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Languages at UW-Madison



Swahili unites speakers throughout a wide region of East Africa, from Zanzibar on the Indian Ocean to Congo in Central Africa. This wide adoption makes Swahili one of the major languages of the African continent; it is an official language of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, as well as of the African Union. The cultural heritage of Swahili plays an important role in the African Diaspora, making it a prominent starting point in fields of African Studies, African-American Studies, and the study of other cultures of African origin throughout the world. Knowledge of Swahili is important to governmental work, international non-governmental organizations, and international businesses.

Majors & Certificates 

African Languages & Literatures Major, African Studies Certificate; visit the Majors & Certificates page for more information.


Toni Landis,

Katrina Daly Thompson,

Language Conversation Table 

Swahili table, Mondays, 4-5pm, Union South (near Scoops)

Study Abroad 

You can study Swahili in several countries in Africa. Visit the International Academic Programs Majors Advising Page to learn more. Additional opportunities are available through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Student Organizations 

African Cultural Studies Student Association; browse the Wisconsin Involvement Network for more information.


Consider an internship where you can use Swahili, either in the US or abroad. An internship in any field can complement your language study and can provide valuable professional experience.