The KU Kiswahili STARTALK Academy is designed for middle school and high school students with no previous knowledge of Kiswahili. The program aims at ensuring that learners learn about the culture and people who live in Kenya and Tanzania through a student centered, immersive and technology rich environment. The academy is a simulation of preparations for a travel abroad on an East African safari with an emphasis on intercultural skills and cultural competence to participate in multilingual communities. Through interactive and collaborative learning activities, learners will compare and contrast their own language and culture with that of the Swahili speakers. Learners will ground their interpersonal, interpretive and presentation communication skills through participating in interactive in-class and outside class learning activities including conversation tables, cultural simulation activities, field trips, cooking demonstrations and interactive cultural presentations of the East African Cultures. By the end of the program, learners will advance their Kiswahili proficiency to at least novice high to intermediate low levels. They will also acquire greater knowledge about East Africa as a geographical region and a place with diverse and rich cultural and educational opportunities. Students will achieve a heightened interest in Kiswahili language and culture, will have first-hand experience with Swahili native speakers in their local communities and will explore ways in which they can use the language both in and out of the school environment.