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Sustainable Travel

Explore the World in an Environmentally Friendly Way

A stay abroad is an excellent way to take in new perspectives both professionally and personally and to get a better understanding of other people and cultures. Traveling unfortunately always leaves an ecological footprint, but students can still try to make their travel and everyday life as carbon-neutral as possible, even during a stay abroad.

Tips for Sustainable Travel

eine Person hält den Schriftzug "#green", mit einem Park im Hintergrund an einem sonnigen Tag © Artem Beliaikin​/​Unsplash

There are many ways to make stays abroad during your studies sustainable, resource-efficient, and climate-friendly as well. Use these tips when planning your stay abroad!

  • Consider nearby destinations when choosing a host university. It is also possible to experience a completely different life, a new culture and an exciting everyday study life in neighboring countries.

  • For a study abroad program on another continent, it's hard to avoid traveling by plane.  If you must fly, think carefully about the length of your stay and decide on a reasonable period of time. For example, is the flight worth it for a program lasting only a week? Or could the program even be completed online?

The most sustainable outbound mobility is not mobile at all: You may still be able to study or intern abroad completely online and still immerse yourself in the host culture.

Some of these short-term programs and some internships abroad (especially through ISEP) can be done virtually. Through AuslandsBAföG, you may even be able to finance an entire virtual semester at a host university.

The International Office can help you find the right program and identify funding opportunities.

  • There is a German saying: "Der Weg ist das Ziel!" Choose environmentally friendly means of transport for your journey and turn your journey into the destination. Especially short distances can often be done by bus or train and flights can be avoided. You get to see much more of the country while traveling and that is also part of the experience. The student-led initiative Erasmus by Train e.V. has tips and aims to link Erasmus and Interrail for a more sustainable and united Europe.
  • If traveling by car, form a carpool.
  • Compensate for CO2 emissions generated and support climate protection projects.
  • Less is more! Travel with less luggage and take only as much as you really need.
  • Print out travel documents only if absolutely necessary. Digital documents are usually sufficient.
  • Use public transportation and bicycles or walk short distances.
  • Use reusable drinking bottles when drinking water quality permits, and do not buy water in plastic bottles.
  • Conserve water and electricity as much as possible.
  • Be mindful of waste separation and recycling - even if it's not quite common in your host country.
  • Buy local and seasonal produce, and visit local eateries rather than international chains.
  • Explore the region where you are and avoid weekend trips to even more distant destinations. You'll take in more of the host culture if you get to know the corners off the tourist paths better.
Sustainability in the New Erasmus+ Program

Green Erasmus+

The new Erasmus+ program generation is more inclusive, digital and green. Physical mobility and face-to-face cultural exchange remain core elements of the Erasmus+ program. However, physical mobility resulting from student as well as teaching stays, internships or travel in the context of transnational cooperation projects inevitably leads to CO2 emissions.

The word "Erasmus+" on a green textile © DAAD

The focus of the transversal priority Sustainability is to raise awareness among Erasmus+ participants on the issues of sustainability, climate change and environmental protection, and in particular on the ecological footprint that participants create through mobility. By raising awareness and offering financial incentives, the number of mobilities with more environmentally friendly means of transport shall be increased and the ecological footprint of the Erasmus+ program reduced. Furthermore, the promotion of competences that are important for living in a sustainable and resource-efficient society and economy, so-called "green skills", will be addressed by promoting cooperation projects on "green" topics.

The topic of sustainability in the new Erasmus+ Program is based on two dimensions:

  1. The ecological footprint of the program
  2. The program's contribution to societal change towards a sustainable world

These dimensions will be addressed in the 2021-2027 program generation through the following focal points:

  • Green mobility
  • Raising awareness of sustainability, environment and climate change issues
  • Cooperation projects on "green" topics
  • Use of the tools of digital transformation

Starting in 2022, students who plan their outward and return journeys in a more environmentally friendly way will receive an additional grant. Organize your trip by bus, train or carpool and you will receive in addition to your Erasmus Mobility Grant a one-time stipend of 50 EUR as well as an additional stipend for up to 4 travel days. For the travel days there are daily rates set according to the country category. 

Application

  • For study abroad: You will receive further information on how to apply after submitting your acceptance letter to the International Office.
  • For internships abroad: Indicate in your application form if you intend to organize the trip in a sustainable way and turn in the sworn statement with your application.

After Your Stay Abroad

Upon return, you are required to submit all supporting documentation from your trip to show how you traveled. For all stays from 8/2022 you will only need to turn in supporting documentation upon request.

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