Swahili, or Kiswahili, as it is called by the speakers of the language, is the most widely spoken African language south of the Sahara. It is spoken in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This widespread lingua franca is also an official language in Kenya and Tanzania.
Swahili was originally the language of fishing and farming communities in the coastal areas of present-day Southern Somalia and Kenya before the 10th century. Gradually, commercial centers emerged along the entire East African coast giving rise to Swahili culture bearing a strong Islamic influence.
Today, Swahili is used in politics, commerce, trade, primary and secondary education, popular culture and media.
Language schools in Kenya allow students to acquire the necessary communicative skills to function in a Swahili speaking community.
The African Studies and Swahili Language Program at the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi, Kenya, is designed for undergraduate and graduate students interested in intensive Swahili Language Program as well as African history, politics, culture, literature, sociology, art, economics, diplomacy, public relations, environmental studies and humanitarian issues. Coursework is supplemented with field trips, community service and internships at local businesses, international organizations and humanitarian agencies. The Swahili language program includes sightseeing, various excursions and a wildlife safari in Kenya.
USIU is recognized as a leading private secular university in East Africa, with prominent schools of business and international relations. English is the official language of Kenya, as well as the language on USIU's campus (12 miles from the city center). USIU is a multinational institution of higher learning: nearly 50 nationalities are represented in the academic community, which consists of 2,300 students and 140 professors. Students and faculty come from Africa, Asia, Europe and America. USIU is accredited by WASC in the USA and by the Commission for Higher Education of Kenya.
The ASSL program offers Swahili language training and a wide variety of English-taught courses in African history, politics, culture, literature, sociology, art, economics, diplomacy, public relations, environmental studies, and humanitarian issues. Courses in business, international relations, liberal arts, psychology and science are also available. Students must take 2 ASSL core courses and 1 Swahili Language Program; all other courses are optional.
USIU Resident Assistants provide assistance and facilitate positive community experience.
Most Kenyans associate themselves with one of the 70 ethnic tribes, which often have their own unique language. Nairobi is one of Africa's most modern and fastest-growing cities with skyscrapers, outdoor cafes, theaters, museums and western-style hotels.