Sustainable development is one of the most important academic disciplines offered today. As our human population expands and progresses rapidly, it is a necessity that cities and villages around the world continue to develop in a manner which ensures the well-being of future generations. Studying sustainable development abroad will open your eyes to the pressing need for a global effort toward sustainability in our modern age.
Sustainable development study abroad programs are opportunities to take your theoretical knowledge out of the classroom and witness firsthand the type of work that is required to develop the world sustainably. Whether you study abroad in a highly industrialized city or an economically advanced country, or in a remote area of a developing country, the need for planning efficient and sustainable development is a universal one. Beyond coursework, studying abroad is one of the most fun and exciting things you can do in academic career!
Sustainable development is a universal goal, and most every country you look to will grant the opportunity to study this emerging discipline abroad. What location you choose, however, will greatly determine the type of experience you have and the focus of courses you may take within the field. As sustainable development is intricately tied to the level of economic advancement a country has undergone, it is easiest to break the selection process down between the so-called first and third worlds.
Studying sustainable development in the developed world will expose you to the cutting edge of sustainability efforts being made in post-industrial societies. In highly developed countries, ranging from the U.S. to France to Japan, growing populations and the steadily increasing need for clean energy require innovative new methods, areas such as urban planning, environmental protection, and waste management. This group of economically developed countries (mostly in North America, Europe, and Oceania) also includes many of the world’s most prestigious universities.
In the developing world you will face a different manifestation of sustainability efforts. Most countries have yet to undergo mass industrialization and so environmental issues often take a backseat to considerations of economic progress. All the more need for international students to take their efforts to study sustainable development abroad to these places! Pollution, sanitation, and potable drinking water are all problems that need to be solved in many countries located in Asia, Africa, and South and Central America, such as Costa Rica, Uganda, Thailand, and Belize. While culture shock will certainly be a challenge in many of these locations, so will the personal and societal payoff for helping underdeveloped countries create sustainable solutions to preventable issues.
Sustainable development is a comprehensive discipline, which merges the study of environmental science, economic planning, and infrastructural development. While it is possible to study sustainable development abroad in most countries, specific courses offered will depend on the location and type of program you choose.
Studying sustainable development abroad at a local university will likely grant you access to the entire course catalogue of that school, this is an enticing option for obvious reasons. Interacting with the local student body will also prove an invaluable cross cultural experience for any student. However, in many countries the language barrier can prove to be a significant challenge for students not adept in the local dialect, in which case there are other options for sustainable development study abroad.
Many sustainable development study abroad programs offer courses taught by their own faculty in a classroom setting designed specifically for international students. These programs will often combine academic work with the opportunity for hands on volunteering and research in local communities, making this route a fantastic opportunity to learn about sustainable development efforts in the field.
Make sure to consult your home school’s international office to find out what academic credits will transfer back, so you are sure your sustainable development study abroad courses will count toward your degree track. There are literally hundreds of different opportunities to study sustainable development abroad, so take your time looking into a variety of options!
Sustainable development is a field that requires the unified effort of all countries around the world. The human population is expanding and consuming resources at an exponential rate, and if we are to ensure a brighter future then we must work together. Studying sustainable development abroad will not only give you insight into the nature of this greater global need, but also train you to adapt to cultural differences and work closely with people from other countries. The world is ours for the shaping, and it is never too early to get out there and start making your own footprint, or washing away the footprints of others!