Grand Expedition

Grand Expedition

The Grand Expedition will celebrate and recognize IU’s pioneering and continued leadership in overseas study. Held June-July 2020 with limited availability, students and alumni should be sure to register for this once in a lifetime experience.

The Grand Expedition is based on IU’s “summer tramps” held during the 1880s and early 1890s. These trips are significant because they represent some of the earliest examples—if not the first—of overseas studies programs in the United States. Summer tramps were co-educational trips through Europe for IU students and faculty that combined educational/research opportunities with tourism.

The first tour, held in 1880, was organized by future IU president, David Starr Jordan, then a Professor of Natural Science. The announcement for the 1880 tramp emphasized that participants would receive, “daily instruction in German and French,” and have “special attention to Natural History."

Work done during the tours also supported IU research as participants gathered specimens for faculty use. For example, during the 1881 tour, party members collect marine mammals in Venice and Genoa. Historian James A. Woodburn noted that Jordan led the trips “for investigation and study, especially in botany and geology or on the fishes in the streams.” The 1885 tour features the most thorough itinerary located to-date and serves as the inspiration for Grand Expedition. This tour included Scotland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, and England.

The Grand Expedition is the result of a collaboration with the University Historian, IU Alumni Association, Office of Overseas Study, IU Outdoor Adventures, Office of International Partnerships, and the Office of the Bicentennial. Participants will network with influential European alumni, visit IU’s European partners, attend lectures and interactive workgroups covering IU history, science, and foreign languages, and participate in outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, and cycling. Opportunities for students and alumni to sign up will begin during the Spring 2019 semester. The student experience will include for-credit classes.