Fellows | 13 April 2022

CFA: Undergraduate Student Travel and Experiential Fellowship Program: Egypt, Ancient to Modern


Call for Applications: Undergraduate Student Travel and Experiential Fellowship Program –  Egypt, Ancient to Modern

Application Deadline: May 2, 2022

Program Details:
Dates: Fall Quarter, 2022; December 10-20/21, 2022
Location: Cairo and Luxor, Arab Republic of Egypt
Instructors: Dr. Jennifer Derr, History; Dr. Elaine Sullivan, History and Classics
Number of student fellowships: Maximum of 10 undergraduates and 1 graduate student

Program Description:
This educational travel opportunity offers students the chance to study the deep history of Egypt from the ancient world through the modern. In preparation for the trip, students will enroll in two upper division courses on Egyptian history, HIS 156C (Living the History of Cairo) and HIS 159C (Temple and City: The Egyptian New Kingdom and the City of Thebes).

Accepted students will visit Cairo and Luxor, two of Egypt’s most iconic cities. In Cairo, students will visit multiple sites located in the original city of Cairo (which dates to the 7th century), the historic downtown (built in the 19th century), and in recently constructed parts of the city. After a train ride south to Luxor, students will encounter the remains of ancient Thebes (15th-11th centuries BCE), visiting both the west bank of the Nile, with its incredible temple of Karnak and Luxor, and the east bank, the site of the royal and elite necropolises, royal memorial temples, and the village of the builders of the Valley of the Kings. Site visits and experiences will be closely tied into content from course instruction, enhancing classroom learning and providing a life-changing opportunity to interact in-person with the built environment of the past.

Courses: Fall Quarter 2022 (accepted students must enroll simultaneously in both)

  • HIS 156C, Living the History of Cairo (Derr)
  • HIS 159C, Temple and City: The Egyptian New Kingdom and the City of Thebes (Sullivan)

Expertise and Preparedness:
The UCSC History department has an unusual strength in the study of Egypt, with two faculty whose research and teaching focus on that nation. Derr is an historian of the modern Middle East, Egypt in particular, whose research focuses on the histories of science, medicine, the environment, and political economy. Her coursework includes classes on the broad histories of the modern Middle East and North Africa (HIS 41, HIS 156, HIS 156A), the Ottoman Empire (HIS 157), medicine and the body in the colonial world (HIS 151A), and social movements in the modern Middle East (HIS 194W). Sullivan, an archaeologist, specializes in the built environment and religious history of the Pharaonic (2950-332 BCE) and Greco-Roman periods (332 BCE-395 CE) of the ancient state. Her classes include two surveys of the political and social history of those periods (HIS 50, HIS 159A), an examination of concepts of gender in text and material culture (HIS 159B), as well as close investigations of urban spaces (HIS 159C, 159D). Students at UCSC therefore have a unique opportunity to cross deep temporal boundaries in the study of one place.

Prerequisites and Eligibility:
Students will apply to join the trip in advance and will need to enroll in and have good standing in both courses at the time of travel, HIS 159C and HIS 156C (the history department will hold 10 slots open in each class for student participants). Students who have taken and excelled in multiple classes with one of the professors will be given priority, but there are no additional course prerequisites.

Students applying must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, be in good academic standing, and be at least 18 years old by the date of the trip’s commencement.

Educational Expectations:
Students will be expected to keep a journal each day of their experiences (responding to questions solicited by the professors), which will be collected and evaluated at the end of the trip. Students will also each give two presentations (based on materials from their courses) on a site the group will visit the evening before the site visit. Students will be assigned these presentations in advance and will present in groups of two. Each student will present on one ancient and one colonial/modern site.

Assuming health and safety levels are appropriate, the trip will leave the Saturday following the last day of exams (December 10, 2022) students will (as a group) fly from SFO to Cairo. We will spend 5 nights and four days in Cairo, take the overnight train to Luxor, and spend 4 days and 4 nights in Luxor. A return flight to SFO from Luxor (possibly via Cairo) for the group on the 20th/21st (depending on flight times). Students will return as a group to SFO airport. Unfortunately, students are not able to stay in-country or fly to other locations; students should expect to start and end travel as stated.

