The MFA Experience
Our two-week residencies bring students together from around the world to develop their craft, share their work, experience different cultures, landscapes, and languages, and above all, to grow as writers.
This isn’t just an MFA; our experience is also about travel, adventure, and connecting cultures. There’s something special about leaving home, leaving behind the daily routine and opening oneself to new experiences and sensations that inspires creativity. Oftentimes to write is to see the world with a traveler’s eye.
During the residencies, we meet weekday mornings for the cross-genre craft and locale seminars. Most weekday afternoons are dedicated to workshops and tutorials with faculty-mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is low, and our faculty-mentors give a lot of time and attention to help students reach their goals and complete their work.
Afternoon and weekend excursions renew our imaginations, as we explore museums and historical sites, attend plays and musical events, and enjoy the local cuisine, among many other adventures. Students also have free time to pursue their own interests. Each residency location has something to offer students outside of the program, whether connecting with family heritage in Dublin, swimming in the Mediterranean, or taking part in the café culture in Vienna.
Our student open-mic readings, thesis readings, and craft presentations offer our students the necessary opportunities to showcase finished work and works-in-progress. The craft presentations focus on elements of craft in the student’s chosen genre. They provide thoughtful analysis and stimulate conversations about the act of writing, its mechanics, and its import.
Students form strong bonds during the MFA. Students meet their readers, that is, the peers who will read and critique their work beyond the MFA to perpetuate the writer’s life and facilitate a life-long writerly community. To help keep these bonds strong, we hold MFA student and faculty reunions every year in varying locations. We meet at AWP conferences. We hold events that connect students with editors and agents. We have monthly craft webinars for students during the distance mentorships to keep students in touch.
The MFA immerses student-writers in new locations while providing the structure needed to produce a body of work by the end of the degree. The connections made during the MFA are ones that fuel good writing. We hope you join our community.