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Educational Travel

For alumni and friends

Since our inaugural voyage in 2018, we have worked to create educational travel opportunities so York U alumni and friends can explore, learn, and grow together. 

In 2023 and 2024, we are excited to provide even more value driven experiences for York U travellers. We hope you’ll enjoy what we have in store, with a selection of at least 8 unique itineraries and experiences to choose from -- to be shared here as we firm up the details of each.  

To stay up to date on the latest trips being offered, watch for emails, or better yet, register with Alumni Perks and download the app today. Be sure to turn on your notifications! 

A reminder too, that our tour operators are chosen carefully based on many considerations, an utmost important one being their support for sustainable travel practices, be it their commitment to small group sizes, choosing green properties, engaging local community members as inspectors, experienced guides, and experts in fields of interest, and more. Our tour operators help to build communities by forging positive relationships with the communities they visit. However, we all leave footprints everywhere we go, and this is a very real concern for us and our travellers. Please see the Sustainable Travel and York U section below for information on how you can go about purchasing carbon offsets using the York U Alumni Educational Travel matching program.  

For further information on the alumni travel program, please contact:  Melanie McLean, Affinity Business Planner, Alumni Engagement, York University at 

2023 - 2024 Trips

The Magdalen Islands:
Remote Outpost of the St. Lawrence

September 24 - September 30, 2023

Explore an out-of-the-way part of Canada and experience the unique culture of its people during a week in the tiny archipelago of the Magdalen Islands (Îles-de-la-Madeleine). A constant breeze sweeping over these 12 islands sculpted red sandstone cliffs, dwarfed the forests, formed sand dunes, and created a series of protected lagoons. From your base in a sea-view auberge, venture out on sand-dune trails to the interdunal bogs, fens, and saltmarshes. Watch the activities of resident shorebirds and waterbirds, including the endangered piping plover. And in the friendly island communities, learn about the cultural mosaic, rooted in the British Isles and French-speaking Acadia, that has developed here since the 18th century.

The Galapagos Islands III Alumni Expedition

SOLD OUT - October 23 – November 2, 2023

The Worldwide Quest Galapagos private yacht expedition is rated one of the most highly rated natural history programs and is consistently considered a “trip of a lifetime”. Their Study Leader and Galapagos naturalist guide are on board to lead island walks and on-board talks as they set sail to discover these remarkable island ecosystems, skirting past nesting boobies, scouting the seas for breaching whales and snorkeling among colourful fish. Desolate at first sight, these rough and rocky isles are home to wonderfully strange and abundant wildlife. As Charles Darwin did almost 200 years before us, we will marvel at the highly adapted creatures found nowhere else on Earth.

Madeira, Portugal 


March 15 - April 13, 2024


We're excited to offer you a unique opportunity to redefine travel. Discover the stunning island of Madeira on a Live Away journey. Live Away is a long-stay travel experience that lets you immerse yourself in the local community and culture, offering a stress-free, organized trip that still allows for flexibility to relax and explore at your own pace. The island's rich cultural heritage is reflected in its architecture, cuisine, and local customs. You can explore the charming capital, Funchal, with its cobbled streets, colorful markets, and fascinating history, and indulge in the incredible array of local cuisine that blends traditional Portuguese dishes with African and Mediterranean influences. 

Brazilian Amazon Adventure

April 27 - May 12, 2024


Starting in the rich tropical metropolis of Manaus, our exclusively chartered, 12 cabin river cruise will take you on a journey deep into the lush green, to explore its untouched and hardly visited depths. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to explore a world of history, culture, and most importantly, adventure. You’ll be accompanied by expert guides who will enhance your understanding of the local wildlife, plants, and cultures. The guides will share their knowledge and stories, giving you a deeper appreciation of the Amazon's rich history and vibrant communities.

Our Travel Partners


Toronto, ON | 1-866-760-1987 or
GLP Worldwide offers a cultivated selection of experiences for the sophisticated Canadian traveler. Every adventure will be a journey through history, culture, and landscapes.


