Rokhideh, Maryam


Name: Maryam Rokhideh


Language: Swahili

Location of Study: Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

Program of Study: Amani Language Initiative

Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Kellogg Institute for International Studies

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A brief personal bio:

I am a PhD student in Anthropology and Peace Studies. My current research focuses on well-being and the experience of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a peacebuilding scholar and practitioner, I have worked in Uganda, Rwanda, Colombia, and DR Congo.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

The SLA Grant is pertinent to both my intellectual and professional growth. As an anthropologist, it is very important to me to learn and communicate in the national language of DR Congo and the lingua franca of the region. Language fluency in Kiswahili will not only facilitate relationship-building with my interlocutors but also help me to understand emic perspectives and ways of expression. The SLA Grant will enable me to carry out informal conversations and interviews in Kiswahili, which is pertinent to my research methodology. Thus, the SLA Grant will help lay the foundation of my dissertation research and career goals.

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

With the SLA Grant, I intend to learn the modes of expression that are used in Congolese Swahili culture. I plan to be attentive to how linguistic categories reflect people’s motivations and ways of speaking. I hope to become acquainted with a diverse range of Swahili concepts, texts, and literature. I intend to develop oral competency with suitable accuracy in pronunciation, vocabulary, and language fluency. I hope to gain confidence in my speaking ability and develop a comprehensive list of vocabulary in Kiswahili. Through language training, I plan to be able to accurately read and translate texts/interviews in Kiswahili. With the SLA Grant, I plan to further my appreciation of the social, political, economic and linguistic factors that characterize life in DRC.

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

1) At the end of my language training, I will be able to communicate and carry a coherent conversation in Kiswahili.

2) I will be able to understand the main points of interviews conducted in Kiswahili and translate them into English.

3) I will be able to make friends in DRC, ask them questions about themselves and their lives in Kiswahili.

4) I will learn the emic categories, expressions, and vocabulary of words such as peace, well-being, violence, war, etc.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: