Stubbs, Sarah

Stubbs, Sarah
Name: Sarah Stubbs
Language: Swahili
Location of Study: Morogoro town, Morogoro Region, Tanzania
Program of Study: ELCT Language and Orientation School
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, Kellogg Institute for International Studies

A brief personal bio:

Hi everyone! I’m a Biology/Pre-Med student from northeastern Minnesota. I’m doing an International Development minor, focusing on global health, and in the future, I hope to go to medical school, and eventually work internationally with an organization like the WHO, Doctors Without Borders, or Catholic Relief Services. My previous international experiences have taken me to Canada (since I’m practically on the border), Ecuador for a Timmy Global Health brigade, India for an internship with the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children, study abroad in London, and now Tanzania at the ELCT Language and Orientation School!

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

My goal for the SLA program in Morogoro, Tanzania is to gain a basic conversational understanding of Swahili that will enable me to hold short conversations. I plan to spend the first 6 weeks of the summer in Morogoro, beginning to understand the language and culture of the region by investing myself fully into my studies and interactions with the community. Then I will travel to the Mara region, where I will have a chance to directly apply my new language skills during an independent research project, as part of my IDS minor curriculum. Since most of my research will be in qualitative data, a greater understanding of the culture and language of Tanzania will allow me to understand the issues of the region more fully, as well as enhance my ability to communicate with staff and locals in the location I plan to research. The immersion will also guide future interactions with east African culture through professional and personal encounters.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

I hope that by developing an elementary understanding of the Swahili language, I will be able to enhance my ability to interact with Tanzanians, have a participatory role in non-English discussions, be more accurate in my findings, and engage in my research more fully. Of course, I will not become a Swahili expert in 6 weeks, but by exposure to the language through immersion, my goal is to have a closer collaboration and more holistic connection with the people I meet during the course of the summer. This experience will also be beneficial to my more distant future, since I plan to pursue a future in international medical and health development, perhaps in eastern Africa. My experience will also more broadly prepare me for interactions with people of various backgrounds and cultures that I may encounter as a physician, exposing me to radically new situations and allowing me to see things from a different perspective. If all goes well, I do hope to return to east Africa in the future to continue further studies, research, and/or health development projects.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

  1. At the end of my summer study abroad, I will be able to demonstrate a high level of cultural proficiency in Tanzania that will allow me to recognize and utilize appropriate phrases and behaviors, and relate to locals on a personal level.
  2. At the end of my summer study abroad, I will be able to converse with local Tanzanians about basic subjects like food, objects, activities, and relationships.
  3. At the end of my summer study abroad, I will be able to explain who I am and what my goals are for my time in Africa to others in their native language.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:

I plan to take advantage of any opportunities I have to engage with the Morogoro community.   I chose the ELCT School for reasons including that instruction is by native Tanzanian speakers who are also very fluent in English. They will be able to guide me to experiences that expose me to the local culture. The school is located on a combined campus with classes for about 800 secondary school and junior college students. The center serves the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, where there will be opportunities for me to attend church services in Swahili with some of the students and faculty, helping me build relationships outside of classroom acquaintances. I will cultivate these relationships as much as possible to practice my language skills informally. There are also activity centers, local newspapers, and mission trips to nearby villages that I can participate in to practice language.

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Reflection on my language learning and intercultural gains:

Reflection on my summer language abroad experience overall:

How I plan to use my language and intercultural competences in the future: