Sustainability, BA, BS

Why YOU Should Study Abroad

Study abroad programs provide students the opportunity to experience sustainability challenges in a global context. Sustainability majors understand that on the path to impactful solutions, understanding global and cultural contexts are critical.

A Message from the School of Sustainability

“Sustainability is simultaneously a local and a global challenge. Learning how to address local sustainability issues is a good start for ASU students who want to positively affect change in the world. But it’s not enough.

A healthy, prosperous future for people and planet requires understanding the global interconnectedness of sustainability issues. The best way to do that is to see sustainability issues through the lens of another culture. Sustainability problems are more or less universal, but they play out and are solved in different ways in different countries. Studying abroad is an absolutely essential component of an education in sustainability and for developing the knowledge and skills necessary to be a good, global citizen.”

- Rob Melnick, Director of International Programs, School of Sustainability

Planning Your Program

When to study abroad

When to study abroad

With advance planning, and working closely with your academic advisor, you should be able to fit study abroad within your four years at ASU. As a Sustainability major, there is flexibility on timing, but most students will study abroad between the summer of freshman year and fall of junior year.

Year Term Recommended Student Action
Year 1 Fall -Spring Begin researching study abroad programs
Year 2

Optimal year to study abroad
Fall-Spring
  • Ready to study abroad? Apply to study abroad programs
  • Option 1: Complete a winter break, spring break or post-spring, or semester study abroad program
Summer Option 2: Complete a summer study abroad program
Year 3

Optimal year to study abroad
Fall - Spring Option 3: Complete a semester, winter break, spring break, or post-spring study abroad program
Summer Option 4: Complete a summer study abroad program
Year 4

Non-optimal year to study abroad
Fall - Spring
  • Option 5: Complete a fall or winter break study abroad program

General Advice

General Advice

Advice from the School of Sustainability

Sustainability students can earn upper division SOS elective credit through summer, faculty-directed programs.

Every student’s situation is different; talk with your advisor to find out if any other requirements could be satisfied through a particular study abroad program.

Advice from the Study Abroad Office

  • Be sure to view the list of recommended steps for getting started on your study abroad journey.
  • Attend a Study Abroad 101 info session to get all the basic information from a Study Abroad Student Recruiter on program types, eligibility, housing, finances, searching for and choosing a program and the application process. Discover times and locations.
  • Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad workshop to get information on program fees and deadlines, how financial aid can apply to study abroad, how to utilize community-based funding and tips on finding and applying for study abroad scholarships. Discover times and locations.

Meet With Your Academic Advisor

Meet With Your Academic Advisor

How to make an appointment

  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor through your MyASU homepage. Click on “schedule an appointment” under the Academic Advising tab.
  • Visit the Undergraduate Academic Advising page for more information, including walk-in advising hours, location and contact information.

Key questions to ask

  • What are my remaining degree requirements?
  • How many upper-division credits do I still need to complete for my degree?
  • How many elective credits (lower vs. upper division) do I have left to complete my major?
  • What remaining prerequisites must I fulfill, and how will study abroad impact my progress?
  • Which of my remaining degree requirements could I complete abroad? Are there any that I cannot take abroad?
  • Can I receive academic credit for an internship abroad?
  • Are there any in-residence requirements I need to be aware of before I go abroad?

Meet With the Study Abroad Office

Meet With the Study Abroad Office

Meeting with a Peer Advisor

Peer Advisors are ASU students who have studied abroad on various types of programs and who are here to help you get started on a journey of your own!  They are prepared to help you understand the different types of programs offered, narrow down your program options, guide you on the application process, discuss program costs, and speak about student life abroad.

No appointments are necessary to meet with a Peer Advisor.

  • Contact a Peer Advisor by email or Live Chat with them on the Study Abroad Office website Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Call a Peer Advisor at (480) 965-5965.

