There is no better way to forge understanding across difference than through language.

The AFLI-Swahili program is an intensive language and cultural immersion program which includes both a domestic and overseas component. The domestic program takes place at the University of Florida where students are engaged in a summer intensive Swahili program for 8 weeks.  These eight weeks are intended to prepare students for the overseas program both in terms of linguistic skills and program expectations. It is also an important time for students to meet and interact with their AFLI-Swahili cohort.

The overseas portion of the program is based in the small town of Usa River in Northern Tanzania. It is designed to provide students every possible opportunity to develop strong Swahili language skills and a deep understanding of daily life and culture in Tanzania. All formal instruction will take place at our host institution, MS-Training Centre for Development Cooperative (MS-TCDC). As a student on this program, you will:

  • Attend classes 5 days per week for a total of 20 hours of Swahili language instruction
  • Practice your Swahili with local language partners 4 hours per week
  • Live with a Tanzanian host-family in the Usa River area for the duration of the program
  • Participate on regular trips and extracurricular activities organized to expand your understanding of the diverse cultures, history, politics, and daily life in Tanzania
  • Engage in a 4-day overnight cultural excursion to the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area 
  • Take a language pledge as a formal commitment to speak, listen, read and write in Swahili for the duration of the program

For those interested in continuing with the AFLI-Swahili program for the spring semester, you will take part in our unique 15 week internship program. Students will be matched with a local organization based either in the Usa River or Arusha area and in a field of interest to them. They will intern with their organization full-time, 4 days per week. In addition to the internship experience, this semester includes:

  • Ongoing Swahili language instruction once per week for 4 hours
  • 2 hours of language partner conversation time
  • An overnight retreat and re-entry workshop

Your Host-Institution: MS-Training Centre for Development Cooperative (MS-TCDC)

The host-institution, MS-TCDC (known as Danish by the local community), is a semi-private institution under Denmark’s ActionAid initiative. It is set on a beautiful, lush campus and has extensive experience delivering high-level, tailor-made Swahili programs for international students. Over the last 45 years MS-TCDC has also gained a reputation in training Civil Society Organizations, community based organizations and their partners, donors and government agencies. The Center offers various short courses and hosts programs attended by students and professionals from across Africa and the international community. Its facilities and services are top-notch and the caliber of instruction is unmatched in Tanzania.

Program Dates

Fall: August 12, 2019 – November 22, 2019

Fall-Spring Semester Break: November 22, 2019 – December 1, 2019

Spring: December 2, 2019 – March 20, 2020

Is this Program Right for You? To thrive in this program, you should:

  • Have a sincere interest in studying and learning Swahili at an intensive level
  • Have the determination, discipline and self-initiative necessary to develop and engage language skills and cultural competency outside the classroom
  • Be able to work and communicate effectively and respectfully with a diverse group of peers regardless of age, academic discipline, or background
  • Be able to stay focused and motivated for several hours of classroom language instruction
  • Be prepared to come with an open-minded and flexible attitude in order to cope with the ambiguity and lack of clarity typical of life in Tanzania
  • Be prepared to make adjustments to the high degree of  independence and autonomy you might be used to back in the US
  • Be able to cope with the significant demands placed on students’ time and energy with limited opportunities for breaks or personal days in the program schedule
  • Be prepared to meet the expectations of this government-funded program by adhering to all American Councils program policies, submitting reports and surveys in a timely manner and maintaining accountability for whereabouts as a matter of safety and security

What to Know

  • The AFLI-Swahili program is a group program where you will be studying with a cohort of fellow Americans. Building and maintaining a positive group dynamic in which students support each other’s language and cultural learning significantly enhances students’ overall experience in Tanzania.
  • Usa River is a small and relatively quiet town located about a 45 minute public transport ride from Arusha city. Weekends will be the best time to explore Arusha for those desiring a city experience.
  • Independent travel throughout the program is permitted and encouraged. However, students should be aware that because of the demanding schedule, time to travel is limited to weekends and the mid-program break (for those participating in the spring internship)