CLS Swahili Kiswahili

The Swahili Language

Swahili, often referred to as Kiswahili, is the national language of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the lingua franca for as many as 150 million people in Central and East Africa. It is also one of the official languages of the African Union and the East African Community. For centuries, Swahili has been a key language of trade and culture across East Africa and continues today to be the key language for some of the fastest growing countries in the world. Today African languages, especially regional languages like Swahili, are more in demand than ever before as international businesses look to expand into the African market.

East Africa is a region renowned for its stunning natural beauty, friendly people, and its diverse languages and cultures. The CLS Swahili program offers a chance to get a foothold into this region and the opportunity to communicate with people across a broad spectrum of countries and cultures.

Program Sites


Featured Alumni Profiles

Kerry Burgott
Bangla 2017
Kolkata, India
Baltazar Hernandez
Russian 2017
Vladimir, Russia
Jessica Garross
Urdu 2017
Lucknow, India
Akshayaa Chittibabu
Korean 2017
Gwangju, South Korea

Swahili Stories

CLS 2017 Application Launches!

We are pleased to announce the opening of the competition for the U.S. Department of State 2017 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in fourteen critical foreign languages. The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State... Read more

Announcing the 2016 CLS Application!

We are pleased to announce the opening of the competition for the U.S. Department of State 2016 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program in fourteen critical foreign languages. The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau ... Read more

CLS Adds Swahili to Languages Offered in 2016

The CLS Program is happy to announce the addition of Swahili as a language offered by the CLS Program in 2016. The CLS Swahili Program will accept students at the Beginning, Advanced Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced levels.Swahili, often re... Read more