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The Environmental Impact of International Students

With more than 25 years of experience in economic development, cross-cultural communications, international education and social innovation spanning 60 countries, Ailsa Lamont has kindly agreed to sit down with us and tell us more about the environmental impact that international students can have around the world.

Climate change: the ‘not my problem’ problem

The science is clear. How people live, how they get around and what they buy is making carbon emissions rise to record levels. Time is running out to avert catastrophic global warming. Sure, the politics and economics of switching to new energy sources are complicated but the technical solutions exist, so just why is it so hard to get people to take action against climate change?

Basically, it’s the ‘not my problem’ problem, or to use psychologists’ term, the passive bystander effect. People wait for somebody else to take action and exaggerate their own ignorance so they don’t have to confront unpleasant realities or make changes to their own lifestyle. The delayed lead time for the worst consequences of climate change makes them even easier to ignore.

Are millennials really greener than their parents’ generation?

Yes! Your generation is more focused on the environment than your parents by a whopping 76% to 24%, according to a poll by the Clinton Global University Initiative and Microsoft. 66% of young people accept the reality of climate change, and 75% believe human activity is responsible for it. Yet this increased environmental awareness has not translated fully into action. You recycle less than the Baby Boomers, use more disposable plastic and still forget to turn off the lights.

Lots of you do care and want to look after the long-term welfare of the planet, but to help bring more people on board, maybe it’s time to focus on the practical, even self-interested benefits you can get from taking a more eco-friendly approach.

Helping the environment can help you get a job!

Two of the biggest challenges, when you study in a new country, are making friends, and getting a good job once you graduate. These two points are related because employers want people who can communicate well and understand the local culture. It may be tempting to stick with your own nationality or language group when you arrive, but the students who do best long-term are those who take the leap right from the start and actively become part of the local community.

The best learning comes from action, and working on real-life problems. Employers look for people who can be creative and initiate change, so anything you can do to practise and develop these skills will boost your career prospects or help prepare you to become an entrepreneur yourself in future. What better way to combine making friends and practise innovating than by coming up with ideas to cut your carbon and help protect the environment at the same time?

Going green is the way of the future. Even big businesses are starting to get on board, with huge global companies like IKEA, Mars and even Global Motors going green(er) and investing in renewable energy projects.

Look for local events and student groups that are working to tackle climate change and get involved. They might be sustainability groups or meetups, community gardens or environmental workshops run by your university or local council. Your uni might offer elective courses where you can work on a practical project, or workshops and hackathons where you build your network while you learn. Working on eco-projects might even get you credit towards your course, or be counted towards your university’s leadership program.

Saving the planet – how can you help?

There are lots of simple and cost-free ways to lower your carbon emissions. Take your bike or walk instead of driving sometimes, unplug your appliances when not in use and think about what you buy and how you recycle. You can find more easy tips here, which will also save you money and make you healthier!

You can measure your own carbon footprint too to see how much difference your own actions can make. Take small actions at first to make them stick, and feel the pleasure of making a positive impact. You will have the personal satisfaction of having helped make the air cleaner, a back yard or balcony greener, have fresher food and save on power bills.

Social Media – a positive force?

Great inventions and ideas spin around the globe faster than ever before thanks to social media. The Seabin Project from Australia is a great example – two surfers invented an automated bin that catches floating oil and rubbish in the ocean and they found international business partners thanks to their video being shared on Facebook and raised their investment on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site.

Environmental activism now relies heavily on social media – calls to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline in the USA spread like wildfire on Twitter and Facebook and helped put a global spotlight on the issue. There is another way in which the online world helps the environment – getting your information online is much more eco-friendly than having to cut down trees for brochures!

Where can you study climate change?

Some university courses now focus on global warming, particularly environmental and marine science degrees, and some universities have climate change research centres. Tackling climate change is so complex that it will need people skilled in most disciplines, including social sciences, engineering, education and even business.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a great way of learning more, for example, Coursera has a ‘From Climate Change to Action’ course you can study free online. If you are looking for something specifically for international high school students, Stanford University in California runs an International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge, and Pomegranate Global in Australia is developing intensive Carbon Footprint Think Labs for university students.

After 25 years working in cross-cultural communications and international education, Ailsa Lamont set up Pomegranate Global in 2016 to help people access improved education, training and career opportunities globally. Read more about Pomegranate Global and see how Ailsa helps people reach their potential, every day.

Why Study Abroad in Ireland? – University College Dublin

There are so many reasons why an international student would want to study abroad in Ireland, and in the capital city of Dublin.

