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Study Abroad Program Locations that Offer Environmental Studies Classes

by AIFS Abroad
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Whether you’re an Environmental Science major or just need to fulfill a class requirement for your undergraduate studies, why not take those types of classes as you study abroad?

Environmental Studies/Sciences is a very popular field that college students pursue when they study abroad. In addition to general Environmental Studies, there are so many adjacent fields to consider, too: Biology, Ecology, Natural Resources & Conservation, and more.

Here are a few of our fantastic study abroad locations that offer classes in Environmental Studies.

1. San José, Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s capital city of San José is known for its array of museums, parks, theaters, and historic landmarks. As a study abroad student there, you’ll get to experience its artistic scene, with music, dance, and handicrafts around every corner. When not diving deep into the local culture, you can bask in the sunshine! There are endless opportunities for recreation, sports, and relaxation in the area’s expansive beaches, stretching along 1,200+ km of coastline.

When it comes to environmental sciences, San José is pivotal thanks to its proactive sustainability efforts and rich biodiversity. In fact, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth! Surrounded by a variety of ecosystems, the city offers researchers incredible opportunities to explore biodiversity and ecosystem dynamics. San José’s commitment to renewable energy and eco-friendly urban planning also solidifies its reputation as a leader in environmental stewardship within Central America.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in San José can study at Veritas University through AIFS Abroad. The institution has grown to become one of the most highly regarded private universities in Latin America.

AIFS Abroad students doing a hiking clean up in San José, Costa Rica area for program's environmental Green Initiative while studying abroad
AIFS Abroad students in Costa Rica doing a clean-up effort while hiking

2. Sydney, Australia

The Australian city of Sydney gives college students an awesome blend of quality academics and unforgettable adventures when they study abroad. Home to world-class universities, you’ll receive top-tier global education in a diverse and ever-evolving environment. Beyond the classroom, the area’s stunning beaches and natural landscapes, iconic landmarks, and vibrant culture provide tons of opportunities for exploration, as well as professional and personal growth.

For college students looking to take classes related to Environmental Studies or Sciences abroad, look no further than Sydney. Sustainability is incredibly important to the city. It even has a plan, “Sustainability Sydney 2030,” that prioritizes things like green building, tree planting efforts, and focusing on recycling initiatives. With a biodiverse coastline, lots of urban parks, and a dedication to renewable energy, Sydney gives students a place to immerse themselves in a destination that’s focused on the impact of climate change — and being part of the solution.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Sydney can study at the University of Sydney through AIFS Abroad. Of particular interest might be our Sydney Sustainability Program option. This co-curricular program can be taken alongside the traditional study abroad program offered. Students undertake exclusive activities and a speaker series focused around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Completion of the program results in a Digital Badge.

AIFS Abroad students doing a beach clean up in Sydney, Australia for program's environmental Green Initiative while studying abroad
AIFS Abroad students in Sydney, Australia doing a beach clean-up day

3. Perth, Australia

Western Australia’s dynamic capital city of Perth has an impressive a population of over 2.5 million and is an incredible destination for studying abroad. Nestled along the picturesque Swan River, its temperate climate offers an average of 8 hours of sunshine daily, ideal for outdoor pursuits like fishing, kitesurfing, and sailing. With sprawling shopping districts and a diverse culinary scene, Perth caters to every taste. Its vibrant nightlife adds to the city’s allure, while over 50 miles of pristine coastline beckon beach lovers for swimming and surfing.

But what’s the sustainability scene in Perth like? Overall, the city is taking steps to mitigate their carbon emissions and reduce its negative impact on the climate crisis. With a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2032, they’re focusing efforts on small steps that add up over time, like smart irrigation controllers for parks, substantial tree-planting and care initiatives, and more. Perth’s commitment to sustainability and conservation initiatives underscores its role as a leader in environmental stewardship within Australia.

AIFS Abroad students in Perth attend Murdoch University where Environmental Studies classes are available. Murdoch University is a public university with a culturally diverse and vibrant student body of 22,000 students including over 3,000 international students.

