Last Friday, my Business of Food in Italy course went to a zero emission winery in Umbria to learn about how they achieved zero emission and discuss their plan to move to the American market. Our culminating project in this course is to design a practical plan for them to sell their wine in the US market and to design a marketing plan (which we will then propose to them).
During our visit, I drove a solar-powered golf cart to the fields, which was AWESOME! Here is a picture:
Today was the much-anticipated organic market in Perugia, which takes place the first Sunday of every month. It is exciting to see the beautifully displayed produce, prepared food, other food items, and crafts. The jam above is just one example of the adorable (and flavorful) goods at the market.
I finally found some kale and made a stir fry with kale, white onions, and zucchini in addition to a curried cous cous with carrots.
I was hoping for a roommate who wanted to be friendly, but not best friends, who would eat with me, but not want to spend all of our time together, who would have the same sleeping and waking hours, and who would like the same music.
Did I end up with this fantasy roommate? No. I had three roommates who were amazing, but totally different from what I expected. I lived in a quad for my first term, which was shocking but pretty awesome. We ate together, usually not as a whole group, so that fit my dream, but we ended up being much closer than I anticipated before meeting them. Our sleeping/waking hours were not super similar, but we were respectful in the room and would ask the others to stop dancing, skyping, or talking if one or more of us wanted to sleep.
And wehad totally similar music tastes, bringing new music to the others constantly. One introduced us to Bombay Bicycle Club (now one of my favorite bands), and another introduced us to an array of Japanese rap.
In terms of how you end up with this mysterious person, the dean of students matches you with a roommate based on the roommate forms you fill out. This means you will likely be matched with someone who is what you hoped for or different in a good way. If not, you can always go to Student Life to talk about your roommate situation.
Hope all of this helps!
Last night was the opening reception for the Senior Show, which lives in the Usdan Gallery until the end of the term. The works the seniors who have been working in Visual Arts showed are inspiring and beautiful. It is great to see the culmination of work from friends and classmates.
Check it out when you get a chance, if you’re on campus. Below is a selection of some of my favorite works from the show.
Ellen Bogen (sorry for the yellow hue of the photograph)
When you arrive on campus, you will hear about a language placement exam, which is written and has an oral component, from what I know. I would suggest meeting with a Spanish professor when you arrive to talk about being placed in a higher level Spanish class, and it will give you a chance to meet your potential professor before the language placement happens.
ps. In the past year, language placement exams have been done online over the summer. So this may be the format again this year. On the whole given your experience you definitely won’t be placed in a level 1 or 2 class so already you’re in a good place to take these classes you seem keen on. As Kate said you’ll have an opportunity to communicate with your professor-to-be about your proficiency and the appropriate level for you.
Some of Kate’s and my favorite study spots in Crossett Library.
It can be a competitive process to find a job on campus, but there are jobs that are known to be more open for first years. For example, the post office saves spots for first year students each year.
The dining hall and the snack bar (which is in the student center) are also great places to apply for a job regardless of what year you’re in.
Almost all jobs are open to first years, with the exception of some positions that require more experience like a darkroom monitor.
My first week at Bennington was filled with awkward and heart-racing social interactions. I am pretty comfortable meeting new people, but I was trying to find people who seemed as though they could be my best friends here, which is a big task.
Luckily, I had a peer mentor who led a group of us in orientation activities and just provided a group for conversation and friendships. The orientation period is great because you meet all the new first years who are in the same, fresh (blank slate) position as you. Then everyone arrives about a week later, and you meet so many amazing people because of classes and living in houses that contain first years to seniors.
To sum up this post, the first week at Bennington was definitely mixed with awkwardness, extreme excitement, and shifting emotions about leaving home, but it was the smoothest transition I could have imagined. It’s also nice to see and hang out with the people who I met in my first days here because we have seen each other grow and develop new interests.
The language classes really are interesting and exciting. I study Spanish and Italian, and my friend Kate also studies Italian and took French.
I started out in an intermediate-high level Spanish class, and an intro Italian class with Kate. My Spanish writing and speaking skills have improved immensely thanks to Bennington. Kate and I have only been studying Italian formally for one year and a half now, and we can comfortably converse, read, and understand our professor, Barbara, when she speaks in Italian.
Classes tend to be conducted entirely in the (foreign) language, which forces students to listen and learn to understand spoken language. We work with a wide range of resources (books, newspapers, magazine articles, movies, music, etc.), and gain proficiency in language through cultural immersion. Each class has a focus, rather than just grammar/spelling/vocab/etc., which allows picking up the language to occur more organically. And, as always, the more you put into a class the more you get out of it.
Bennington also offers ample opportunities to study abroad, whether it’s spending a full semester overseas or pursuing a Field Work Term (our 7-week internship period) in France (or anywhere else in the world you may want to explore).
I can’t promise you’ll graduate Bennington writing like Voltaire, but if you are determined and willing to work hard, then this is a wonderful place to attain language proficiency and possibly fluency. You may be the next Bradley Cooper - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O7uvaLZW2E.
~ Holly, ‘13
Personally, I go on a trip each weekend with one of my friends who has a car. It’s usually just a day trip to Manchester to work at the bookstore, to Williamstown to go to the Clark Museum or eat lunch, or to North Adams to visit MASS MoCA. There isn’t a need to get off campus, though, because there’s always a lot going on here. Our classes involve a solid amount of work outside class, so that takes up a good amount of time on the weekends. Going into town to South Street Cafe (the spot where a lot of students like to get coffee and do homework/reading) or going for pizza at Ramuntos can be nice local adventures that also give us time to get work done.
We don’t have classes in Latin and ancient Greek, although as I mentioned in an older post, Bennington has a connection at Williams College. Some students take classes there, but there are limits for how many students can take a class there per term.
We also do not have cooking classes, but there are plenty of opportunities to cook here. Each house has a kitchen, and we use them frequently. Also, you can use your Field Work Term or summer to gain cooking experience. I worked with a chef over my FWT and learned SO many cooking techniques. Here is one of the blog posts I did during this time.