Commonly Asked Questions

Do I have to be a St. Olaf alum or parent of a St. Olaf student to participate in Study Travel?
Since its inception in 1978, Study Travel has been open to the public. Some Study Travelers are St. Olaf alums, some are parents of Oles and some have no prior relationship with the college.

What is the age range of Study Travelers?
Study Travelers range in age from people in their late teens to retirees. Shared interest in the themes and destinations of Study Travel create common bonds.

What are the physical demands of Study Travel?
Although Study Travel is not “adventure travel” in the current sense of the term, a person should be healthy and fit to successfully participate in our programs. Transportation between cities is usually by private coach. All other movement is usually on foot and with public transportation. Participants should be capable of walking up to five miles per day over possibly uneven terrain, climbing stairs that might not have handrails, climbing in and out of a variety of transportation vehicles, keeping pace with an active group of travelers on long days of traveling, dealing with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing a different culture, and being part of a group for several hours each day. If you have any questions about the physical demands of a specific program, please contact Study Travel Director Heidi Quiram at 507-786-3629 or

Can children participate in Study Travel?
Teenagers are welcome to accompany adults on Study Travel programs and participate in group activities. Unless targeted at families, most Study Travel programs are not appropriate for children.

Will I feel “left out” if I travel as a single?
A 30-something Study Traveler addressed this concern in her program evaluation: “As a single person it’s great to have people to travel with. The other thing that’s fun … is that you’re traveling with people who have similar interests, who are intending to travel in a way where they learn more than just surface-level sightseeing. I now have a group of friends that I continue to do things with after the trip.”

I’m single but would like a roommate. Can you help me find one?
Yes! We put people in touch with each other and let them decide if they will be compatible as roommates during a Study Travel program.

Programs are called Study Travel. Does this mean we are required to attend lectures and take tests?
Study Travel emphasizes learning for the joy and excitement of it. Seminar discussions are offered frequently, either by the faculty leader, guest speakers or guides. Sessions last anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes, depending on the program. Groups visit historic sites, museums, art galleries or attend music or theater performances that illuminate topics discussed in the seminars. There are no required assignments or tests. Program leaders provide resource lists in advance for those who want to become more familiar with the history and culture of their Study Travel destination.

Will I have time to pursue my own interests?
On every Study Travel program we strive to include free time every day, plus one or more free afternoon+evening or full free days. These unstructured times allow you to explore your interests, pursue new experiences and savor the delights of different cultures. Schedules vary by program, however, so be sure to look closely at the itinerary posted online.

Can I depart earlier or return home later than the group? Can I leave from a city other than Minneapolis?
Airfare is no longer included in program fees. You are free to choose the flight schedule and fare that is right for you. We will provide information on when best to arrive at the beginning of the program and when you are safe to depart at the end of the program, so as not to miss out on any group activities. We ask for your full flight schedule prior to departure and provide this information to the program leaders so that they know when each participant will arrive and depart. If you’d like the services of a travel agent, may we recommend Noreen Deiss of Travel Leaders. She can be reached at 651-429-0039 or For every program, we recommend you not purchase non-refundable airfare until we can confirm the program has enough participants to go.

What is typically included in the program fee?
Based on double occupancy, the program fee usually includes:

  • Seminars by the program leader and guest lecturers
  • All accommodations
  • Breakfast daily and several other group meals
  • Entrance fees
  • Group tours
  • Ground transportation (except airport transfers)
  • Gratuities to group drivers and guides
  • Limited medical coverage

There is a supplement for single occupancy.

What is not included in the program fee?
Airfare is not included in the program fee. Participants are solely responsible for all expenses not specifically included in the program fee. Examples of excluded expenses are: airfare, transfers between the airport and hotel on arrival and departure, any passport and visa fees, any recommended immunizations or vaccinations, baggage / trip cancellation insurance, beverages, laundry, dry cleaning, phone charges, room service or mini bar charges, tips to porters and hotel maids, expenses incurred during free time or non-group activities, and lunch and dinner, unless specifically included on program itinerary.

Is travel insurance included in the program fee?
Limited medical coverage is included in your program fee. Trip cancellation and loss of baggage are NOT included in the program fee. Visit the information about travel insurance page for more information.