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Summer School - Culture and Society of Tanzania with Swahili Language, 4-29 July 2016, University of Edinburgh, UK

Publish Date: Oct 16, 2015

Deadline: Apr 08, 2016

Event Dates: from Jul 04, 2016 12:00 to Jul 29, 2016 12:00

About Culture and Society of Tanzania with Swahili Language Summer Program

This course provides a contemporary, exciting, immersive, and intensive introduction to the culture and society of Tanzania with the Swahili language – the most international and widely spoken of the indigenous languages on the African continent.

It takes place in Butiama, a beautiful and tranquil village close to Lake Victoria in Northwest Tanzania, where students will be able to progress at a fast pace in a Swahili-speaking environment. Butiama is also the home village of the first president of independent Tanzania, the late Mwalimu (Teacher) Julius Nyerere - an alumnus of the University of Edinburgh - and students will actually be living and taking classes in his family home.

When applying for this course, you choose one of the streams depending on your level of Swahili: either Beginners level or Pre-intermediate level.

The intensive Beginner level course will equip students with more than 500 key items of vocabulary and a clear grounding in the concepts of Swahili grammar necessary for daily communication. 

Pre-intermediate level students will be taught a range of more advanced vocabulary and grammar items by native speakers of Swahili.

In both levels, students will be encouraged to interact with members of the local community on a daily basis outside the classroom. For example, groups will have opportunities to shop at the local market, learn to cook a range of Tanzanian dishes, visit surrounding primary and secondary schools, and participate in a host of cultural activities, such as dancing, drumming, and pot making. More information on your daily schedule can be found here

When each week comes to an end, students will also have the chance to experience some of the wonders of Tanzania available outside of Butiama. Weekends will involve an overnight trip to the fascinating Sukuma museum, a chance to share the sunset with giraffes and zebras on the stunning Rubondo Island, and, finally, a spectacular safari adventure at the world-famous Serengeti National Park.

This course will equip students with over 1000 items of vocabulary and an intermediate grasp of Swahili grammar. Moreover, it will allow students to become valuable members of a small Tanzanian community, understand local issues and cultures, and experience the use of Swahili in its natural environment.

During the four weeks in Butiama, students will be hosted by Madaraka Nyerere, one of Mwalimu Nyerere’s sons, who will be happy to show groups around the area and explain some of its histories. Accommodation will be in the family home itself, which has hosted numerous dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela. All meals will be prepared by local on-site cooks, although groups of students (on a rotational basis) will be tasked to go and purchase ingredients each day at the local market. This will help them get to know the names of various food items and, of course, the local traders, as well as giving them good practice in Swahili negotiation.

Following the completion of both courses, students will be equipped with a pre-intermediate knowledge of everyday Swahili to aid travel, work, and research in East Africa. They will also have the first-hand experience of living in a Swahili-speaking environment and will have a greater understanding of certain local cultures and issues.


Feedback is provided on a continuous and simultaneous basis during class hours, especially during tutorial sessions, when homework and examinations are reviewed in detail. The course tutor will set guidance and feedback hours, although in any case both the course tutor and convener will be onsite and available at all times in Tanzania to help deal with any issues that arise. Students will also have the benefit of several local teachers, who will be willing to provide extra feedback and support if required.

Continuous weekly examinations (80%)

Examinations will be conducted weekly on Friday mornings and will cover all material from the previous week. Each examination will last two hours in total and will contain a mixture of reading, writing, and listening exercises. All four results are counted.

5-minute oral presentation with questions (20%)

These presentations will take place on the final Friday of the month. Students will be expected to present in Swahili, in front of the class, on a selected theme for between five and ten minutes. They will then be required to answer two or three questions from the teachers. Marks will be allocated according to language accuracy/suitability, spoken fluency, responsiveness to questions and accuracy of answers, presentation skills, and evidence of preparation.

