Undergraduate international travel programs are believed to increase student retention, grade point average, cultural capital, and language skills however, over time these programs have evolved to include activities that may degrade the environment. Whether or not program directors are aware of the environmental degradation that can ensue this educational choice is of review. This paper quantifies the frequency with which the environmental impacts of undergraduate international travel programs in the United States (U.S.) are mentioned in academic peer reviewed literature. A modified literature review was conducted to highlight the possible gap in literature relating to the consideration of environmentally sustainable practices in the delivery and implementation process of U.S. undergraduate study abroad programs. Selected literature was analyzed thoroughly and upon evaluation, predominantly addresses the students experience, cultural competency, and career aspirations. 13 articles were selected with only 1 mentioning environmental sustainability in program design. Results provide initiatives for study abroad program directors that seek to incorporate environmental sustainability into their international educational travel programs to decrease the programs overall carbon footprint and environmental harm when traveling overseas. This modified literature review provides insight into the public health significance of environmentally sustainable programs and, as such, should raise awareness in a way that will translate to strategies mitigating impacts to have a positive influence on public health.
Roseman, Shelby, "Study Abroad: What is the Environmental Impact?" (2023). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 476.