Posts tagged FWT

Remember last week when the wednesday afternoon shift brought you into the world of FWT?  Well, we’re at it again!  Here are some pictures of the aforementioned post.  Take a gander!  <3

- Jeremy ‘16

What have you, and people you know done for field work term so far? Any amazing experiences? — Asked by Anonymous

No amazing experiences allowed —

Just kidding.  I feel as though Field Work Term requires amazing experiences.  Even if on the surface the job seems to be mundane, there is a certain magic in knowing the work you are doing away from school informs and supports your academic pursuits at Bennington.  There’s no way to categorize Field Work Terms as each experience is subject to the individual student.  So here’s a swath of some favorites from the //kids in the admissions office// //wednesday afternoon shift// //go team!//

This last winter, I was in Tokyo working with an alternative education think-tank.  I was working with some peers to develop a theater piece on the cultural disparities between Japanese and American life.  To put it simply…  My first time out of the country.  I miss Tokyo so much and cannot wait to go back. - Jeremy ‘16 

My sophomore year I went to Bolivia to learn and exchange fiber arts skills with a community of traditional textile artists. My days were spent weaving, knitting, crocheting, taking long walks in the Andes, laughing and trying communicate in my second language. I was able to go back this past summer to visit for a couple weeks and dance in the annual fiesta. Wish I was there now! - Selina ‘15

This past fwt I spent working in a neuroscience research lab in the lovely Eugene, Oregon. The lab was researching the neurocircuitry of decision-making in Caenorhabditis Elegans, a really really really tiny nematode. I had a ton of fun working in the lab but I think the best part was actually living and cooking for myself in a beautiful microhome, and commuting to work every day. - Alex ‘16

Omg ok so my very first FWT was spent at a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in upstate New York - a huge and important time for me personally and academically. My days were spent learning how to meditate (and doing it daily), making eggs for Tibetan monks and nuns, making and lighting 1,000 butter-lamps every weekend, filling offering bowls with safron water, incense, and flowers, collecting German alternative pop-rock music from one of the ex-Alaskan-fisherman monks, and converting hours of footage of the community’s many aid trips to Nepal from VHS to digital. -Chloe ‘16

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<3 the wednesday afternoon shift

Is it encouraged to take part in a FWT relatively influenced by your focus of study or rather one quite distant from that focus ? — Asked by Anonymous

I think it’s kind of ok for someone’s first FWT to be a bit out of left field, but it’s preferable to have FWT positions related to what you’re studying, since that’s how you get the more hands-on real world down n dirty of what you may have otherwise only been doing in a classroom setting.


That being said, even if a FWT position doesn’t seem directly related,  it may still be a valuable experience; just because you’re a drama student doesn’t mean that you should do four FWTs with theatre companies. If you can prove that a position is what’s best for you, then go for it, just as long as you can show that you’re thinking about the connections between your education and your experience(s) in the real world.


what options are there for an equine studies field work term? — Asked by Anonymous


As many as you can imagine, dear anon.  Which is to say, the world is full of horses and people who work with (for?) horses.  You can have a Field Work Term working for any of those people; you just have to get them to agree to it, then put together a good application explaining to the Field Work Term office why you picked those particular horse people.  And find housing near the horses, etc.  But really, the number of equine-related jobs available to you is dependent only on your ability to track down said jobs.  And if you run into trouble, the FWT office will be there to offer support, so that you can become…


-Ray ‘15

[Image description: first image: Spongebob Squarepants, holding a rainbow full of stars between his hands, daring our readers to imagine vast galaxies of Field Work Term possibility.  Second image: a photo of a toy businessman, in suit and tie, with the head of a horse.  The toy’s box said “creepy horse man” but I edited that out and replaced it with “awesome horse dude” because the anon may or many not be a man, and is certainly not creepy.]

I was thinking about applying for the Spring Term, is there still a good chance of getting financial aid? Also how does the FWT work in the Spring? Thanks much! — Asked by Anonymous

Yeeeess! Spring applicants are considered for the same merit and need based financial aid as regular fall applicants. I answered a similar question about FWT in the spring earlier this summer, so I’m just going to link you back to that. 


(utterly non-sequitur cat gif in honor of Jason Moon ‘13)

- Julia ‘15

Can you actually find a job after spending nearly $200,000 for a degree? If so, what type of job? — Asked by Anonymous

Nothing’s guaranteed! 


But I would say that with the Field Work Term and a Bennington education, most students here graduate with a sense of self-advocacy (and at least 4 FWTs’ worth of job hunting/work experience) that seriously helps with the job hunt (it’s all about the interview!) as well as a network of both past employers and other professionals (even your teachers!) to call on.

Students also aren’t paying $200,000 during their time here. A large percentage (90%) of students receive both need-based and merit-based aid ($36,660 a year, on average!)


This isn’t the 80’s, pal!

Kagan ‘16

So, I'm considering applying for Spring Admission in 2015 as an incoming freshman, which appears to be allowed, but how does this work with the field work term that takes place in January and February? — Asked by Anonymous

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.


Julia ‘15


Sorry if this sounds snooty or has already been asked before, but will Bennington's non-tradioitonal lack of majors system affect my chances of getting a job after graduation? Have you or anyone you know has had a first hand experience with this? — Asked by Anonymous


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 

I remember seeing an answer on here where someone (I think Chloe?) mentioned spending FWT at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, which sounded freaking amazing and got me a lot more excited for FWT in general. Would you mind elaborating a little more on that experience (Where it was, what you did, etc etc)? — Asked by Anonymous

Hiyyyyyaaaa theeeere!!

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


Chloe ‘16

I am trying to prepare a budget. What would be reasonable to put as the aproximate cost of FWT? — Asked by Anonymous


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

I got into Bennington (yay!) with a generous financial aid package. Though my package was significant, it only made my attendance *slightly* more feasible instead of impossible. Basically, I am able to afford Bennington but it is a stretch. I'm worried that when FWT comes around, it will push the cost from ~just manageable~ to ~over the edge~ Are there any FWTs that offer room and board? I know FWT differs with every student, but on average how much does it set students back financially? Thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

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! 

Rachael ‘15

So does the college help us get work for FWT or are we on our own? — Asked by Anonymous

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).

Genelle ‘15

Hi guys, so I'm an accepted student and I'm suddenly running into some last minute doubts about a few things. 1. Is there plenty of "people type" diversity? 2. The male specimen is a good specimen. Are there enough of the beard sprouters hangin around, cause I grow weary with just my own kind. 3. Is the town cool? You know, for us youthies? 4. Also, are the work term's room and board etc... included in one's tuition? — Asked by Anonymous

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. 


Here is a post (and another) about favorite spots in town. It’s small but has cool restaurants, shops, and places to go if you want to get off campus. 

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 

alright hi! i'm an accepted student (hooray) and bennington is top 3 right now so that's pretty rad. anyway, just wondering if during FWT students are allowed to go home for christmas/holidays (i mean, if they aren't going home for their FWT). there might be an obvious answer but who knows (not me, clearly) — Asked by peachleafs

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, 

~Ananda ‘16~

Back at Bennington: Tales from Abroad

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. 

Stay tuned!

-Selina ‘15

imageNina, Andrea and I enjoying springtime in Argentina.