How to have a more sustainable study abroad experience

How to have a more sustainable study abroad experience

From eating seasonally to buying sustainable souvenirs

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Tue 30 Apr 2024 11:09 AM

Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience and something that many people dream of doing in their lifetime. Immersing yourself in a new country and getting out of your comfort zone is an unmatched catalyst for personal growth. You can learn a lot about yourself and all around you, while having the opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world. That being said, study abroad programs can have a harmful impact on the environment. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can reduce this and still have the time of your life studying abroad. 

1. Eat with the seasons

If you want to truly immerse yourself in Italian culture and live an eco-friendlier lifestyle, eating seasonally and locally is a great place to start. Head to markets, such as Sant’Ambrogio or San Lorenzo, where you will find local vendors selling an abundance of fresh produce brought in from nearby farms. Not only is this an amazing way to embrace the slow-food culture, but it’s also a fantastic way to connect with locals. If you shop regularly with the same vendors, they begin to recognize you and are more likely to throw in some additional fresh produce for free.

2. Travel the eco-friendly way

Traveling by air may be a convenient option when you are looking to book your next trip, but sadly it leaves a large carbon footprint. An amazing benefit of studying in Italy, however, is the efficient public transportation system. By traveling via train, bus or tram, you reduce your environmental impact and save money in the process.

3. Sustainable souvenirs

The desire to bring back souvenirs from your travels is undeniable: it’s a great way to commemorate your adventures. An amazing approach to doing the same thing but more sustainably is to check out local artisans and second-hand shops

4. Learn the ins and outs of trash

Trying to figure out how the waste system works can be a bit tricky at first. “Why are there so many different bins?” and “Where do I put everything?” are some pretty common (and valid) questions people ask when they move here. It’s actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Check your closest bins to be sure, but in Florence garbage and recycling are divided as follows: blue bin (plastic + metals); green (glass); brown (compost); and black bin (all other garbage). If you live in the center, there is door-to-door pickup for paper recycling once a week. If you’re outside of the center, you should see a yellow bin where you can bring your paper recycling.

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