Experiences from the Amharic Study Abroad Program

Siera-in-Lalibela Amharic Study Abroad Program Summer 2018

FLAS Fellows share their experiences from Ethiopia during the Amharic Study Abroad Program of Summer 2018.

See more photos from the Amharic Study Abroad Program Summer 2018 in Ethiopia on Flickr.

Kamau in Gondar Church

The experience of travelling to Ethiopia with the Howard University Amharic Study Abroad Program was literally a dream come true. Howard has had a long relationship with Ethiopia stemming at least as far back as the 1930s . In more  recent years Howard has participated in the return of medieval manuscripts to Ethiopia and the development of the pharmacy program at Addis Ababa University. However, ,this is the first time that Howard has offered an immersive Amharic language study abroad experience in Ethiopia.

The Washington DC area is home to the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia, and Amharic is one of six official languages in the city. With the launch of this program Howard is positioning itself as one of the leaders in Amharic education. We not only studied the language, but we traveled to ancient and modern cultural sites which gave us a glimpse into the grandeur of this ancient African civilization and insight into its' pressing priorities. I would like to thank Howard University and the Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship for making all of this possible.

Kamau Grimes


Traveling to Ethiopia truly cemented the connection between language, history and culture for me. I am able to connect more agilely with Ethiopians in America since traveling abroad because my immersion gave me insight into the cultural and linguistic world views present in their homeland. I also recognize that I have seen much more of Ethiopia than some of my Ethiopian born counterparts, so while I believe I was only able to go because of my faith and FLAS, I recognize that my experience was a privilege.

Siera Toney

Amharic Study Abroad Program Summer 2018

The 2018 FLAS Amharic language learning trip to Ethiopia was eye opening. I appreciated the opportunity not only to learn the language but to simultaneously be a part of the culture. There is one experience students have while learning a language in the classroom and a completely different experience when immersed in the language and culture. As we know, language and culture are inextricable. Professor Tafessework was adept at utilizing and linking language learning and cultural opportunities. Everything was a reachable moment. Being able to visit historical sites was invaluable. Similarly, being in Ethiopia during a historical time, when the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea opened, was also remarkable and invaluable. I would recommend the Amharic FLAS experience to anyone interested in learning Amharic and learning about Ethiopian culture.

Beverly S. Khabo




FLAS, African Languages, Study Abroad and Africa Travel Experiences