CIEE Community Development, Language + Culture in Iringa
96% Rating
(8 Reviews)

CIEE Community Development, Language + Culture in Iringa

Take part in a hands-on exploration of the challenges and issues facing Tanzania today, including sanitation, malaria, hunger, and deforestation. And study the Kiswahili (Swahili) language in Iringa. Through fascinating coursework and activities with locals you’ll learn about issues impacting urban, peri-urban, and rural Tanzanian communities. You’ll also participate in a four-week field study with an organization serving orphans, vulnerable children, and underserved populations in rural Tanzania.

Study abroad in Iringa and you'll:
- Explore three distinct communities in Tanzania: The economic epicenter, Dar es Salaam; the small town of Iringa; and the rural village, Mufindi
- Participate in an intensive, four-week, embedded field-study research and volunteer experience at an NGO that addresses public health, and educational and social welfare issues in rural Tanzania

Program Type
Subject Areas
Cultural Studies
Degree Level
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
GPA Requirement
Starting Price
Price Details
The program fee includes:

- Tuition and housing
- Pre-departure advising and optional on-site airport meet and greet
- Full-time program leadership and support
- Field trips and cultural activities
- CIEE iNext travel card which provides insurance and other travel benefits

CIEE also offers a wide variety of scholarships for participants; see website for details.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 8 reviews
  • Academics 7.6
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 7.9
  • Housing 9.4
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
Default avatar


I absolutely loved my time spent in Iringa, I wish I could have stayed longer! I loved the people that I met through the program as well. The month long homestay was an amazing experience that helped me to gain a better understanding of how many Tanzanian people live. I learned so much about the local culture and history through my classes. The weekend excursions were so fun! From hiking to cooking, each of them added significantly to my experience. I would recommend this program to students who are looking for a fun challenge and an incredibly unique study abroad experience!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Be Prepared to Have Fun!

I enjoyed my time spent abroad with the CIEE program. The coordinators are very helpful and supportive during the experience. Mwalimu Paulo is the BEST Swahili teacher. I definitely got hundreds of opportunities to improve my Swahili and Paulo is very dedicated to his students and really pushed me to challenge myself. I would encourage future participants to research the country and really prepare themselves to embark on this journey. There is not a very rigid schedule during the day so be prepared to find your own fun and make friends on your own. I made tons of friends that I am still in contact with to this day. Overall I would recommend this program to anyone who is interested in learning about East Africa.

How can this program be improved?

Better communication, diverse activities, and orientation activities.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Asante Sana Tanzania

It’s hard to summarize four months into just a few lines. In fact, I would say it’s almost impossible to encapsulate the CIEE Iringa program in only words, and believe me I’ve tried. My family and friends are probably tired of hearing story after story about my time in Tanzania, but these are stories that I think I’ll be telling for years to come. I gained so much through this experience: new perspectives, knowledge, relationships, and families. Living in a developing country has its own sets of challenges but every step of the way Justin and Paulo, our fabulous program directors, were there to help. They were receptive and really wanted the most positive experience for us. They truly welcomed us as if we were family. But, they manage to hit the perfective balance of guidance without being overbearing. I got to build relationships with Tanzanians: the nuns in the cafeteria, my roommates, my host family, and research assistant, who helped make my experience unique and culturally authentic. Learning Swahili, living with a host-family, and just soaking up the culture of the Iringa region made the program so powerful. Hands-on learning works best for me and so this program was the perfect fit. Time in the classroom was important but the excursions, research project, and daily adventures of navigating a new place were really the highlights for me. The support and friendships of my fellow US students were irreplaceable. I fell in love with Tanzania and couldn’t be more grateful for this program.

How can this program be improved?

While the classes (minus Swahili and the research seminar) were interesting and relevant, they could often be boring and long. The teaching style in Tanzania is different from the American teaching style. I would have appreciated more heads-up about this before classes started or some more instruction for the professors on how to incorporate discussion and student-centered learning.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Utapenda Tanzania

Other people tell me about how "crazy" their study abroad experiences were. They went somewhere in Europe. They drank beer and sat on a beach and partied for four months. When asked about their classes, they laugh. If that's the study abroad experience you're looking for (no shame), Tanzania is not for you. If you're looking for something more boundary-pushing, CIEE Iringa might be it. It's four months of adjusting to a completely different culture, floundering through a new language, and using every ounce of resourcefulness and flexibility in your body. I won't sugarcoat it; CIEE Iringa is hard. Living so fully in a new culture, with Tanzanian roommates and then a rural Tanzanian host family, is really hard. But I have never had another experience that fulfilling in my life, and I shaved my head on a Buddhist monastery. It had been my dream for years to go to Tanzania after a summer Swahili intensive in high school, and CIEE exceeded my expectations. Anyone can tell you how much I changed when I was there - I came back more confident and capable in a crisis. And I got to lead my very own Passover seder and #exposethepriest and slaughter (read: be slaughtered) in a soccer game against Tanzanian. Plus, Paolo and Justin, our program leaders, are the greatest. No better people to have in your corner when the going gets tough. If you hypothetically go on an unsanctioned trip to a city two hours away with your host father and hypothetically get in trouble with immigration, they will hypothetically save you. Hypothetically of course.

