STARTALK: Caravanning Through the Arab World June 1-18, 2021 | World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures
March 2, 2020

STARTALK: Caravanning Through the Arab World June 1-18, 2021

STARTALK 2021: Caravanning Through the Arab World

How to apply

  1. Click on the link provided here
  2. Fill out all required information
  3. Click send

Important Dates

Admissions Application Opens: January 1, 2021

Dates: June 1 - 18, 2021

Location: UNT-Frisco (Hall Park B) 3011 Internet Boulevard, Frisco TX 75038


STARTALK is a federal grant program funded by the National Security Agency and administered by the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. STARTALK grants fund summer critical language learning programs as well as professional development programs for teachers of critical languages because speakers of critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, and Russian are in high demand. For more information on STARTALK, visit their website at

STARTALK 2021: Caravanning Through the Arab World

The STARTALK 2021: Caravanning Through the Arab World summer program will be an intensive, three-week hybrid course with 11 days of face-to-face instruction and three days of online learning, offering 95 instructional hours of Arabic immersion, student-centered learning experience to local high school seniors and undergraduate students. The program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on weekdays.

Each week, students will "travel" to different parts of the Arab World - first to the Gulf, then to the Levant, and finally to North Africa- stopping at specific countries within each region to examine some of the rich, beautiful traditions therein.

All students successfully completing the STARTALK program will earn academic credit for one full semester of college Arabic (three credits of ARBC 1010 at the University of North Texas).

*The program format may change in response to community health conditions.

This course is sponsored by NSA and is completely free for students. An NSA federal grant will cover the 3 UNT college credits, any required materials, and a daily lunch.

Please note: once accepted into the STARTALK program, non-UNT students must apply to UNT and pay a $75 admissions fee.


Classes will be held at the University of North Texas campus in Frisco, Texas.

(The location and schedule of STARTALK sessions may change in response to community health conditions)

Daily Schedule

Our STARTALK program will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with short 10-minute breaks in between 40-50 minute class sessions and 50 minutes for lunch. (The location and schedule of STARTALK sessions may change in response to community health conditions).

The program curriculum and lesson plans are intentionally designed to offer students a wide variety of ways to use the target language while simultaneously learning about culture. Whether creating lanterns or designing mosaics, painting arabesque decor or playing a derbake music instrument, students will be taught in Arabic and will build upon and grow their cultural competencies.

All morning sessions (9:20-10:10am, 10:20-11:10am, 11:20-12:10pm) will be content-heavy with exposure to new material that enhances what was previously taught. Students will continue to recycle old vocabulary during everyday tasks as this will be crucial to their linguistic advancement. Lunch will take place at 12:10 p.m. with food catered by Break Bread Break Borders, our local non-profit partner that empowers Syrian refugee women through their food services. Students will learn about authentic Arab foods through unrehearsed interpersonal interaction with the cooks, all of whom are native speakers.

The first week will feature food from Morocco and North Africa, the second from the Levant, and the third from Oman and the greater Gulf. Lunch will be a very integral part of our program helping to synthesize class content, further cultural understanding, and provide lasting linguistic value with the repetition of vocabulary.

Through vast teaching experiences, our instructional team has found that integrating hands-on, project-based activities significantly helps students to better connect with the target language. Thus, afternoon class sessions (1-1:50pm, 2-2:50pm, 3-3:40pm) will introduce students to Arabic calligraphy and writing, Arab music and famous singers, and unique artistic designs and techniques that originate in the Arab World. Most days will conclude with a 20-minute period (3:40-4pm) for revision, assessments, reflections, and often, games.


Who can apply?

The program is open to incoming, Fall 2021 high school seniors, community college freshmen and sophomores, and all UNT and non-UNT Texas resident undergraduate students.

Upon receipt of an acceptance email from the UNT STARTALK team, non-UNT students will need to apply to UNT. Please visit this page for more info. All necessary information for applying will be shared in the acceptance email. Please note that you must not apply to UNT before receiving an email that you have been accepted into the STARTALK program.Do I need to speak, read, or write Arabic to enroll?

Do I need to speak, read, or write Arabic to enroll?

No. No prior knowledge of Arabic is required to enroll. This class is designed for beginners, bringing students to a Novice High level of proficiency upon completion of the course.

Who can I contact if I have other questions?

For all program enquiries, contact Dr. Caroline Najour, Program Director, at or our UNT STARTALK team at