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Swahili 1 Beginners


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies programme.


Swahili is a lingua franca spoken by over a million people. By learning Swahili you will understand the grammatical structure of one of the 500 Bantu languages of Africa. Swahili is spoken in Tanzania, Kenya, the DRC, Rwanda and Burundi and parts of Somalia and Mozambique and is widely recognised outside the continent. It is the official language of the African Union. The global presence of Swahili in radio broadcasting and on internet has no equal among sub-Saharan African languages.
After the first lesson you will be able to greet someone in Swahili and introduce yourself. All grammar is explained through mini tutorials which you will watch at home. During the lectures we will practice Swahili through conversation, exercises, stories, games and music. Since language and culture are so intertwined you will learn a lot about the culture.

Course objectives

After completing this course you are able to have a conversation in Swahili about everyday life. Topics include things you like to do, travelling in Africa, safari’s, animals, food, the weather, the environment, bargaining at the market, customs and giving someone advice.

You will read, write and listen to texts related to these topics and discuss these during the lectures.

This course uses an integrated communicative language learning approach. Everything you can say in Swahili will be practiced during the lectures.

Skill CEFR Level
Reading A2
Writing A1
Listening A1+
Speaking A1


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Three two-hour tutorials every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform your tutor in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent will result in a lowering of the participation grade with 0.5 for every absence after the first five (5) times.

Assessment method

Assessment & weighing

Partial grade Weighing
In-class participation and homework, quizzes (grammar and vocabulary) 20%
Midterm Exam (listening comprehension & reading comprehension & written production) 25%
Final Exam (listening comprehension & reading comprehension & written production) 35%
Oral Exam (presentations and interview and interaction with another student) 20%

End Grade

  • To successfully complete the course, please take note that the End Grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the in-class oral and listening performance, and written exams.

  • The End Grade needs to be a 6.0 or higher to pass the course.


If the End Grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), there is a possibility of retaking the full 80% of the exam material (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). No resit for the tutorial (participation) is possible.

The BA International Studies program does not allow students to resit passed (constituent) examination(s) within the language courses. Language acquisition is, primarily, accomplished through in-class acquisition activities and practical assignments which contribute to the (final) examination. The diverse structure of the language courses and characteristics of language acquisition therefore withhold the possibility to resit a passed examination.

Exam review and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Course material: ‘Tuongee Kiswahili. A practical Swahili course’ by Lowani Afrika Talencentrum. Please contact your teacher to obtain this course book.


  • Enrolment for the workgroup through My Studymap is mandatory.

  • No enrolment needed for the language exams.



Passing this course is an additional requirement for a positive Study Recommendation at the end of the year.

This course uses an integrated communicative language learning method. Therefore active participation in the classroom activities is essential for successful learning outcomes.