Harvard Summer Program in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
A dynamic space of encounter for over two millennia, the Indian Ocean world far preceded the majority of the globe into what are often described as relatively recent phenomena: “transnationalism,” “religious pluralism,” “transcontinental trade,” and “globalization.” Delivering a diverse array of seafaring Indians, Arabs, Persians, and Europeans to the East African coast, the winds and waves of the Indian Ocean have enables a complex exchange of peoples and knowledges, languages and cultures, beliefs and stories, commodities and curiosities, philosophies and technologies, weapons and gifts, vices and violence, dreams and desires.
This eight-week program based in Dar es Salaam at the heart of the “Swahili coast” explores the lasting legacies of these long transoceanic conversations, in multiple languages, from varying points of view, and through varied expressive practices as they reverberate in the lives, languages, and cultures of Tanzanians today. The program aims to equip students with the intellectual, cultural, linguistic, and ethical tools necessary to skillfully and responsibly navigate their own encounters with the Indian Ocean world.
The program will introduce you to the peoples, cultures, and languages of the Indian Ocean world. You enroll in two 4-credit courses: one Swahili language course, and another course, East Africa and the Indian Ocean World, which will offer a kaleidoscopic, interdisciplinary exploration of themes related to the political, cultural, economic, and religious exchanges which have shaped and defined the region. Daily morning classes will be complemented by activities ranging from guest lectures to guided tours of local districts, to film screenings, cultural festivals, and local volunteer opportunities, and your experience of the local language and culture will take diverse forms, from listening to Swahili “Bongo Flava” hip-hop and participating in Tanzania’s cultural traditions of cuisine preparation and consumption, to observing codes of conduct, watching contemporary Kenyan soap operas, hearing traditional Swahili folktales, bumping along rutted roads in daladalas, gliding through gentle waves in hand-carved dhows, perusing the meticulously organized national archives, and jostling through bustling local markets and raucous bus stations.
You will gain a deeper appreciation for the historical, cultural, and natural diversity and beauty of Tanzania through excursions to a number of significant sites across the country, which may include the storied island of Zanzibar, the historical town of Bagamoyo, the city of Arusha, nestled between the peaks of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro, as well as a safari through the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater.
Spend the final week volunteering at Neema International, working with disadvantaged children, orphans and youth in education-based projects that empower women, children and the community in Moshi, Tanzania.
AAAS S-140 Study Abroad in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: East Africa and the Indian Ocean World (34749)
This course introduces students to the dynamic Indian Ocean world that gave rise to modern-day Tanzania. For over two millennia, encounters between East Africans and a diverse collection of sea-faring Indians, Arabs, Persians, and Europeans promoted a complex exchange of peoples, customs, and ideas that nurtured the Swahili civilization and made Kiswahili a leading international language. Students trace the social, economic, and political life of the region through the borrowings that populate the Swahili culture, from the spices flavoring a Zanzibari curry or a Ugandan sweet chai, to the architectural details of the doorways of Mombasa and the safari lodges of the Rift Valley, the religious practices of mosques and temples, the characters in folklore, the instruments played in orchestras, the crops grown on farms, and the fabrics adorning bodies. By the end of the summer, students gain substantial knowledge of both Swahili and responsible social engagement—learning what it means to live with, and thrive amidst, difference.
SWAH S-AB Study Abroad in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Beginning Swahili II (34750)
A continuation of SWAH S-Aa, this course is a study of the lingua franca of East Africa. In addition to classroom instruction, students learn Swahili through a social engagement approach to language study; this includes project-based, experiential learning with local instructors, as well as volunteer teaching. The study of Swahili vocabulary and grammar is closely linked to an immersive exploration of East African culture and society. Emphasis on written expression, reading comprehension, and oral fluency.
Prerequisite:SWAH S-Aa or the equivalent.
SWAH S-AA Study Abroad in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Beginning Swahili I (34561)
A study of the lingua franca of East Africa at the elementary level. In addition to classroom instruction, students learn Swahili through a social engagement approach to language study; this includes project-based, experiential learning with local instructors, as well as volunteer teaching. The study of Swahili vocabulary and grammar is closely linked to an immersive exploration of East African culture and society. Emphasis on written expression, reading comprehension, and oral fluency.
Where you live and study
Dar es Salaam, the former capital, largest city, and economic hub of Tanzania, is a rapidly developing metropolis with modern amenities and a history and culture closely linked to that of the broader “Swahili Coast.” Studying in Tanzania at this time in history will offer you a unique opportunity to witness the country's rapid, ongoing transition from a socialist system that resisted Western influence to a capitalist economy facing all the challenges of a post-colonial African state. The University of Dar es Salaam is the premier institution of higher learning in Tanzania and a world leading institution in Afro Indian Ocean research and scholarship. The Taasisi ya Uchunguzi wa Kiswahili The Institute for Kiswahili Studies is the world’s mecca for Swahili studies.
You will live in a hotel near the center of Dar es Salaam for first three weeks of the program. Hotel amenities include wi-fi, 24/7 concierge service, in-room refrigerators, and fee-based laundry service. Daily breakfasts will be provided. You spend the next three weeks staying with University of Dar es Salaam faculty families on campus. Provisions in the homestays will include your own room, as well as daily breakfast and dinner. You will live in a hotel in Moshi for the final two weeks of the program with Neema International Provisions.
Early application is strongly encouraged. Each program has unique requirements included in the online application. Beginning your application early is the best way to ensure that you have sufficient time to review and complete the application requirements by the deadline.
You may apply to no more than two programs; if applying to two programs, you will be asked to rank your two applications in order of preference (first and second choice). Any applications submitted in excess of the maximum of two will be automatically withdrawn. You will be notified of your admissions status in each program by late February.
A complete online application includes:
- Basic personal information
- A statement of interest
- Your most recent transcript
- Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, audio or video submissions, etc.)
Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.
Harvard College students applying for funding from the Office of Career Services (OCS): Please note that the OCS funding application is separate. OCS funding awards are tied to a specific program, and cannot be transferred to another program.
If you have questions about the application, please contact the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Office by email at email@example.com, or by telephone at (617) 998-9602.
Cost & Expenses
The program fee includes:
- Scheduled program activities
- Some meals (the program will provide further details)
You will also need to budget for a number of expenses not covered by the program fee. The amounts listed below for these out-of-pocket expenses are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not noted here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including personal spending habits and currency exchange rates.
- International airfare ($1,600 - $2,000)
- Ground transportation ($200)
- Meals ($1,200)
- Personal expenditures, communications, course materials, and miscellaneous ($500)
If you have specific questions about personal budgeting, please contact the program directly. See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options.
- John M. Mugane, PhD, Professor of the Practice of African Languages and Cultures and Director of the African Language Program, Harvard University