Abiodun Adeoye is an alumnus of the 2020 CLS Swahili virtual institute hosted by MS Training Centre for Development Cooperation in Arusha, Tanzania. He’s a 2020 graduate of Salisbury University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history and political science, and a 2021 Summer Fellow at the Hertog Foundation. He'll spend the 2021-22 academic year as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Kyrgyzstan.
Getting to Know Abiodun
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. My father moved to the U.S. in 2003 and I moved to the U.S. in 2009 with my mother and my brother. Prior to CLS, I studied Swahili in Tanzania in the Fall of 2019, and I went from no prior training in the language to certified Advanced Mid in Swahili in just eight months. I enjoy reading about history and politics and taking initiative in leadership, especially when it comes to helping underrepresented groups from various backgrounds and social issues. Overall, I have a deep interest in language study, and I hope to master at least six languages before I turn 30.
I wanted to study Swahili in particular because East Africa is increasingly an important region to U.S. national security. Additionally, Swahili is the most spoken language in Africa with over 100 million speakers. As someone hopeful for a career in international relations and particularly in Africa, I think it is imperative for me to study and master the language of the region I hope to work with.
I hope to attain an M.A. in international relations, someday becoming a diplomat promoting democracy and human rights wherever I go and work. I hope to lead a career in which I actively use my language skills with officials and representatives as well as everyday people wherever I go. As a diplomat, a researcher, or even the director of a think tank, I aspire to continue my language study and use in my personal and professional life.
A Memorable Activity
On the CLS Program, I had weekly conversation hours with my language partner, which were geared toward supplementing classroom instruction. The day I was finally able to hold the hour-long conversation without needing any translation assistance is my fondest memory. As a student at the intermediate level, my knowledge of Swahili was improving but it was not quite at the point I wanted it to be. The moment I was able to hold the full conversation in Swahili, I knew I had begun improving significantly, and I was extremely proud of myself for it, especially because it took me just a little over six months to reach that level.
Benefits of a Virtual Program
As a CLS virtual institute student due to COVID-19, I had an interesting experience. Although my cohort and I completed our CLS Program online, it was nonetheless an amazing experience that sharpened my resilience, perseverance, and adaptability. Learning Swahili through the CLS Program strengthened my resolve and commitment to language learning, and I learned new study skills and methods of interaction through my language partner conversation sessions.
I highly recommend that others learn Swahili, and any other CLS language. Learning a new language literally and metaphorically opens the mind up to new things. Culture, communication, and mutual understanding blend perfectly in language learning, and it is the best way to learn more about a country and its people in a way that is not readily available in textbooks.
May 10, 2021