Field School Review – Tell Timai

Tell Timai, Egypt. University of Hawaii.

By Liesel

When: 5 weeks every June/July

“If you like ____, you’ll love this field school“: Graeco-Roman Egypt

Cost: $5000ish includes everything in country, including some day trips and an overnight trip to Alexandria.

Living conditions: You share a room with max 2 other people, share a bathroom with max 2 other rooms. Meals are amazing! Some hot water but it’s so hot in summer that a cold shower is usually exactly what you need at the end of the day. Toilets flush just fine, but don’t put toilet paper in them (gross, I know). Internet is pretty reliable unless the power is out. You work 6 days a week.

The Team: There are around 30 students and 10-15 staff. The students tend to be early twenties with a couple of years of undergrad under their belts but not necessarily much digging experience.

Culture: You get to go to the pyramids, the Egyptian museum, Alexandria, and other sites here and there every Friday. During the work week sometimes there are lectures on or we watch movies, we can also walk into the village any time as long as we have a police escort.

Biggest culture shock would be when I thought I was being so conservative having my knees covered, and then realising everyone thought I was a hussy because my calves and ankles were out.

The locals like to practise their English and take pictures of you, we’re big celebrities out in Timai el Amdid.

Best Thing: The team. Everyone gets along so well, and so much great work gets done, while we’re all having a blast.

Worst Thing: Revolutions and general unrest. While it has never directly affected us and everyone’s nice and friendly (I’ve been on the field school 3 times since 2011), the result on Egypt as a whole is starting to sink in, the loss of revenue from tourists is huge, and the people are getting a little desperate in places like Cairo and Luxor. On the flip side, it’s a unique experience to see the hope and determination for change uniting so many people.
Also, the directors are frequently off the planet, with wild ideas that aren’t in touch with what’s going on in the field. Sometimes they can get a bit too friendly as well.

Where to go for more information and applications: telltimai.org

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