What: The STARTALK program offers a free intensive beginning Russian language course.
When: Applications must be submitted between Feb. 1–April 1. Application forms and instructions are available at https://worldlanguages.unt.edu/resources/startalk-program
Program dates are June 1–June 28 (Monday–Friday) from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Where: UNT Language Building located at 108 Ave. A in Denton.
Background: The University of North Texas Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures hosts STARTALK, a language-immersion course funded by the National Security Agency to encourage the teaching of critical-need languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. The non-residential four-week course at UNT, “Welcome to My World,” includes 120 instructional hours in beginning Russian.
The program is open to high school juniors and seniors as well as community college and UNT students. No previous language experience is necessary. The program admits 24 students selected from a pool of applicants based on their academic performance, a letter of recommendation from a teacher and their interest in pursuing Russian studies after the completion of the program. Students have an opportunity to take a free placement exam at the end of the course and earn three college credit hours.
The daily schedule includes cultural experiences such as morning exercise, traditional cooking classes, crafts, music, dance and field trips. In class, students will focus on developing the four essential language skills: speaking, listening, writing and reading. All program activities, including tuition, extra-curricular activities, textbooks and other learning materials are free of charge for the students.
STARTALK’s mission is to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking and
teaching critical-need foreign languages. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence launched STARTALK in 2006 and delegated executive oversight of the program to the National Security Agency. The NSA in turn awarded a contract to the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland to act as its subject matter expert in the implementation and administration of the program.
Through the accomplishment of these objectives, it is believed that the U.S. will be better equipped not only to improve its international relations, but also to solidify its national security and global economic competitiveness in the years ahead.