TL;DR CIEE Tanzania is a fantabulous program 10/10 please go but only if you can handle the pressures of such a different environment and plumbing.

How can this program be improved?

Most importantly, there wasn't a lot of preparation for the female/male relationship. It would have been helpful to have a female speak to us about how to respond to catcalling and unwanted attention. While I felt perfectly safe 95% of the time, the other 5% invariably involved a man who was being very forward. Pro tip: find some trustworthy male friends and travel in packs. But there's a lot more nuance and it'd be nice to have a good session about it.
Smaller: a lot of people had some different ideas of what the trip would be like before we got there. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - I was pleasantly surprised and wouldn't have changed my mind - though a clearer picture of what it'd be like before committing would have been helpful in preparing. There were also certain aspects that we had totally misunderstood - something about an internship in a rural village? - that could have been cleared up prior to getting there.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Cultural Community and Lifelong Memories

If you are looking to make memories, meet people that are interesting and amazing, have some of the best instructors and professors out there, this program is for you. With a strong immersion into local culture in the Iringa Region, you will feel as if you have found a second home in Tanzania. Phenomenal staffing that care about you as a student and as a person, be ready to make memories that will last a lifetime. I'll be honest, it was kind of scary at first to come to Tanzania with very limited knowledge of Swahili and almost not knowing anybody else in my class or at the school. But at the end of the day, I found myself having to be dragged back onto the plane to come home. You will get a strong academic program from the classes that work both in the classroom as well as have you out in the community. The classes are extraordinarily interesting, and the Research Seminar was a strong way to prepare me for capstone and term papers, as well as taught me how to properly and ethically deal with human research. If you are concerned about safety, homesickness, or any health concerns, don't worry. Every member of the program, even other students, are there to help support you and support each other along the way. Keep this program strong, because there are very little study abroad programs like this! If you go, I look forward to hearing about your phenomenal experiences. Safari Njema!!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

CIEE Iringa Tanzania

I remember my very first night moving into my dorm room. I was assigned to room 18 where I had one American roommate and two Tanzanian roommates. The room was tiny, barely enough room for all four of us at once. I remember feeling as if I had brought way too much luggage. My Tanzanian roommates were friendly but didn't speak much english and we didn't speak much Swahili. My roommate and I both needed to shower so we gathered our showering supplies (bucket, scooper, shampoo, and soap) and headed on our first of many new experiences, taking a shower out of a bucket. Our water was freezing! We both got back to our room and we both hysterically laughed and cried together. I remember asking myself what I had gotten myself into and feeling like I would never adjust to my new environment. After a few weeks went by though I became so close to my Tanzanian roommates who began to teach me how to live a more comfortable life. For example they would let me borrow their tea kettle so I could heat up my water before my shower so it would be warm. They also helped us to set up our mosquito nets, organize our things, and to learn the language. When I moved out of the dorms to head home I felt so sad to leave the place that I had made my home. Journeying to Tanzania will be full of challenges but it will become one of the hardest experiences you'll love.

How can this program be improved?

I believe that this program could be improved by having a female staff member. In Tanzania there are many gap in gender equality. As a woman there were many times I was cat-called, grabbed, and harassed. I believe having a female staff member who fully understands what it is like to experience these encounters will help the young women on the study abroad to open up to/ feel comfortable talking about their experiences.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

True Adventure

While participating in this program, I was able to do an internship at a school. The school was one room and had nearly 100 students. My classmate and I worked in the school 2 days out of the week for 6 months and formed some incredible bonds with both the teachers and the students. Every day we split up to eat, the men in one room and the women in another. We would eat out of one communal bowl with our hands. We were able to help with some grant writing on the side and get the school enough money to build a new roof. It was a great way to develop skills and work with people. The coolest thing was at the end of the year we attend the graduation, which ended in a big dance party with the students and the mothers.

How can this program be improved?

Safety was always a bit of a problem. We were staying the dorms and there was a guard outside the dorm 24/7, but our rooms were broken into multiple times. By the end of the semester almost everyone had had something stolen.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

I have no words

There are way too many memories, way too many amazing things, to even consider writing them all down. So I'm going to cheat and say "check out my totally unironic and super interesting blog"! Yes, I hate those annoying self-promoting bloggers too. For real though, Tanzania is great, CIEE is great, everything is great. Don't let the words "Africa, malaria, developing country, etc." scare you.

How can this program be improved?

I would focus a little bit more on the hands-on Community Development experience. There was lots of theory, but not as much real volunteer experience.

Yes, I recommend

About CIEE

A nonprofit, non-governmental organization, CIEE is the world leader in international study and exchange programs. For 65 years, CIEE has helped thousands of students, professionals, and educators gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and...