During the first few weeks of classes here at UChicago, there’s one question on everyone’s mind: What did you do this summer?
My friends’ responses leave me so impressed, whether they spent their summer option trading in downtown Chicago, competing in international swimming competitions, doing cancer research, or working on a political campaign.
I spent my summer doing an archaeological dig near Florence, Italy. I worked with twenty Canadian, American, and Australian archaeology students on the excavation and analysis of a second century Roman villa, the Villa del Vergigno. For six weeks, we would wake up early and spend our days digging, working in the lab to analyze artifacts, and learning how to use mapping software to create digital 3D maps of the site. The dig was run by the University of Wyoming and Cooperative Ichnos, an Italian archeological institution, but I found out about it through one of my University of Chicago professors.
I was so excited to participate in a dig this summer, since I want to work in a museum after I graduate. I thought it would be important to have experience working in the field, seeing where museum artifacts come from, and how they are documented and analyzed. Once I was accepted into the dig, I applied for and was awarded a summer travel grant from the UChicago Classics department. Several departments at UChicago, as well as Career Advancement and the Study Abroad office, have grants that are available for students to pursue otherwise non-paid opportunities that relate to their academic interests. These grants are great because they allow students to pursue opportunities that they otherwise would not be able to do. I have friends who used grants like these to attend German language school in Austria, work in a robotics lab in England, and work at an otherwise unpaid arts internship in downtown Chicago.
With the help of Career Advancement, professors, and grants, UChicago students have endless options for summer opportunities. Whether doing research, holding an internship, or studying abroad, students can pursue their passions while learning and developing important skills.