Field Work Term & COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic poses new challenges to the world of work. We know that these challenges impact each student differently, based on personal factors, location, and fields of interest. In light of this, the Field Work Term program continues to offer a flexible timeframe and flexible options (including remote options) so that students may prioritize their health and safety while still having meaningful professional experiences. We are eager to be in conversation with you about your needs, preferences, and the field work options available to you.
To allow students to pursue a broad array of work-learning experiences, and in recognition of the challenges posed by COVID-19, students have the flexibility to complete their annual work experience during several possible timeframes. These include the winter and summer Field Work Term periods, the dates of which are found here. Students may also propose to complete their field work over the course of an academic year, through a campus job that meets the criteria of an FWT site. At any time in the year, students may also complete hours toward their FWT requirement through remote internships, or through short-term, paid remote projects known as microinternships.
International students please be advised that during the academic term, you are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week across all jobs and internships, including on-campus employment. As always, you must consult with International Student Services to obtain Curricular Practical Training work authorization approval for any remote internships and microinternships, and the experience must be integral to your major course of study and registered and approved for FWT. International students must have CPT work authorization approval before they begin working. CPT cannot be issued retroactively. In addition, international students studying on-campus are eligible for work authorization (CPT) after they complete one full academic year (two semesters at Bennington). This means that first year international students who enter Bennington in the fall are not able to accept remote internships or microinternships before the following summer.
Outlined on our Field Work Term Options page, there are a range of work-integrated learning experiences that students may pursue to satisfy their annual field work requirement. Alternatives to traditional internships include: remote or "virtual" internships, multiple microinternships, College-sponsored fellowships, online professional trainings, eligible on-campus employment, and independent study with a faculty member.
Keep in mind that a well-crafted resume and cover letter are critical in a saturated internship market. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with us for feedback on application materials and mock interviews.
Remote Work or On-Site Work
All students who prefer to pursue a remote field work experience are welcome to do so; no special approval is required.
Remote internships have become increasingly common. Check out our Remote Internship Guide for tips on landing a remote internship and making the most of your experience. In Handshake, you can use the "remote work allowed" label to search remote FWT positions and remote general internships. You can also use our new tool Parker Dewey to apply for paid, remote freelance projects known as "microinternships." (Note: Many microinternships are competitive, so we recommend scheduling a virtual resume and cover letter review appointment before applying.)
Additionally, there are many free online professional trainings that students can complete for all or part of their FWT hours. Professional trainings are a great way to enhance your resume in a challenging employment landscape. All Bennington College students can obtain free access to Lynda.com's trainings and courses by registering for a McCullough Library account. Other platforms such as EdX and Coursera offer some entirely free courses, and the ability to "audit" courses for free. See our Professional Training Option page for details on the types of trainings that can count for FWT, and how to log your hours.
If you are considering on-site work, please note that it is your full responsibility to research the health and safety risks and appropriate precautions, as the College is not able to make this assessment for individual worksites. This includes but is not limited to: researching the official safety recommendations specific to your location, consulting with your family and/or considering against personal factors, and discussing site-specific safety issues with your prospective employer. Details are available in the Release, Waiver, and Acknowledgement of Risk Statement, which all students sign as part of their Field Work Term registration. Though students may pursue on-site work experiences if they feel comfortable doing so after carefully evaluating the risks, they are encouraged to consider the flexible alternatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to new restrictions and risks related to international travel. Even if you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should consider carefully the potential for increased risk of exposure related to international travel, as the virus spreads around the world and new variants emerge with increasing frequency. By approving your FWT registration, Bennington College is not making any representations about the risks associated with international travel, and does not guarantee your safety with respect to COVID-19 or other dangers.
International students wishing to complete FWT outside the U.S. are also strongly encouraged to speak with International Student Services to discuss potential concerns related to re-entry into the US. As always, students will be required to sign the Release, Waiver, and Acknowledgement of Risk Statement, and are responsible for researching and staying up-to-date on the visa regulations and health and safety information relevant to the country they are proposing to visit.
We know there is a lot to think about when considering what field work type and timeframe are right for you. We encourage you to meet with us to discuss options. Whether you are learning on-campus or remotely, you can book an FWT Advising Appointment here.