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Sustainability during GO

This resource guide is to help you think about your environmental footprint during your GO program. 

Food & Grocery Shopping
  • Shop like locals do - only get what you need for a day or two. 
  • Pack reusable grocery bags. Many countries require you to pay for plastic bags. 
  • Pay attention to expiration dates on food 
    • Due to regulations in foreign countries, food often contains fewer preservatives than here in America.
      • Some foods may not be stored how you are used to storing them (or where to look for them in the market). 
      • Food may go bad quicker than you are used to. 
    • It is better to under-anticipate how much food you need to buy rather than over-anticipate; otherwise, food will go to waste 
  • Bring a reusable water bottle with you 
  • Shop locally, in markets 
  • When eating out: try local cuisine (it is such an exciting part of traveling!). Avoid big food chains and restaurants, and avoiding imported food and grocery. 
  • Opt for public transportation as opposed to taking a cab 
    • If you are going abroad for a full semester, consider purchasing a bus/train pass 
  • Alternatively, some cities are entirely walkable 
    • Rentable bikes are also a good mode of transportation 
  • Take a train rather than flight for shorter side trips
  • Pay attention to rules regarding recycling, disposing of trash, littering, etc. 
    • Some countries may have specific rules regarding these things; fines may be attached 
  • Overall, just be respectful to the country’s environment; don’t dirty it with excess clutter and waste.
  • Consider where you are staying. Some countries have "eco" ratings for hotels and hostels. 
    • Book extra trips with a sustainable tour operator
  • Buy souvenirs at small local stores
  • Conserve local water and energy resources. 
    • Know what your electricity limits are, if you have any through your housing.
    • When leaving your room, turn off the AC or set the thermostat a few degrees higher.
    • Turn off the lights, TV, and any other electronics when not in use.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath and keep it as short as possible.
  • Handwash your own clothes, or at least let airdry (as the locals do too!). 
  • When traveling away from your host location or staying in a hotel, hang up the “Do Not Disturb Sign” to prevent unnecessary laundering. 
  • If you’re headed somewhere with wildlife you’ve never seen before, remain respectful by not getting too close, refrain from feeding wild animals, and use a quiet voice around them.