Travel Tapestry | Joelle Bensaid | BAFA Liberal Arts / Jazz Vocal Performance

Joelle Bensaid (she/her), BAFA Liberal Arts / Jazz Vocal Performance

Project Description
This project is a collection of the creative work I produced while abroad as a student in Paris. It includes photographs and work I've written traveling whilst in Paris, Marseille, Aix en Provence, Amsterdam, and more. It includes excerpts of poems, journal entries, and photographs. It also includes accounts of my performances singing in Paris.

What Form will your Final Project Take?

Who was supporting you in with work?
Miranda Field – English professor

How has this project has been impactful or transformative — for you personally or for those this work has impacted:
Coming here was important for me because I had a chance to reconnect with my dad’s heritage. He died when I was very young and I had always wondered what his life was like in Paris, what his upbringing was like and all the ways my life would be different if he had survived cancer. It has been transformative in the sense that I feel I’ve gained a true insight into his culture by living here for a long period of time and really assimilating to life here. I have a deeper understanding now of where I came from.

What would you do differently? How would you advise a student who is going to do something similar?
I would definitely have spent less time adjusting to the new life and instead spent time exploring and taking more advantage of the opportunities I had at my disposal. The most important thing for me was adjusting to the dramatic shift, which when coming to a new country to live for the first time can be very intimidating and shocking. Although I’m grateful for the time I spent adjusting, I wish I could have taken more risks in the beginning and just forced myself into the new environment with an open mind. I would advise students looking to study abroad to be unafraid, to mentally prepare for it and to also trust the process. Everything gets better after a while. Also don’t be afraid to reach out and make friends even if there is a language barrier.

Are you going to publish or print your work? If so, where?
I would like to publish my work on a blog, and perhaps submit some poems to some of The New School publications.

This is a picture from my first gig in Paris. It was my own show where I was the headliner. This was my biggest goal when coming to France and an extension of my project, and I accomplished it. We sang my original tunes and jazz standards.

This picture represents the place where I wrote many songs and poems pertaining to the project. In the background is my guitar. I would often go to the Eiffel Tower and write, by myself or surrounded by new friends. Paris has been a beautiful experience.

I wanted to include this picture because it represents my heritage and roots in French culture. I am with my late dad in Paris as a baby, and this image represents my return to myself 20 years later.

Short summary
I have grown in ways I never imagined possible. I reconnected with my heritage, felt connected to my late beloved dad, performed in shows, gained confidence, immersed myself in a new culture, and met incredible people along the way. This experience was an essential step in my artistic journey.

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