Kennedy, Casey




Casey Kennedy

Name: Casey Kennedy


Language: Swahili

Location of Study: Morogoro, Tanania

Program of Study: Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT)  Language and Orientation School

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

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A brief personal bio:

Hello! I’m a sophomore from Indianapolis studying Political Science and International Development Studies. I hope to go to graduate school and study International Development or Public Policy. I eventually would hope to work for an international organization or government program like the State Department or USAID. I have previously volunteered and interned in Kenya at New Life Home Trust with the Amani Children’s Foundation. Through these experiences my interest in Swahili, East Africa, and international development was sparked. I am thrilled to study Swahili at the ELCT Language School in Morogoro, Tanzania this summer!

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

As my commitment to working with New Life Homes and the Amani Children’s Foundation grew, my commitment to learning about East African culture did as well. Attending Indiana University last year, I was able to take two semesters of Swahili. This served to solidify my interest in East Africa and develop an enthusiasm for the language. I have taken an independent study in Swahili this past semester, but am looking forward to the opportunity to study Swahili in an intensive and immersive environment. With academic and career goals focused on development and a particular interest in East Africa, the SLA grant provides the chance to actualize and focus my goals. Swahili is defined as a Critical Language by the State Department conveying a demand for proficient individuals. With hopes to have a career involved in East Africa, speaking Swahili has many practical benefits. I also believe there’s a moral obligation to immersing in and working to understand the culture when working in development. Language is critical to this identity and provides the foundation for relationships formed in solidarity and mutualism.

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

I will not return from this summer fluent in Swahili; however, I hope to expand my language skills to their greatest extent. I think it is attainable to aim to speak conversational Swahili. I hope this will be a strong foundation to continue my Swahili acquisition when returning to campus, better engaging in research, and forming relationships with those I meet in Tanzania. I also seek to develop a greater understanding of Tanzanian culture that will allow me to more fully engage in interactions. Comprehensively, I hope this summer will prepare me for my International Development Studies research project next summer. I am interested in a holistic immersion into the Swahili culture, but also to develop a greater understanding of the political system, policies, and development work in Tanzania. I hope to stretch myself as far as I can with my Swahili and immerse into the culture.

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

  1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand and contribute to everyday conversations in Swahili with native speakers.
  2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to conjugate all verb tenses in Swahili.
  3. At the end of the summer, I will have expanded my Swahili vocabulary relating to Tanzanian politics, adoption policy, and social work and be able to utilize this vocabulary.
  4. At the end of the summer, I will be willing to take risks stretching my comfort zone and mastery of Swahili.
  5. At the end of the summer, I will have a greater understanding of Tanzanian culture and be able to recognize how this relates to its colonial and political history.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:

I intend to take full advantage of my time in Tanzania by, first, preparing and practicing as much as possible before I leave in June. When in Tanzania, I aim to speak only in Swahili. I will be living in a campus setting at the language school which will demand the use of Swahili outside of the classroom and allow for constant immersion. I am to read and study Swahili outside of the classroom as well. It will be challenging to not use English, but I am committed to furthering my Swahili as much as I can through immersion, practice, and participation in campus and cultural activities.