Egypt Study Tour
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Abigail Micheel

Major: Classics and Ancient Mediterranian Studies 
Hometown: Montgomeryville, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was in Dr. Redford's Egyptian Mythology class last fall and heard about her and her husband's Mendes dig there. I was immediately interested in it and was able to accompany them over the summer.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Originally, it was planned as an excavation of their site at Mendes, however when the Egyptian government failed to approve many sites' paperwork in time, the Doctors Redford turned it into a study tour. I learned so much in the company of students from all over America and the world - we had students from Canada and Australia as well. As such, we learned a bit about each other's cultures as well as that of Egypt. Traveling to many cities all over the country, we were able to learn about Egyptian history from the pre-dynastic era to modern times and got to see various sites for ourselves. This allowed us to experience first hand concepts such as the evolution of pyramid building by visiting pyramid sites from different time periods.

We were able to learn about Egyptian history from the pre-dynastic era to modern times and got to see various sites for ourselves

How did this experience impact you academically?

For me, this experience counted as a course and so furthered my academic career. I was able to learn a lot from it. The museums we visited in Cairo, Luxor, Alexandria, and elsewhere were very informative. While some, like the Cairo museum, took on more well-known topics such as Tutankhamun’s tomb and its artifacts, in Luxor we got to learn about relations between Egypt and the Nubians to the South, a topic I hadn’t much learned about before. The Redfords themselves are incredibly knowledgeable on the subject material as well, of course, having been in the field for so long, and taught our group a lot with periodic lectures, both while traveling or just in the hotel. Being able to learn from them while in Egypt was invaluable.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I am planning on attending graduate school to further my education and earn a doctorate degree in Egyptology. So of course, it was very important to me that I go to Egypt to experience the culture and history first hand. I wanted to get a feel for things and see if I could see myself doing Egyptology for the rest of my life. Thankfully, I loved every minute of it. The trip helped to further cement my career goals, and while we were traveling I was able to get some advice from the Redfords about attending graduate school in the future.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

If you are interested in Egypt, or just history, or even just in expanding your horizons, I would recommend this experience to you. What I was able to see and do as a result of this trip was amazing, and I still can't quite believe I did all of it. Swimming in the Mediterranean in Alexandria, descending shafts in tombs and in the Great Pyramid, making friends from all over the country and the world, seeing the mummies of pharaohs and the grave goods of Tutankhamen... it all sounds like something out of a storybook or a movie rather than from my life. It's an experience that I'll never forget.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.

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