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Original ad for IU Summer Tramps, a faculty-led program established in 1879, which included 20 to 30 students doing language and natural history in Europe. (Click to enlarge)

Early History

The oldest recorded faculty-initiated study abroad programs at IU were called Summer Tramps, first established in 1879 by David Starr Jordan, a biologist and the future president of the university, together with a language professor. For almost a decade they led a series of summer ‘tramps’ to Europe with 20 to 30 students and faculty to study natural history, language, and culture in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, and England (including 300 miles of hiking in a three-month period!). The program was so important that it was listed in the academic catalogue each year. Credit at IU wasn't established until 1890 but the historical references on file indicate that these trips were considered academically focused.


I gained an enhanced view of the world. I was forced to look at American problems from an international perspective.”

-Kyra Busch, IU Overseas Study Participant, Thailand