Tag Archives: sustainable travel

Sustainable Setting To Travel And Learn

Doesn’t the mere thought of traveling makes you happy and giddy? While typing “things to do” and “what to eat” in a certain country or city, you suddenly realize how wonderful it is to live. Add a little more something to it like a diploma and a degree and you got the recipe for the most perfect getaway.

It should not be surprising that the number of international students around the world is on the rise. Studying abroad has “lucky” written all over it. It’s not every day that you get to travel while learning. According to a 2009 statistics from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, there are around 3.7 million international students worldwide. UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics finds that the numbers are increasing by 12% each year, which means that as of 2015, some 2.6 million students have had the privilege to study abroad. In short, there are at least six million extremely lucky individuals who get to experience first-hand the benefits of traveling and learning at the same time.

The U.S., European countries, and major Asian cities are among the most popular destinations for international students. Young people get to study abroad via sponsorships, grants, and personal expense. Sometimes all it takes is to fill out that application form and know that there’s more to learning than crashing frat parties and scoring a date with a cheerleader or a football star. Yes, the struggles are real and there will be challenges and you will miss familiar places and faces. But it’s a big world out there. Go out, learn, and have fun.

Whether you are into the romantic, rustic, cultural or modern vibe, there is a very wide and diverse list of the best and coolest countries and cities to choose from, depending on the course or degree and other personal preferences. Here are some of them:

Oooh, Paris!

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For the third year running, Paris was ranked number one in the QS Best Student Cities index. The French capital is admired for its architecture and cultural heritage. There are a lot of internationally-ranked universities in Paris that often attract those studying culture, humanities, design and architecture, and also fashion. Do you know what is the common course requirement for studying French architecture? A trip to the Louvre.

The cost of living in Paris is rather high, especially for students, but the tuition fees are relatively low compared to other cities which offsets living expenses. In addition, you can stare and have the cheesiest photo at the majestic Eiffel Tower as often as you want.

Diversity in South Africa

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South Africa is among the most culturally and ethnically diverse places in the region. It’s history is also very interesting considering the country’s struggles during the apartheid and colonization. So if you want to learn about cultures, politics, and international studies, South Africa should be on top of your list. Plus, it’s also a great place to study linguistics. Did you know that they have 11 official languages? Nature is also a good discipline because of the wildlife and yes, the safari. And according to Abroad 101, Cape Town, South Africa’s capital, is among the top 10 friendliest cities in the world.

Awesome Australia

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You’ll never be bored in Australia. It is truly the perfect setting to travel and learn. From the beaches to the rainforests and postcard-worthy sites, Australia is simply a gorgeous country. Most of Australia is known for the beach life, night life and music. And of course, the way humans co-exist with animals.

Among its strong academic programs involve ecology, geology and marine biology. This is mainly because of the country’s varied topography and unique climate. The student population in Australia is large, diverse, and inclusive. There are also a lot of internationally-ranked universities across the country; seven can be found in Melbourne.

Nerdy in Germany

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Germany is a cool destination for students, especially for those interested in the sciences and technology industries. It is a good place to study engineering and business, as it is a leader in both fields. Given its very rich history, Germany is also a good choice to study European politics. Students would also be glad to know that Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, gives subsidies to foreign students, making it an affordable study destination.

Museums and gardens are aplenty. Beer is also part of the culture.  Party nights can be a little notorious in cities like Berlin.

Lots of lovin’ in Dublin

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Ireland is a passionate nation. They pack so much pride for their sports teams, history, and heritage. Ireland is enriching on so many levels and it is just a fun country to be in. No wonder that among its strong academic programs are on the romance side — literature and writing. James Joyce, anyone?

Most Irish universities put a lot of academic responsibility on the students. These universities do not cover everything in lectures, and exams are not very popular either. Learning materials are given to students and they have to be responsible enough to go through them. Just a friendly reminder: it rains all the time in Dublin so be prepared. Aside from passport, visa, and other academic requirements, climate is also among the major things to consider when traveling and studying abroad.

A great Spanish mix

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There are a variety of lessons you can learn in studying abroad. Aside from the course requirements, there is also the rich history and culture. And when you think of the perfect mix of modernity and tradition, Spanish-speaking countries got you covered.

Spain has it all — culture, history, heritage, and tradition. Art, theater, architecture, and linguistics are perfect disciplines. Hailed as one of the most livable cities in the world, its capital Madrid is both enchanting and exotic. It’s very modern and the traveler in you will surely enjoy the awesome nightlife and flamenco dancing.

Argentina is also a good study destination. If you are looking for a Latin American perspective on politics, history, and religion, then Argentina is the place to be. Given the European history of its people, the social sciences are also a strong point. Argentina is also home to a lot of exciting rural areas and vibrant cities that you can explore.

The demand for quality universities in Costa Rica is high because of the high literacy in this Spanish-speaking country. It’s 96%! Costa Rica has a very lush environment, making environment-related fields of study its strong point. In fact, many of its universities sponsor educational trips to research on and explore the vast natural resources.

Royalty in the United Kingdom

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The UK is home to some of the oldest and most respected universities in the world, so you are guaranteed to find a really good one. It also home to some of the world’s most notable politicians, economists, scientists, and writers so you could basically study anything in the UK. For the travel part, you can experience royalty in some of the palaces, eat fish and chips, dine al fresco, go crazy over soccer, and fall in love with the cute accent.

Fall easily with Italy

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It’s easy to fall in love with Italy over and over again. The food is great and the sites are gorgeous. Every corner is worthy of a selfie and you won’t run out of updates and posts for your social media pages. Art, history, and architecture are good study courses in Italy. There is also Rome for classical history, arts and architecture. Then there’s Milan for fashion.

