The Undergraduate African Language Swahili Flagship Center at Indiana University (IU)
Swahili, or Kiswahili, is the language of over 50 million people in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, as well as in parts of Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Comoro Islands. Swahili is the lingua franca of many of these countries and is the official and national language of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Swahili is also used as one of the working languages of the African Union, and it is taught in institutions of higher education in many parts of the world.
Goals of the Swahili Flagship Center
The goals of the Undergraduate African Language (Swahili) Flagship Center are to:
- Enhance standards-based language instruction which will allow highly motivated selected students to achieve American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Superior/Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) 3 level of proficiency
- Innovatively integrate technology in Swahili language teaching to extend learning beyond the borders of the classroom and to promote collaborative learning locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Partner with different programs and institutions nationally and internationally, relevant IU programs and departments in order to connect Flagship students with their fields of study, and institutions in Tanzania for study abroad and internship opportunities.
- Produce proficiency based materials relevant in achieving desired ACTFL/ILR levels and to create a venue for research on strategies in achieving superior level in all language and culture skills
- Accelerated Language Learning In the Indiana University (IU) Swahili Language Flagship program, students participate in an innovative accelerated curriculum designed to develop the Superior-level Swahili proficiency needed for professional work in a global context. Components of the accelerated curriculum include intensive language instruction, tutoring, and conversation partners during the academic year and summer sessions. Summer study can be completed at Indiana University or in overseas programs.
- Overseas Study IU Swahili Flagship students spend one year (typically their junior year) in Tanzania as a capstone to their Swahili studies. For the first semester, students are directly enrolled at State University of Zanzibar, working and learning alongside Swahili students and studying the academic subjects of their choice. They will also stay with host families for complete immersion in the language and culture. The overseas capstone program in Tanzania is administered by the American Councils for International Education.
- Internship During the second semester of the capstone year abroad, students work at an internship in Tanzania arranged by The Language Flagship and customized to meet professional interests and goals.
- Cluster Courses A cluster course consists of two courses of three credit hours each: a ‘content’ course and a sister ‘language’ course. The content portion of the cluster is made up of variety of courses taught by experts in their fields. Courses that will be offered include:
- Culture and Health
- Dress Cultural Analysis
- Africa since 1800 with a focus on East Africa
- International NGO Management in Comparative Perspective
- Public Policy and Public Health in East Africa
Each of the content courses will be paired with a language course specially designed to complement and enhance the content knowledge with the linguistic knowledge specific to that field of study. The content courses, chosen from different fields in the humanities and the sciences, will provide the C of Connection and the C of Comparison of the National Foreign Language Standards linking content to language skills such as vocabulary, structure, and genres. The content and language components of the cluster courses will provide an overlap of topics, themes, reading, writing, and projects that will enhance higher levels of proficiency. Students meet regularly with one-on-one “discipline mentors” who are native speakers specializing in fields aligned with those of the students.
Director: Alwiya S. Omar
Department of Linguistics
Memorial Hall 326
Bloomington, IN 47405
Tel: 812 855 3323
The Boren Fellowships and Scholarships also offer opportunities for the study of the following languages:
Visit the African Languages Initiative page for more information.