Indiana University Overseas Study


In elementary school, field trips were as exciting as cake on your birthday. In middle school, they offered the chance to socialize with friends, and in high school, such outings were few and far between.

But at the university level, a field trip is fairly unheard of. I thought I had seen the last of my field trip days, until my Andean Archaeology professor announced that we would be having one as a requirement for the course. I didn’t think much of it. I figured it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Then I learned that we would be leaving from the university at 7 a.m. On a Sunday. To a location about four hours outside of Lima.

Basically, all dynamics involved were not conducive to your average college student like myself.

Despite the ridiculously long bus ride, the surprisingly short site visit and all other factors working against its appeal, however, the field trip actually turned out to be quite intriguing. We went to Caral, a location that is considered to be one of the most ancient civilizations/cultures in all of America, comparable to those in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Comparing and contrasting all we had learned in class to what we took in from our tour guide proved to be quite the challenge, and completing our task (determining whether Caral actually was a civilization or not) left my brain fried.

Clearly, I had jumped the gun with my preconceptions of what this field trip would entail. Though it did turn out to be quite the long, exhausting day, having the opportunity to witness everything that you’re learning about in class is priceless. And, of course, the information I soaked up will be useful on my next exam—but that’s beside the point.

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