• Tanzania
Subject Areas

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Associates Bachelors Masters


Starting Price
$2,000 USD
Price Details
The cost for this program is an additional £1000 for 4 weeks in Tanzania. This covers: insurance, full board accommodation, social and cultural activities and weekend excursions (safari at Serengeti, Victoria Lake). The flights need to be purchased separately and in addition to the aforementioned.
Aug 15, 2019
Sep 21, 2015

About Program

If you would like to learn Swahili in its natural environment, but with a world-renowned institution of higher education, this is the perfect choice! This course takes you to Butiama, the hometown of the late Julius Nyerere, the first president of independent Tanzania, and you will be studying and living in his family home. Outside of the classroom, there will be ample opportunities to get to know local people, learn various aspects of traditional culture and explore other parts of Tanzania like the Serengeti and Lake Victoria. Completion of the course will enable you to gain academic credit and to confidently utilize Swahili in a wide range of environments.

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Summer School University of Edinburgh.

Program Reviews

9.8 Rating
based on 5 reviews
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  • Academics 9.4
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Swahili Summer School 2015

Definitely apply for this if you are given the chance. For anybody who would usually shy away from opportunites like this, I'd strongly advise you to take this as a step out of your comfort zone, because it's an absolutely fantastic trip, filled with opportunities that you truly may not get for the rest of your life.

In terms of the language course itself, there is no more perfect setup for learning Swahili. You are welcomed warmly into the country by everybody you meet, are given the opportunity to practise your language skills on a daily basis and have a constant support system for any queries or questions. Something that hasn't been emphasised enough is how fantastic the balance of teaching is when you are over there. Personally, I have never had access to such a useful way of learning another language - usually you are either taught by a native speaker or an English speaker with a high level of knowledge of the language. Here, you have both AND the benefit of being surrounded by the language every day for a month. I think even those who struggle in picking up languages would do greatly here - the setup is faultless. We all returned speaking and understanding far much more than we thought we would! The word 'intensive' with regard to a language course can be a little intimidating, but Butiama is a brilliantly relaxing atmosphere to learn in, especially when you appreciate the history that surrounds you.

It would have been a brilliant trip even if we had to work 24/7 on our Swahili and do nothing else. However, the trip was packed with cultural activities that were even more amazing than we all knew they were going to be. As you'll have perhaps read on the summer school blog or in another of these reviews, we had activities such as clay pot making, visits to schools and African drumming and dancing during the week and trips away at the weekends. Highlights for me from the weekday activities were the walks/hikes around the local area and up nearby hills. There is something magical about looking up into the sky and not seeing commercial buildings or bright lights.
Another personal highlight for me was the trip to Rubondo Island - this was a place I hadn't heard of before our trip, but would recommend for anybody who has a chance, as it is absolutely stunning. The Serengeti safari of course cannot go unmentioned - it is again one of those things that I didn't think I'd have the opportunity to do for many years, but there it was for us, right there, simply because we had the confidence to apply for the programme.

The Swahili summer school course is nothing short of an adventure - you'll come back with a load of stories that it'll take weeks to tell, an appreciation of a culture that is so strikingly different to ours and an experience that'll last you a lifetime.

Huge thankyou to everyone involved in organising the trip - it was fantastic.

What would you improve about this program?
There were no problems that tainted the trip in any way for me. The only improvements I can suggest are with regard to the logistics in preparation for the trip. We didn't know what a lot of the plans were until quite close to departure. This didn't create any huge issues, though!
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Brilliant opportunity

The Swahili summer school provided me with a fantastic experience of another culture and language.

Through the support and encouragement of the teachers I was able to learn a surprisingly large amount of Swahili. The weekend trips provided an excellent opportunity to practice the language, as well as explore the beautiful country and culture of Tanzania.

The staff on the trip were entirely approachable and made sure that everyone felt comfortable. There were several opportunities to provide feedback and make suggestions of future activities.

I would highly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to learn another language or experience a different culture.

What would you improve about this program?
Although as a Swahili beginner I had an amazing time, it's possible that this trip would be better suited to those with a greater level of Swahili who would be able to get more from practicing with the local people.
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I was lucky enough to be one of the 10 students to go to Butiama on the Swahili A course this summer. I took so much more form this program than just being able to speak Swahili. This was one of the best months in my life! The teaching, accommodation, and people were amazing! Outside of learning the language, the trips were fantastic once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing that could be improved would be the pre departure sessions. It would have been useful to have the information a little earlier.
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Swahili Summer School - August 2015

In August this year (2015) I participated in the Swahili Summer School in Butiama, Tanzania with the University of Edinburgh. Quite simply, it was one of the most amazing, challenging and exciting experiences I have ever had, and I would love the opportunity to go back and do it all again. I left for Tanzania vaguely knowing how to greet someone in Swahili and returned with a strong grounding in the language which I can now build on in the future. However, not only do you come back knowing a surprising amount of Swahili, but you also return with a group of new friends. During your time in Tanzania you will really get to know the other students you are there with, and you share so many experiences with each other that friendships lasting long after the trip has finished are formed.

Tanzania is a diverse country, with beautiful scenery, a rich culture and most importantly warm and welcoming people: "Karibu Tanzania" ("Welcome to Tanzania") is heard almost daily. It is also much, much larger than the UK, so be prepared for long bus journeys!

The Swahili language course is challenging, and the lessons and tutorials progress at a fast pace. However you are supported along the way by excellent teaching, led by Steve who is helped by other teachers who live in Tanzania. The teachers ("Walimu") are always around to answer any questions you have. Lessons are delivered in small groups, are interactive, and encourage you to speak Swahili as much as possible. The relaxed environment means you aren't afraid to make mistakes, and this only aids further progression. Homework exercises are issued 2-3 times a week, and there is a relatively large workload, but knowing that the more your Swahili progresses the better your experience of being in Tanzania will be is a great encouragement for getting through the required study outside of class. The more you put into the course, the more you get out of it, and the teachers will support you with this all the way. Personally I was amazed at how far the group progressed in such a short space of time - credit I am sure to the excellent teaching we received. Additionally, living in a Swahili-speaking community is without doubt the best way to learn the language, and throughout your time in Tanzania there is ample opportunity to practice your skills, whether this be shopping at the weekly market, chatting to local people, or visiting a school.

Outside of lessons, there are equally important opportunities to learn about and experience Tanzanian culture. During the week you will have the chance to participate in a huge variety of activities, including African dancing and drumming, traditional clay pot making, school visits, and walks to climb some of the hills surrounding Butiama, where the stunning views reach as far a Lake Victoria! At the weekends, you will go on excursions further afield. For us this included visiting The Sukuma Museum (near Mwanza), camping on Rubondo Island (a national park in the middle of Lake Victoria), and a Serengeti Safari! There are too many stories from all of these experiences to share here, but each trip was unique and I have formed some amazing memories from them which will last a lifetime.

So in summary, if you are feeling adventurous and want to try learning something completely different in your summer, then I really have no doubt this would be a great programme for you! I hope you have as much fun as I did!

What would you improve about this program?
Overall I feel that for being the first year that this summer school has run, the entire experience went exceptionally well with only a few minor teething problems which are always going to occur.

It would have been useful in the run up to the trip if information regarding departures etc. was provided earlier just to enable a smoother planning process, but this is a minor point. Overall I feel this was an excellent programme which worked extremely well, something which is credit to the excellent work put in by Tom and Steve in organising the trip.
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Swahili-The Best Learning Community

Steve is very dedicated to the teaching of Swahili. He is always ready to offer his professional and practical helps. Learning a new language can be challenging but is also rewarding in the long run. The way you learn Swahili here is progressive and interactive. You can take as much as you want out of this course. At the end of the program, you will feel amazed at what you have accomplished.
Learning Swahili has opened myself up to new possibilities. If you feel an urge to be different then do not hesitate.

2 people found this review helpful.

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