Take a walk in Stone Town

We follow our tour guide, Elvis, through a maze of narrow alleyways of small businesses, hotels and residential spaces with locals, tourists (and vespas!) in what used to be the capital of Zanzibar. You’ll see how these African streets embrace cultures from the Arabs, Indians and Europeans through design. It is no surprise that Stone Town is an UNESCO World Heritage site. The buildings, made from Zanzibar’s coral stone, are ornately decorated with beautiful carved timber doors. You’ll find two styles of doors, Arab (square tops) and Indian (arched tops), both a symbol of protection and security but also a door into Zanzibar’s history.

Arab and Indian merchants, through the spice and slave trade, constructed Stone Town in the 19th century. Before then the Portuguese came and built a fort to protect their settlements in the 16th century. During the tour you will see the slave chambers in the former slave market site – now a museum recording the slave trade with a poignant sculpture outside the building by the artist Clara Sornos titled ‘memory of the slave’.

The old fort is now a centre for arts and culture showcasing events and performances. Look for the post on the International Film Festival. Near the fort you’ll pass Forodhani Gardens, which holds an evening food market all year round – here you should try the Zanzibar pizza and see it made right in front of you. You will also pass the House of Wonders – wonders because it was the first building in Africa to have an elevator! It is now closed due to building repair. The building used to be taller but it got destroyed in the world’s shortest war that lasted less than an hour, between two brothers…you might want to ask your tour guide about that one.

Along the tour you’ll see local markets selling all sorts including fruits, vegetables, spices. Look for the post on the spice tour.

One little known fact of Zanzibar is that it’s the birthplace of Freddie Mercury; you can look for Mercury House to find out more.

The narrow streets of Stone Town fall dark come nightfall, so walk in groups if you decide to stay out late. Be carful and vigilant, it is a very busy environment, especially around sunset, if you are female, you may attract unwanted attention.

Stone Town is the perfect place to buy gifts for family and friends, eat lunch – try 6 degrees for a seaview (a sit down restaurant at tourist prices with one hour free wifi) or Lukmaans near the former slave market (a budget buffet at local prices) and ask for Salim for a great service. If you want to see the sun set go grab a juice at Sunset bar, be sure to go a little early before the best seats are taken, or go to the Floating Restaurant and watch it from the pier.

EVOLVET project

Participation of Art in Tanzania at the first transnational training for facilitators of EVOLVET

Art in Tanzania is always showing efforts of creating new collaborations with other organizations, whether local or international. This month from June 19th to June 25th the first transnational training for facilitators of EVOLVET which stands for European Volunteer Coordinators Vocation Education and Training is taking place in Vienna, Austria. Art in Tanzania is now part of the EVOLVET project which is co‐funded by the European Commission through IMG_20160520_092342771_HDRthe Erasmus+ programme. Kari Kohonen, the head of Art in Tanzania, is participating at the first training in Vienna. EVOLVET is a two-year long partnership of the Erasmus+ programme that was organized by CONGDCA. This is an organization from Spain and is additionally supported by several institutions, namely LVIA from Italy (www.lvia.it), Fund for Intercultural Education from Poland (www.miedzykulturowa.org.pl), Pista Mágica – Associação from Portugal (www.pista‐magica.pt) , Platforma dobrovolnickych centier a organizacii from Slovakia (www.dobrovolnickecentra.sk), Südwind Agentur from Austria (www.suedwind‐agentur.at) and of course Art in Tanzania Ry. Art in Tanzania was founded in Finland, but is mainly active in Tanzania. The emphasis of this training will be on the first meeting, which will involve exchanges of different experiences and will elaborate on materials prepared during previous months. As one of the main aims will be on the process of the implementation of the next phases of this project. This is made possible through the staff conducting workshops that mix formal and non-formal methodologies as a method of bringing together different perspectives and creating interesting discussions and exchanges between the numerous organizations.

If you want to support the project, feel free to leave a like:

EVOLVET on Facebook

For more information about the project check out the website:

Official website of the EVOLVET project

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A typical day in Madale Village

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It has been brought to my attention that the people who know me best don’t know anything about my daily life with Art in Tanzania. I can’t really say that’s an accident because trying to describe the amazing experiences as they happen is particularly hard. But what’s especially difficult is trying to sum up all the fantastic people that you meet or how incredibly hot the weather is or just how insanely, wonderful life is like in Africa.

