I haven’t, but I asked Alex ‘13, who’s currently off in Japan doing this program, to share a little more about it:
I would absolutely recommend it, it’s a phenomenal experience. The competitiveness of the program really depends on how many upperclassmen are attempting to go through Bennington’s exchange any given term, but assuming the student works hard and gets good grades up until the point that they are applying it shouldn’t be an issue. It is true that during the application process the committee tends to favor upperclassmen, and students with more financial need. However, the term I applied I was the only applicant through Bennington’s exchange, so I faced no such problems. Also, if you want a bit on the experience you can give them this link to my blog.*
* Just a little warning…his most recent post is about Hounen Matsuri, the Japanese Fertility Festival, so some of the pictures may be a little inappropriate if you are in school at the U.S. (cultural relativism and all that jazz!).
We offer Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Italian.
The cool thing about foreign language classes at Bennington is that when you read the course descriptions (or, obviously, take the classes) you realize that they are actually about literature, culture, history, film, philosophy, anthropology, politics, art, identity, etc.
You can see some of the past course offerings in foreign languages by checking out this link!
The first Japanese lunch table of the term was great. We caught up with students who were in Japan last term and laughed at the horrors Yoshida-sensei faced with the deer in Nara.
Japanese class is fun and all but there’s something about the very low pressure environment of lunch that makes speaking Japanese a more enjoyable experience. It might be faces sensei makes when she relives horrifying experiences.