Program


Here’s some more information about our program:


The STARTALK Arabic Summer Academy provides students with an introduction to Modern Standard Arabic and Arab culture. It is designed for students who have never studied Arabic before and begins with an introduction to Arabic sounds and letters. The teaching and learning emphasizes the functional use of Arabic and communication in context through listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students acquire enough familiarity with the Arabic language and culture to interact with Arabic speakers at a basic level (Novice Mid to Intermediate Low according to the ACTFL guidelines). The curriculum is based on the methods of the Marhaba! high school Arabic curriculum. Students finish the course with greater curiosity and sensitivity towards the Arabic-speaking world through cultural encounters in classes, co-curricular activities and field trips.


In addition to beginning Arabic for students with no prior knowledge of the language, we also offer levels of progressively advancing Arabic for students who have a background in the language or have graduated from previous summers. In these classes, students will increase their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills through songs, videos, and other culturally authentic materials. Additionally, these students take on a leadership role in the Academy, both in their own classes and through cross-level cultural club meetings. Students with prior knowledge of Arabic, either from growing up with the language or from other school programs, should contact the Director for placement at the proper level.


Although Arabs represent only 1% of Boston’s population, and a tenth of a percent nationally, Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world and has become a critical language in the United States. As a nation, we are unprepared to meet the sudden and pressing need for citizens familiar with Arabic. Our education system also lacks the infrastructure to produce a generation of culturally and linguistically literate graduates of Arabic. At a time when students are eager to make sense of global events, we have developed a program that fills a void by  preparing students to become responsible global citizens.


Our intensive non-residential summer language course is designed as an enrichment program with preference given to  students enrolled in Boston Public Schools. Students earn credit for first-year Arabic over four weeks, studying Monday to Saturday, encompassing 144 instructional hours on Arabic language and culture.