Meeting with an International Coordinator

Your International Coordinator can answer your questions about specific programs, can talk you through the application process, and can help you find funding resources for your particular program on the Study Abroad Office website. Your International Coordinator is happy to meet with you multiple times to answer your questions, and he/she would be glad to schedule meetings in person, by phone, or via Skype.

  • Find the name of your International Coordinator listed on the Study Abroad Office webpage for your program of interest.
  • Schedule an appointment online. Click on the International Coordinator name for your program of interest and follow the prompts to schedule your appointment.
  • Visit an International Coordinator during walk-in hours in Interdisciplinary B (INTDSB) Room 255.

Key questions to ask the Study Abroad Office

  • What are the eligibility requirements for my program(s) or interest?
  • What is involved in the application for my program(s) of interest? Is admission to the program competitive?
  • How will I get ASU credit and grades for the courses I take abroad?
  • What courses are available on my program? How can I get courses approved for my program(s) of interest?
  • What is the cost of participating in my program(s) of interest? What do I need to consider in preparing an estimated budget for my program(s) of interest, and what expenses do I need to plan for up front?
  • Where can I find more information about scholarships for study abroad?

Research Your Funding Options

Research Your Funding Options

Studying abroad is an investment in your future. Like any other type of investment, it requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets, and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad.

Review Cost Sheet

You can find a link to your program’s Cost Sheet near the top of the Study Abroad Office webpage for your program. The Cost Sheet will highlight the costs that are billed to your student account as well as additional estimated costs that are not billed to your student account but that you might expect to spend while abroad. Be sure to note what expenses are included in the fees charged by the Study Abroad Office, and remember to budget additional money for airfare, passport and visa fees and personal expenses since these are not included in any Program Fee.

Research Funding

Once you have reviewed the Cost Sheet for your program and are aware of the costs you might expect to spend on your program, you can begin to make a plan for financing your study abroad program. You can receive funding for studying abroad through financial aid, scholarships and grants, and community-based fundraising efforts. We encourage you to:

  1. Speak to Financial Aid and Scholarship Services (FASS) about financial aid;
  2. Use our Scholarships and Grants page to search for general study abroad scholarships and scholarships that are unique to your program;
  3. Read the Community-Based Funding Guide for creative ways that past ASU students have funding their programs.

Financial Aid

We encourage you to speak to a Financial Aid Counselor, who can help you figure out how your financial aid might be applied to our study abroad program. Be sure to seek answers to the following questions from a Financial Aid Counselor:

  • How do loans work for study abroad? What kinds of aid/loans do I currently receive, and are there any restrictions on this aid if I study abroad?
  • Have I reached the maximum of (insert name of) loan allowed per academic year?
  • When will funds be released for my semester of participation?
  • How will additional scholarships impact my ASU financial aid?

Major-Specific Scholarships

The School of Sustainability offers study abroad scholarships for which you may apply.  Check out their scholarship website for more information!  

Community-Based Funding

Check out the Study Abroad Office website to learn more about community-based funding, including tips and tricks for crowd-source funding. There is funding out there… you just have to ask!

Attend Financing Workshop

Would you like help learning about your financing options? We offer bi-weekly in-person and online Financing Your Study Abroad Workshops. Join us in the MU on Monday afternoons or log in through Adobe Connect (find login information here) on Thursdays to learn how to finance your study abroad program through financial aid, scholarships and grants, and community-based funding.

Helpful Links

Recommended Programs

Although Sustainability majors can participate in any ASU study abroad program, the School of Sustainability recommends the following programs:



Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Countries: Nepal, China
Unique Features: Given the environmental and socio-economic realities of the 21st century, business-as-usual strategy for growth has not proven to be the optimal path. This realization has prompted calls for a new green industrial revolution, transition to a low-carbon economy or for more radical restructuring of growth, and a greater emphasis on green technology focused on societal well-being. This program invites students to participate in workshops with student peers from India and China and learn more about green growth.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Australia
Unique Features: This 6 credit traveling program begins in Eastern Australia, and spends 2 weeks getting to know the cities, coasts, and the outback of Australia. Learn how 200 years of colonization and more recent processes of urbanization and globalization have brought massive environmental, social and political changes to the continent with critical implications for its future sustainability. Students will explore 15 ecosystems - including 5 World Heritage Sites - multiple health centers, and visit with dozens of diverse stakeholders to understand complex interactions between people, their communities, and environments.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: New Zealand
Unique Features: New Zealand’s stunning landscapes—including towering snow-capped mountains, temperate and tropical forests with unique wildlife, active volcanoes as well as geysers and hot-springs, and expanses of dramatic and peaceful beaches—provide the backdrop for exploring the interplay between health, culture, the environment, and sustainability. This interdisciplinary program travels almost the full length of the country, and the friendly multicultural population provides insights into the challenges of providing equitable and effective health care, preserving environmental quality, and promoting food sustainability.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Costa Rica
Unique Features: If you are interested in sustainable development, community development, and applied hands-on learning, this is the course for you! Numerous frameworks, models, and metrics have been developed under the auspices of sustainable development. Yet persistent challenges, such as globalization, climate change, gentrification, and cultural erosion, are leading to the development of alternative approaches based on holistic, community- and nature-oriented principles. Our program provides an intensive immersion into these emerging paradigms and practices for sustainable development.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: China
Unique Features: Enhance your resume with valuable work experience on this month-long English-speaking internship program in Beijing, China. The program provides students an opportunity to gain work experience in the world’s 2nd largest economy.  Tour the Forbidden City, camp overnight at the Great Wall of China, view a Chinese Acrobatic show, visit the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, attend a business networking seminar and more!  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work in China, gaining important linguistic and cultural knowledge and work experience in your field. No prior language skills required.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Ireland
Unique Features: A program designed for ASU students of any major interested in participating in a powerful, individualized international internship in Dublin -- one of the most vibrant and friendly cities in Europe. In addition to working four days per week, students will either enroll in a seminar-style course that focuses on identity and conflict in Europe and Ireland or complete an independent research project.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Czech Republic
Unique Features: The Sun Devils in Prague: Internship (English-Speaking) and Study Abroad Program is unlike any other study abroad opportunity at ASU. Students are placed in custom-selected professional internships based on their own industry preferences, career goals, skills, and academic background.  Additionally, students participate in a customized application-oriented experiential curriculum designed around international organizations, globalization, and sociocultural immersion, with the Czech Republic, Central Europe and the EU as their classroom.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: South Africa
Unique Features: This unique program will immerse students in the social/cultural, environmental, and economic challenges facing South Africa with its legacies of colonialism and Apartheid, and with the 1994 ratification of one of the world’s most progressive constitutions. We will focus on the social/cultural, environmental, and economic conflicts and opportunities in and around Kruger National Park, associated with the government’s Wildlife Economy policies, from both sustainability and conservation biology perspectives.
Program Type: Faculty-Directed
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Hong Kong
Unique Features: Learn how Hong Kong, a complex, densely populated, world-class city, is addressing sustainability challenges. Students will go on field trips to the “front lines” of sustainability problems and solutions, interact with Hong Kong leaders and sustainability practitioners, and discuss Hong Kong’s sustainability policies with scholars. ASU students will work in small, cross-cultural teams with Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese students from City University of Hong Kong to analyze, develop and present public policy recommendations that can resolve sustainability challenges.
Program Type: Global Intensive Experience
Available Terms: Spring Break
Country: Dominican Republic
