Imagine waking up at 4 a.m. every morning. Next imagine spending the next hour of your life stumbling around your corner of a kibbutz looking for things to wear and trying not to miss the 15 minute bus to your dig site every morning. At 5am every morning you pick up a pick axe and a hoe and move dirt for the next 8 hours. Then its time to take a nap. But only a quick one because after that its finds processing for 2 hours, an hour lecture and an hour lab before dinner and a rush to get to be as early as possible so the 4am wake up call isn't so bad.
Sounds pretty nasty, right?
For some maybe, not for me or the 23 other archaeological students on the Jezreel Valley Regional Project's 2017 excavation at The VI Iron Legion of Rome's Legionary camp. Or as it lovingly came to be called Legio.
For me, this all began back in February when I got an email from the State University of New York Brockport's history department mentioning an archaeological excavation in Israel for anyone interested. The emailed a specific professor to consult and not much else. After talking to the professor detailed in the email (primarily about Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) for 2 hours, I decided to consult the "powers to be" about spending 5 weeks in Israel. The powers to be being my girlfriend and the man in control of my college fund. It took some convincing but they both caved eventually.
Over the next few months, I would procrastinate immensely in order to avoid actually needing to put in the effort.
Somehow on June 17, I made it to Israel. Tired and one day late I was ready for the experience of a lifetime. I had figured I would make a friend or two and gain some experience in the field of archaeology however, I got much much more. I made friends with students from all over the world. From people that did not know what they were going to do with their lives to professional Indiana Jones types became quickly immersed in this new found ecstasy I called "studying abroad." Aside from the brutal reality of my daily schedule, I could not think of a better way to spend 5 weeks out of my summer. I've built connections to last a life time and spent every day off exploring the major attractions of Israel.
In short this was an experience I would 100% recommend to a fellow traveler and as I sit in terminal 3 of the Tel Aviv airport typing out these last words I highly encourage fellow curious students to seek out oppertunities such as this one because, if nothing else, I now know what the hell to do with my life and so could you.