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The reality that your son or daughter, who has just left home for college, now has to find an internship and temporary housing may sound daunting — but students rise to the challenge every year, and the skills they’ve learned serve them well after graduation. Students have been securing their own housing for Field Work Term since the program’s inception more than 70 years ago.

Annually, about half of first-year students secure positions in their hometowns and live at home for their first FWT. Others secure low-cost FWT housing through personal contacts or sublet/rent as a group. Some employers offer housing in exchange for a job, or can offer suggestions about inexpensive housing options in the area. Additionally, the Field Work Term and Career Development Office has compiled lists of short-term housing resources in major U.S. cities, including New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, and several others.

The Field Work Term and Career Development Office also provides listings of housing offers from alumni and other Bennington parents. Because Bennington undergraduates must complete Field Work Term for every year they attend the College, opening your home to another Bennington student for seven weeks is a great gift—one the student (and his/her own parents) will surely appreciate. If you are interested in offering housing for a Bennington student, please complete our FWT Housing form, so students can be in touch to ask more specifics about your housing option.

Guide to Host Family Living

Participating in a host living arrangement can be beneficial and rewarding for both the student and the host family. Connections are made, family cultures deepened, and opportunities broadened. Every student and family will have their own preconceived ideas about what the ideal hosting relationship should be based on past experiences, personal preferences, and family histories. Don’t assume that the expectations of a host family and the hosted student will align perfectly without discussion. Clarify everything!

Topics for discussion

  • Expectations of Involvement and Privacy: Some families and students might be hoping for and expecting substantial family interaction and others may assume that it is just a room to be provided. How will the student be expected to interact with the family? Where in the house will the student have personal space? Are there any privacy issues to discuss in advance?
  • Move In/Move Out Dates: Be sure to clarify arrival and departure dates before the student leaves for his/her destination. How long will it take to settle in and move out? What day and time will the student be moving in and moving out?
  • Personal Living Arrangement: Be sure to clarify the exact living situation. Will the student have his/her own room, or will he/she be sharing? Is the room a spare bedroom, a basement apartment, etc.?
  • Meals: Will the family provide meals, or will the student be expected to cook his/her own food? Will the kitchen be available for the student to use? At what time? Are there rules for kitchen use? If the family will provide meals, decide on which meals will be offered.
  • Bathroom: If the student does not have use of a private bathroom, he or she should discuss shower/prepping time limits with his or her host family. Some times of the day tend to be more hectic than others, such as morning hours, when everyone is getting ready for work and school. Students are expected to supply their own toiletries.
  • Household Appliances and Common Spaces: Discuss any rules, time limits, and hours for the use of the TV, VCR/DVD, stereo, and common spaces.
  • Linens: Will sheets, blankets, towels, and pillows be provided, or is the student expected to supply his/her own?
  • Laundry: Does the host family have a washer and dryer that the student can use? Are there special instructions for their use? Does the student need to supply his/her own detergent?
  • Chores: Students are expected to clean up after themselves in their rooms, in the kitchen, and in all other common spaces. The expectation of other household chores such as cooking, cleaning, and babysitting should be discussed before the student’s arrival.
  • Telephone: How will the student be billed? Should he/she bring a phone card or cell phone for long distance calls? Any restrictions on when phone calls can be received (e.g., no calls after 11 pm) should be made clear.
  • Curfew: What is a reasonable curfew, if any? Does the family want the student to call if he/she will be coming in late?
  • Transportation: If the student is bringing a car, any special or difficult parking situations should be discussed in advance. What is the availability of public transportation?
  • Vacations: If the family is planning any vacation time during FWT, what is expected of the student during this time? If the student takes short trips, should s/he notify the family in advance?
  • Visitors: Should the student notify the family if s/he is expecting visitors? What is the family’s policy on overnight/multiple day visitors?