Critical Language Scholarship Program | Simone Yuille
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Simone Yuille

Simone Yuille is an alum­na of the 2018 CLS Swahili pro­gram in Arusha, Tan­za­nia. She’s cur­rent­ly a fourth year stu­dent at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Flori­da, where she’s study­ing Inter­na­tion­al Stud­ies with a con­cen­tra­tion in Africa and a lan­guage focus in East Africa. She plans to use her Swahili to build glob­al bridges with East Africa and the com­mu­ni­ties that she iden­ti­fies with through inter­na­tion­al rela­tions. She enjoys danc­ing, singing, and laugh­ing, and describes her­self as a nat­ur­al cheerleader.

A Cheer­ful Nature

I am from Largo, FL which is a lit­tle city off the west coast of Flori­da. The region is known for its beach­es and res­i­den­tial ener­gy. I feel the calm and cool ener­gy real­ly describe me as a person.

Grow­ing up I had my hands in every­thing, thanks to my par­ents intro­duc­ing me to so many activ­i­ties. Express­ing myself through dance, singing, and laugh­ing have been the sim­plest way I can describe how I have moved through­out the world until this point. Tak­ing advan­tage of all of the joys life has to offer and appre­ci­at­ing them for every­thing they bring has been my aim. I am pret­ty sure I laugh more than I speak, and trust me that is not too much of an exaggeration.

Teach­ing Host and Home Communities

My time on the CLS Pro­gram allowed me to see how peo­ple see black Amer­i­cans glob­al­ly, and it was eye-open­ing. You are nev­er aware of how impact­ful media is until you go abroad. And my lan­guage skills allowed me to go beyond, and real­ly dig deep into people’s per­spec­tives on the subject.

I taught many peo­ple about black Amer­i­can cul­ture, and more so the roots of it. It is easy to use slang, but I found some peo­ple were using aspects of my cul­ture in a not so great light. How­ev­er, it was due to them not hav­ing access to any­thing but movies and music videos. It felt great to teach peo­ple about my culture.

I plan to use Swahili and Span­ish in a job that allows me to trav­el exten­sive­ly and con­nect with peo­ple inter­per­son­al­ly. I also plan to gain flu­en­cy in a cou­ple more lan­guages so that I can broad­en my scope of practice.

Com­ing back, I was excit­ed to share how dif­fer­ent East­ern Africa was from the rest of the con­ti­nent. Break­ing the lim­it­ed and gen­er­al­ized image that peo­ple have of Africa is excit­ing to me because then I get to piece it togeth­er in ways that facil­i­tate true cul­tur­al exchange.

Mak­ing Mis­takes in Tanzania

One time I mixed up how to greet an elder in Swahili and instead greet­ed them as though I was the elder. I remem­ber this old­er lady giv­ing me a strange look, and then I start­ed laugh­ing because I noticed it imme­di­ate­ly. It was a good, shared laugh thank­ful­ly. Respect­ing elders is not a joke here, so I was in com­plete shock myself. 

Con­nec­tions through Language

Speak­ing Swahili, or Kiswahili, allows you to con­nect with a major­i­ty of East­ern Africa. It opens you up to worlds that you did not know exist­ed. Swahili’s influ­ences that incor­po­rate Ara­bic and Por­tuguese are ways in which it dis­plays the unique his­to­ry that the lan­guage holds. The fun­ny thing is most peo­ple know basic Swahili because of the Lion King! I just urge peo­ple to learn more.

CLS Alum­ni Ambas­sadors are recent CLS par­tic­i­pants who take lead­er­ship roles as active and pos­i­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the CLS Pro­gram by engag­ing with CLS alum­ni and rep­re­sent­ing the pro­gram to var­i­ous audi­ences. If you would like to get in touch with a CLS Alum­ni Ambas­sador, please con­tact clsalumni@​americancouncils.​org

Alumni Profiles

Simone Yuille
Simone Yuille
Swahili 2018
Arusha, Tanzania

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Posted Date

May 06, 2019