsibilities.”

-Edward L. Hutton, IU Alumnus and Benefactor

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