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Jonathan Hird's Story

Jonathan Hird takes photos during the Happiness Now Project in Tanzania in 2023

The cultural experience provided by NSCC International programs is incredible. As someone who is relatively well-traveled, I have yet to experience so much cultural exchange as I did while in Tanzania. Constantly interacting with the students at VHTTI was not only great for making friends, but also gave me a much deeper understanding of the culture of Tanzania. Eating the local foods and learning to speak the local languages made me feel ingrained in the culture; and while my Swahili was never great, I did manage to go through a sale process for our mini-venture entirely in Swahili. 

Although the majority of our time was spent at the VHTTI institute in Njiro, we were able to go on many excursions throughout the region. Our safari took us out to the Lake Manyara region to see incredible landscapes and animals, alongside staying at one of the nicest hotel experiences I’ve had. Having dirt thrown at us by an excited elephant was surely a highlight of the trip. Not every excursion was that planned and organized; however, on one of our last days we went out with some students in a local bus to see the downtown of Arusha. This was one of my favorite days, as we were out seeing the locals in the city and getting the real Arusha experience. We even enjoyed some roasted goat at a local restaurant; eating, drinking, and laughing with the friends we’d made from VHTTI. 

Overall, I would say even without the bursary this trip was absolutely worth it. I can’t imagine a better deal for so much culture, fun, dancing, and learning. If you ever find yourself able to take an NSCC international trip, say yes.