Toronto, ON | 1-800-378-1483
Worldwide Quest offers a series of small group tours led by experienced and engaging leaders designed to enrich and inform in some of the world's most fascinating regions.


Chicago, IL | 1-800-922-3088 or
Gohagan & Co. develops and operates deluxe group travel programs for North America’s most prestigious museums, colleges, universities, and cultural institutions.

For further information on any of our partners, please contact:
Melanie McLean | Affinity Business Planner, Alumni Engagement, York University | 

Sustainable Travel and York U

We all leave footprints everywhere we go. We love to follow footprints in the sand or in the snow but the footprints we do not want to follow are the ones we hear most about today—carbon footprints, or emissions. As a leader in sustainability, we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and being carbon neutral on or before 2049. Learn more about York’s commitment to carbon neutrality. In keeping with the University’s commitment, we continue to work with our travel partners to make sustainable choices and strategies when planning itineraries, stays, and local activities.

We encourage travellers to consider purchasing carbon offsets. Use this free Carbon Footprint Calculator from Sustainable Travel International to understand your footprint. 
For our travellers who wish to purchase offsets to minimize the climate impact of their journey, York U will match their purchase. Please contact Melanie McLean directly at to get further details. Some restrictions do apply.  

Concerning COVID

Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult Global Affairs Canada for up-to-date travel advice and advisories, as well as information on travel health and safety by visiting

For trip-specific information, please consult the travel provider. Links to our travel partners are listed above.

All travelers are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance before final payment is required by the tour operator. Looking for a travel insurance option? Check out York U Alumni services and benefits partner, Manulife Financial Travel Insurance, to see if it is right for you and your travel insurance needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes. We welcome anyone interested in educational travel, not just York U alumni.

Our programs are open to everyone and the age-range on any given tour can vary, however on most programs our travellers are between 55 and 75 years of age.

Most of our tours are considered moderately active; travellers should anticipate walking 1-3 hours or more each day at a reasonable pace. Depending on the destination, you should be prepared for uneven terrain (cobblestone streets, small hills, and stairs).

Guests who require special assistance, including those who sometimes or always use a wheelchair, must be accompanied by someone who is physically able to help. This person will be responsible for providing all required assistance. Your comfort and safety are priorities for us. We would be happy to discuss any mobility or accessibility concerns you might have. Prior to booking, please talk to our travel partner in detail about your personal requirements.

No. You will be travelling not only with York U Alumni who reserve, but alumni from other institutions as well.

Yes, a valid passport is required of Canadian and US citizens for international travel. Your passport must be valid for at least six months past your planned return date. Canadians do not require a passport if travelling solely within Canada.

All travellers are strongly advised to purchase travel insurance before final payment is required by the tour operator. Looking for a travel insurance option? Our partner, Manulife, offers Emergency Travel Medical benefits up to $5,000,000 for non-COVID-19 related claims or up to $1,000,000 for COVID-19 related expenses ($5,000,000 if you have the full course of immunization for Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is authorized by Health Canada.). Applicants age 60 or over need to complete the Medical Questionnaire to determine their eligibility and rate category. Visit Manulife to learn more.

Reservations are made directly with our Travel Partners, over the phone.

Reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tours can fill up very quickly.

Yes, although we highly recommend that you take advantage of the air reservation service offered by our tour operators. In the event of a significant disruption in flight schedules, the tour operator is very limited in what assistance they can provide if flights are booked independently. Plus, passengers not arriving or departing on the group flights are responsible for arranging and paying for their own transfers to and from hotels/ships/airports.

All promotional items associated with the Alumni Travel program (annual catalogue, individual brochures, associated postage, and other travel information) are provided by the tour operators and do not impact the University's budget.

Armchair Travel Webinars

All-Canadian alumni armchair travel sessions

Together with other Canadian alumni groups and our trusted travel partner Worldwide Quest, we learned about the wonders of the world from our homes. Each experience was designed to feed your curiosity and provide content curated and delivered by experts in their fields. We hope you enjoy this selection of webinars.

