Michael J Benzaia
Private: Celtic Cultures 2018
I was fortunate to take part on a People to People International Student Program in 1998 to London, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. This experience made me the individual that I am today on many levels. I was able to venture outside of my bubble to learn and experience other cultures which in the end deepened my empathy and education. The most important thing I was left with after this trip was an ability to adapt to change. This skill is extremely important for any lifestyle but particularly important for me and my career as an actor.
The entertainment industry is constantly throwing me curve balls and how I react is crucial. My journey with People to People introduced me to several different cultures and experiences within just a few weeks. The program showed us all levels of society. One week I was with a homestay family on a farm watching a baby horse being born, and the next I was running up the steps in Oslo at the Olympics Stadium. The diversity of the itinerary schedule is one of its strongest assets.
I was able to make friendships for life from within my community and the international community. I still keep in touch with several friends from overseas. We have become pen pals. I find myself meeting actors on set and discussing my experience. It gives me a topic of conversation and also a wealth of knowledge when speaking with the community.
I didn’t fully understand how important this trip was at the time but I’m so thankful now that I had the opportunity.