By Felicia Baratz-Savage
You work hard to live a green lifestyle at home. You recycle, ride your bike everywhere and reduce electricity and water consumption as much as possible. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your green lifestyle if you decide to study abroad. Here’s how you can maintain green living while studying abroad.
Walk or bike whenever possible
Taking public transportation is a good way to reduce pollution, but walking or biking is even better. Most countries – especially in Europe – have extensive walking and biking routes. By walking or biking, you avoid creating carbon emissions and having to pay for bus or taxi fees. Walking also allows you to delve deeper into the country’s culture. And although other countries have relatively safe walking and biking routes, it doesn’t hurt to protect yourself with an international student insurance policy in case of an emergency.
Reuse and recycle
Just because you’re in another country doesn’t mean you can’t recycle. Ask professors or guides how and where to recycle in the country and what can be recycled. Also, reuse items whenever possible. Only take the necessities with you and pack as many reusable items as you can. Try to only buy used textbooks and school supplies for the semester you’re abroad.
Pick up after yourself
This is a no-brainer, but when visiting natural areas like parks, hiking trails or bodies of water, take your trash or brochures with you when you leave. Doing so helps reduce pollution and shows locals that you respect their environment. It wouldn’t hurt to go the extra mile and pick up any trash you see along the way, even if it isn’t yours.
Stay in eco-friendly hotels or hostels
Free travel gives you the opportunity to explore outside of the country you’re studying in. During this period, look for environmentally friendly hotels or hostels to room in. Research the areas you’re traveling to beforehand and book the most eco-friendly hostels you can find. If possible, travel with a large group of people to reduce the cost and the amount of resources used.
Eating at local restaurants and buying local groceries ensures that you’re helping to sustain the local environment. Eating local food means that the ingredients weren’t shipped from thousands of miles away. Buying groceries and cooking meals yourself makes it unnecessary for local restaurants to have to use their resources. Both options help the environment and let you experience the local cuisine.
It might be difficult, but keeping up your eco-friendly lifestyle can be done while studying abroad. You probably won’t be able to do some green practices you could at home, but there are still many ways to help the environment abroad. Enjoy greening up the environment wherever you go.