One of the most important reasons is that Ireland is a perfect destination for an international student who wants a world-class education in a progressive, innovative country with promising career options. It is also perfect for students interested in stunning scenery, beautiful coastal and mountain walks, ancient culture and architecture. Those who prefer the indoors life will adore Ireland’s numerous museums and art galleries, gourmet food, coffee culture and cosy pubs with their traditional live music. 

Graduates who want to stay in Ireland for longer after they complete their studies and pursue a career will be happy to know they can avail of either one or two-year stay-back visas.

Study abroad in Ireland

Ireland is a very safe, friendly and welcoming country. On the Global Peace Index Ireland is ranked 12th in the world, and 22nd in the World Happiness Index. Young Irish people have the fourth highest standard of education in the world, according to the OECD 2019 Education report.

The Bloomberg Innovation Index 2020 has ranked Ireland as the 16th most innovative country in the world. Ireland is also home to five of Forbes Top 10 companies; Apple, Google, Alphabet, Amazon and Samsung. 

Study in Dublin

International students will feel right at home in Dublin city, which topped the 2020 Condé Nast list of Europe’s friendliest cities. They will sure of a warm welcome! The cosmopolitan city centre has all the amenities of a European capital city and is easily traversed on foot or on public transport. 

Dublin is the gateway to exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East. Here you will find beaches that attract surfers from around the world, cliffs, mountains, ancient ruins, hiking trails and world-renowned food and hospitality. It’s also the gateway to mainland Europe with affordable and regular flights.

Why study at University College Dublin?

University College Dublin (UCD) is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide. In the overall QS World University Rankings 2020, UCD is 177 in the world. UCD is number one in Ireland for graduate employability, and 78th in the world (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2020). UCD has been number one for three consecutive years!

In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by Subject, UCD has four subjects in the top 50, see more on our subject rankings section. For the past two consecutive years, UCD has also been named the number one university in Ireland by US News & World.

Established in 1854, there are now 34,000 students studying at UCD – more than 8,400 are international students from 140 different countries. The UCD Alumni Network is influential, successful, active and truly international.  Many of the 288,000 UCD global alumni network, living in 169 countries, hold positions in leading organisations around the world. 

Undergraduate students love the UCD Horizons programme which is much more flexible than traditional degree programmes. It offers students the choice to adapt the curriculum to their personal preferences. Along with core and option modules that make up their main degree, students can choose two elective modules from outside their degree. We’ve had Medicine students who have chosen Psychology and Orchestra!

Through six Colleges, UCD offers Ireland’s most diverse range of graduate opportunities. Masters programmes are led by academic experts and offer international graduate students unparalleled choice at all levels. UCD’s graduate programmes are recognised and valued by academic institutions and employers around the world. UCD offers Doctoral Programmes, taught and research masters, graduate diploma, certificate programmes and higher diplomas. Taught programmes are modularised to facilitate access, continuing professional development and life-long learning.

UCD is situated on 133 hectares of beautiful, green parkland – one of the largest urban campuses in Europe. Students live and study in modern, world-class buildings surrounded by beautiful, green parkland, wildlife and fabulous facilities. Take our 3D campus tour to experience it for yourself!

Some of the world-leading facilities our students benefit from include the UCD O’Brien Centre for ScienceUCD Sutherland School of Law and UCD Lochlan Quinn School of Business.  

Number 1 for Graduate Employment in Ireland

UCD was ranked number one in Ireland for graduate employability and 74th in the world, for the third consecutive year in the 2020 QS Graduate Employability Rankings. The career services UCD offers our students are top class. Through the Jumpstart programme, international students begin their preparations before they arrive on campus. They have access to interview preparation, internship opportunities, and alumni connections.

Scholarships for International Students

There are a wide variety of scholarships and awards for international students at UCD. These awards are highly regarded by employers and industry and celebrate the diverse talents of our students. There are also a number of Global Excellence Scholarships available to international students. They are competitively awarded based on academic merit and offered by country and/or by discipline. Students must hold an offer before they can apply for a scholarship. Full terms and conditions apply. 

International Student Life at UCD

At UCD our students benefit from a unique and world-class experience, through involvement in clubs, societies and sports, volunteering opportunities, and exposure to active and independent learning strategies. 

UCD students are the most engaged in Ireland with over 100 clubs and societies in which they can explore new interests and friendships. These experiences and our campus environment mean that UCD offers unparalleled experiences for students looking to study abroad. Our students enjoy woodland walks, biodiversity areas, wildflower meadows, as well as outstanding sports facilities, health and fitness centre and the UCD Student Centre.

For more information about studying at UCD, go to www.ucd.ie/global and select your country of residence for specific entry requirements, study options, scholarships, fees, accommodation and much more.

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