How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

English is widely spoken at varying levels of fluency. With the old, West, rural, poor, or political opposition, French is sometimes useful. Every Rwandan will greatly appreciate even a few polite Kinyarwanda phrases. - Sep 2019


None, but you should learn the greetings. - Jun 2018


You don't need to know Kinyarwanda to get around. English is good, and if you know French it is even better as much of the older population speak more French than English. Rwandans love it if you try to speak Kinyarwanda though. - Dec 2017


You don't need the local language, but learning a little will expand your experience here. You can take lessons locally. - Jan 2017


None, but always nice to learn the basics. - Apr 2016


English is one of the main languages but learn a few Kinyarwanda phrases and it'll go a long way with the locals. - Oct 2014


You can get by fine with English. The population under 30 mostly speak English/Kinyarwanda. Over 30 French/Kinyarwanda. - Jul 2014


It would definitely help, but everyone gets by OK without knowing anything beyond pleasantries. Most Rwandans speak some English. - Sep 2013


English will get you far, French will help, and Kinyarwanda will get you smiles. - May 2012


You'll do fine with only English, be at an advantage with some French and be an amusement with Kinyarwanda. - Apr 2012


If you have Kinyarwanda, you will go far. But you can get by in english for most of the time. - Jul 2011


Just like in the rest of Africa, the more local language you know, the cooler you are to the locals. But, english is an official language, and a decent amount of people speak it, as well as french. - Oct 2010


None really. President Kagame is moving Rwanda away from French and to English. However market shopping is better if you speak the language, and of course it is always good for relations if you know friendly greetings and the like. Rwandans respect expats who can speak even a little of their language. - Jan 2010


People really like it and you gain a lot of respect if you use even just the slightest bit of kinyarwanda. Rwanda is also now becoming somewhat anglophone. - Sep 2008


Most governmental agencies and service oriented facilities have French and English speaking individiuals. English is what is being emphasized in schools. But that will be generations before most of the people outside of Kigali can communicate effectively in English. The local Rwandan language (Kenyarwandan) is utilized in the entire country. - Aug 2008


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