As one of TEAN’s core values, our Choose Earth initiative incorporates environmentally and socially responsible practices into the ethos and outcomes of education abroad. The Choose Earth Certificate program is designed to give students a concrete way to participate in our organization’s “Choose Earth” goals as well as the necessary tools to then reflect on their engagement and impact.

Benefits

What are the benefits?

When it comes to sustainability and environmentally responsible living, individual actions can have a significant global impact. The Choose Earth Certificate recognizes your efforts to support a sustainable lifestyle and can be used to show future employers who also prioritize these values. You will also be mailed a physical certificate when you complete the program.

Requirements

Requirements

You will need to fully complete this checklist in order to obtain the Choose Earth Certificate:

  • Successfully complete one Eco-Challenge (from a list of available options or other approved activity)
  • Successfully complete a course in sustainability or social justice (subject approval required)
  • Social media participation highlighting #ChooseEarth (media platform approval required)
  • Reflection Essay (750+ words)

Eco-Challenges

Eco-Challenges

Below are some suggestions of Eco-Challenges that you can participate in for a specific amount of time that feels comfortable for you. Even a week of changed habits makes a difference. If you come up with another activity on your own, feel free to let us know. There are endless ways to #ChooseEarth.

Reducing Waste
  • Instead of throwing away unwanted items at the end of your semester, find local organizations that you can donate used clothes and goods to.
  • Avoid purchasing/using/supporting disposable plastic products for a week. This includes bottles, containers, bags, packaging, micro-beads, etc. It’s a great way to become more aware of your consumption habits.
  • Embrace the recycling motto: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Look into where there are recycling or waste reduction services and resources for students around campus and share your findings.
  • Use and monitor your reusable beverage cup to avoid using disposable cups.
Reducing Utility Usage
  • Limit your air-conditioning usage in your personal lodgings (during the entire program, half a program or for one month). A little fresh air can do the soul good.
  • Track and minimize electricity and/or water use at home.
Supporting Local Communities
  • Track and minimize carbon emissions by using city public transportation. You can even take this a step further by creating a reference for future students on the most efficient ways to travel around the city!
  • Consume only food and drink produced, raised or cultivated within a 100-mile radius of your host location. You can do this by researching local cafes and grocery stores that source responsibly.
  • Consume only food that is produced, processed, distributed and consumed fairly, seasonally and sustainably.
  • Join and participate in a local environmental group committed to peaceful environmental justice. An example is one that volunteers to help in the removal of an invasive species in the host habitat.
Others
  • Abstain from eating animal products and embrace the vegan lifestyle for a week while abroad.
  • Create your own!
Summary

You are then required to write a brief summary of the Eco-Challenge you’ve chosen. This doesn’t have to be a long report. In fact, just a few sentences on the challenge will suffice. We need to know:

  • What, specifically, did you do? Did you attend an event, give up all plastic for the week, try a vegan lifestyle (if not vegan already!), etc.
  • Where did this challenge take place? (if applicable)
  • How long did it take?
  • Did it cost you anything?
  • What did you learn from it?
  • Was it what you expected?
  • Would you do it again?

Due date: Eco-Challenges must be performed in your host country. Please submit your summary no later than two weeks after you complete your Eco-Challenge.

Choose Earth Course

Choose Earth Course

You will need to enroll and successfully pass a course that focuses on sustainability. The Choose Earth staff at TEAN reach out to students who already meet this qualification. However, if you think that one of your courses qualifies and we have not reached out, let us know! We are more than happy to work with you.

The only requirement besides staying enrolled in this class is that you will need to ensure you pass the course. Upon receipt of your transcripts, we will confirm that you passed.

Social Media Participation

Social Media Participation

Once you have completed your Eco-Challenge, please post a short summary and a picture of your experience on your preferred social media platform! Simply let us know when you are ready to post something. We will approve and give you any hashtags we’d like you to include. We want it to be from you and authentic, but we will want to help ensure it reaches the maximum audience. Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are all acceptable platforms.

Once you are ready to share a post, please email Molly Laycob at molly.laycob@teanabroad.org for more information.

Reflection Essay

Reflection Essay

For this final item, you can expand on your Eco-Challenge summary in a more in-depth way or you can discuss a TEAN element that influenced your sustainability awareness during your study abroad experience – did you use your KeepCup?! What things did you notice about the program that may have subtly addressed sustainability or social justice?

The Reflection Essay should be at least around 750 words long but can be shorter or longer as needed. We are more concerned about the quality of your essay and experience than the word count. Tell us a story. What do you have to share about your experience that you would like to pass along to future students?

Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

Due date: Drafts are due one week after your program ends. Your final edits will be due one month after your program ends.

Apply Now

Apply Now

To get started, please complete the form linked below to confirm that you will be participating in the Choose Earth Certificate program. The form will allow you to think about what you would like to do to earn the Choose Earth Certificate.

Note that this does not permanently lock in your activities but rather gives us a better idea of what you would be interested in. If you end up changing your mind, finding something else to do or have any questions relating to the Choose Earth Certificate, please email Molly Laycob at molly.laycob@teanabroad.org.

Apply Now