AIFS Study Abroad Blog

Top 9 Study Abroad Programs if You’re Passionate About the Environment 

Young woman in recycling t-shirt

AIFS Abroad is dedicated to making studying and interning abroad more sustainable. As part of our Green Initiative, we aim to be carbon neutral by 2025. An important element of this program is educating our students about how they can reduce their environmental impact. We are excited to share some of these amazing program experiences that students can engage in during their time on an AIFS Abroad program. Many are already part of our existing social calendar, while others are an optional experience. We have compiled a list of our top environmental education opportunities from 2022.  

Here are the top 9 study abroad programs for students passionate about the environment:  

1. Rome, Italy

Program Experience: Retake Roma

Retake Roma is an association of citizens and organizations throughout Rome that are dedicated to increasing the active involvement of citizens in the sustainable development of the city. Students have the opportunity to participate and volunteer in a wide range of urban renewal, advocacy, and environmental events. Retake Roma provides students with amazing opportunities to learn about current sustainability efforts and give back to their host communities.   

2. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Program Experience: Club de Reparadores

Club de Reparadores is a movement that seeks to promote repair as a strategy for responsible consumption and sustainability. Students in Buenos Aires have the opportunity to participate in events hosted by Club de Reparadores where they learn how to repair and extend the useful life of household objects and share their own knowledge. Not only does this program reduce waste, it also teaches students useful repair skills while allowing them to engage and collaborate with their host community in new ways.   

3. Florence, Italy

Program Experience: Urban Gardening

Urban gardens are becoming more and more prevalent in cities all over the world as communities work together to ensure access to organic, sustainably grown food. In Florence, students have the opportunity to attend a workshop at a community garden where they can learn about and participate in sustainable food production.

4. Grenoble, France

Program Experience: Fresque du Climat

The Fresque du Climat hosts 3-hour online or in person workshops for the general public designed to educate attendees about the basics of climate change and climate actions that can be taken to improve the health of our planet. While studying abroad in Grenoble, students have the opportunity to participate in one of these workshops and learn how to reduce their environmental impact.   

5. Salamanca, Spain

Program Experience: Cycling along the Tormes River

Walking and cycling are the greenest forms of transportation. Students studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain have the opportunity to learn about sustainable transportation options, explore their host community, and participate in a fun, carbon neutral activity when cycling along the Tormes River. 

6. Salzburg, Austria

Program Experience: Energy Company Tour

While we all use energy in our everyday lives, few people really understand how that energy is produced and made available to the public. As part of their program, students have the opportunity to participate in an excursion to a local energy company. During their tour, students will learn about how energy is produced, the importance of conserving energy, and current efforts that are being made to make energy generation more sustainable.  

7. Prague, Czech Republic

Program Experience: Eco-Workshops

One of the best ways to reduce waste is to find new uses for discarded materials. Luckily, there are so many ways to recycle creatively. In Prague, students celebrated the Easter Holiday with a fun, environmentally friendly activity: crafting jewelry from recycled materials!   

8. San José, Costa Rica

Program Experience: Mountain Hike Clean-up

Costa Rica is world-renowned for its exotic wildlife and nature reserves. Excursions to these natural sites are a key component of the San José program. While exploring the country’s unique natural environment, students also have the opportunity to contribute to its health and protection. During their hike along the River Agres, students participate in a clean-up activity designed to protect the forest and water resources of the local community.  

9. Multiple Programs

Program Experience: Recycling

While reducing and reusing products as much as possible are the preferable first steps towards sustainable consumption, recycling plays a key role in reducing waste, particularly plastic waste, that ends up in landfills and the wider environment. Every country has a different recycling system and learning how to properly recycle is essential to ensuring that recycling efforts are as effective as possible. As a result, AIFS ensures that all students are properly instructed in the recycling requirements of their host countries upon arrival. In Rome, the program takes a circular approach to waste management by ensuring that the office and students’ apartments are equipped with separate containers for plastic/metal, paper, glass, and organic waste.

Reuse and Donate

One of the best ways to reduce our environmental impact is to reduce the amount of waste that we generate. In order to combat this problem within our own programs, we have created a Reuse and Donate Initiative where students who do not want to take books, school supplies, kitchen utensils, personal care items, clothing and other goods that they used while in their host country back to the U.S. can donate them to the AIFS office where they will be distributed to future students to use. This way, students can reduce their environmental impact and positively contribute to the study abroad experiences of future students.  

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