The Swahili language is spoken by millions of East and Central Africans in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Comoro Islands, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Northern Zambia. Swahili is the official national language of Kenya and Tanzania and is one of the working languages of the African Union. The number of Swahili speakers in Africa increases yearly because of its everyday use in media, commerce, education, and as a regional lingua franca. Swahili cultural heritage is intrinsically connected to African Studies, Africana Studies, and the study of other cultures of African origin in other places in the world. So learning a widely-spoken African language, like Swahili, is essential to being an informed, globalized citizen.

Courses Offered:

Six levels of Swahili and a culture course are offered at the University of Pittsburgh. For more information, please click here.

Why Study Swahili?

  • About 140 million people use Swahili
  • Knowledge of Swahili will enrich studies in archeology, anthropology, business, history, literature, politics, sociology, veterinary science, and other degrees.
  • Swahili competency is also crucial to governmental work, international work, and international business.

Use Swahili to Earn Pitt Credentials

Swahili Outside the Classroom

  • Swahili Students Association (SSA): This is a student association that brings together Swahili speakers, Swahili students, and all other people interested in East Africa at Pitt.
  • Swahili Coffee Hour: This is a weekly Swahili conversational hour for Swahili learners and speakers. It aims at providing an opportunity to practice Swahili in a less formal context, and it is supervised by the Swahili Fulbright Foreign Language Assistant (FLTA). This is open to all people who have interest in learning/practicing their Swahili.

What do Students Say?

"Learning Swahili is an incredible opportunity! The class atmosphere is open, fun, and energetic."- Shannon, '14
"With Swahili, you're not only learning a means of communication, but a culture and a way of being. " - Esosa, '16
"Swahili is so different from other languages I've studied which makes learning and speaking it really fun both inside and outside the classroom" - Alicia, '18