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Sustainability Study Abroad Programs

Green Study Abroad: Green Passport

The sustainable travel movement is strong and growing and multiple organizations around the world are seeking to educate people about what they can do to contribute. Many of the suggestions are simple and can be easily instituted.  As a Green Passport Holder, students acknowledge the interconnectedness of the world’s people and the environment and pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of studying, living, working, traveling, or volunteering abroad and will try to improve these aspects of my international experience.

  • Iceland: Renewable Energy, Technology, and Resource Economics –  In the capital, Reykjavik, students meet with politicians, industry leaders, and social activists to develop their understanding of how Iceland’s energy policy fits into the larger national agenda. In Akureyri, students will study at the School for Renewable Energy Science, a new center associated with the University of Akureyri. In the remote West Fjords, students apply concepts learned to village-scale energy problems.
  • Australia: Sustainability and Environment designed to empower students to make a positive contribution towards making our societies more sustainable. Students are not only given the knowledge needed to make informed judgments about environmental issues; they are inspired to believe that they can make a difference and are motivated to take action to address environmental problems.  The program is based on the philosophy that environmental issues such as global climate change are so important in today’s world that all students, no matter what their major, should be ‘ecologically literate.’  Northern New South Wales is acknowledged as one of the leading areas of Australia in sustainability.  Students interact with academics, environmental planners, conservationists, and indigenous groups to learn about workable solutions in various landscapes and how a strong sense of place spurs individuals to take action to protect their environment.
  • Jordan: Water and Environmental Policy in the Middle East – This program explores sustainable development alternatives, looking at appropriate technologies and strategies in Jordan, and (conditions permitting) in Israel, as well as cross-border challenges and possibilities for cooperation.  Case studies of sustainable agriculture in arid lands and the impact on rural life in Jordan is explored up close, including a three day rural Bedouin homestay. The program studies challenges and strategies in tourism development (mass tourism vs. eco-tourism). Field visits to projects such as dams, water treatment plants, ecotourism reserves, and sustainable agriculture sites give students first-hand experience and understanding of the issues. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies brings together Jewish, Arab, and other students to examine environmental issues.
  • Tanzania-Zanzibar: Coastal Ecology and Natural Resource Management -Students examine coastal ecology and natural resource management in one of the most remarkable areas of the world: Zanzibar and the islands of the Western Indian Ocean. Tourism and other industries present seriously challenge the region’s fragile ecosystems. In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that the health and long-term viability of the region’s coastal forests, coral reefs, and vulnerable fauna, such as indigenous flying foxes and Ader’s duikers, will be severely threatened if not managed in a more sustainable way.  This program challenges students to reframe notions of sustainability in relation to local population needs, perspectives, and values.
  • Viet Nam: Ecology and Sustainability in the Mekong Delta –  Reaching 3,000 miles from the Plateau of Tibet to the South China Sea, the Mekong River flows through six countries populated by 60 million people. Much proposed development — such as dams, irrigation, and dredging—will dramatically alter the river’s flow and impact the delta in unpredictable ways. Students examine wetlands, soil, mangroves, shrimp farms, aquaculture, migratory bird habitats, freshwater swamps, and grasslands, and explore issues of sustainable development, pressures on natural resource exploitation, and ecotourism in Viet Nam and Cambodia. This program features lecturers and program support from Can Tho University, which is internationally recognized for its research on marine aquaculture and water management. Students have the opportunity to explore local sustainability initiatives and pro-poor development strategies. Students meet with farmers and fishermen and explore the local solutions tested and implemented to move families beyond levels of subsistence and out of poverty. Students contribute to this effort and install a biodigester and methane pipeline.
  • Monteverde, Costa Rica: Sustainability and the Environment – This program is designed for students interested in learning and studying about sound tropical conservation and sustainable development to ensure future biodiversity and human welfare. Students study the intersection of humans and their impact on natural systems like rain forests and how environmental issues influence economics and society. This includes an internship in the Monteverde region, as well as visits to national parks throughout Costa Rica. The goals of the program are to offer students a theoretical foundation of conservation and sustainability; hands-on exposure to its practices through visits and a local internship; courses in Spanish language; opportunities to use Spanish in daily life; and appreciation of Costa Rican natural history, diversity, and beauty. Emphasis is placed on hands-on field observation of conservation and development projects throughout Costa Rica and parts of Nicaragua, as well as human-nature interactions and their application to the conservation of nature, social justice, national security, and the economy.
  • Perth, Australia: Sustainability and the Environment – The Study Center at Murdoch University program is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the impact that industries such as agriculture, forestry, fishing, and tourism have on the environment. One of the many strengths of the program is the opportunity for students to take courses that teach them to be both scientifically competent and well-versed on public policy issues in Australia. Students gain an understanding of the Australian environment and society while pursuing an exceptional range of academic and recreational opportunities.
  • IAESTE-United States – EMPOWER: Engineering for a Sustainable Future –  Brazil currently generates 43.8 percent of its power from sustainable energy sources, according to Agencia Brazil, a Brazilian government communications division.  The United States produced only 5.74 percent of its power from sustainable energy sources in 2004 and is projected to increase that production to only 7.08 percent by the year 2010, according to the Department of Energy’s Annual Energy Outlook 2006.  IAESTE United States and Texas Tech University coordinated this summer trip to Brazil to investigate energy solutions for a sustainable future.
  • IES Abroad – For 60 years, IES Abroad has been committed to making study abroad as accessible as possible. We also have another commitment—to protect the environment.  Our Go Green Initiative™ is designed to further integrate eco-friendly thinking into IES Abroad business practices—at our Chicago offices and at our study abroad Center locations worldwide.  It also aims to enhance our academic offerings and student life opportunities relating to the environment and sustainability.
  • IES Abroad- Freiburg Environmental Studies & Sustainability Program offers students the opportunity to explore important topics in Environmental Studies, while living in Freiburg, a center of the modern environmental movement.  Students live in a sustainably-designed university residence hall in the eco-friendly neighborhood of Vauban.
  • IES Abroad- Quito Summer Environmental Studies Program allows students to explore the richness of Ecuador’s ecology and to discuss a range of issues related to environmental management and conservation. Field study trips to the Galápagos Islands and the Amazon rain forest are highlights of the program.