Meet 2016 CLS Swahili Scholar and Refresh participant, Liz Adema! Liz participated in the CLS Swahili program in Arusha, Tanzania six years ago and in the time since her motivation to learn Swahili has become even stronger.
Liz’s husband is Kenyan and she plans to raise her two children in a bilingual household. "It’s important to me that they speak Swahili, so I try to speak it during day-to-day interactions. We also listen to Swahili music and have the Kenyan news on daily.”
Professionally, Liz works in international education at George Mason University and one of her long-term goals is to lead a study abroad program to Kenya. Liz and her family return to Kenya every other year and on her most recent trip she had a breakthrough moment when connecting with her husband’s family. "The last time we were in Kenya we were visiting two of my husband’s aunts that live 'upcountry' in the area where he's from. These aunts do not speak English well, and the improvement I made with my Swahili from CLS allowed me to finally hold a conversation with them. I still didn't understand everything, but I was happy that they knew they could speak to me.”
Liz continues to use her Swahili daily with family and has hopes to relocate to Kenya permanently. "We hope to move to Kenya someday and knowing Swahili will make life so much easier when we do - both in my personal life and with professional endeavors in Kenya.”
Through CLS Refresh, Liz has a head start in preparing for this move, increasing her fluency and expanding her vocabulary. When asked about her favorite part of CLS Refresh, Liz responded "Getting to know my teacher Mwalimu Upendo. We connected from the start. There were times when I was trying to tell a story and didn’t have the vocabulary, and we would just laugh our way through it. I don't doubt that we will meet in person sometime in the future. I have definitely made a friend!”