Many UCSC students cannot afford international travel. Our goal is to pay for all basic student expenses, including airfare and associated travel insurance, lodging, food & filtered water, transit to/from UCSC to SFO, and on the ground travel and excursions within Egypt. Students will need to bring their own money for any in-country food/drink/souvenir purchases they desire to make, as well as pay for their own passport ($165) and visa entry into Egypt ($25).

Students who are not US citizens must show eligibility to travel to Egypt in advance (potentially a visa from their own embassy) and that travel to Egypt will not jeopardize their US visa status. All students will apply for online visas to Egypt in advance, and must show the successful obtaining of said visa in order to fly. As of spring 2022, single entry tourist visas for US citizens to Egypt cost $25.

Students must apply for a passport in advance and should do this immediately as soon as they have been selected to participate; students must pay for all passport costs themselves. A US passport currently costs $165 to obtain and frequently takes 8-11 weeks to process.

Pairs of accepted students will room together so students should expect to share a hotel room. Accepted students will fill out a roommate preference form.

Health and Safety:
1) All students must follow UCSC Covid protocols.

2) As of January 2022, before entering the country of Egypt, travelers must also be prepared with one of the following:

  • A vaccination certificate that has a valid QR code or is certified from the Egyptian embassy/consulate at the country of departure. The vaccine received must be approved by the WHO and the Egyptian Drug Authority, and you must have received the second dose for vaccinations requiring two doses or the first dose for vaccinations requiring only one dose (Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik light) at least 14 days prior to entering Egypt.
  • If a vaccination certificate is unavailable, you must submit a certified negative PCR, Antigen Rapid Test, or ID NOW test result that was performed at your country of departure a maximum of 72 hours prior to the departure of your direct flight to Egypt.
  • Unvaccinated students must pay for certified negative PCR tests in advance of travel themselves; students not following these protocols enter Egypt at their own risk and may be forced to pay for Covid testing at the airport. UCSC will not cover these costs.
  • See egypt.travel for more information.
  • These rules may change by the time of travel; trip leaders will keep students informed of the latest regulations for entering Egypt.

3) In-country, students must at all times follow the directives of the Egyptian government, which as of January 2022 requires face masks in indoor spaces; on touristic buses, taxis, commercial passenger transport, and aircrafts; at airports; and inside archeological museums. These regulations may change and students will need to follow the directives of the Egyptian government in place during the time of travel.

4) Students agree to fill out all necessary health/travel insurance forms as mandated by the campus in a timely manner.

5) Students will need to complete a travel clinic appointment at UCSC health before clearance for travel.

Students are encouraged to examine the updated US State Department website on Egypt before applying and the US Embassy’s page on Covid conditions outside the US.

Egypt is a developing nation. Travel there can be both physically and mentally fatiguing. The program’s schedule will be demanding and students will be expected to attend all events and excursions. Students with any questions about their fitness to travel should consult with Global Learning in advance of applying.

Students can download WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger and use hotel Wifi for basic communication from Egypt (email, messaging and limited calls) with home during the trip; keep in mind that California is 9 hours behind Egypt and students will therefore have limited times where communication with the US is feasible during each day. Students desiring fuller international phone service will need to pay for such service themselves and organize this in advance through their own cell phone provider.

Application Consists of:

a) An unofficial transcript

b) A statement on how this educational travel experience would contribute to your educational or professional goals at UCSC and beyond (500 words or less)

c) Citizenship and visa documentation: if you are not a US citizen, please provide information on your country of citizenship, documentation on your ability to obtain a visa from Egypt, and confirmation of its lack of impact on your visa status in the US.

d) Application form:  on the application form, please be prepared to answer the following questions:  1) Have you completed coursework with Professors Derr and/or Sullivan? 2) Have you completed additional coursework related to the ancient Mediterranean or Modern Middle East? For these questions, you’ll need to provide course numbers, years, and grades received.

e) Application signature form:  before signing the form, please closely review the Global Learning Conduct and Participation Agreement.


*PLEASE NOTE: You must be logged into your ucsc.edu Google account to use this application form.

Questions? Please contact Prof. Derr, jderr@ucsc.edu or Prof. Sullivan, easulliv@ucsc.edu.