STARTALK 2021 | World Languages, Literatures, & Cultures

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STARTALK 2021

Caravanning Through the Arab World

WHAT IS STARTALK?

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 https://startalk.umd.edu/public/.

STARTALK 2021: CARAVANNING THROUGH THE ARAB WORLD

The STARTALK 2021: Caravanning Through the Arab World summer program will be an intensive three-week Arabic immersion, student-centered learning experience, offering 98 instructional hours of language and cultural exposure to local high school seniors and undergraduate students. Each week, students will "travel" to different parts of the Arab World - first to North Africa, then to the Levant, and finally to the Gulf - stopping at specific countries within each region to examine some of the rich, beautiful traditions therein; for example, students will learn about artistic elements in Morocco, music and dance in Lebanon, and food culture in Oman.

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).

IMPORTANT DATES

Admissions Application Opens: TBA

Early Admissions Application Deadline: TBA

Regular Admissions Application Deadline: TBA

UNT 2021 STARTALK Dates: TBA

Program Fee: $450

The current rate for three undergraduate credit hours at UNT, including tuition and additional anticipated fees, is $1,436.97. We are offering the same number of credit hours earned for a fraction of this cost.

Our program fee is $450, which covers the three UNT college credits, any required materials, a daily lunch, as well as field trip expenses.

Please note: once accepted into the STARTALK program, non-UNT students must apply to UNT and pay a $75 admissions fee, which also grants them entry to all UNT facilities enrolled students have access to on campus.

LOCATION

Classes will be held at the University of North Texas campus in Denton, Texas. Field Trip locations include the Dallas Museum of Art, Sara's Bakery, Big Dash, and Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant.

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. Each morning, we will begin class with a 20-minute warm-up (9-9:20am) consisting of review and recap of previously learned material.

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 preparing stuffed grape leaves, 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 Syrian women will serve food, share their stories, and teach students about the variety within Arab cuisines. 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, dabke, and unique artistic designs and techniques that originate in the Arab World.

Cooking workshops, guest speakers, field trips, and community site visits serve to complement content taught earlier in the day and provide added insights, more exposure to the target language, and opportunities to apply vocabulary and expressions in authentic environments. These daily exercises support the weekly regional focus (art forms in North Africa, music and dance in the Levant, and food culture in the Gulf), and the overall program theme and end goals. Most days will conclude with a 20-minute period (3:40-4pm) for revision, assessments, reflections, and often, games.

HOW TO APPLY

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

FAQ

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 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?

  1. 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 Caroline.Najour@unt.edu or our UNT STARTALK team at startalk@unt.edu

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