A Guide to Shopping Ethically When You Study Abroad in Rome

December 1, 2023
A pair of JCU students studying abroad in Rome

Though a more eco-friendly community requires a collective effort, our individual consumption decisions add up to significantly impact our planet's health. It’s Sustainability Month at JCU, leaving the subject on many of our students’ minds. In addition to joining our many sustainability initiatives, make careful choices about what you buy and where you can do your part in supporting a more sustainable world. Keep reading for a brief guide to shopping sustainably as you study abroad in Rome. 

Think Before You Buy

As a study abroad student exploring Rome, there will be many temptations around you. The fabulous fashions, delicious food, and souvenirs to take home to loved ones will undoubtedly be exciting; however, to shop more sustainably, you’d do well to avoid impulse buying. Though ethically sourced and eco-friendly shopping options are abundant in Rome, many shops and vendors you’ll encounter will not prioritize buying sustainably.

If you’re unsure how to tell the difference, use technology! Sustainable brands will likely shout their eco-friendly efforts from the rooftops to attract conscious consumers like yourself. As you study abroad in Rome, you may notice that some businesses possess a range of certifications from organizations that promote a set of sustainable standards.


A pair of smiling students sitting on a step as they study abroad in Rome.Shop more sustainably by thinking carefully when you study abroad in Rome


Look Out for Independent Boutiques

The Eternal City is one of the most sought-after places to shop - particularly for fashion lovers. One way to ensure that you’re making sustainable decisions as you shop is to avoid falling into the fast fashion trap. What exactly is fast fashion? It refers to the mass production of cheaply-made clothing to meet the demands of trend-focused buyers. 


A pair of students walking in the center square shopping sustainability as they study abroad in Rome.Look for artisanal vendors or independent stores when you study abroad in Rome


As a sustainable shopper in Rome, try to find independent or artisanal boutiques. Just as fabulous as the more popular alternative, these stores usually sell handmade goods that are not mass-produced and, as a result, don’t cause massive environmental pollution or human rights violations. Many shoppers appreciate the unique character that artisanal pieces offer. There’s no shortage of talented creators selling their work in Rome.


Remember to Eat Sustainably When You Study Abroad in Rome

As you study at JCU, you will surely enjoy Rome’s world-renowned cuisine. Remember that what we choose to eat can significantly affect the environment.  A plant-based diet is known to have a lesser environmental impact due to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Thankfully, there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options for you if this is a dietary option you’re willing to explore.

Some give up animal products a few days a week, which is enough to make a big difference. Of course, eating plant-based isn’t an option for everyone, but there are many other ways to eat sustainably. When shopping for produce, be sure to shop in season. Rome has bustling marketplaces where fresh, local, and in-season food can be bought. 


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