A few words of introduction:
Ever wondered who’s Selina ‘15? That name that appears close to the bottom of the sidebar but never pipes in answering questions or sharing her work? Well maybe if you’ve been reading this blog for a while now you’ll remember my obsession with food or my musings over FWT in Bolivia but it’s definitely been awhile. Last July I left the states passing through Ecuador to visit my first roommate and dear friend Andrea before traveling together to Buenos Aires. Once there we met up with our lovely and equally dear friend Nina for a semester exchange program.
Like FWT, study abroad is a chance for Bennington students to burst the bubble, immerse themselves in a different culture, language, maybe study something in depth that isn’t normally offered in the Bennington curriculum, and face the challenge of finding their voice, passion and academic focus in a non-Bennington classroom/setting.
For me, one of the hardest questions to answer is “so how was your FWT?” It’s easy say oh it was “great, pivotal, awful, life-changing, or nothing special….” but, in my experience, these one or two word answers don’t get anywhere close to summing up or expressing the enormity of those seven weeks. When that experience is amplified into a semester or whole year away, trying to express, explain, or share that period of maybe feeling lost, adjusting, exploring, meeting new people, navigating the unknown, studying and living day-to-day in a new place and culture is all that more overwhelming.
The idea of this series is to interview recently returned students about their time abroad and try to give anyone who is interested a little peek –something more than just a two word answer – into their adventures. Up first: Amanda giving us the lowdown on education in Chile.
Nina, Andrea and I enjoying springtime in Argentina.
RD applicants will know on March 26th at 8:00 EST! You’ll be able to see the decision on your Applicant Status page.
— sarah ‘14
yo you wouldn’t BELIEVE the resources!!
But for real, don’t worry! You won’t just be thrust into the Job Hunt all on your own.
The go-to resource for most students is probably Worklink, a site run by the FWT Office where employers can upload positions which you can then apply to. All online! The FWT Office will even help you with things like resume and cover letter writing! So simple and easy!~
If Worklink don’t cut it, another (arguably bigger) resource is the network you’ll have simply by being a human among humans at Bennington. Whether it’s a Former Employer, Acquaintance, Friend From Home, or Someone’s Dad, most students and teachers know a bunch of people who could hook you up with a job if you’re cool and nice.
That being said, finding a job is still very much a self-driven thing. The resources aren’t going to be of any use if they’re not being used (ha ha ha.) As important as having connections and resources may be, no one is going to get you a job but you.
Don’t Drink and Drive!
<3 Kagan ‘16
Bennington is small but the social life if vast. There are planned events like performances and parties and unplanned events like pillow forts and dancing in the rain.
Here is a link to all the planned events on campus. We have dance and theater performances, music performance (both student run and bands/music groups from off-campus), cool lecture series, and there are always events put on by clubs, for example the BSFP (Bennington Sustainable Food Project) and SWAG (Sexual Wellness Advocacy Group) always have several events per term.
If you’re looking for more of the party scene we have that too.
Keep reading and you will be rewarded with some real Bton knowledge and a gif.
Don’t sweat the word count, just pick your spiffiest paper. Preferably, something where you further an argument (as opposed to compiling research). We’ll read it no matter how long and we won’t judge you for brevity. In fact, that’s often harder.
Gotta update, I made a mistake because the transfer app is different. Take as long as you need, but write as much as you want for the supplement portion and 2 to 3 pages for the plan essay (what’s a question that changed everything?) would be about right. But really take as long as you need.
There are so many different types of classes in Jennings that I don’t know what to do with myself. There are group classes like Groundworks if you’re a beginner or maybe something like Beginning Composing (where you’re challenged to compose for new instruments each week) if you’re a bit more advanced. If you’re really into advanced group classes, I would suggest taking a look at Counterpoint.
There are also solo courses (usually for the study of a specific instrument). The difficulty of these courses depend on the teacher and how much work you are willing to put in. Joining an ensemble also counts for credit. Some of the different ensembles on campus are: African Music Ensemble, Brass Chamber Ensemble, and Traditional Music Ensemble.
Outside of class you are always invited to participate in music workshop, a venue for Bennington music students to share their own work. You sign up earlier in the week, then on Tuesday night at 6:30pm you perform and the faculty that attend give you feedback on your work. It is definitely a useful tool for any aspiring musician.
You can access the full curriculum here
What a wonderful world of music we live in!
Hey west coaster!
Congrats on your acceptance! As someone from the humid tropics of Africa, I can’t help but sympathize with your concern. To be honest, I am not into the cold. At all. I love the outdoors, and the fact that temperatures get down pretty low limits the possibilities of being outside. However, as much as I can, I try to focus on the positives of cold weather; namely, SNOW. To me, snow is beautiful and refreshing. It’s sui generis nature brings me so much joy and I think it was a piece missing in my life prior to coming to Bennington. Like most Benningtonites, I wear loads of clothes for insulation, drink lots of tea/coffee and try to remain active (indoors, that is) as much as I can. It’s pretty easy to cope with the cold here because you have so many “cold weather experts” around you. People here really know how to deal with the cold. Also, if you’re up for it, I would also suggest trying some outdoor winter sports. The Green Mountains are beautiful in the winter and the Outdoor Club frequently offers weekend ski/winter backpacking trips. Ultimately, people interact with the cold differently and I’m sure you’ll find a strategy that works for you. Whatever you do, bring some warm layers with you!
