Academic Components

The academically rigorous and classroom intensive program is designed to develop and push students’ Swahili in all four language skill areas: speaking, writing, reading and listening. Students will be placed in classes of between 3-6 fellow AFLI students who they will study alongside with for the duration of the program. AFLI-Swahili language instructors are highly-trained professionals who make a concerted effort to foster an engaging and interactive classroom learning environment. They are skilled at incorporating a variety of teaching methodologies to meet different learning styles.

The academic program comprises:

  • A Swahili Language and Grammar course (3 days per week)
  • Two content courses, titled: Introduction to the History of Tanzania and Swahili Literature (one day per week, respectively)
  • 4 hours of language partner conversation time per week
  • Regular academic trips to areas in and around the Usa River and Arusha region
  • A weekly Swahili newsletter of current events in Tanzania which students will write in pairs
  • A research paper on any topic of interest which students will write and present in Swahili at the end of the Fall semester

All courses are taught using Swahili as the language of instruction, and academic trips are meant to encourage students to utilize their Swahili in less structured and unpredictable language environments. While the AFLI Academic program is expressly designed to increase students’ proficiency levels in Swahili, students as individual learners are by far the most important factor in improving language proficiency.

For those participating in the spring semester, students will take an Advanced Swahili Language course once per week and will continue meeting with Language Partners 2 hours each week. 

What to Know

  • Classroom language instruction cannot meet all individual language needs; students should thus be prepared to take ownership of their language learning throughout the program 
  • While content courses will engage students in interesting topics, they are still first and foremost language courses. As such, they will not cover topics with the same academic depth as what you may be used to in US university classes

Courses Offered 


AFST 203/550: Advanced Intermediate Conversation: Swahili

AFST 205/560: Advanced Intermediate Grammar: Swahili

This course builds on the beginners and intermediate level courses taken by participants during the summer program at the University of Florida. It aims at improving students’ Swahili language proficiency to a higher level of superior speaker in its culturally appropriate context. The course will help learners develop skills associated with language patterns of communication found in the academic setting as well as idiomatic language found in formal and informal conversations. At the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate effective listening, speaking, reading and writing skills necessary for everyday living, and strengthen their ability to comprehend and communicate in Swahili in diverse contexts.

AFST 328/528: The History of Tanzania

This is an introductory course from the late pre-colonial period to the present Tanzania.  The course will analyze how and why Tanzania became what it is today. It will highlight the major transformations and continuities in the economic, political and social formation of the societies constituting Tanzania today. The course starts with an overview of the historical experiences of African people social and economic formations in the area by about 5 AD.

AFST 329/359: Swahili Literature

This course is an introductory course that is focused on building students competency in reading and analyzing Swahili literature and its themes. It aims to enable students to gain social, political and economic understanding of the Tanzanian and broader East African context. Students will be provided a selection of literature books to choose from which they will read over the course of the semester. At the end of the course, students are expected to acquire the ability to discuss and distinguish various forms of oral and written literature, explain the meaning and role of Swahili in literature and discuss the contribution of science in Swahili literature.


AFST 204/551: Advanced Intermediate Conversation II: Swahili

AFST 206/561: Advanced Intermediate Grammar II: Swahili

This course will be conducted using Swahili language at advanced levels. It builds on the intermediate Swahili grammar and conversation course offered in the fall. It aims at developing participants’ Swahili language competency to advanced levels. Listening and speaking skills associated with language patterns of communication found in the academic settings as well as the idiomatic language found in formal and informal conversations will be developed through a variety of activities. At the end of the course, students are expected to communicate to varied audiences by adapting their speech and register and be able operate in extended discourse using cultural and historical references.


AFST425: Global Internship Experience



Students receive academic credit from Bryn Mawr College for their participation in the language courses administered by American Councils upon completion of the program. At the end of the program, students will receive the following credits:

NB: Bryn Mawr College uses the unit system where one (1) undergraduate academic unit is equivalent to four (4) undergraduate semester credit hours and one (1) graduate academic unit is equivalent to five (5) graduate semester credit hours.

As each college and university has its own regulations regarding credit transfer, the participant should contact his or her home school to determine how much of this credit may be transferred upon completion of the program. We strongly recommend that this be done before the student leaves the United States. There is often a delay be­tween the end of the program and the issue of official transcripts by Bryn Mawr Col­lege. If you are a graduating senior, this delay can cause problems if arrangements have not been made in advance.

Program Course Number Couse Titles Course Topic Units Total Semester Units
 AFLI Swahili
AFST 203 Adv Intermediate Conversation  Swahili 1.5 4
AFST 205 Advanced Intermediate Grammar  Swahili 1.5
AFST 328 The History of Tanzania n/a 0.5
AFST 329 Swahili Literature n/a 0.5
AFLI Swahili
AFST 204 Adv Intermediate Conversation II Swahili 1.5 3
AFST 206 Advanced Intermediate Grammar II Swahili 1.5
AFST 425 Global Internship Experience Swahili 0
AFLI Swahili
AFST 550 Adv Intermediate Conversation  Swahili 1 3
AFST 560 Advanced Intermediate Grammar  Swahili 1
AFST 528 The History of Tanzania n/a 0.5
AFST 529 Swahili Literature n/a 0.5
 AFLI Swahili
AFST 551 Adv Intermediate Conversation II Swahili 1.5 3
AFST 561 Advanced Intermediate Grammar II Swahili 1.5
AFST 425 Global Internship Experience Swahili 0