However, today I’m going to try. I’m going try, in the best way I can, what a typical day is like in the place that I now call home – A typical day in Madale Village.

If you are not woken by our onsite (not so scary) guard dogs Marski or Big Mama doing theNamnlös twilight bark, then the neighbour’s cows might just do the job and if not that, a morning cockerel will definitely do the trick. At about 7.30am most of the house is awake. You will hear the morning buckets of water being filled, the pitta patter of feet and the bamboo doors creaking open. As we awake from our hot sweaty night’s sleep – and my gosh are they hot.

By the time we make it down the rickety stairs…(did I tell you that our Bamboo huts are up on the roof? Well they are, and we have the most spectacular view over Dar and it’s particularly special at sunrise and sunset!)…our surrogate Mother – Mama Neema and her fellow Dadas (sisters) have prepared breakfast. With a hot flask of water waiting, a cup of coffee is always the first thing on my mind! It’s safe to say that I have got a love for coffee whilst being here – my English tea days are officially over! Omelette, fruit and toast are next on my plate and into my tummy. As a group we all slowly awake from our zombie states with the help from one the ‘three musketeers’ (our resident kittens) and begin planning our day ahead.

By about 8.30am John or George one of our lovely bar men, will open up shop and be ready to feed us cold water or my personal favourite mango juice. But more often than not – we all quickly approach them to pay off our beer tabs from the night before!!

9.00aNamnlös2m. Well realistically it’s about 9.30am because we now all run on the laid back African time; we all disperse to our different projects. Whether that’s heading to the
nursery or secondary schools to teach, going to help in the hospital or orphanage or working here in the office we all begin our days’ work! We must remember to say good morning to our tiniest of neighbours who can be heard shouting in the distance with their little voices ‘HELLO, MZUNGU HELLO!!

 9.30am-1.00pm(ish) From here I usually begin work out on the balcony. Note to self: ALWAYS wear sun cream…remember what happen on day one – the words red and tomato spring to mind.

I count myself very lucky when I sit up here. The 40-degree heat is somewhat diminished due to the small sea breeze and I have the most extraordinary of views. Between the rainbow of different coloured roofs and the surprisingly green vegetation we can see the Twiga cement factory on the horizon. This might sound ugly…and don’t get me wrong it is; until you learn Madale’s exciting fact! This factory is where Willy Wonka lives!! Okay I know he is not real, but the factory was the inspiration behind that ‘little unknown author’ (cough cough 200 million copies sold worldwide) Roald Dahl’s novel ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Once you know that it’s hard not to be creative here, and screenwriting becomes somewhat easier.

1.00pm The thought of lunch quickly creeps into my mind especially with the heat. I wonder down to the bar and grab myself a soda with the rest of the office crew. It’s safe to say that I think I might have to go to ‘soda anonymous’ when I return home…in fact I think we might all have too, as we have developed a slight soda addiction whilst being here!

We then have a few options for lunch we can stay at the house where Mama Neema can prepare lunch for you for 3,000 TSH. Or we can make the long trek into town and act like youths hanging around the local shopping mall and have lunch there. But more often than not, we venture across the road and for 1,000 TSH, which is equivalent to about 40p, we can have a giant local lunch of Ugali and beans. This is basically a corn flower mix that you roll into a ball and dip! It’s so good! But be sure to wash your hand after, as you will have half of it stuck to every crevice and under every nail by the time you’re done.

2.00pm. High Ho, High ho back to work we go! Fingers crossed the power hasn’t died or heavy rain hasn’t engulfed our room. ‘Bless the rains down in Africa’ – is now on repeat since we have now entered the rainy season.

In the afternoon we normally continue on something different than in the morning. Here I spend some time organising the two projects I have set up. The first is the Brian Project which you have probably already herd about but if not check out this short video:

Get Brian to School Short Film

The second, we have just started working towards, which is to help our friend Johnny (a Namnlös5gardener at AIT) begin his education towards university. As I write this I can hear the faint whooshing of his blade as his cuts away at the grass below! (Ah that reminds me, we could do with some more grass for our dry toilet….yes our bamboo rooms are eco lodges so no flushing toilets here!)