4. Limerick, Ireland

As one of Ireland’s largest cities, Limerick offers unique opportunities to college students interested in studying abroad and taking Environmental Studies classes while there.

But what’s the sustainability scene in Limerick like? In 2020, the city won a European Green Leaf Award which recognizes its environmental achievements, as well as its urban sustainability and eco-innovation efforts. The award is a seal of approval by the European Commission. Since then, Limerick has continued its efforts in being one of Ireland and Europe’s most prominent champions for mitigating climate change.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Limerick can study at the University of Limerick through AIFS Abroad.

5. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

If you’re passionate about the environment, evolution, or ecology, odds are you’re a fan of Charles Darwin. Did you know his research primarily took place in the Galápagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador? This collection of islands in the Pacific Ocean is one of the world’s most unique regions, being named a “living museum and showcase of evolution.”

As a remote archipelago and one of the world’s most biodiverse areas, it’s imperative that the Galápagos Islands are as environmentally conscious as possible. The Galápagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism have strict rules for businesses to be able to operate here. In addition to complying with local regulations, it’s encouraged that visitors support community and conservation projects to protect the region — it is the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, after all.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in the Galápagos Islands can study abroad there through AIFS Abroad and the La Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).

AIFS Abroad students visiting a sustainable and organic farm in Galápagos Islands, Ecuador for program's environmental Green Initiative while studying abroad
AIFS Abroad students in the Galápagos Islands visiting a local, sustainable organic farm

6. London, England

A city that needs no introduction, London is a dynamic hub of politics, finance, and culture. It stands as one of the world’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities, with an abundance of museums, galleries, theaters, historic sites, and lush urban parks. London offers something for every visitor to enjoy.

For the college student interested in or pursuing Environmental Studies in a huge metropolitan city, London is a top-notch place to land. There is a major focus on environmental science in London at the moment — it’s all about sustainability and keeping things green. London offers a number of opportunities to explore how cities and nature intersect, and is striving to be a model for other major hubs worldwide. There is a dedicated effort to tackle climate change with its London Environment Strategy, and there are a number of meaningful projects and investments in renewable energy.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in London can study at institutions such as University College London through AIFS Abroad, as well as at our very own Global Education Center.

AIFS Abroad student Jade from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas shares a day in her life studying abroad in London as an Earth & Environmental Science major

7. Berlin, Germany

The capital city of Germany, Berlin stands out among European cities for its ongoing transformation and evolution. It has become a symbol of design innovation and cultural diversity. It has a dynamic landscape that doesn’t shy from its political and cultural upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. You’ll find diverse architectural styles and responses to the aftermath of war and destruction in public areas. Welcoming people from all walks of life and backgrounds, Berlin is an inclusive place to study abroad.

For the college student interested in pursuing Environmental Studies classes abroad, Berlin is a great place to be. The city itself is a leader in sustainability and prioritizing the mitigation of climate change. It was even ranked 6th in the 2023  “Global Destination Sustainability Index,” which evaluates the world’s most sustainable metropolitan cities with more than 1.5 million people. With its mix of vibrant culture, green spaces, and innovative projects, Berlin offers students valuable opportunities to explore urban ecology and environmental sustainability. Additionally, the city’s commitment to renewable energy and green policies underscores its leadership in environmental innovation and conservation efforts.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Berlin can study at Freie Universität Berlin, a comprehensive, degree-granting university with 15 departments and a student enrollment of almost 30,000, through AIFS Abroad.

8. Athens, Greece

The city of Athens, long revered as the birthplace of democracy, holds a pivotal role in shaping world history. While celebrated for its ancient classical heritage, Greece’s cosmopolitan capital also is full of modern sophistication and can be quite forward-thinking. Athens has a youthful population, lively street scenes, and a laid-back lifestyle. Affordable and vibrant, the city offers college students who want to study abroad the best of many worlds: historic treasures like the Parthenon at the Acropolis, quaint Plaka streets, and ancient monuments, alongside chic shops, eclectic galleries, trendy coffee spots, and contemporary hotspots.