Unique Features: Join us in the Dominican Republic this spring break. Students on this program will connect with the Peace Corps community to get a "taste of the Peace Corps." They will help to implement ecologically sustainable projects in rural areas, engage with leaders working on community development projects, and participate in a site visit to a current Peace Corps Volunteer. Visit a Haitian batey and snorkel in blue waters. Students will write a project proposal based on their experience during Session B online.
Program Type: Global Intensive Experience
Available Terms: Post-Spring
Countries: Canada, United States
Unique Features: Located in the six million acre Adirondacks of New York State, Paul Smith's College and the nearby resort communities of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake serve as the living laboratories for this intensive two-week, three-credit field experience. Students can enroll in a course addressing issues related to rural sustainability, wilderness management and resiliency. Alternatively, students can enroll in a course focusing on the tourism system through destination planning and development, marketing, demand factors influencing the market and the characteristics of travel.
Program Type: Global Intensive Experience
Available Terms: Spring Break
Country: Guatemala
Unique Features: The core of Mayan civilization, Guatemala is rich in biodiversity and culture, with spectacular landscapes dotted by volcanoes, ruins and the resplendent quetzal. Students will visit rural villages around Chimaltenango before spending a few days in beautiful Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site where you can hike an active volcano and roast marshmallows at the top. This program works with a non-profit focused heavily on principles of sustainable development through micro-credit lending, women’s empowerment and organic farming.
Program Type: Global Intensive Experience
Available Terms: Spring Break
Country: Costa Rica
Unique Features: In October 2007, the US forgave $26 million of Costa Rica’s debt as part of a Debt-For-Nature swap to protect high-risk tropical forests and threatened species including jaguars, squirrel monkeys and scarlet macaws. With coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific, Costa Rica is almost one-fourth rainforest, with breathtaking volcanoes, pristine beaches and stunning biodiversity. This program will visit San Jose, Parque Nacional de Arenal Volcano, the coffee plantations of Café de Monteverde, and the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve.
Program Type: Global Intensive Experience
Available Terms: Spring Break
Country: United States
Unique Features: This program is intended to give students an in-depth look at building a functional sustainable energy system on the Big Island of Hawaii. The state of Hawaii has recently set a goal of developing a 100% renewable energy grid by 2045. This goal will make Hawaii a real-world laboratory for developing a sustainable energy system in an island setting. Students will visit and engage with energy stakeholders in Hawaii and evaluate Hawaii’s energy resources and energy policy options.
Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Summer
Country: United Kingdom
Unique Features: Study and intern in London with CAPA internships available in businesses of every kind as well as nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Students who participate receive an unlimited Tube pass and work experience that provides strong professional and cultural foundations for the future.
Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Summer
Country: Australia
Unique Features: CAPA Sydney offers courses and internships in many different areas. All CAPA students receive full credit and grades for courses and internships completed. Participants will complete a total of six credits during the Summer. Students will either complete two three-credit classes, or the three-credit internship and one additional three-credit course. During the Summer term, the program includes internships, business courses and Australian-focused courses, including CAPA’s Global City Sydney course. Students who participate receive an unlimited Tube pass.
Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Fall, Spring
Country: Costa Rica
Unique Features: Participate in specially-designed CIEE courses on sustainability and tropical conservation, and explore the sustainability of alternative energy, food systems, agriculture, nature reserves, and tourism in Costa Rica. Take excursions to protected areas of endangered biological and cultural diversity to learn about their threats and what can be done to save them. Live with Costa Rican families and take advantage of the opportunity to intern with local organizations, businesses, or farms dedicated to sustainable development.
Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Fall, Spring
Country: Costa Rica
Unique Features: Spend a semester in the vibrant and historic city of San Jose while completing up to three courses of college-level Spanish as well as additional electives in areas such as environmental studies and sustainability! Participate in the Bridging Cultures Program to help ease the transition into your study abroad experience, and consider adding an optional Service Learning placement to work in the local community. Enjoy excursions to locations such as Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio National Park, and Playa Tamarindo!
Program Type: Partnership
Available Terms: Fall, Spring
Country: Costa Rica
Unique Features: Join SFS in Costa Rica, known worldwide for its conservation efforts which have attracted millions of tourists to the country’s parks and reserves. Gain experience in natural and social science field research by assisting faculty in the SFS Center for Sustainable Development Studies' five-year research plan. Examine the effects of globalization on development issues in Costa Rica, and get involved with the community by engaging in long-term community projects, joining in festivals, participating in short homestay visits, and more!