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With 45 million native speakers, and over 100 million people who use KiSwahili as a second language, Kiswahili is the seventh most widely spoken language in the world. It is a Bantu language with a rich African cultural heritage and is widely spoken in Kenya, Uganda, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Comoros Islands, Malawi, Mozambique, and Northern Zambia. KiSwahili is the official language in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, and it is a working language of the African Union.

Kiswahili holds strategic importance for social, political, and economic engagement in across Africa. With increased globalization efforts learning Kiswahili language and culture opens an extensive and new horizon to one of Africa’s most rich,  fascinating and unique cultures. Studying Kiswahili prepares students for career opportunities in academia, Federal and Foreign Service, health care, language instruction, journalism, business, political science, contractual and corporate law, and cultural exchange and Non-Governmental Organizations.  Basic knowledge of Swahili will also prepare you for research interests in archeology, anthropology, religion, public health, conflict resolution, human rights, environmental science, conservation, climate change, and technology, and art history. The languages acts a passport to Kiswahili speaking countries which allied to the United States.


The department of African and African American Studies offers Kiswahili language and culture courses at five levels. The program prepares students for high global competency through professional-level proficiency in KiSwahili.  The curriculum incorporates the World Readiness Standards for learning languages and the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency guidelines. We offer student centered Instruction, and our instructors use the communicative and interactive teaching approaches which develop listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and cultural awareness.  Our students benefit from rigorous classes taught by expert language teachers, innovative technology, and cultural immersion activities to enhance the language learning experience.

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