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    Kiswahili Department Profiles and Essays


    When I arrived in Kenya, I thought learning Kiswahili was a natural thing to do; although you can communicate with most people in English, it is true that learning a very nice language, universally used throughout the whole country (and beyond) is a clear asset that can help you have a more complete understanding of people, context and the country itself.

    After a few months from the start of my classes, I am convinced that learning Kiswahili is helping me getting a more complete idea of Kenya; moreover it is definitely helping me in everyday’s conversation with the people I meet for my job and during free time.

    The approach of The Language Center is an excellent one; conversation (which is how Kiswahili is turning out the most useful for me) is strongly encouraged, and a progressive learning experience is put in front of the student. All classes approach practical subject such as greeting, ordering food and drinks, asking for the time, talking about your weekend or your work; the focus is really on how Kiswahili can turn out useful for a foreigner, in everyday’s life.

    I also appreciate the flexibility the courses have: if your work brings you to deal with environment for example, classes and vocabulary will focus on that. It is common sense, but not always the case and I found this very helpful for me. You can be the “master” of your course and direct it in the direction you want.

    The courses also have a good focus on grammar; they are not grammar-by-itself centered, but explain the (not always easy to catch) grammar rules of Kiswahili in the context of to the conversation as need arise, and with extreme clarity.

    I also find the possibility of choosing group or individual classes, extremely useful: I ended up choosing the individual one because of timing issues in combining work and language classes, and having this option allows The Language Center to adapt to all clients’ needs.

    I was originally recommended The Language Center by different friends, I am truly satisfied after some months and would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in learning Kiswahili as a foreign language.
    Giulio (Italy)


    The Language Center is a very valuable resource in Nairobi. As an American student living in Nairobi I found it difficult to move around without knowing a word of Swahili. I was looking for a way to learn Swahili but my schedule was not very flexible. Through another expat I discovered The Language Center. It turned out to be a perfect fit! The location is fantastic. It’s easy to reach it by public transport or by taxi. Also, instructors there are able to work with my schedule. I can take classes at times that are convenient for me, for exactly the number of hours per week that suits me. My instructor is a wonderful teacher. He is patient and enthusiastic. He gauges the needs of each student of the class and adjusts his pace accordingly. I always feel challenged by the course. In a very short period of time I have learned a lot of Swahili and feel confident enough to use it daily. I have also met many great friends at The Language Center. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to learn a foreign language for fun or for business!
    Naeemah Kitchens


    Receiving Kiswahili lessons at The Language Center has been a wonderful addition to my life in Kenya. I work with many Kenyans all over the country and being able to converse with them in Kiswahili has helped not just on a professional level, but culturally as well. The class itself is interactive and the school compound is a perfect atmosphere for learning. I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn a new language, as my teacher is full of energy and the entire TLC staff is very friendly. If my work schedule permitted it, I would love to take classes more often.
    Traci Yoshiyama


    Hello! My name is Sonia. I am a French Canadian lay missionary.

    The first thing I had to do when I arrived in Kenya two months ago, was to learn the national language which is Swahili. I really enjoy coming to The Language Center because the teachers are competent, nice and funny! It is really nice to be in such a multicultural environment, meeting people from everywhere in the world.

    The staff is very kind, the place is calm and secure.

    Thank you all not only for teaching me your beautiful language, but also for teaching me the Kenyan way of living and traditions. To learn about the culture where our feet are is, from my point of view, as much important as to learn the language of the people of that culture and, you do it very well…… Asante sana!
    By: Anonymous (student of Kiswahili language)


    I am learning Kiswahili at The Language Center 20 hours a week. Although I had little knowledge of the language, now I can see my significant improvement as experienced teachers have been guiding me step by step.

    Learners are given original textbook which covers fundamental grammar points, relevant vocabularies, as well as cultural note. During our class (group of four beginners), each learner is given a lot of opportunity to practice speaking, listening, writing and reading Kiswahili to construct comprehensive language skill. If you pop in our classroom and observe our activities, you may think teacher and learners are just chatting and joking in English with a lot of fun. However, we are well encouraged to speak in standard Kiswahili (not Sheng; mixture of broken Swahili and English) under proper guidance by teachers even if we have limited knowledge and vocabulary. Teachers also give us a lot of stories relating to “Life and Culture in Nairobi/Kenya/Africa” which may be beyond language lesson but very important know-how to enjoy life in Kenya.

    This country, being hub of eastern Africa, is attracting a lot of foreigners (visitors, diplomats, missionaries, businessmen, NGO workers, volunteers, etc) coming from Europe, Asia, America and so on. Many of them are eager to learn Kiswahili because you will enjoy more interaction (including shopping in local market) with local wananchi (ordinary people) if you speak to them in Kiswahili. Interaction with other learners having different background is also fun and useful.

    I believe The Language Center, with tireless supports by teachers and administration staff, will assist you if you want to enrich your life in Nairobi/Kenya by making friends of Kenyan people as well as many students from all over the world.
    Naganuma Keiichi


    I have been going to The Language Center for two months to learn Kiswahili. I joined the bigger group and just enjoy not only learning a different language but also making new friends at The Language Center. The Center provides different levels for the needs of learners so that we could get the best experience in learning local languages in Kenya.