Around this time, I can also being do some editing, taking photographs or filming, so all in all a pretty perfect way to spend an afternoon!

4.00pm (this can be anytime from about 3.30 to 4.30) some small voices can be heard making their way up stairs – ‘TEACHER, TEACHER!’ This is our afternoon alarm for the start of our English class for some of the little learners of Madale. Here Emma and I teach basic English to a small and ever changing number of children. We have been doing numbers, their ABC’s and even colours.

 

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African proverb: knowledge is the only treasure you can give entirely without running short of it.

Trying to keep them all still and their attention focused is not easy to say the least and is very exhausting. But seeing them make just a tiny bit of progress makes it all worth it!

Also at this time there are adults English lessons and a debate classes taking place all of which are being run by our volunteers – such busy bees we are!

6.00pm If we feel particularly active, I hasten to add this rare! A group of us go for a walk, I mean run…round the village. At this point the temperature is bearable

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Dying on our evening run!

and I have officially stopped sweating. It’s here that you can’t but feel part of the village. Everyone we pass says hello and I mean everyone. The local kids come and lend a helping hand to the slightly slower (struggling!!) members of what we have now coined the running club; and the smell of home cooking fills the air. The sun slowly drops and if we are lucky we might be treated with a lovely sunset!

But it isn’t a pretty sight when we return. Our bodies now have a layer of dust on top of a layer of sweat on top of dust; so because of this we all call dibs for the first shower!

However, this is not a simple activity in Madale. From here we must perform the art of having a bucket shower. The Do’s and Don’ts of a bucket shower…DON’T tip the whole bucket of water over you in one go, it will not wash all the shampoo out and
you will be left with an ice rink of water and the awkward situation of being soapy and needing more water. DO use the various inventions that have been created to wash one’s self. My particular favourite is the recycling of plastic bottle as an array of pouring devices.

Note to self: Remember to mosquito repellent up once showered…your dinner time is their dinner time too – do I need to take you back to day one again, miss mosquito-bitten-tomato?!

7.00pm – dinner! Now if it’s a Tuesday then you have to be quick of the mark as it is CHAPATTI! The house’s favourite. Once our plates are full (and covered in chilli sauce), it’s generally here that we have the biggest of laughs, as our ever growing family reminisces over our weekend of beach times, drinking far too much beer and partying later that we should have!

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Our wonderful substitute mamas

Dinner is usually followed by a house meeting – discussions to help me feel like a grown up with responsibilities.

Again, if it’s a Tuesday a sound that has become so familiar and so annoying that we can’t help but love it bellows. A horn! This horn comes from a computer and behind the computer is our own personal DJ (in fact just one of our team leaders). But this can only mean one thing – Konyagi Tuesday! (Konyagi is the local sprit here – best way to describe is like a sweeter gin!) We fill up our glasses and have a little party with all the team leaders and whoever else seems to turn up!

If we are lucky we might get some moves from our little replacement brother Kimi. Oh and by the way, all Africans can dance – all of them! Our mzungu moves seem somewhat awkward (BAD!) in comparison – picture Beyoncé next to Hugh Grant!

Once 10pm arrives we might make the sneaky trip up the road to Umoja Pub for some more beers and game or two of pool. Before coming home to bed!

Not all evenings are alcohol oriented (unless it’s the weekend) other evening activities are movies night, game night oh and SLEEP!

And there you have it a typical day in Madale.

Of course there are exceptions, you might be climbing Kilimanjaro, staying in Moshi, on safari or even in Zanzibar. But for most Madale life is how we spend 90% of our time and my god do we love it. But sadly my days in Madale are becoming numbered and I am finding it hard to accept. It has been incredible, eye opening, life changing, challenging and wonderfully exhausting. I keep asking myself can I just postpone my flight…again?

