University of Oregon

Intensive Swahili in Zanzibar

Program Overview

The Intensive Swahili in Zanzibar program offers you an opportunity to learn the most widely spoken African language, Swahili. You will study the language at an accelerated pace through daily classes and full immersion into Swahili culture, history, politics and religion on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. The program can accommodate all levels of Swahili speakers (from first year to fourth year), and no prior experience is required. During this eight-week program, you will earn 16 academic credits from the University of Oregon.

A University of Oregon faculty member from Linguistics or African Studies will be on site for the entire program to assist you with academic and practical matters. 

You will be taught in a small group setting by native speakers at the State University of Zanzibar and participate in weekly excursions. The eight-week program features a break midway through the summer when you will be allowed to travel on your own to mainland Tanzania. The program runs during the Zanzibar International Film Festival, which features a variety of films and lectures, presentations and exhibits. 

Academic Details

You will complete one full year of Swahili coursework (12 quarter credits) at the first-, second-, third-, or fourth-year level. Classroom instruction will be enhanced with weekly excursions and home-stays, allowing you to have a truly immersive experience. You will earn the equivalent of one year of language in Swahili through 20 hours per week of classroom instruction. If you have completed first-year Swahili before arrival in Zanzibar you can complete the University of Oregon foreign language requirement for the BA degree during this summer program.

The Swahili courses are taught by faculty members from the Institute of KiSwahili and Foreign Languages at the State University of Zanzibar. All of these instructors are native speakers with years of experience teaching Swahili to international students. Classes will be held daily from 8 am-noon in historic Stone Town.

You will also participate in an upper-division course on Swahili History and Culture, taught by a University of Oregon faculty member from Linguistics or African Studies. This course satisfies the UO's IC: International Cultures multicultural requirement, and meets two afternoons each week during the program.

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Faculty and Staff

This program is co-organized by Dr. Mokaya Bosire (Linguistics) and Dr. Melissa Graboyes (African Studies, History) of the University of Oregon. Dr. Graboyes is the Assistant Director of the African Studies Program and is also available to advise interested students. Dr. Bosire will teach the Swahili History and Culture course and oversee all aspects of your stay in Zanzibar during the 2015 program. He earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology and Linguistics from State University of New York.

Housing Description

Homestays will give you the opportunity to experience daily Zanzibari life and be surrounded by the Swahili language. Housing will be provided with local Zanzibari families who live in and around historic Stone Town. You will have your own room inside the house, and will be offered three meals a day. Families have been specially chosen by the State University of Zanzibar and often have years of experience hosting international students.

Dates and Deadlines

TermYearPriority DeadlineOriginal DeadlineExtended DeadlineArrival DateDeparture Date
Summer20162/15/20163/15/20164/15/20166/19/20168/13/2016

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Note: this $100 discount does not apply to priority deadlines for SIT programs.

Course Equivalencies

Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

UO students, please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.