Hey spring chicken,
The FWT office works with Spring entry freshmen on an individual basis to figure out the best way to approach this. There are a coupla different options, which Erica and the other FWT folks will discuss with you: The first is receiving a waiver for one of your four FWTs (this would most likely be if you planned on going abroad, taking a leave of absence, etc. at some point during your time here.) The other option is making up FWT over the summer, which is an option for any Bennington student.
BTW! Spring entry freshmen have a lil mini-orientation when they arrive, where you’ll meet with all sorts of great people and get all the info you need about FWT, student life, and other resources available to you on campus.
I’ll tell you as a graduating senior with a job that our Plan Process actually helps rather than hinders. Think about any job that you might want to work- maybe it’s a position at a newspaper or magazine, or maybe it’s an administrative role at a hospital. Then ask what skills you might need. Without a doubt, you need more skills than just ones you would learn in literature classes or classes on management or administration alone.
What I want to highlight in this is that a single job will incorporate numerous areas of interest or passion beyond one single major. I have studied Environmental Studies, using anthropology and natural sciences to help me understand the full picture of growing food for an increasing global population. Additionally, I study Italian. Throughout my time here, I have taken visual arts and art history courses, and my job after Bennington is at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, where I will be an assistant to artists in residence. This job requires near fluency in Italian, along with experience with the arts, both of which I learned at Bennington.
Finally, I’ll add that our 7-week Field Work Term period is the ideal time to test out potential jobs and integrate those experiences into your education at Bennington. You may work at an organization and realize that you don’t want to work a certain type of job, or that you do, and then you have that experience on your resume when you leave Bennington. Those 3-4 internships are also great places to look for a job when you graduate.
The last thing I will say is that when you have a conversation with a potential employer, I think it is significantly more interesting (for both parties) to talk about your studies (which are your passions) than a single major you pursued.
-Kate D. ‘14
It is **I, Chloe** - not that that individual really “exists” per se, as my ego is a complete illusion of itself. I am the universe instilled into a body.
Yeah that was probably one of my favorite periods of time. The monastery itself was in Upstate New York, though it felt extremely isolated and sacred - living among 12 Buddhist monks and nuns in a monastery in the dead of snowy winter was unique indeed.
Most days I would wake up and make breakfast for the members of the monastery (mostly monks and nuns but a few Just Practicing Buddhists). We would then gather and do the Breakfast chants, throw some offering bread off the porch, and eat together. The vibe of the community was sooooo friendly and welcoming and casual and comfortable - those Buddhists know what they’re talking about about.
Then I’d sometimes clean the shrine room or the kitchen, make event posters for upcoming dharma talks, drive around the area putting them up, go shopping for food for the community, convert a bunch of old takes into digital format (I got to watch hours of beautiful footage of the monastery members’ trips to Nepal, and one of the Dalai Lama’s trip to the monastery), scanning photos, or do other community-upkeep tasks.
Then lunch, more work and/or meditating and/or being peacefully alone and/or reading, then dinner, then what-the-heck-ever,
The greatest thing was getting free lessons in meditation and Buddhism (history, texts, philosophy, etc.), and being surrounded by so many inspiring, knowledgeable, and grounding people. Having that sort of retreat and nourishment after my first (kooky emotional confusing busy intense) term of college was incredible, and is something I’d like to do again either in or out of college. If you have any more specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com.
It’s totally different for every student. I’d say start with the place. Do you want to go home (free housing and food)? Or do you want to go to NYC for example (rent, food, transportation, etc.)? If you want to fly somewhere, that’s also another consideration.
Our awesome Field Work Term office will help you find a job and housing through WorkLink, our online database of positions and housing options. Sometimes alums will offer students housing, or you could try to sleep on a friend’s couch/ in an extra room (I had a friend stay with me for 1 day a week to save her a day of commuting home and back from New Jersey to NYC). It’s all about being resourceful. There are always students going to major cities looking to split an apartment together.
So think about place, food, transportation, extra activities, and look for jobs that might have a stipend or some form of payment (they’re rare, but stipends for transportation or lunch are more common).
Check out the Field Work Term’s page on funding, and know that there are also grants that we can apply for to help fund our FWTs.
-Kate D. ‘14
There are all kinds of options for affordable FWT’s. For one thing, students can always get a job near home to avoid rent. For another thing, students tend to team up in terms of housing in the major cities like NY, San Fran, Boston, LA, etc. There are also lots of alumns and parents of students who are willing to house Bennington students over FWT! Then there is the FWT grant - I’ve personally been saved by the FWT grant. You can apply for the grant and get a little bit of help with things like rent, groceries, transportation, etc., which means you might not get set back financially at all, if you plan it well!
Do not despair!
The staff members of the FWT office are amazing. They are so helpful, and ready to help you dig in and find possible sites that interest you. The FWT office organizes a database called Worklink which allows students to search through current job postings and past FWT positions to help in the search. Besides setting up a meeting with an FWT advisor or browsing on Worklink many students do seek out positions on their own. It all depends on what you what you want from FWT and where you want to be.
Personally, I obtained my first FWT position through Worklink at the Boston School for Guitar, and my second and third I set up solo (both at a Neuroscience stem cell lab).
1. I don’t know what “people type” is. We have mostly humans here, with a few fish, squirrels, octopuses and deer. Personally I’m hoping for some cyborgs in the future but unfortunately we don’t have any yet. Or do we? But really, here are some good descriptions of diversity at Bennington
2. We do have men here, so yes there are indeed some beard sprouters. Below are some lovely beards on some lovely faculty members: Kerry Woods, Stephen Higa, and Ron Cohen.
3. For the first day of May the town of Bennington is kind of cool.
4. Field Work Term’s room, board etc. are not part of tuition. Tuition is for the 28 weeks you are here on campus just like any other college. However, don’t freak out! There are options. You can: live at home, live with a friend/family member/friend’s parent, your internship may give you board (that happened to me this year!) or apply for some of our super duper awesome Field Work Term Grants that help you with travel expenses, room and board. So never fear! There are a lot of options to have a wonderful, affordable, and even profitable (if you are Alan Dupont) Field Work Term.
In conclusion, its okay to have doubts. I know I did when I was making my decision. In the end don’t let the small things overwhelm the important things: the community, the academics etc. I would suggest imagining the person you will be in four years after attending the respective colleges. Choose the college where you think you will become the person you want to be.
Hope that assuages some of your doubts,
Arden J. ‘16
Congratulations, friend! We’re so glad to know we’ve made it into your top 3!
In answer to your question: Yes! Before Field Work Term begins, there is a generally two-or-so week period set aside for winter break, during which time students can relax and seek familial comfort before setting out towards the exciting work filled weeks still to come!
Much love from VT,
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.
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
As much as they want. I actually made money on my first two FWTs, and my most recent one could have been free if I didn’t love the Pad Thai place down the street from where I work so much. Granted, I wasn’t exactly living the FWT dream, but I have this theory that the FWT dream is kind of a lie. You can learn a lot even if you are in your hometown and not France. But Parke also went to France for free one time (grant + living with family), so you just have to be so so crafty.
I just asked everyone if the amount of money they spent on their FWTs correlated to the quality of the experience:
Eliana: “not really”