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The Madale crew

I never want to leave this village, I never want to leave the people here and I never want to leave Tanzania! The other morning, I felt my eyes filling with tears (those who know me, know this isn’t rare occurrence!) as I thought to myself, I don’t want my days to be anything but this! I love the heat, the community and how alive this place always feels. I have found that have rational hopes and fears here like ‘can I cross this road without dying?’ ‘Or will I survive climbing Kili? Compared to back home where I have stresses and worries about things I can’t name or point too, like have I wasted this day? How little am I seeing? Am I doing the right thing?

I want to be woken up by Big Mama, and eat chapatti and drink Konyagi on Tuesdays. I want to be teaching English and screenwriting whilst having the most awesome view! But damn it…too little money and the whole world left to see. There is just so much I am going to miss here but all good things have to come to an end and to put it simply…This is my love letter to Tanzania.

My Three Months in Tanzania

Back in November 2015, I have made a decision now I see is a life changing one: coming to Tanzania for a three-month internship. To be honest, before I came, I didn’t have a single idea about how Tanzania is like and how life would be in Tanzania, and I was a bit worried about cultural shock. But then it turns out that I adapt here very well for all the people are so welcoming and friendly and I have met many other volunteers and interns whom I could share things with. Only one thing which took me some times to get used to is the ‘pole pole’ culture here; no rush, no hurry. It is normal to wait for things to happen in Tanzania, which is very different from Hong Kong (where I come from), while that is a place which is always busy and fast. I was quite struggled with this, especially while working that you have to put more efforts to make things happen. But now, I have already got used to this culture, while life back in Hong Kong is already that busy, why not slowing down myself a bit and embracing the difference here. Just to be ‘Hakuna Matata’ (worries free), it is not only a song that sung in movie Lion King, but in fact it is the mentality here, enjoy your life and keep no worries!

 

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Hakuna Matata and enjoy Tanzania!!@Bagamoyo

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When I was on safari~

My main work in Art in Tanzania was mainly on marketing the Asian markets, managing the tourism documents and trip writing. Because of my work area, I even had chances to visit Zanzibar, join different tours and go on safaris; all these experiences have become the highlights of my time in Tanzania and made my stay here more incredible.

In Art in Tanzania, I had a lot of freedom on how to manage my work, in which had given me flexibility on my working scopes and hours. That’s why sometimes I decided to do my work later that day and go to visit the nursery and schools. I am glad that I did that as those visits have really opened my eyes and allowed me to know more about this country, especially in the education aspect. It also allowed me to get away from the office for a while to get some fresh air.

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High school visit which has given me a lot!!

The living condition in the volunteer compound is very basic, with only dry toilet and bucket water for daily use and washing. Although it sounds quite inconvenient with facilities like these, this volunteer compound is the pilot project to promote ecological building and living and share the environmental messages among the neighbourhood and I can be more environmentally responsible to this area during my study. Apart from the volunteers who are working here, there are some local people helping to manage the compound, Mama Neema the kitchen lady, John the gardener, John and George the bartenders, it was nice meeting them all and they were one important factor that has made me fall in love in this place.

While weekdays were all about work, weekends were the time that we could relax ourselves from work. Beaches are our favourite option to cool ourselves down from the heat here. We also had special activities, such as football games, movies, day-trips, house party, birthday party and many more.  Now I am on my last day here in Tanzania, three-month is not a long time, but it has definitely changed my perspective to this lovely country. A lot has happened and my eyes are widely opened. There were so much unknown before I came here, and now I have no regrets of spending my time here. Don’t let uncertainty and worry hold yourself back, make a move and you will find that you can achieve way more than you thought!

Machame Rainforest & Waterfall Trekking

Untitled.jpgThe trekking started at the Machame Gate, which is one of the starting points for climbing Kilimanjaro, the mountain with the highest summit in Africa. Right at the gate, we found a bunch of people who were ready to conquer this very mountain, good luck to them! Back to our trekking, Machame is the area where located at the south-western slope of Kilimanjaro, with the reputation of its mosaic landscape including valleys, rives, waterfalls and rainforests; it is also the home base of the Chagga tribe. The first 2.5 hour trekking was an easy trek and had presented us the tropical view of the area. The whole trekking was very informative with our guide Hilary showing us different kinds of plants. Even if you are not a plant lover, you will be amazed how diverse the vegetations are in this area. Along the way, we had met some local Chagga people and Hilary also taught us how to greet in a Chagga way.

