Climate-friendly stay abroad – Thinking Green

In the light of climate change, the question arises for many of us: How can the desire for study and practical experience abroad be reconciled with the will to act in an environmentally responsible manner? We have compiled information and tips on this question for your further research. For some exchange programs there is additional financial support. In addition, your commitment should be rewarded: Show us how sustainable you make your stay! The best contributions will be published on this page.

According to the climate protection organization Atmosfair, scientists assume a climate-friendly annual budget of 1.5 tons of CO2 per person. International exchange can quickly increase the climate footprint. For example, one of our exchange students from Costa Rica consumes three tons of CO2 on a single flight to Germany. With the Thinking Green initiative, the TUM Global & Alumni Office wants to create more awareness for sustainable action and to highlight the many opportunities for environmentally friendly engagement.

Travel climate-friendly within Europe

By avoiding air travel, participants in the Erasmus+ program can make a significant contribution to environmental protection and thus also to the implementation of the European Green Deal: organize your trip by train, bus, or carpool. This may take longer, but it gives you the chance to make stopovers and thus arrive at your destination in a relaxed and peaceful manner. 

And on site? It's best to take public transportation or ride your bike! The easiest way to get around quickly and with low or zero emissions.

On the following platforms you can learn how to plan your trip by train or bus easily and inexpensively:

Green grants for TUM outgoing and incoming students

Erasmus+ Green Travel Grant

From the academic year 2022/23, there will be a one-off bonus of 50 euros from the EU for environmentally friendly travel. Learn more

Erasmus+ Award

With the Erasmus+ Award we additionally reward environmentally friendly travel to your Erasmus+ destination and back home again. Simply send us photos and a short report or link to your blog about your green journey by train, bus, or bike.

We select the most beautiful examples at the end of each winter and summer semester and award them with lump sums of 300 to 500 euros – depending on the distance. Submit your Green Travel Story via TUM Wiki 

Thinking Green Travel Stories

In the Thinking Green Travel Stories, we feature stories of TUM outgoing and incoming students who gave some thought to their carbon footprint before their stay abroad and traveled in an environmentally friendly way. 

Browse through our brochure, and feel free to get inspired!

Plan longer stays for worldwide travel

Do not decide lightly to embark on stays abroad, especially in more distant regions. Considering the high fossil consumption of such journeys, we advise you to plan appropriately long and substantial stays.

We recommend at least 100 days per 10,000 kilometers. For a flight from Munich to Beijing, for example, this would mean spending three months there. If possible, book direct flights or flights with as few stopovers as possible.

To get an idea of your CO2 consumption and other climate-damaging emissions and to find alternative travel options, we recommend one of the following calculation platforms:

Of course, avoiding or reducing flights is the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. However, by offsetting your CO2 consumption, you can ensure that CO2 is saved at another level for flights that cannot be avoided.

Support climate protection projects, compensate CO2 emissions

When selecting providers, we recommend paying attention to strict selection and monitoring standards, such as the CDM Gold Standard. These guarantee, among other things, that CO2 is demonstrably saved and that the project only became profitable and thus feasible through the provider's subsidies.

Below you will find some examples of German and international providers.

Avoid intermediate flights back home and domestic flights in the host country during your stay abroad. Use trains, buses, or carpools to get to know the country and its people in a much better way.

Participate! Engage, inspire, win

Send us links to blogs, photos, Instagram stories, or video clips about your climate-friendly travel to your worldwide study or internship abroad – or about your involvement in sustainable projects or events. We'll publish the coolest entries here and award them with vouchers worth up to 50 euros for sustainable stores. Contact

Green engagement on site

Take green courses at the partner university

Look explicitly for green courses in the course catalog and take advantage of the opportunity to learn about completely different approaches to environmental protection or sustainable economic cycles during your stay abroad.

TUM, for example, offers the Sustainable Management and Technology degree programs at the Straubing campus and Sustainable Resource Management at the TUM School of Life Sciences in Freising. Further green study programs

Engage in sustainable initiatives

During your stay abroad, use your skills, wealth of ideas and motivation to help shape a world that continues to be worth living in and share this with other students from around the world.

At TUM, one way to get involved is to join the Environmental Student Representation (Asta Umweltreferat), which has been working for many years to increase the presence of the environment and sustainability in teaching and campus life.

Get to know green habits in the host country

Whether it's a study program, an internship, or further education: A stay abroad becomes truly complete when you get to know the country and its people up close. In addition to the language, food, and culture, you can also discover other ways of behaving and measures to protect the environment. Waste separation, deposit system, cloth bags instead of plastic bags – how do things work in your host country? Pay attention to this consciously and incorporate the experiences into your everyday life in the best sense after your return.

More ideas for eco-friendly travel and green trips abroad can be found at the Sustainability dossier of the initiative Studieren weltweit (only available in German)