Study Abroad Programs for the Environmentally-Conscious Student

When you choose to study abroad, you make the conscious decision to become a global citizen. For many students, sustainability is an important part of their journey. Your study abroad can expose you to resources and people around the world who are making impactful strides in sustainability. And there are even opportunities to make a difference in your study abroad location so that you leave a positive impact on your host country.

On this page you’ll find a variety of resources including programs, courses, past student experiences, and opportunities for environmentally-conscious students.


Study Abroad Locations Known for Sustainability

Several countries in the world are recognized for their sustainability efforts. In fact, the following USAC programs are on the list of the most sustainable countries in the world, and there are plenty of other destinations making large strides to safeguard the environment.

Costa Rica
New Zealand
Czech Republic
United Kingdom

Courses Available in Sustainability

Throughout many USAC programs, you can take a variety of courses related to sustainability and the environment. It’s always best to check our website for the most up-to-date course offerings, but here is a sample of past and current classes.

  • Santiago, Chile: Climate Change: Effects on Ecology, Society and Economics
  • Prague, Czech Republic: Responding to the Challenge of Climate Change
  • San Ramon, Costa Rica: Global Conservation & Economic Policies
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand: Tropical Plant Ecology
  • Montevideo, Uruguay: Environment: A World of Limited Resources
  • Pau, France: Environment: A World of Limited Resources
  • Lüneburg, Germany: European Environmental Resiliency: Beyond Sustainability
  • Shanghai, China: Environmental Impact of China’s Modern Transportation
  • Viterbo, Italy: Humans and the Global Environment
  • Khon Kaen, Thailand: Global Health Issues and the Environment
  • Valencia, Spain: Green Chemistry and Sustainability

Field Trips & Field Studies

Nearly every USAC program offers the opportunity to participate in field trips and field studies.

Field Studies are field trip courses where you can earn one-credit while deepening your academic experience by completing additional academic requirements, keeping a journal, and engaging in discussions of the sites visited to better understand their historical and cultural contexts. A field study course counts as part of your credit load.

At USAC we have 45 field study options available throughout our 53 programs which you can see a full list of USAC field studies here. But here is a sampling of field studies available to students that can help fuel your love and knowledge for the environment.

Heredia & Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Introduction to Conservation Biology Field Study

This field study offers you the opportunity to have direct contact with tropical organisms, the ecosystems in which these organisms are, as well as apply concepts seen during the Introduction to Tropical Ecology course.

A one-day trip and an overnight trip will be programmed. The trips involve mostly hiking for considerable time, so proper outfit and disposition are required.

Montevideo, Uruguay
Viticulture Field Study

Visit local wineries to learn about the viticulture process from how they handle the natural resources and the impact of the industry on the environment, to producing the wine and selling the product. Enrollment in an agribusiness or viticulture course is required to register for this optional field study.

Santiago, Chile
Northern Chile Field Study

The tour itinerary includes excursions to the village of San Pedro, near the Atacama salt flats and the Andes mountains, as well as the oasis towns of Toconao, Camar, and Socaire; visits to the archaeological museum and sites of the native Atacama culture, with its Inca and Spanish influences; guided excursions to the magnificent national parks of Moon Valley, Flamingo Lagoons in the Atacama salt flats, and the Andean Antiplain Lakes; a night astronomical session in the Atacama Desert; an exploration of the protected ecological area of the Cactus Valley; and a refreshing visit to the Puritama thermal baths.

*This is not an all-encompassing list! Use our program search tool on our website to find a complete list of places you can study sustainability and environmental studies.

Student Experiences Abroad

There’s no better way to learn about the opportunities through study abroad than from those who have gone before you. From volunteers and internships to field studies and individual opportunities, here are a few of the ways that past students have created sustainable experiences for themselves during study abroad.

“I am very interested in wildlife conservation, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and climate change. This internship was able to encompass all of these aspects in some way. It allowed me to see that wildlife conservation, agriculture, and community development are connected, and it’s possible to find solutions where both wildlife and people can benefit.”

Additional Resources

8 Tips for Being Sustainable While Abroad

When you choose to study abroad, you make the conscious decision to become a global citizen. As a global citizen, it’s important to leave a positive impact on the locations you travel to and respect the environment no matter where in the world you are.

  1. Avoid water waste
  2. Shop local
  3. Donate your stuff
  4. Rent a bike and use public transportation
  5. Reduce your plastic use
  6. Save paper
  7. Carbon offset
  8. Choose a green hotel

Read the full article here:

How to Be Aware of Climate Change During Study Abroad

If you’re worried about climate change, don’t count out study abroad. Just understand how you can take your study abroad opportunity and passion for climate change on the same journey with these tips.

  1. Choose a location known for sustainability
  2. Consider eco-friendly modes of transportation
  3. Educate yourself on the environmental condition of your destination
  4. Make some personal changes before you head abroad
  5. Shop sustainable brands
  6. Turn your study abroad into activism
  7. Keep sustainability in mind during study abroad

Read the full article here:

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