By the end of the course students will acquire:

  • An understanding of over 500 items of Swahili vocabulary, including important verbs, adjectives, and nouns in both singular and plural forms (Beginners).
  • An understanding of a further 500 items of Swahili vocabulary, including more complex verbs, compound adjectives, and some specialized terminology in fields such as academia, technology, and politics (Pre-intermediate).
  • An ability to communicate using a number of more complex tenses and verb extensions.
  • An ability to discuss and understand certain relevant themes in greater depth, such as mobile banking, tourism, and literature.
  • An ability to use four key tenses in both the affirmative and the negative.
  • Confidence in using the first ten Swahili noun classes, including how to make agreements within sentences.
  • Awareness of some key figures in East African society (e.g., Wangari Maathai, Bi Kidude, Julius Nyerere).
  • Working knowledge of both traditional and contemporary cultural norms in the East Africa region.

Tuition Fee: 

£2300 per 4 weeks

The tuition fee covers the following components:

  • University of Edinburgh lecturers with a wealth of expertise in a region
  • Trained local Tanzanian teachers and teaching assistants
  • Books and other educational materials


£500 per 4 weeks

The provided accommodation is in the village of Butiama. Students will have the opportunity to stay in this tranquil and beautiful area close to Lake Victoria in northwest Tanzania. Our students will reside in the home village of the first president of independent Tanzania, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.  The house is equipped with all appliances like running water and 24/7 electricity. The accommodation cost covers the following components:

  • 4 weeks accommodation 
  • 3 meals per day + regional snacks
  • Internet access

Additional costs:

£800 per 4 weeks

Additional cost covers the following components:

  • Transport: all internal flights, private buses
  • Excursions:
    • 2 days trip to Serengeti
    • 3 days trip Rubondo Island National Park
    • 1 day trip to the Sukuma Museum
  • Cultural activities:
    • Drumming lessons
    • Dancing lessons
    • Cooking lessons
    • Clay pot making
    • Storytelling sessions
    • Work experience on a local farm
    • Learning local games
    • Visit the witch doctor
    • Trips to the local schools with the opportunity of language exchange
    • Film screening
    • Local walk and cycle
  • Sim card with additional credit

Discretionary Expenses:

Individual expenses during your time in Tanzania vary based on specific spending habits and budgets. 

Estimated extra cost:

  • International flights from your country of residence to Tanzania
  • Visa

Please note that you will be obliged to apply for a visa yourself in your country, seek advice on this before booking the flights as visa requirements vary depending on the country.

  • Immunization

NHS UK usually advises courses or boosters:   Diphtheria; Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Typhoid. Other vaccines to consider: Cholera; Hepatitis B; Meningococcal Meningitis; Rabies; Yellow Fever. Yellow fever vaccination certificate required to enter Tanzania.

Please check with your country of residence the requirements regarding immunization.

Precautions before traveling to Africa- Dr. Ewan Clarke, University of Edinburgh


  • Pre-payment for tuition fees: £300

Your application will not be processed until we have received the appropriate pre-payments.

Scholarship - Scottish Summer Endeavour

The scholarship application opens on 1st December 

Scottish Summer Endeavour Scholarships are offered to students from all countries who can display evidence of outstanding academic merit.  

The scholarship equates to a partial tuition fee waiver for any course listed on


The scholarships are competitive and awarded broadly on the basis of academic merit. A minimum of 3.3 GPA or equivalent is required and evidence of this must be provided along with your application.

 In order to apply, you should be a full-time university/college student who can demonstrate that you meet the academic and language requirements of your preferred course.

To apply:

1. Choose the course you are interested in.

2. Go to your preferred program page and select ‘click here to apply now, located towards the top right of your screen. This will enable you to request an application form and further guidance regarding the application process.

2. Fill out the application form and attach the documents required in order to support your application. This will include the following:

  • one letter of recommendation provided by your academic referee (no longer than 500 words)
  • (interim) degree transcripts
  • Evidence of an internationally recognized English language qualification (if appropriate).

4. Send back the application form stating in your email that you would like to apply for the Scottish Summer Endeavour Scholarship.

5. Remember to enclose any other documents that will support your application.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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