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Thursday, Jun 21, 2018

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Swahili STARTALK program to be offered in July


The tuition-free Swahili STARTALK program is returning to Ohio University for a third year this summer. The program is open to all local college and high school students.

Beginning on July 9, Ohio University’s Center for International Studies (CIS) will be hosting “Explore East Africa: Learn Swahili,” an intensive Swahili program. The program, which runs until August 3, will be offering elementary and intermediate Swahili classes. The courses provides a great learning opportunity in a fun environment, and they are being offered tuition-free.

“Join us this summer as we take you on an exciting journey of exploring East Africa through our STARTALK Swahili language program,” Instructor Salome Aluso said. “Our program will equip you with the skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing in Swahili. In addition, students will also have the opportunity to explore the Swahili culture through food, beautiful East African clothing, music and dance.”

The program is now accepting applications from undergraduates at any institution as well as high school students from the surrounding school districts. Students who enroll will work with supportive instructors and cultural consultants at Ohio University and will also take part in out of class events, including trips to The Wilds, Hocking Hills and other places in the region.

Bose Maposa, assistant director in the Center for International Studies, received grant funding for the program from STARTALK, a program of the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. The support from STARTALK will cover in-state tuition and fees for up to 20 students who will attend this summer’s program, along with the costs for books, meals, and all excursions.

Students who complete the elementary summer program will earn four hours of college credit for Elementary Swahili I. Students who complete the intermediate course will receive 4 hours of credit for Intermediate Swahili I.  

Swahili is the official language of the African Union, Africa’s continental body, the East African Community, the regional intergovernmental organization of the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. Swahili is also spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Somalia. Currently, there are approximately 100 million people around the world who speak Swahili. For anyone interested in traveling to eastern or central Africa, knowing Swahili would be invaluable.  

Students accepted in the Swahili STARTALK summer program will attend class Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, with scheduled snack breaks in the mornings and a lunch break. The Friday classes will last until 4:00 p.m. in order to make enough time for field trips on those days.

The lunch hour is designed to be a conversation hour, where students will spend time with the program staff and converse with them in Swahili.

The summer program is designed for learners with little or no background in Swahili, as it is designed to build the learners’ ability to communicate with native Swahili speakers through a communicative approach to language learning, instructor Amina Kassim explained. She sees the program as an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends as well as to interact with native speakers of the language and their culture.  

Instructor William Kesse added that students will enjoy the opportunity to expand their cultural knowledge in this lively and fun program.

STARTALK, whose slogan is “start talking,” is an organization that seeks to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking, and teaching critical need foreign languages. For more information on the program and to apply, please visit https://www.ohio.edu/global/cis/startalk.cfm