To those considering an archaeological internship in Turkey, here are some things you should know.

I never thought I’d actually do something like this, and I’m so happy I did. It was an amazing experience. It got me out of my comfort zone and hopefully into my future career. So, know that you’re likely going to get hooked. Even if you never do archaeology again, you’ll still be connected to the site and to the people. This experience will stay with you for a long, long time.

The entire trip is constant information overload. You’re constantly learning new information about the site, about the surrounding areas and about your peers. Most importantly, you’re learning about yourself. These past few weeks confirmed that I want to continue working as an archaeologist, as well as explore other related fields. I have better defined my career goals and now have several ideas of how to achieve them. I also learned how much I love rocks and bones, as many of the other interns could tell you.

I’ve learned that I can climb rocks, and jump off them into the cove below, and that it’s super fun. And sometimes, climbing mountains isn’t so fun while going up or down, but the view from the top is spectacular and worth every step. On another note, I learned that I can dig a really deep hole. And then proceed to get super attached to said hole. That’s another thing you should know—you will get attached to your area. You will think about it, you will see walls and pottery when you close your eyes. If you’re lucky, you’ll even dream of it. You’ll be interested in your friends’ units and curious about all that goes on, trying to piece together the puzzle of the past. Take advantage of all the history that’s around you, because before long it might not be there anymore.

This project will take a lot out of you, but it will give you so much more. The people you meet here are unforgettable, and at least in my case, you will be friends for years to come. You’ll come away with stories you never thought you’d tell, with a newfound sense of self confidence and independence, as well as a lot of knowledge about what it means to be an archaeologist. I was always in awe of what I was doing. From examining the pottery I found, to seeing the walls slowly get uncovered, and especially understanding the importance of the work I was doing (even if it meant I got covered in dirt from head to toe). For me, that is one of the most unbelievable aspects of this internship—that we get to experience the history first hand and right in our faces. The last person who saw that pottery sherd was alive over a thousand years ago. Nothing is quite like the feeling of history being alive right before your eyes. Half of the time I was exhausted and the other half tired, but the entire time I was excited and ready to keep going.

I jumped off a rock at the cove and into the water below, and I loved it. I jumped into an archaeological internship in Turkey, and I loved it even more. Sometimes you just have to jump, even if it scares you. I’m so grateful for the amazing opportunity to work here, to learn so much and to grow far beyond where I thought I could. I really hope that if you come to Turkey, you have as wonderful experience as I did. So take the jump, maybe into a pit, maybe off a cliff into a cove, or maybe just to Turkey. Whatever your jump is, make it a good one.

Some other general advice:

  • Not everyone likes rock puns—use them wisely
  • Bring one more thing of sunscreen than you think you need
  • Everyone’s gross—get used to it. You’re all in the same boat so it’s fine
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong. You will be sometimes and that’s okay
  • Learn a few conversational words in Turkish before coming; it will make the first few days easier
  • The food is really, really good, so try everything (even the eggplant). If you don’t like it, at least you tried it!
  • Sleep is your friend, as is water. Try to stay rested and hydrated
  • Above all remember to have fun!