    The group class usually provides very friendly environment for the new-comers to easily become a part of it. Also, it provides very good opportunity to practice conversation skills which will expedite your language skill improvement. The staff are also very nice to help. Tea time at the break provides another opportunity to meet people from different classes. I thank The Language Center for their great efforts for all the students.
    Ej Chang and Ga Ilro


    I just started private Kiswahili classes at The Language Center and I recommend the Center and the method of instruction. The lessons are geared to getting one conversant as quickly as possible, offering enough information to increase your confidence in the language without overwhelming you with every grammar rule all at once. Having studied three additional foreign languages using a variety of methods, I find this method the most rewarding and encouraging for those who wish to be conversational as soon as possible. In addition to the learning method, the Center staff and professors are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful creating a positive learning environment.
    Communications Consultant and current Kiswahili student


    I enjoy my Kiswahili lessons with my classmates. The class is always participatory and joyful. Our teacher always motivates us. I look forward to learn more so that I can speak with Kenyans in Swahili. The Language Center is very recommendable for anyone who wants to learn language with short time.
    By: Anonymous (student of Kiswahili language)


    It’s too easy to get around with English in Kenya, but then you’re always an outsider. Despite trying to learn Swahili by myself, I never really got anywhere. Until I started taking lessons at The Language Center.

    Since I knew some Swahili since before I was placed in a small group with two other students who were at the same level.

    And I must say, I have got several “a-ha’s”, when the teacher has explained difficult things in a very easy-to-understand way. During two months, with only 4-6 hours of lessons per week. I have learnt enough to communicate pretty well.

    Most importantly, I can now communicate with my in-laws, as my wife is Kenyan. I only miss being able to learn Samburu. But flexible as they are at The Language Center, I’ve been told that if we are a group of people who are serious about learning Samburu, they will organize for a teacher and write their own teaching material.

    I highly recommend The Language Center for anyone willing to learn Swahili or any other language. The learning speed is up to you, you choose how often you want to have lessons and if you want to be in a private, semi-private or group class.

    Whatever your choice, soon, you will be speaking with confidence.
    Daniel Westergren


    First, it is important for me to know what the word “Language” means, based in the dictionary, “it is a method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conversational way”. Indeed, it is true. As a Missionary, it is an essential tool for me to continue and pursue my mission here in Africa. Language is the foremost and basic material to know the culture, traditions, ideas, opinions/point of views, survival, happenings and most especially to communicate with the people, to be one of them by sharing and acquiring their language. Learning a certain language that is totally different from my language is not easy, it goes beyond my border. It means sometimes leaving my comfort zone to take some risk and do some challenging and adventurous things that hoping someday I will reap some fruits by establishing good relationship and trust with the people here in Africa and vice versa with them. In this, the role of Language Schools is very essential and helpful for us who are new or most call us foreigners in this country.

    The Language Center Ltd is one of the many language schools here in Nairobi. For me, honestly speaking I was attracted first by the school because it is near where I live, as they said the more you know the person the more your perspective deepen and widen but in this case it is an institution. For almost 8 weeks in the Center, I can attest that the school is really serious in the quality of promoting and implementing good education towards their students. They hired good and competent teachers, friendly staff, workers that always ready to lend their help whenever problems occur. They offer good courses in different languages such as Spanish, French, English, Chinese, Kiswahili and other vernacular languages. Through observing, the school is not really particular on the quantity but they focus more on the quality of products they will produce and the satisfaction of the students as well. The school’s environment and diversity is rich and conducive for learning. Classrooms are not too crowded, the physical environment outside is nice and clean and you can meet and make friends with different nationalities. In terms of teaching methodology as what I’ve experienced, the phase of lessons, giving of assignments and teaching is really based on the ability and the capacity of the students. The teacher also is very approachable, patient, entertaining always answering our questions and doubts, integrating the culture of the country during our discussions which for me is very helpful and essential to understand more the culture through their language and our teacher is “cool:. But, as the saying says “no one is perfect” at least the effort of trying to be one of the finest language schools here in the country is visible. Lastly their logos, SEEING, LIVING and LEARNING is not just words to READ but to LIVE and EXPERIENCE when you are a student in THE LANGUAGE CENTER LTD.
    By: Anonymous (student of Kiswahili language)


    Thanks for The Language Center I am personally really enjoying my beginner Kiswahili class.

    For almost four months we had the experience of Learning Kiswahili in The Language Center and we have enjoyed the teachers and classes.

    Our teachers are great, they are able to answer questions, stay on task and have fun while teaching Kiswahili. They are smart and know which words are used where, so you can learn local flavor or how they speak in Kiswahili.

    The class size is small; usually just four of us which means we get a lot of personalized, customized attention and the Center is pretty flexible about start dates and changes if needed.

    The combinations of grammar and conversation sessions have been very effective for us to learn how to speak, read and write a little bit in Kiswahili.

    Jiovanna Lozada and Celine Rongma
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