Skip to Content


Minnesota is home to one-third of all Somalis in the U.S., making it the largest Somali community in the country.  The majority live in Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as in several suburbs around Normandale.  Therefore, there is a community need/demand for individuals who are able to speak Somali and are interculturally competent.  The Somali language and culture courses at Normandale will prepare individuals to participate in diverse local and global communities and will benefit students across a wide range of disciplines such as education, healthcare, and law enforcement.

Beginning in fall semester 2019, Normandale Community College students had the opportunity to take Somali language and culture courses. Normandale is the first community college in the nation to offer a full five-course Somali area studies program of this kind.  This includes two semesters of five-credit Somali language courses (SMLI 1100 and SMLI 1200) and a three-credit Somali culture course (SMLI 1111) focused on building students' intercultural competence.

The department grew the program by implementing second-year language courses (SMLI 2100 and SMLI 2200) in the 2020-21 academic year.

Experienced local educator Said Garaad joined the department to design and teach the new courses that will be beneficial for students across a wide range of disciplines, including both academic and career-focused areas.

"Learning another language and culture is one of the most important investments considering today's rapidly increasing global economy," said Garaad. "Language connects us to other cultures and deepens our appreciation of the traditions, foods, arts, and history of the people associated with that language. I am honored to be the instructor of Somali language and culture classes at Normandale."

"The decision to create a Somali area students program was a direct response to student interest and local workforce needs," explains International Experience Center Coordinator and World Languages faculty member Jen Bouchard. "Our Somali-American community is such an important part of our state and our community."

The design and implementation of the Somali area studies program was supported by a Title VI Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Office (UISFL) U.S. Department of Education grant.

Contact Information

Heidi Kreutzer, Department Chair

World Languages- Spanish

C 2130

upper arrowtop