As far as favorites classes go, hmmm… It’s difficult really to compare my classes here, each one has its own dimension and there’s something particular about each of my classes that I like. I wake up every morning thinking about global geopolitics and I follow the news pretty closely. So I would say my US-Africa Relations class is up there as one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the heated debates, and the depth in perspectives each reading offered. I use concepts from that class all the time to rationalize current issues. Unfortunately, it’s not being offered this term but I will always recommend it.
P.S: I asked other students/admissions interns about their favorite classes. Here’s what they have to say:
This term I would have to say my favorite class is a tie between my advanced Neuroscience class, Neurons, Networks, Behavior, and Chemistry. The Neuro class is four hours a week of discussions about current scientific literature (including a really badass paper about a wasp basically turning cockroaches into zombies), and my Chem class involves independent research studying turnip enzymes!
I never thought I would say this, but one of my favorite classes this term is Intro to Mathematics, which lets students revisit high school math concepts like trig and calculus. While my high school math experience wasn’t traumatic, per se, it was pretty rough. Intro to Math is definitely out of my comfort zone (I study mostly Anthropology, History, and Biology), but I love that about it. The professor, Josef Mundt, is a Bennington alumn and a very open and patient person. His goal is to demystify math, to take the “fear” element out of it. He’s definitely doing that for me!
- Julia ‘15
I think my favorite class this term would have to be Reading the Body. It’s listed as an Anthropology class, but it’s also half held in a dance studio. We’re looking at the human body through a wide array of lenses, and in a variety of contexts - these include the individual/lived body, the social body, and the political body. The class is really about different ways of knowing information, which is why half of our classes are reading-and-discussion-based, and half are experientially based.
My favorite class this term is definitely The Magical Object, a playwriting class with Sherry Kramer (who is also my advisor). She is teaching us to analyse stories in a new, very unique way. Really what we’re doing is analyzing our stories as poetry and studying some of Sherry’s favorite poetic plays,. She does a great job of analyzing things based solely on what has been introduced and though some of the connections we find I consider to be stretches, the way she logically and thoughtfully analyzes both the metaphors used in the plays and an audience’s experience with these metaphors throughout the play. In the end we are simply trying to figure out what makes these physically represented metaphors magical objects. A truly magical class indeed.
From my experience and what I’ve heard, it’s difficult to opt out of the meal plan, though it’s not impossible, especially if you have a medical reason. There are full kitchens in every house so you’ll definitely have the opportunity to cook your own meals regardless. If you want to discuss your dining options and food constraints, contact John Tompkins - the director of dining services. His number is (802)-440-4443 and his e-mail address is email@example.com.
In terms of grocery shopping, there are a few options in Bennington-the-town - there’s a big Hannafords grocery store with most things you’d need (organics are sprinkled throughout the store and they usually have cheap-ish avocados), and then there’s Spice n’ Nice, a very cute small health food store with all yr sPeCiALtY iTeMs - goat yogurt, organic frozen mango slices, MAD VITAMINS. Those are approx. a 4 minute drive and an 8 minute drive away respectively, and there’s a shuttle that runs from the college. Also a lot of people go get snacks there often, and it’s usually pretty easy to find a ride or borrow a car if you are VERY nice.
I actually live in a somewhat off-campus house (really it’s just on the far side of campus i.e. a 5-minute walk from the center of everything), which is entirely off the meal plan (though I chose to be on the lunch plan). Besides that house, there’s also the Townhouse, which is for-real off campus and which has a co-op food system. They’re off the school’s meal plan, and each contribute a certain amount of money each term to the house, and then do all their food shopping and dinner-cooking together. But I believe those are both generally open only to sophomore-and-above students.
The process is super easy; you just have to check a box off on your Intent to Enroll form, and gap years are accepted unequivocally.
Even if you’re not 100% sure you want to take a gap year, I would definitely recommend contacting Holly, the counselor in charge of gap year stuff, at firstname.lastname@example.org and just let her know what’s going on. She’ll help you figure it all out.
See you next/nextnext year!
<3 Kagan ‘16
As a junior here at Bennington who has lived in and been involved with the town for a few years now, I feel that I can say that this article was not new news to me. It only highlighted an existing reality whose scope and scale is way beyond heroin. It has been an issue that the town, New England, and rural areas in general have been dealing with for a long time.
That being said, I think this article forces a good conversation for everyone in the area and in the nation about how we address the issue. The efforts of Governor Shumlin and others are bringing much needed attention to this problem and I applaud what he is doing.
To actually answer your well-worded, diplomatic question (thank you), the problem doesn’t really have any affect on life for us on campus. We still go into town to get our groceries, to get coffee at South Street, and to go to trivia night at Ramuntos.
Bennington, VT is, like any other town in America, an incredibly nuanced and complex place. The NYT article does shed light on the lives of an unfortunately under-served portion of the Bennington community, and it’s something that is now being discussed in a much larger dialogue - something positive that the article does for our town. To your question, though, as a student it is something that we are aware of, but it doesn’t affect our day to day life, our education, or the tight-knit community we belong to on-campus.