That really depends. In my experience my advisor has pushed me to pursue FWTs related to my plan and areas of concentration. However, if you found a position that really peaked your interest chances are you can relate in some way to what you’re studying, even if the connection isn’t super explicit. Below are some photos of the globe outside the FWT office with colored dots indicating FWT sites. Big cities like New York always clock in with the 100+ count!
Good question! So unlike like some other colleges instead of a J-Term our winter internship period lasts a little longer (7 weeks in total starting in January and lasting through Mid February). Also, unlike other schools most of us do Field Work Term (FWT) off campus. It really can be anywhere you want… Alaska (Glennis), Ghana (David), San Francisco (Caseysimone).
But to get to your question, I’ve found FWT to be very beneficial. It’s a really great way to build connections, experience what you’re studying in a non-classroom context, see the world, live on your own… the list goes on. FWT was one of the main reasons I choose Bennington. If you want to chat more feel free to be in touch! email@example.com.
Hi back atcha!
Our academic programs here are not audition/application based, so you could explore your interest in costume design starting your freshman year. If you have already created pieces that you want to share with us, you could certainly send along photos of them to the Admissions office when you apply. We’d love to see ‘em! However, the school doesn’t require portfolios for entry into specific classes until you get to an advanced work stage.
As for your second question, YES! Field Work Term is our seven-week internship period that happens every winter, which allows students to connect their academic studies to the “real world”. You can read all about it here. While each of us is responsible for finding our own FWTs, there’s a lot of support from the FWT office, which can help connect you with an internship and/or housing.
We have all sorts of folks with different appreciation for the outdoors. Some are super gung-ho about leaving campus every weekend to go hiking, climbing, or camping in the surrounding Taconic/Green Mountains. Others are just as excited to lounge about at the End of the World soaking up the sun as they study. I think you’ll find all sorts of outdoor interest in between those as well.
You can totally take dance even if its not a part of your plan, yes yes! My first term, I took Susan Sgorbati’s “First Year Dance Intensive” which was GREAT even though I had a super limited dance background. Since then, I’ve taken both of Souleymane Badolo’s “Contemporary African/ Burkina Faso” classes which changed my life (On a side note, Solo absolutely is the best. He was recently written up in the NY Times…sorry, had to brag a little about him…)
Hope that helps!
- Julia ‘15
I just took a survey of the office and here’s what my fellow intern ladies had to say:
Nina: “I had a FWT that turned into a paid internship over the summer.”
Michaela: “My first FWT was paid but that was because it was with an organization that I’d worked with before.”
Emma: “I had room and board covered at two and a stipend at one.”
Willa: “I got free access to all the museums in New York as well as restaurant and store discounts.”
For me (Selina) my first FWT site covered transportation.
In my experience most internships are unpaid but there are lots of other creative ways to work out compensation. As far as asking them to pay you I think you’d have to play that by ear. If you’re at a large organization it’s worth asking but if it’s a tiny non-profit strapped for cash perhaps see if your supervisor has a space room where you can crash.
This past Field Work Term, while at Transom.org, I made a dear friend who was working on converting his epic 11 month walk across the United States into an hour long radio piece. He whittled over 85 hours of audio into what are some of the most beautiful and human moments I’ve ever heard. There are excerpts posted here on cowbird. Check out the full story here.
- jason ‘13
Hey lovely Anon! I am here, swallowed by work, but enjoying it for the most part. Alaska was so freaking fantastic! I would move there in a heartbeat. If I could live with the wonderful people that I met there, make furniture, wrangle moose, and watch the sun rise and set during the workday, I would be more than content.
Below is a picture of me dressed to go outside in -30F. What is not pictured is that my glasses fogged and froze up the instant I walked outside (along with my nose, eyelashes, and mouth). It is definitely one of the most incredible feelings in the world. (cool fact: the heat from the lights outside freezes, creating a blanket of ice around the lights which is so gorgeous)
Also, I am wearing 3 pairs of wool socks.
Hey, dude. Our apologies for the mix-up. Unfortunately I’m not sure how appropriate it really is to give out students’ names and contact info when they aren’t officially affiliated with Admissions. It can invite fan mail and stalkers (not really but kindasorta) and we don’t want to subject anyone to that when they haven’t explicitly signed up for it. We can’t help it if our non-Admissions student body is so interesting/attractive/suave/studly that they invite e-solicitation from strangers.
But honestly, there’s only ~700 of us here on a given day. Chances are actually pretty good that you might run into one (or more) of the students from that video if you were to drop by campus for a visit sometime this spring. So, I’m sorry I can’t give out anyone’s name in particular, but I can guarantee you would find plenty of Bennington students who are more than willing to talk about their FWT experiences (law-abiding and, perhaps, not) if you find yourself in a position to be able to just strike up a conversation sometime. Hope this helps.
It’s always super exciting to get back to your friends and the Bennington community in general, where things are easier in some ways (your food is cooked for you), and harder in others (you’ve got a zillion book chapters to read and essays to write). The thrill is a little more nuanced for me this term because I stayed here for FWT—so I didn’t really “get back”—and because it’s my eighth and final term at Bennington College, so the first couple days of this term have been a series of “lasts” as well as “firsts.” But that rush that we all share for the first couple days—full of small talk about our winters and deep talk about our ambitions and hopes for the term—is a truly singular experience that is one of the best parts of going to school here.
I think students here hold the school to an incredibly high standard and thus have some strong opinions. Personally, I think the language that the school is ‘falling apart’ is melodramatic, but not everyone would agree with me. These posts, I think, speak more to the seriousness of our students than they do to the state of the school. Bennington will always be going through changes because we are always trying to get the school as close as possible to the values that drive it. In a sense, if you join our community, you should be concerned: Bennington students get involved and engage in discussions about these issues. But you shouldn’t be worried.
As for FWT, I would say you are getting a pretty fair portrayal between this blog and some of the articles on the BFP. We all make judgement calls regarding money going into FWT — balancing realism and idealism is a real world lesson, too.
Also, I think it’s important to note that these “burden FWT” articles aren’t reflecting any change in the nature of FWT. Not everyone has 4 amazing FWTs. In fact, I don’t know if anyone has ever had 4 straight FWTs that met every one of his/her expectations. However (and I think that we only realize this after FWT is over), we can always learn something about ourselves and our aspirations during an internship, even if the internship is not great, or even awful.
And I will happily second Alan’s point about “falling apart” being an overstatement. Yes, President Liz Coleman is leaving, but she is staying on for the next 2 years as Director of CAPA, and will definitely continue to have input re: Bennington’s direction well into the future. Apparently, she’s apartment-hunting in North Bennington, but that might just be a rumor. Also, we have no idea what the Office of Student Life will be like without Eva.
As long as Bennington College is full of students, faculty and staff who are invested in nurturing and following the values and ethos of this institution, it will not fall apart.
A link to another current student’s response can be found here.