May 18, 2011

Simple Ways to be "Green" While Studying Aboard

Students choose to travel abroad for a variety of reasons, but many do so in order to be given the opportunity to be immersed into a foreign, beautiful country for an extended period of time. While the charm and allure of sandy beaches, exotic animals, fresh air and clear blue skies may be the reason why some choose certain programs in specific locations, it's important that students diligently work to ensure that their host country stays beautiful long after they've completed their study abroad program.  To learn how to act as an eco-friendly study abroad student, continue reading below.

Pack Lightly. This may seem strange but packing lightly can really reduce your carbon foot print. The reason is simple: heavy luggage equals a heavier cargo on the plane. The heavier a cargo is the more fuel the plane needs to use in order to move. The more fuel a plane needs, the more emissions and toxins will be released into the air. So try to only pack the essentials and always remember that you can buy frivolous items like bars of soap at your host country. Besides, you don’t want to pack too heavily anyways. You'll want to have a place to put all of your souvenirs when you come back home. You also should investigate which airlines recycle the waste that is acquired while serving plane food and beverages and always purchase e-tickets to conserve paper.

Go Digital. Another way to go green is to make sure that you do your very best to get e-versions of all of your textbooks.  Not only will you be saving precious trees, but you won't have to carry around a backpack full of heavy textbooks visiting the Eiffel Tower after a study session. If you have no choice but to purchase paper copies of your textbooks, then at least consider purchasing them at your host country not while still at home. This is so your textbooks won't weigh down your luggage while traveling. If paper textbooks are the only option it's equally important that you sell them to a used bookstore or to someone who will need them before you travel back home.

Use Public Transportation. Some host countries will have better transit systems than other, but it's important that you try to utilize them as much as possible to help keep pollutants for being released into the atmosphere.  Consider taking buses, trains and trolleys before taking a taxi. If the desired location is close enough, then opt to ride a bicycle or even better use your legs— walking will not only get you where you need to be and help save the environment, but you'll also get in some much needed exercise. If taking a taxi or a friend's vehicle is the only way to travel, at least consider car pooling and inviting friends and classmates to join the ride if all of you happen to be going to the same place.

Purchase Local Foods/Dishes. While most study aboard programs will have some sort of meal plan for students, chances are students will try to eat as many traditional dishes as possible. Purchasing local foods and dishes is highly encouraged. This is because traditional dishes are usually made from regionally grown ingredients which mean they have smaller carbon footprint since the ingredients don't have to be shipped from remote locations via gas-guzzler trucks. In addition to having locally grown products waste less plastic and paper since they require less packaging and aren't heavily injected with preservatives, purchasing them will also help boost your host country's economy.

Author Bio:
Donna Reish, a freelancer who blogs about best universities, contributed this guest post.  She loves to write education, career, frugal living, finance, health, parenting relating articles. She can be reached via email at: 

Please quote and link to Scholarships, Grants and Events Abroad if you are republishing the article.

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