For your first Field Work Term, your choice of location does not have to be based on your course of study, mainly because you will probably not yet have a strict direction to your work (not that you ever really do……. “just kidding”). However, whatever you intuitively choose will still probably weasel its way into your future studies somehow, just based on the fact that you chose it and will learn about yourself and your interests in the process.
In terms of your FWTs post-first-year, they do have to be somehow related to your Plan, but there are ways of finding connections between an organization and your studies that don’t have to be super direct. Also, because you design your Plan based on your personal interests, it doesn’t really feels limiting to have to choose something that connects to your Plan. ALSO your FWTs often shape your Plan as much as your Plan shapes your FWTs.
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,
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
The financial burden of FWT falls on you. And that’s part of the learning experience. In the same way that the process of finding your job might be as valuable as the work itself, the process of finding a place to live and budgeting for food and travel expenses (as depressing as it can be), gives you a great real world skill set.
Here are some the ways we cope.
Grants: The FWT Office awards grants to help offset expenses. They probably won’t cover all your costs, but they help a lot.
Paid internships: These can be few and far between, but if it’s at the top of your priority list, it’s definitely doable. A slightly less lofty goal is an internship that will help with room, board or transportation costs. Even a free metro card helps.
Work Study jobs: Get a campus job during the term and save save save.
Summer jobs: See above.
Parent swap: got a friend who lives in the city of your dreams? See if her parents might have a spare bedroom for 7 weeks.
Friendly alums: Bennington alums did FWT. They know how hard it can be and often make themselves available to students looking for places to stay.
Live w/friends: Going to NYC? So are 200 other Bennington students. You already live in dorms. Why not share a small apartment with five friends? It’ll be a little cramped at home, but you’ll have more money to spend when you “go out.”
Live w/relatives: You know that aunt in Portland who loves you and only sees you every two years? Wouldn’t she love to have you on her couch for the winter?
Did I mention Craigslist? I know, know, it’s creepy. But there are lots of nice, honest people out there who are going on vacation for a month and need someone to give them a little bit of money and bring in the mail every couple of days.
The list goes on, but you get the idea. It’s kind of like life.
If you need some inspiration, here are two lit-related FWTs just around the office:
Anushka- Random House, helping decide the initial round of possible publications to be looked at by editors.
Emily- Writopia Lab in NYC, helping to teach kids learn to read and write, and editing their literary magazine.
If you can’t think of anything. my advice would be to not confine yourself to just the field in which you think you want to study; it’s not uncommon for a first FWT to be a bit unrelated while still informative. Last year, I worked with a non-profit art organization in North Bennington, and while it had nothing to do with Chinese or Animation, it was still a cool experience to get to know the off-campus community and learn about the workings of a locally run and funded non-profit.
So if you’re having trouble imagining a FWT in the realm of creative writing, try thinking of another job you’ve always wanted that may not have much to do with your current area of study. And there’s no limit to where you can go— there have been FWTs all over the world. Just thinking within the office, we’ve got Jeremy going to Japan, and Julia to Mexico.
Don’t worry~Happy Holiday~
<3 Kagan ‘16
My advice would be to think of your dream organization. GO BIG. or go small! Last year I worked at a tiny comedy theater in Chicago. Their smaller manpower meant that I had more responsibility and was a more integral part of the team. Go anywhere you want! The question is totally hypothetical, no one will hold you to the answer you put down. Interested in literature huh? Think about your favorite literary journal or bookstore or a children’s literacy organization. Really think about the work you’d like to do (this is YOUR fantasy, you don’t have to do the coffee runs!) Maybe you’ve got a burning (itching?) curiosity in a totally different area. FWT can be a great time to explore that as well. In the end, it’s an experience to help you find what satisfies you, and no one besides yourself can dictate that.
Gossip Girl (Emily ‘16)
A lot of my friends have worked as volunteers for their FWTs. So many great organizations can’t afford to pay us! On the bright side, the FWT Office offers great grants every year. So, if you demonstrate the need for a certain amount of money (fees, airplane tickets, housing, etc) the college will do its best to support you. Almost all students will receive money if they apply for a grant. Just recently a friend of mine went to work as a volunteer in an orphanage in China, and his trip was financed in part by grant money. The FWT office is all about supporting you in the things you love to do, and so in cases like this they always try their best to help you make it happen.
