Sustainability Abroad: Madrid Edition

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My name is Erin Brophy and I’m a junior environmental science major currently studying abroad in Madrid, Spain at The College for International Studies (CIS). Ever since I did a high school trip to Spain, I knew I wanted to come back. That experience, combined with my love for the Spanish language and culture, is what drew me to Madrid.

While at CIS, I have been given the opportunity to take courses outside of my field of science. I have found that a lot of my courses connect various topics to sustainability—for example, international studies. As a class, we looked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and environmental issues in political agendas, and it was an eye-opening lesson. In addition to international studies, my human rights class frequently connects discussions to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Along with connecting every topic to the SDGs, this class delved into environmental issues and defenders of environmental human rights.

Connecting topics that may seem like they do not relate to sustainability is a purposeful, positive decision. One of my main observances is that the Spanish curriculum makes an effort to focus on the importance of sustainability. I’m proud to see that as a business school, CIS is inserting environmental issues into the curriculum which will help promote a sustainable mentality in all of its students. I believe that by introducing and incorporating environmentalism in young business-minded people will in turn create more sustainable businesses.

Beyond academics, I have also noticed a commitment to green living from my experience at the Funway Academic Resort which has been my “home” these last few months. Funway is just a few metro stops away from CIS and offers dorm-style living with a guaranteed single. The living space is conserved with ample, smart storage like stairs doubling as drawers. Also, the bed lowers from the ceiling, which conserves space. To turn the lights on in the room, the keycard must be in the door, which cuts down on energy use. There are also multiple areas for air drying clothes and, just recently, Funway has put in recycling and compost bins in the kitchen.

Finally, I have learned that it is important to gain a different perspective on sustainability from another culture; to slow climate change, we have to learn from one another and listen. In order to combat climate change, we need to communicate globally and do our part individually at home and on campus.

On a more personal note, I would highly recommend studying abroad in Madrid. Studying abroad allows you to develop different perspectives, learn languages, and develop an appreciation for new cultures. And, it is just fun!

Sustainability Abroad student in Madrid