The Turing Scheme is a UK scheme designed by the UK government in replacement of Erasmus+ (the EU scheme) following Brexit. In these days of climate change, sustainability is high up on all government’s agendas, find out about how the UK government is planning to make their scheme as sustainable as possible.18 months after the Brexit referendum, the United Kingdom left the European Union and with that, the UK ceased to be a part of Erasmus+, introducing the Turing Scheme as a replacement. This scheme allows UK students to travel and work abroad and the first students embarked on the scheme back in September 2021.
The opportunities the Turing Scheme provides to study and work in countries all over the world bring many superb benefits to students, pupils, and learners – however, without doubt, international travel also has a big impact on the global environment.
Climate change and rising pollution levels are often at the top of the news’ agenda, and it is the responsibility of us all to look at ways in which we can personally and collectively minimise the impact of non-eco-friendly activities on the planet.
Take Alternative Travel to Airplanes If Possible
Air travel is a major contributor to pollution in the atmosphere and should be kept to a minimum wherever possible. Obviously, for long-haul journeys there is no other option other than by plane.
For Turing Scheme placements in nearby countries in Europe, though, it may be feasible to travel there and back by sea, rail, and road transport, using ferry services and the Eurotunnel.
If flying is unavoidable due to a long-haul destination, research possible carriers before booking tickets. Many airlines have pledged to reduce emissions and eventually become carbon neutral. Look for those that use more environmentally friendly aviation biofuel on a regular basis.
You should also be conscious of the routes airlines offer to your destination and look for the shortest flight path, taking direct flights whenever possible, as taking-off and landing causes the most carbon emissions.
Although, there is often debate about whether carbon offsetting initiatives are effective or not, you could also investigate contributing towards one – but make sure you do your research and choose a reputable programme. Numerous online carbon calculators are available to help you work out how to offset your emissions.
Consider Greener Travel
When travelling around in your destination city, region or country, the same considerations apply as at home. Walking or renting a bicycle is the best option, if practical, and if not, then public transport is much more preferable than using hire cars or taxis – unless you can specify or verify that the vehicles concerned are electric or hybrids – and, if you do use a car, why not carpool where possible.
If travelling large distances in-country, again, consider taking buses, coaches, or trains – and enjoying the scenery along the way – rather than taking domestic flights. Again, look out for providers who may be operating electric or hybrid fleets and actively supporting carbon reduction programmes.
Support the Local Economy
Supporting the local economy, by sourcing local products and services when at your destination, is another key way to reduce the environmental impact of your trip. Buying local food and eating at restaurants that use local produce reduces the need for imports and the associated carbon footprints. Utilising local service providers that employ local people provides money and jobs, in some cases reducing locals from taking up jobs in more environmentally damaging industries instead.
Be Green While Living Abroad
Look at ways of doing something to help at a local level, particularly if your stay is for a number of weeks or months, such as a street clean, joining a local environmental group or getting involved in a beach clean. Find out if your host university, college, school, or workplace carries out any organised green activities or events and join up. Not only will this give something back to your host community, but it will help you meet different people and, where relevant, improve your language skills!
Finally, just because you’re abroad, don’t forget the basics. Turn off lights and electrical appliances; use energy-efficient light bulbs; only run washing machines when full; take short showers rather than baths; separate your rubbish and recycle as much as possible where local recycling options are available. Do avoid single use plastics by using reusable drinks bottles, cups, etc.