Josef knew from the beginning that he wanted to study Egyptology
What is your background?
I have a mixed background; I was partly brought up in Alexandria and partly in Stockholm. We came back to Sweden in 2011, and I now live in Sigtuna. I usually commute to Uppsala, but now during the pandemic, I study at home.
Have you studied anything before?
The BA program in Archaeology is my first university course. The first year gave a good and broad introduction, but I knew from the beginning that I wanted to study Egyptology. I have always been interested in history, and the fact that I have actually seen the monuments that we study is an added bonus, of course.
If one would choose only one monument to visit, what would you suggest?
It is perhaps a bit cliché to suggest the pyramids in Cairo, but I will do that anyway. The entire Saqqara area is fantastic.
Why did you elect to study Egyptology here in Uppsala?
I knew already before applying to the program that I wanted to study Egyptology in year 2, and thus it was pretty clear that it would be in Uppsala.
What is it like, studying the BA program?
The first year provided a good overview, and I actually became quite interested in Classical archaeology and culture as well. It was good to gain some insights into the different subjects and to see possibilities with the different directions that are available.
What has been the difference between studying online compared to classes based on campus?
We got a taste of what campus-based training is like when we began our first year in the program. But I think that online teaching has worked surprisingly well. There is a good dynamic in the groups and since we have frequent course evaluations, we are able to quickly let the teachers know if something doesn’t work. However, I miss the social bits, to be able to have the undergraduate experience.
Any favourite course so far?
The religion course in Egyptology A has been the most fascinating course so far. Religion is one of the central parts of the Egyptian culture, and the course provided both an overview and in-depth information.
A question that we often get is about hieroglyphs – are they difficult to learn?
No, not really. In the beginning, perhaps, but eventually things fall into place and you read quite well. You learn to see the context and that helps. We’ll see what happens when we begin with Old Egyptian texts shortly.
You will write your BA thesis next year – do you already know the subject?
I will write a C-paper [mid-program paper] first, and am not quite decided yet, but possibly about pre – and early dynastic burials.
What is your purpose with the training?
I would like to do research, but e.g. am also interested in doing museum work.
Any thoughts on continuing your studies after the BA program?
Yes, I intend to apply to the Master program in Egyptology when I am finished
Would you recommend the program to others, and if so, would you give any tips for how to prepare?
I would definitely recommend the program of you are interested in history. If you already know before starting that you want to study Egyptology, it is perhaps an idea to learn German (but this is not a prerequisite). A tip is to buy some history books and get into it.