Can’t find your question about studying away from Bennington? Contact Kendra Ericson, Assistant Director for Academic Services, at 802-753-2490 or at email@example.com.
There are so many good reasons to consider studying abroad! Given our increasingly globalized world, a truly well-educated person needs the skills, attitudes, habits of mind, and linguistic capabilities that can be gained from immersion in another culture. Not only does study abroad enrich one’s program of academic study and intellectual life, but it can also foster significant personal growth. Experiencing oneself in the context of socio-cultural difference enhances one’s self-awareness and cultural sensitivity, which in turn serves to nuance and expand all of a student’s future pursuits.
We encourage all students to consider studying abroad (or studying elsewhere in the US) during their junior year. Students can study away for a term, for the year, or for two terms in different locations. Junior year is the best time for Bennington students to study abroad, as they will have progressed far enough in the Plan process to make sure a study abroad program will be an integral and cohesive feature of the Plan.
To receive credit for study abroad coursework, students must gain approval from their faculty advisor, Plan committee, and the Assistant Dean for Academic Services. Students who plan to incorporate language study will also need approval from the Director of the Isabelle Kaplan Center for Languages. Students should take a full course load while abroad (at least 12 credits) and should request that a transcript be sent to the Bennington College Registrar at the completion of their program. The Business Office will charge a required transcript evaluation fee and the Registrar will then determine how many credits Bennington will grant. Credits will only be granted for grades of C or better.
Fees vary widely and are paid directly to the study abroad program or university. Some federal financial aid can be applied to study abroad experiences, and students should consult with their advisor in the Financial Aid Office to inquire about eligibility.
Programs require differing levels of foreign language proficiency. For language-learning programs, at least two years of college level language study are generally required. Other programs may be conducted in English or in a combination of English and a foreign language. Regardless of the program a student selects, we recommend that students study the local language in order to have the deepest possible immersion experience.
For most students who study abroad, either for a term or for a year, Field Work Term is waived and does not need to be made up. Transfer students who study abroad may, however, need to make up a Field Work Term.
There are many wonderful options to investigate! Bennington students frequently participate in programs sponsored by the School for International Training (SIT), the Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA), Academic Programs International (API), and the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). Students also participate in programs sponsored by other colleges, such as Sweet Briar College’s Junior Year in France or Middlebury College’s language programs across the globe. There are many other programs, however, that you should consider, and you can use IIE Passport or Study Abroad.Com to discover more possibilities. Additionally, you should speak with your faculty advisor, classroom teachers, Plan committee, and Kendra Ericson, the assistant director for academic services as you explore your options. Talking to representatives in Downstairs Commons or talking to students who have returned from study abroad are other good ways to gather information.
Bennington does not directly sponsor any programs, but we do have exchange agreements with New Zealand’s Toi Whakaari Drama School, Japan’s Kansai Gaidai University, South Africa’s Rhodes University, and Germany’s European College of Liberal Arts. If a student participates in an exchange program, they pay tuition directly to Bennington and receive whatever financial aid they normally receive from Bennington. In order to study abroad through an exchange, students must complete the Bennington College Student Exchange Application.
Programs deadlines vary widely. Students should fill out Bennington’s application by October 14 (or two weeks before your earliest program deadline) to study abroad in the Spring and by May 1 (or two weeks before your earliest program deadline) to study abroad in the Fall. You will need to apply both to programs and to the Dean’s Office, so it is best to start the process as early as possible. Faculty also appreciate significant lead times to write recommendations.