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Grinding coffee while singing a local coffee song!

After lunch, we went to a local household to learn the local way to prepare a cup of coffee. The entire process was demonstrated in front of us, from harvesting to coffee bean roasting and grinding. They even invited us to join in the preparation. While tasting the coffee that we had prepared by ourselves, the house owner was sharing with us the local lifestyle and customs. After regaining energy from the coffee, we headed to another trekking to a waterfall. The route was not difficult and it took us about an hour to reach the waterfall.  We were provided time to swim in the waterfall and some of us even got to the top of the waterfall and jumped down, what a thing! When we got back to the house, some local food and local brews were already there waiting for us. This gave us a chance to enjoy the authentic local produce and experience the local taste. We were also taught the traditional way to drink the brew.

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Mt Kilimanjaro!!

Next day, we trekked to an old Chagga cave which the Chagga people used as a shelter during the wars.  Inside the cave, we heard the full story about the cave and some mysterious events that are claimed to be happened in the cave. Later, we helped with local people to collect banana leaves and feed the cows. The trip was ended with a stunning view of Mt Kilimanjaro on our way back to Moshi.

 

The need to be a responsible tourist?!

Lovely sunset in Zanzibar, where tourism is blooming.

Lovely sunset in Zanzibar, where tourism is blooming in the recent decades.

Tourism is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing industry among all. The rising living standard, increased leisure time and the desire to learn about the world has increased the mobility of worldwide travellers. In 2015, the number of international travellers is reported to be 1.18 billion, which has increased by 262% compared with what we had in 1990. This number is predicted to reach 1.6 billion by 2020, which is more than the total population of Europe and the U.S. combined.

Tourism has brought significant benefits to some destinations by being the major source of income and job provider. Last year, tourism generated US$ 7.6 trillion (10% of global GDP) and 227 million jobs (1 in 11 jobs). In some small islands and developing countries, tourism is the mainstay of the local economy, where its importance to the country’s finance tend to be higher. The growth in tourism is proved to help combat poverty and relieve unemployment issues.

Tourism has brought significant benefits to some destinations by being the major source of income and job provider. Last year, tourism generated US$ 7.6 trillion (10% of global GDP) and 227 million jobs (1 in 11 jobs). In some small islands and developing countries, tourism is the mainstay of the local economy, where its importance to the country’s finance tend to be higher. The growth in tourism is proved to help combat poverty and relieve unemployment issue.

However, this tremendous growth is not happening without consequences. Tourism has been found to cause devastating impacts to the wider environment and society. To name a few, hotels are always a big consumer to water which has resulted in conflicts between local use and tourism development. Taking the case here in Tanzania, while the whole tourism and hotel industry is on the rise that tourists are enjoying all sorts of water facility; farmers in Dar es Salaam have been left with no choice but using polluted water to irrigate their crops for they have no access to clean water. (More on http://www.ippmedia.com/?l=88539). Study has shown that every household in Zanzibar uses an average of 93 litres per day whereas the average consumption of water use in a five star hotel can go up to 3195 litres per room per day. These figures prove how tourism is causing intense pressure on local water use. Sewage and wastewater discharge from hotels could also lead to fresh water contamination.

Do we realize that tourism is using too much water from the local community?

Do we realize that tourism is using too much water from the local community?

 

Tansania wildlife safari in Mikumi National Park and in Udzungwa Rainforest. Tansanian safari Mikumin luonnonpuisto ja Udzungwa sademetsän retki.

Tanzania wildlife safari in Mikumi National Park: it is important to make sure that such beautiful scenery will not be compromised by tourism.

Contributing to global warming is another great problem of tourism while air travels release significant amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The loss of forests for tourism infrastructures also aggravates the carbon emission problem. While natural beauty is one of the main attractions in tourism, the growth of tourism activities can have adverse impacts to the beautiful sceneries. For example, tourism construction causes transformation of landscape and disruption of views; also, water activities can cause pollution and disruption to marine life and biodiversity.