Remote Newfoundland and Labrador:
A history in five stops

Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich history matches its natural beauty. Sean Cadigan will use five places that will be visited during an upcoming trip organized by Worldwide Quest – Deer Lake, Gros Morne National Park, L’Anse aux Meadows, Red Bay, and Battle Harbour – as illustrations of aspects of European colonialism and settlement, the development of the cod fishery, and twentieth-century modernization in the region's history.


The Yukon Advantage: How and why the Yukon is a great place for archaeology

In recent decades, the Yukon Territory has found itself on the cutting edge of the some of the most unique archaeological and paleontological research in North America. Join retired Yukon archaeologist Greg Hare as he provides an overview of archaeological research in the territory, highlighting some of the most significant sites and discoveries and explores the evolution of the discipline.


Nature Hotspots in Canada with
author Debbie Olsen  

Debbie Olsen collaborated with a small group of nature writers to assemble the new book 150 Nature Hot Spots in Canada: The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places. She's visited every province and territory in Canada on her quest. In this webinar, learn more about some special place you may or may not have heard about and that you should place on your Canada hotspot list!  


No one owns Antarctica:
Why does that matter?

Antarctica is a continent of extraordinary politics. Over six decades of international cooperation in the Antarctic has meant balancing issues of contested sovereignty, safeguarding security and environmental protection, and advancing scientific research in Antarctica for the benefit of all humankind. So what’s at stake to ensure this continues?


The Literature of Newfoundland

Travel across Newfoundland through the literature written on and about this province. Explore the southern shore on the pages of Michael Crummey's Sweetland. Travel up the Avalon Peninsula with Wayne Johnston in The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. Reflect on the descriptions of the natural environment offered up in these works and consider the challenge of writing about place, of transforming singular natural beauty and unique cultures into words.


two polar bears in Arctic

The Polar Bear: Forever icon of the Canadian North? 

Polar Bears are rightfully touted as emblems of the Canadian Arctic. However, a significant population also lives far below the Arctic Circle along the shores of Hudson Bay. In this special webinar presented by the Canadian university alumni community, Dr. Marty Obbard will introduce us to Polar Bear biology, discuss his field work with this species on Hudson Bay, and address questions of its long-term survival in a changing climate.


Past Trips

Field of poppies in Normandy, France

Tracing Canada’s History: Remembering the 75th Anniversary of D-Day

As you visit memorials, trenches, and museums in Normandy, London and Amsterdam, you’ll learn about the important role Canadian forces played in the outcome of D-Day. Explore the locations that were the backdrops for pivotal battles and take time to honour the sacrifices made by the Allied soldiers.


Field of flowers and windmill in Provence

Autumn in Provence, Burgundy, Beaujolais, cruising the Rivers Rhone and Saone

Join us for this exclusive nine-day French sojourn in Provence and the wine region of Burgundy and Beaujolais. In this historical region of southeastern France, visit six UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Old Lyon, Beaune, Avignon, and the Roman city of Orange. Taste iconic wines during private outings to Châteaus hosted by the ancestral owners.


Norway and Lapland: Coastal voyage crossing into the Artic Circle

Join join York on an adventure to Lapland - home of the Sami; the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia. On our journey, we will experience Norway’s beautiful fjords, charming ports, rare wildlife and travel to places no other cruise ships can access before venturing into northern Finland. Along the route, dedicated expedition leaders have a single mission: to enhance your experience by leading activities and interpreting the cultural and natural treasures you will see during your journey. Visit cities like Bergen, Alesund, and Trondheim, before we cross the Polar Circle and sail into Tromso. We continue further north and explore Ivalo in Northern Finland as well as the historic centre of Finland – Helsinki.


Oberammergau Passion Play & Cruising the Danube River

Nestled in the storybook landscapes of the Bavarian Alps more than 2,000 residents of the quaint hamlet of Oberammergau stage one of the world’s greatest performances, the extraordinarily produced Passion Play founded on unique local history and a legacy that encompasses nearly four centuries. Spend two nights in the Oberammergau region, coupled with a delightful Danube River Cruise through Hungary, Austria, Germany and Slovakia. Special tickets, unavailable to the general public, have been procured for your Passion Play experience.