Hope that helps!
Sylvia M, ‘16
Hey peeps. Gather ‘round and listen to the tale of the small liberal arts school students who go out into the world and do crazy awesome things. Investigative reporters, Emily and Jeremy, went around the office to get the poop on our interns’ past and future Field Work Term experiences.
(For those who need a refresher, Field Work Term is the 7-week required annual internship period during which we explore the world as real deal worker bees. We write lots and lots of cover letters.)
Alan ‘15- I’m going to be working in Philadelphia and Boston with Polly Carl who is a theater artist. I’ll be able to watch the production process of a show and she set up meetings for me with theater artists around Boston so that I can make connections and get a sense of the theater scene. Weirdly, she has a PhD in comparative studies in discourse and society which is exactly what I study.
Kate ‘14- My sophomore year, I worked with a private vegetarian chef in New York. I was basically her media guru and then also became her personal assistant for both cooking and general life. I learned to cook for the first time in a more professional way than just making mac and cheese, and then I had the opportunity to continue working with her over the summer and for the next FWT (for money!) I also realized during this experience that I have to work with food in some capacity.
Emily ‘16- Last year for my first FWT I worked at a comedy theater in Chicago. The theater had just opened up a few months before I got there and as a result I had the opportunity to do everything the performers did: sound, lights, selling tickets, even house managing. I also worked as an administrative intern at an organization that helped victims of domestic violence. It was interesting to see how the women who worked there used humor to cope with the weight of their jobs.
As International Students, we can count on the Field Work Term office for any of our planning and decision-making needs. Questions like “do I need a Student Visa or a Work Visa if I’m from Ecuador and I’m working for 7 weeks in Europe?”, or “what are some opportunities I can access to if I go home?” can be asked, and are encouraged.
The Field Work Term office is there for all of us, whether you’re an international student or not. Like many things at Bennington, it’s a rich resource waiting to be tapped in (10 points for Carlos for a blog pun!).
I know dat feel, dude. I was super worried about the moving process too at first, especially with all the flying. Here’s the thing about FWT: Kids in colonial houses get to leave their stuff in their rooms over FWT, but the lucky folks in the Barnes and Woo houses (like me) have to move their belongings out of their rooms. The good thing is that the college provides storage for your things; in my house, for example, we put our stuff in the basement. As far as mailing things ahead of time… You mean to the college at the beginning of fall term? You can indeed! Just address it to yourself like this:
One College Drive
Bennington, VT 05201
If you want to chat more about the logistics of long-distance flying/moving, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org. :)
Bennington’s “winter break” is two weeks long in December (December 14 -January 1) when everyone is at home celebrating the holidays and no one is allowed in the dorms. However, I think your question was focused on the Field Work Term, our seven week term (January 2 - February 14) when we are required to work in a internship of our interest. During this time there are some undergraduate students who live in the college’s off-campus housing (you can move in December 29). These students spend their FWT working in the Bennington town, for admissions/student life, or on projects for professors. However, there are no classes at this time and the campus is fairly empty.
I spent my first FWT in Tallahassee, FL at Mission San Luis. The internship was amazing, the weather was beautiful (sunny and 70 most days) and the experience was fantastic. It was really fun getting to know new people and new places. However, I know students who spent their FWT at Bennington and had a great experience as well.
FWT offers not only an opportunity to work in your field of interest but to explore new places as well. Here’s some more info on Field Work Term, including information on housing. Hope this helps!
- Arden J ‘16
The short answer: anything you want to do.
At Bennington, there are no “required” types of Field Work Term that a student should do, depending on their area of interest. A student who aspires to be a writer, might like to intern for a publishing house, assist an editor, transcribe notes for a poet, work for a public library, teach literature to kids, teenagers, or adults; the possibilities are endless. All these examples, however, are closely related to that particular field of study. Some students decide to use Field Work Term as an opportunity to gain experience or to acquire a different skill-set that they think will either complement their academic interests, or to explore areas that they haven’t been able to investigate during the academic year.
Field Work Term is, in my opinion, one of the most important parts of a Bennington education. Not only can you gain valuable experience in your area of study, but students can decide to explore their interests in new and innovative ways, while also figuring out if their potential profession is really the one they want to aspire to.
Pretty empowering stuff if you ask me!