 

The Massai

The Massai

Socially, tourism can turn local cultures into commodities when the traditional elements are modified to satisfy the tourist expectation. The visit of Maasai tribe is one typical example in Tanzania while tourists usually expect to see the Maasai men dancing in their beautiful cloths and jewellery but have little interest to experience their real life and work. As a result of that, only the interesting things will be preserved in order to satisfy tourists and make money. The authenticity of the destination might eventually be lost. Furthermore, tourists might, out of ignorance or carelessness, fail to respect the local customs and values; in which can bring irritation to the local communities and in the worst case, cause resentment.

Luckily, having recognized the negative impacts caused by tourism development, the industry has already on the way to mitigate the negative impacts and strive for sustainable tourism. A sustainable approach to tourism means that tourism resources and attractions should be used in a way that neither the natural environment nor the society will be impaired; on the contrary, they should benefit from tourism, both economically and culturally. Some existing practices includes applying energy efficient engines on aircrafts, introducing renewable energy and grey water schemes to conserve resources, educating tourists on respecting the environment and community…and more and more.

The question is, how can we tourists, as the major consumer in the industry, can help to react to the problems? Many industrial actions would be useless if we refuse to change our behaviours accordingly. Developing sustainable tourism needs our cooperation, even the smallest deeds matter!!

So, here are some practical tips to being a responsible traveller.

  • Don’t litter, try to take the rubbish with you until you can find a bin. Help to preserve the lovely sceneries for other people.
  • Try to avoid excessive use of plastic bottles and plastic bags by bringing your own reusable water bottle and shopping bag. (Not all the countries have disposal/ recycling system for plastics).
  • Reduce energy consumption. Turn off unused lights and electrical appliances.
  • Conserve water by taking shorter showers. When you are enjoying your long shower; there are people in the same area have limited access to fresh water.
  • Always ask before taking photos of someone. Respect when they say no.
  • Respect cultural difference. You might experience thing that is out of expectation, but that’s the real culture, embrace it and enjoy it.
  • Dress respectively. Some countries are relatively conservative that shoulders and knees are expected to be covered up.
  • Don’t purchase products that are made of endangered species.
  • Buy locally and eat locally. It is the best way to enjoy the local culture, and your spending could help to feed the whole family. Purchasing locally can also help reduce the carbon emission caused by transportation.
  • Before you go, take some times to check out your holiday providers (hotel, travel agent, tour operator) – support those who support sustainable travels.

“The movement for responsible tourism is gathering pace – we can make tourism a better experience for hosts and guests”

 

 

M’zungu intern Eero

Introduction:
Hey, It’s me Eero! I’m a 23-year-old University student from Finland. I’m doing a bachelor’s degree in tourism and event management at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Right now I’m doing an internship with Art in Tanzania and generally just enjoying life.vlcsnap-2014-10-26-11h12m24s70

How did you found AIT?

I was looking for open jobs and internship positions on our school’s intranet and found Art in Tanzania there. At first I was a bit hesitant, but decided to just email and ask a few questions. After a bit of emailing back and forth I decided on it: I want to go to Tanzania and here I am now!

What have you been doing so far?

So far I’ve been taking care of tourism related documents. For example keeping safari and tour descriptions up to date and translating them from English to Finnish. I’ve only been here for two weeks and I have ten more to go so we’ll see what else comes up later.

How is everyday life in Tanzania?

People here are very friendly and eager to talk to you which was weird at first, because in Finland that just doesn’t happen. Sometimes I feel like a rock star waving to people from the Bajaji or Piki Piki.

How is working different in Tanzania compare to your home country?

Different, very different. Patience is the key word you have to remember here. Things might not happen on a strict schedule like you’re maybe used to but they will happen eventually.

Just say “Hakuna matata” and wait it out. That isn’t just a song from Disney’s Lion King but actually a phrase I hear quite often here. Roughly translated it means “No worries” which is exactly the mentality you need here.

Would you recommend internship in AIT?

Definitely. I think this is a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures and also an opportunity to learn about yourself more. The staff here is great and you get to meet a lot of people from different parts of the world who’ve come here to volunteer.

Just take the opportunity and come here. You won’t regret it!