Introduction to Pre-Departure Swahili Curriculum


Karibu! Welcome to the 2Seeds Pre-Departure Swahili Curriculum. This curriculum is designed to help you build a foundation of Swahili speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills prior to your arrival in Tanzania. Our curriculum has two primary objectives:

  1. To provide Project Coordinators with the skills they need to confidently and competently accomplish basic work and life functions upon their arrival in Tanzania.
  2. To accelerate Project Coordinators’ language learning curves upon immersion.

In line with these objectives, the curriculum is focused heavily on the structure of the Swahili language. We will emphasize key grammatical concepts, and you will build your vocabulary with the words that will be most useful to you in your life and work in Tanzania. Learning activities will strongly emphasize speaking and listening skills within the contexts most relevant to the immediate needs and requirements of life and work in Tanzania.

Upon completing the Pre-Departure Curriculum, you should be able to confidently engage in basic conversations on the following topics

  • Greetings
  • Personal introductions
  • Personal and household needs
  • Agricultural activities
  • Market interactions
  • Transportation
  • Basic project administration

In order to achieve competency within these conversations and establish a foundation for fluency, you will master the following key concepts:

  • Swahili phonetics
  • Basic greeting patterns
  • Personal pronouns
  • Affirmative and negative verb conjugation in basic tenses
  • Noun classes
  • Basic modifiers (adjectives, adverbs, demonstratives, associatives, possessives)
  • Interrogatives
  • Numbers and time
  • Locatives
  • Prepositions
  • Basic syntax
  • Polite expressions

You will also become familiar with (but not necessarily master within the Pre-Departure period) several more advanced concepts:

  • Commands and the subjunctive tense
  • Relative tenses
  • The “already” infix (-sha-)
  • Relative pronouns and infixes
  • Compound verbs
  • Advanced modifiers
  • Exclamations

The Swahili curriculum is comprised of 12 units, coinciding with the units of the general Pre-Departure Curriculum:

  • Unit 1 – Phonetics, Greetings, and Polite Expressions
  • Unit 2 – Personal Pronouns and Verb Conjugation in Present Tense
  • Unit 3 – Verb Conjugation in all Tenses and Basic Interrogatives
  • Unit 4 – Introduction to Noun Classes
  • Unit 5 – Noun Classes and Verb Conjugation
  • Unit 6 – Demonstratives and Simple Commands
  • Unit 7 – Numbers and Time
  • Unit 8 – Negations and Compound Verbs
  • Unit 9 – Associatives, Possessives and Other Modifiers
  • Unit 10 – Adjectives, Adverbs, Comparisons, and Syntax
  • Unit 11 – Locatives, Prepositions, and Relative Pronouns and Infixes
  • Unit 12 – Commands and Subjunctive, the “Already” Infix, and Present Indefinite Tense

Primary learning materials will be hosted on this blog—one post for every unit. In addition to the written and short audio materials available on the blog, you will receive a recorded lecture for each unit, in podcast form. For each unit, you will receive a vocabulary list containing 30 new words. We expect that you will spend at least 20 minutes a day practicing Swahili. To facilitate this practice, you will receive a week’s worth of daily exercises at the start of each unit.

Each Project Coordinator will be assigned to a Swahili Learning Cluster (3-4 PCs per cluster), which will be led by an alumni Project Coordinator (mwalimu). Each cluster will meet once a week on Google Hangout / VSee / Skype to review the week’s learning materials and practice, practice, practice.

As a backdrop for the curriculum, you will receive a digital copy of the text book “Swahili Simplified.” You are most welcome and strongly encouraged to seek out other learning materials as you need. If you find good ones, share them with the group!


In line with our value of generating measurable results, we will regularly assess your learning level to make sure that you are getting the support and instruction that you need. At the end of each unit, you will have a “Check-in” with your mwalimu for conversation and review. Throughout the check-in, your mwalimu will assess your mastery of key concepts, and provide direct support on concepts and topics you may be struggling with.

As with the rest of the Pre-Departure Program (indeed, the whole 2Seeds experience), your success is in your own hands. Make use of all available time and resources—have conversations with yourself in the shower, call your partner just to chat in Swahili, crush flash cards on the bus. Figure out what works for you, and just do it.

Haya, tufijunze pamoja!


  1. Nina wasiwasi na kuzungumza lugha mpya!

  2. its excellent, i read it..realy it works…thank for making this….beautiful work… help for learning people like me…….

  3. camillabuchanan · · Reply

    Very excited to explore your site. Thanks for making it available.

  4. kibuuka Charles · · Reply

    hongera kwa kazi njema mnayofanya

  5. Tatjana Kaliste · · Reply


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