Finding a Setswana Language Mentor

I was able to find language mentors in three ways. The first two meant scouring the internet for both language learning resources, as well as language programs abroad and in the U.S.

(1) In-country Peace Corps Language Mentors

I serendipitously came across two names on the Setswana wiki page, both of whom I found contact info for either directly on this page or by continuing to search for them on the internet. I found one of my language mentors this way AND the next way….

Tip #1: Check your language’s wiki page. This Setswana wiki looks like this.

(2) Language teachers at other universities in the U.S.

After searching for Setswana language programs in the U.S. I only found a few, a couple of which had been discontinued. I decided to reach out to the language programs anyways, in hopes to connect with some of the previous Setswana teachers. It turns out that one of the people listed on the Setswana wiki, also teaches at Botho University in Ohio.

(3) Reaching out to the African Association of Madison

More likely than not, someone in Madison speaks Setswana – I found one such person through the African Association of Madison. They generously forwarded my request e-mail and she reached out to me shortly after.

Tip #2: Reach out to as many people as possible. The more contacts the better and if you can practice speaking, and other facets of language-learning you want to focus on with a mentor, with multiple people, your language skills are likely to grow more quickly.

Ok, so I’ve found someone to reach out to – how do I ask? 

The key in asking someone to mentor you in their native language is to convey your interest and excitement for the language and culture. I think it also helps if you’re willing to compensate them in some way to provide an added incentive for them to spend time with you.

Tip #3: Make it worthwhile for the potential mentor to spend time talking with you.

For languages that are much-less-commonly-taught I recommend building on connections you already have in-country. Do you have any friends that could act as mentor or could recommend someone? Cast a wide net and you will find someone!


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