For students interested in studying abroad in a place that is working diligently on its efforts to be sustainable, look no further than Athens. The city has unique challenges with ancient infrastructure and densely populated areas, but is making strides in its efforts to increase green spaces, implement sustainable clean water and sanitation strategies, install public electric charging stations, and encourage responsible consumption and production across industries. The Athens International Airport is also committing to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2025 with an initiative called “ROUTE 2025.”

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Athens can study at the American College of Greece (DEREE – ACG) through AIFS Abroad, where they’ll have access to the university’s full curriculum, subject to prerequisites. Founded in 1875, it’s the oldest and largest independent, American-sponsored college or university in Europe. It has a student population of over 2,900 and offers over 1,000 courses each year. It is the only institution in Athens with American accreditation. 

9. Maynooth, Ireland

A quaint university town, Maynooth’s rich history is evident in its stunning landmarks! From the majestic ruins of Maynooth Castle to the Gothic architecture of St. Patrick’s College, there’s a lot to explore. If being in Ireland’s gorgeous nature is your thing, you’ll love the area’s sprawling Donadea Forest and the tranquil Royal Canal. As a study abroad student in Maynooth, you can indulge in the local Irish cuisine at one of the town’s delightful eateries, bars, or cafes.

But what’s sustainability in Maynooth like? Although smaller in size, the town is significant when it comes to environmental responsibility — it’s made commitments to sustainability and conservation efforts. With its green spaces, nearby natural reserves, and emphasis on eco-friendly practices, Maynooth provides students with opportunities to live and learn in a biodiverse environment and high-impact sustainable development at the local level. Additionally, because it’s a university town, there’s much collaboration between the local government, academic institutions (Maynooth University has its own Green Campus!), and community organizations to ensure that efforts are aligned and everyone is working toward promoting a greener future.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Maynooth can study at Maynooth University, recognized as one of the leading new universities in the world and is Ireland’s fastest growing university, through AIFS Abroad. The university has over 13,000 students from over 90 countries, making for a diverse and inclusive environment.

10. Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington is full of life! It has an incredible blend of culture, history, and cuisine that can’t be missed. From eclectic restaurants and bustling markets to charming food trucks, the city offers international students a delicious adventure. Its picturesque scenery sets the stage for outdoor activities such as mountain biking and kayaking. Wildlife enthusiasts will love experiencing rare animal encounters, from whale watching to exploring glow worm caves and spotting exotic birds.

The “Coolest Little Capital” has big plans and practices in the fight against climate change. Before reaching its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Wellington’s first step is to reduce the city’s gross emissions by 57% by 2030. Other big initiatives are improving pedestrian safety and public transportation, building more efficient buildings and upgrading existing structures, and creating a low carbon food network.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Wellington can study at Victoria University through AIFS Abroad. Home to around 22,000 students, including 3,000 international students, the university offers a comprehensive range of internationally recognized courses and degrees. 

11. Stellenbosch, South Africa

Just a stone’s throw from Cape Town, Stellenbosch is nestled in the picturesque winelands of the Western Cape. It’s surrounded by truly stunning mountain ranges. The town has a rich and complex history that can be easily seen in its Cape Dutch, Georgian, and Victorian architecture. As a university city, visitors can explore fascinating museums, quaint coffee shops, lively bars, and many art venues. Nature lovers will love it here, too — venture beyond the town to hike through vineyards, orchards, and scenic mountain trails.

But what’s the city like when it comes to sustainability? Stellenbosch itself is in large part a university town. As such, it’s impacted greatly by the practices and efforts of Stellenbosch University (SU). The university has made environmental sustainability a “core component” of its strategic plan, aiming to create a community of “sustainable changemakers” and supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SU’s efforts to use natural resources responsibly, procure goods and services from sustainable and ethical sources, engage with local stakeholders, and implement other sustainability principles show its commitment to mitigating the climate crisis and impacting the greater community at large.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Stellenbosch can study at Stellenbosch University through AIFS Abroad.

