Pitt in Tanzania: Language, Culture and Society


IMPORTANT: This program is for the students who are either pursuing education-related majors/minors, or are planning teaching/education-related careers.

If you have questions about your eligibility for this program, please contact Oksana Stalczynski at oks5@pitt.edu.

The Pitt in Tanzania: Language, Culture, and Society is a program which is created by the Center for African Studies (CAS) in collaboration with the Less Commonly Taught Language (LCTL) Center. The program is designed to offer integrated and comprehensive training in the Swahili language and interdisciplinary hands-on experiences of the culture, history, geography, politics, development, and social and economic realities of the East African region. The Summer 2023 program will be a six-week seminar funded by the US Department of Education through the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) programs, and it will be situated in Arusha, Tanzania, with other activities expected to take place in Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, Zanzibar, and Nairobi, Kenya. 

The project consists of three distinct but related components: (1) a one-week pre- travel orientation phase to prepare and equip participants with basic knowledge and skills needed for travel and study in a foreign country – Tanzania (East Africa); (2) a six-week overseas phase in the host country that will offer Swahili language training, lectures on selected interdisciplinary topics by guest speakers, fieldwork, community activities, excursions, and field trips; and,  (3) a post-seminar phase to allow for follow up activities and dissemination of outcomes.

Overseas Visits and Stays: Arusha will be our host city, in which most of our activities will take place. We will be in Arusha for a total of 28-eight inconsequent nights, of which five nights will be spent at homestays. We will take a two-night trip to Nairobi, Kenya, to experience the culture and language in a different East African country. We will take a two-night trip to Manyara and Ngorongoro National Parks for safari, sightseeing, and visiting one of the most popular paleoanthropological areas in the world. We will also take a four-night trip to explore Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, and one of the oldest Swahili cities, Bagamoyo. Lastly, we will take a three-night trip to Zanzibar to learn about the major Swahili islands. Enriching excursions and cultural activities will be incorporated in all the places that will be visited.



What You'll Accomplish: 

This program will facilitate an African Studies educational experience and allow participants to engage in a unique, credit-worthy experience (7 credits), and assist them in developing the tools and global outlook to effectively incorporate African studies into their teaching professions. All credits can apply towards the certificate in African studies and the minor in Swahili.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

  1. Enhance participants’ language proficiency of the most widely spoken African language, Swahili, and its culture through classroom instruction and immersion activities.
  2. Formulate a broader understanding of the East African historical/political/cultural context through encountering places and peoples firsthand.
  3. Gain global perspectives by experiencing the language, culture, and society through building cross-cultural relationships


The program will be located in Arusha, Tanzania. Arusha is a city located at the base of volcanic Mt. Meru, at 4566m above sea level. Arusha is known as a gateway to some of the world’s popular destinations, such as Ngorongoro, Serengeti, and Kilimanjaro. Africa's highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895m), lies some 100 kilometers northeast. To the west lies Manyara, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti National Parks, which are home to wildlife, including elephants, lions, rhinoceros, buffaloes, giraffes, and leopards. Dubbed as the Geneva of Africa due to hosting the African Court of African Union, Arusha is Tanzania’s main diplomatic city, serving also as the headquarter of the East African Community with seven member states – Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and D.R. Congo. The Arusha metro area is home to over 500,000 residents of different ethnic groups from the surrounding regions and the entire country. Approximately 12 miles from the city center lies a well-established college known as MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation (MS TCDC). The MS TCDC is one of the most famous institutes for hosting international students in the country and has hosted several nationally recognized programs for decades. That is where this program will be housed.

Where You'll Live: 

Students will stay in shared accommodations at the MS TCDC.

You can expect the following:

  • Double rooms 
  • Bedding
  • Shared bathrooms
  • Breakfast
  • Wi-Fi 
  • Laundry service – extra fee

You will be required to stay with a host family for a total of 5 days, usually over the weekend. Days for homestays will be provided on the program itinerary. The host families have years of experience in hosting foreign students, therefore you will enjoy your stay while experiencing culture and family life in Tanzania.


What You'll Study: 

You will take two courses for seven credits.

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor, or certificate requirement, please meet with your respective advisor to discuss the program and what the courses will fulfill for you.



Introduction to East Africa: Culture & Society (Africana Studies1083)

This course will introduce students to East Africa--the people, culture and society in comparative perspective. It will explore the historical and cultural transformations that have occurred in the context of economic forces and social processes responsible for shaping the everyday existence of the people in the region and particularly in Tanzania.  Class field visits to sites in Dar es Salaam will include a number of the following: visit to a local school, local orphanage, among others.

Beginning Swahili Abroad (SWAHIL0111)

Beginning Swahili Abroad

Continuing Swahili Abroad (SWAHIL0112)

Continuing Swahili Abroad 

The program will be managed both locally at the MS TCDC in Tanzania and at the University of Pittsburgh through the Center for African Studies, the LCTL Center, the Global Experiences Office, and with oversight from the program director, Filipo Lubua. In-country activities will be coordinated by the local coordinator, Yusta Violet Mganga. Courses will be taught by Swahili instructor Mr. Said Omar from MS TCDC, and the project Director will also offer the Introduction to East Africa course.


Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Oksana Stalczynski

Privet! I'm Oksana Stalczynski and I'm an Assistant Director of Study Abroad at the Global Experiences Office. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, was an exchange student and Russian Language Scholar at Reed College in Portland, OR and did a summer language program in Dresden, Germany. Global experiences broaden your horizon, grow your circle of friends and improve your career opportunities. That’s why I think everyone should do one!

Feel free to contact me to find out more about global experiences programs at Pitt, and/or to learn/practice some Russian.


Schedule an appointment

  • Click here to schedule an appointment with me through Pathways.
  • Log into Pathways with your Pitt username and password.
  • Select Find Available Time.
  • Select the time that works for you.
  • Click the schedule button
  • You will see a confirms message on the screen. You will also receive a confirmation in your Pitt email.

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email.

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Filipo Lubua

Dr. Lubua hails from Tanzania and holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and a master’s in Applied Linguistics from Ohio University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with Education from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He joined the Linguistics Department at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, where he currently works as a lecturer and Swahili Program Coordinator. As Project Director, he will ensure that all activities in Pittsburgh and the host country are completed according to the plan. He will also teach the Introduction to East Africa Culture course.


Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Program Cost $1,000 $1,200
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $1,300 $1,500

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Vaccinations and any required prophylaxis $400
Personal Expenses and Meals $500
Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.
What's Included: 

As a part of the Department of Education grant and student’s contributions, the following are included:

  • Tuition for seven credits
  • Housing
  • Daily meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • International Health Insurance
  • Excursions
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Class related activities
  • Program related performances


What Else You Need to Know: 

IMPORTANT: This program is for the students who are either pursuing education-related majors/minors, or are planning teaching/education-related careers.

If you have questions about your eligibility for this program, please contact Oksana Stalczynski at oks5@pitt.edu.

  • The first week of the program takes place in Pittsburgh.
  • Due to the nature of the program, the schedule is subject to change. There may be instances where a guest speaker or visit needs to be rescheduled. We ask for your patience and understanding in advance.
  • Remember that this is an intensive summer seminar and that you should expect to invest the same amount of time and effort in your courses abroad as you would on a course at Pitt.
  • All scheduled activities and excursions are part of the seminar and classes you are taking. They are mandatory.