by Holly Smith, Wellesley College
Congratulations on securing your placement on a study abroad scheme – the excitement and adventure starts here and will not stop for a longggg time! In the whirlwind of preparation it can be hard to think about your environmental impact. I’ve collected 5 easy things that you can do before you leave to help reduce the environmental impact of your study abroad experience. Most of these also save you money or time…
- Update your address
Junk mail is a huge problem in the student community and affects the environment on multiple levels: the wasted paper, the printing costs, the distribution, the emissions, etc. Update your address, cancel your subscriptions and leave a forwarding address for the things that escape through. This is important from a data stand point for things like HMRC and NHS communications that may contain personal information. Tell your friends and family too – especially those who like to send birthday cards with money in them… Waste of effort, paper and love.
2. Order a food waste bin
If you don’t already have one for the house you currently live in, order a food waste bin and compost bags from Manchester City Council. This sets up the new tenants for eco-success when they move in. It’s completely free and easy to do! Maybe even leave a little label on the bin explaining how to reorder bags for extra encouragement.
3. Utilise UoM resources
If you need course texts for your study abroad, consider popping into the library or checking out the extensive collection of e-books available at UoM. This will not only save you money (the library is part of your tuition fee why would you pay again?!) but will also prevent you panic-buying a brand new copy when you get to class. If this is not an option for you, or the book can’t be taken for a semester (remember that you need to be back in the UK to return it), look ahead for second hand copies either here or in the student community abroad.
4. Lend out your big items
If you are struggling to find a space for all the stuff that you have accumulated in Manchester, consider lending bulky things to friends whilst you’re away. I didn’t want to bring home my bike to Essex for it not to be used for a year, and then bring it all the way back to Manchester when I return. So, it has stayed here with a friend who was interested in cycling but didn’t want to invest at this time. She now has access to a more sustainable form of transport and gets to try before she buys!
5. Prepare for moving out
Have a sustainable move out by not leaving it all to last minute. Fallowfield and Withington are areas especially notorious for the damaging student move-out weekend. Perfectly good items are thrown in the bins and streets – I’ve seen flat screen TVs, yoga mats, lamps, pots and pans, you name it! You know that you’re leaving the country so act accordingly – eat up your food, rehome items you don’t want or can’t store, donate to charity shops, recycle and so forth. If you find yourself with a lot to do in the last few weeks call in your friends, use the app Olio and Facebook groups.