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity. You get to see the world in a different perspective. You don’t go by an itinerary, but instead slowly take it all in. Do not be intimidated by the thought of studying in a different country. Embrace it like a true citizen of the world.

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How To Be A Responsible Nomad

Thanks to Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms that litter our newsfeeds with so many travel photos, more and more people are encouraged to save up and see the world. According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of international tourist arrivals in 2012 surpassed, for the first time, 1 billion, and is forecasted to reach 1.8 billion in 2030. With the dramatic rise in the number of travelers, concerns over the practice of eco-friendly travel have increased as well.

 

Photo By Joshua Earle

Make your travels more meaningful. Photo by Joshua Earle via Unsplash

Travel professionals and consumers have both pushed for awareness for sustainable travel in order to minimize the negative impact of travel on host countries and to preserve the natural and cultural resources for generations to come. It looks like those efforts are gaining fruit – a 2010 survey by online travel publisher TravelZoo revealed that more than 90% of U.S. travelers said that they would choose a ‘green,’ environmentally conscious hotel if the price and amenities were comparable to those at a non-sustainable, non-green hotel.

If you’re still new at the rules of environment-friendly travel, check out the following tips for becoming a responsible nomad.

 

 

Travel Light

Do you know that the heavier the plane is, the more carbon emissions it will produce during flight? Do your part in reducing this weight by packing light and bringing only what’s necessary. Not only will this help reduce carbon emissions, you will also feel better without the extra baggage weight.

Pack light and be free. Photo by Nick Harris via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Treat Your Hotel Like It’s Your Home

A lot of travelers enjoy the excesses that a hotel accommodation provide. We tend to leave the TV and lights on even if we’re not using them. We tend to ask for fresh towels even if we don’t really need them. We tend to take really long baths and showers because water usage comes with the room payment. Being considerate of the hotel’s resources, especially in water and electricity, will go a long way in saving energy.

Conserve water and energy. Photo by London Hotels Insight via Flickr, Creative Commons

If you’re up for something really adventurous, why not try couchsurfing? Thanks to services like AirBnB, homeowners have opened up their dwellings to budget travellers and give them a safe place to sleep in. Imagine the cash you’ll save by not staying in a hotel room.

 

Avoid Using Plastic

Everytime you ask for extra plastic bags at the store, remember that a bag can take up to 500 years to biodegrade. Same goes for plastic bottles – just imagine those bottles stocked up in garbage landfills. Learn to get used to carrying around reusable shopping bags and reusable water bottles.

Imagine the amount of plastic you don’t have to use. Photo by joebart via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Take Public Transport

Taking public transport is cheaper and gives you the chance to interact with the locals. Imagine the amount of carbon emissions you can save from not renting your own car or any type of private transport. This also gives you the chance to see the place up close and you can ask the locals for details. If you’re staying in a city, take the trains as much as possible to save up on costly cab rides.

 

Try Not Taking The Plane

This applies more to local travel. If your travel destination can be covered by bus rides, try taking that option instead of hopping on a plane. You’ll get to see more of the countryside if you travel by bus.

Photo By Shlomit Wolf

Riding the bus lets you see the sights up close. Photo by Shlomit Wolf via Unsplash

 

Maximize Group Tours

If you’re still new to the place, why not save yourself the hassle of getting lost by joining a group tour? This ensures that you stay within your itinerary and you can learn interesting stuff from tour guides. Do your research online and scout for group tours that advocate responsible travel.

 

Eat Local Produce

What’s the point of traveling to a new place if you make a beeline for the nearest McDonalds the first chance you get? Part of the traveling experience is sampling the local cuisine. This also goes for liquor, too. Instead of asking for the same old brew that you drink back home, why not try the local brew? Reward your taste buds and be carbon-friendly at the same time.

Support local. Photo by Maxime Guilbot via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Follow The Main Trail

Trails are created for valid reasons. Not only are they designed to keep travelers safe, they also keep travelers away from areas that are considered endangered and therefore should be off limits to people. Veering away from the main trail can bring damage to protected areas, put you in danger, and make other travelers follow your footsteps.

 

Use Biodegradable Toiletry Products

Organic soaps, shampoos, and other beauty and grooming products are more readily available now so you should have no trouble finding them at your destination, if you don’t have some in your bag already. Aside from being gentle on your skin, it’s also good for the local water system. Encourage your fellow travelers to use them, too, while you’re at it.

 

Bring And Use Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries are one of the must-haves in a traveler’s list. Since you’re bound to use several during your trip, why not buy the rechargeable ones? Garbage heaps around the world are already littered with disposable batteries so don’t add more to it. Mother Nature will thank you immensely for bringing charger and reusable batteries. Make sure to load them up while you’re staying in your hotel room so you will never run out of charge when you’re out and about.

You can do even better than this by using solar-powered gadgets and chargers. Look for backpacks that act as chargers for your batteries and devices.

Recharge responsibly. Photo by Caden Crawford via Flickr, Creative Commons

 

Buy Local And Handmade Souvenirs

Instead of buying mass-produced souvenirs, you should go for handmade products made by local artisans. Not only is this environment-friendly, you will also contribute to the livelihood of the locals who painstakingly do these pieces by hand.

Making the most out of your dream destination is understandable for a traveler like you but remember that as an inhabitant of this planet, you also have a responsibility to make your travels as environment-friendly as possible. Being conscious of your carbon footprint will make your travels more fulfilling.

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