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Sustainable Study Abroad Programs

Green Study Abroad ProgramsAre you an environmentally conscious college student or recent grad looking for a way to help Mother Earth? Do you find yourself constantly wishing you could do more to lessen the detrimental effects our way of life has caused? Perhaps you should consider participating in a study abroad program.

Although typically associated with immersing yourself within another society's culture and lifestyle, study abroad programs have actually come a long way in the last few years, with many aiming their focus on sustainability and green living.  From green building to fair trade and more, these programs focus on world issues that affect us all. To learn more about specific programs, keep reading.

The Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL)

A nonprofit educational organization, CELL allows participants to receive college credit while making a difference in international communities. With five different programs—East Africa, Middle East, Maymester, Iceland and Central America—Cell members get the opportunity to work all over the world. Although the duration of and activities within certain programs vary, the overall message and goal is the same. It's hoped that participants will gain a better understanding of other cultures, while simultaneously promoting sustainability through hands-on projects.

Living Routes

Seeking to promote sustainable, equitable lifestyles, Living Routes is an independent, non-profit organization. Accredited by the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, participants can earn transferrable college credit for their time spent in the program. Placing a special emphasis on how humans everywhere interact with their surrounding environment, students typically live in "eco-villages" while they are on assignment—giving them a better understanding of what it takes to live a lifestyle with a low-ecological impact.

I.S.I.S. Belize                                                                                                                                     

Concentrating its efforts on Belize, I.S.I.S. Belize not only offers courses for current college student, but also has special activities and professional development programs for those in the fields of nursing, accounting, engineering and more. From hands-on service projects to in-depth field courses, I.S.I.S. Belize has something for anyone interested in interactive, sustainability education.

So, if traditional courses and educational venues just aren't satisfying your need to venture out and do more—consider giving one of these organizations a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised.

Katheryn Rivas is a regular contributor to Online, a leading online university student resource for those interested in pursuing a distance education. She welcomes your comments at [email protected]