12. Granada, Spain

Tucked between the jaw-dropping peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea on the Costa del Sol, Granada offers the best of so many worlds. It has cosmopolitan charm while maintaining its Andalusian small-town essence. The locals are known for their warmth and hospitality. Throughout the city, traces of Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque influences can be seen on every corner. Landmarks such as the Alhambra Palace, Generalife Gardens, Cathedral, and Royal Chapel are must-sees. These architectural marvels, alongside the Arab baths, the Bañuelo, and the Carthusian monastery, attract visitors from around the world year after year.

As one of Spain’s most populous and frequently visited cities, Granada faces challenges when it comes to being a sustainable destination. Its natural landscape, however, makes it the perfect place to promote and highlight the importance of conservation efforts, biodiversity, and ecosystem maintenance.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Granada can study at the University of Granada, home to a population of over 60,000 students, through AIFS Abroad.

13. Seville, Spain

Spanish culture is encapsulated in Seville. With its intimate flamenco venues, bustling tapas bars, and charming squares filled with cheerful Sevillanos, you’ll love studying abroad here. Its lively historic center, home to the Real Alcázar, Cathedral, Giralda Tower, and the Barrio Santa Cruz, reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage as a former Moorish capital and thriving trading port in the 16th century. The city is known for its vibrant celebrations, dramatic flair, and zest for life. With an abundance of activities, sights, and exploration opportunities, Seville will warmly welcome you to a semester abroad full of discovery.

But what about sustainability in the city of Seville? The city has both long-term and short-term goals when it comes to fighting climate change. Ultimately, it strives to become a climate neutral city by 2030. In the present moment, the city of Seville has launched innovative projects to get there. These include developing new and eco-friendly public transportation infrastructure, transforming public buildings into smart and energy-sustainable structures, and encouraging responsible urban tourism practices.

Students interested in taking Environmental Studies classes abroad in Seville can study at Pablo de Olavide University through AIFS Abroad. It has an extensive university community made up of more than 70,000 students. At the university’s heart is to build a more human institution that’s close to the people, which is governed with them and for them, promoting participation and dialogue. 

These aren’t the only study abroad locations that offer classes for Environmental Studies majors or enthusiasts.

AIFS Abroad offers study abroad and international internship programs around the world. Maybe you’ve completed your Environmental Studies major’s requirements and are looking to explore other topics through electives. Or, maybe you just want to go to a destination that is a world leader in sustainability efforts. No matter your goals, we have a program to suit your needs.

Bonus: Do an Environmental Internship Abroad

AIFS Abroad internship program participant Carly shares a day in her life as an Environmental Studies intern in Sydney, Australia

Interning abroad is your chance to do something different, learn outside of the classroom, gain work experience, earn academic credit, make lifelong friendships, and explore the world. AIFS Abroad internship programs are offered in 15 exciting international cities and in over 40 career fields overall. Internship placements are available in Environmental Studies, Environmental Policy, and more. You’ll build your resume while having the experience of a lifetime!

We love that you’re passionate about the environment. We are, too!

AIFS Abroad Green Initiative

In response to the overwhelming global climate crisis, AIFS Abroad has made sustainability a key priority when considering organizational, operational, and programming decisions. We understand that the only way to effectively combat this crisis and mitigate the effects of climate change is to drastically reduce our environmental impact. Therefore, we’ve committed to reaching carbon neutrality by the year 2025.

The Green Initiative has three pillars:

  1. Green Business that includes auditing our own business practices and our program partners to reduce our consumption of finite resources and limiting our carbon footprint.
  2. Sustainability Education for both our program participants, through onsite engagement with local environmental projects, and within our industry as a leader in our field.
  3. Offsetting Carbon Emissions by purchasing verified carbon credits for all our program participants round trip flights to their program location.
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