All summer Language Institute programs will be held virtually, with the exception of the STARTALK Arabic Academy, which has been rescheduled to summer 2021. For questions about cancellations, program changes, or virtual delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic, please contact us at For the latest Penn State updates and information, visit:

STARTALK Arabic Academy for Students

About the Academy

The 2020 STARTALK Arabic Academy for Students will take place from June 21 through July 10 on the Penn State University Park campus. It is an innovative program of intensive summer study especially designed for highly motivated students (college and high school) who wish to gain introductory knowledge of the Arabic language and its people.

As part of the STARTALK Academy, you will enroll in three weeks of intensive language study at the Language Institute at Penn State, for which you will earn academic credit for one full semester of college-level Arabic (4 credits of Penn State’s ARABIC 001) upon successful completion of the program. In addition, you will participate in relaxed and enjoyable immersion activities that have been designed to meet your interests and learning needs, foster a sense of community, and provide you with “outside the classroom” exposure to the language, customs, and culture of the Arabic peoples. STARTALK Academy instructors have been specially selected to provide you with a high-quality and engaging exposure to one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

Please note: The STARTALK Arabic Academy at Penn State is NOT a residential program. Students who graduated from high school can apply for University dormitory housing. However, the University cannot provide housing for students who are still in high school.

Benefits of the Academy

Knowledge of a critical language such as Arabic is a great asset on college, graduate school, and job applications, and invaluable in exploring career interests and broadening your horizons. While it can be challenging to learn Arabic, the right learning environment can make all the difference.

Who Should Apply

This program will be of particular interest to high school and college students who plan to study Arabic or Middle Eastern languages and cultures, or are interested in a career in government, law enforcement, or the military, among other fields. The STARTALK Arabic Academy is also a great opportunity for those who are simply interested in exploring the language and culture of some of the oldest and most important regions in the world.

Prior language study is not required to participate in the STARTALK Academy. Due to the intensive nature of the program, however, applicants should be able to demonstrate academic ability. With that said, we also believe that prior academic performance is not necessarily the most important determinant of success in the program, and will, therefore, give consideration to the maturity of the applicant as well as his or her motivation, intellectual curiosity, interest in Arabic language and culture, and postsecondary goals. Students admitted to the program will be expected to complete the full course (three weeks) of study.


Scholarships may cover up to 90% of tuition for the STARTALK Arabic Academy (in-state tuition or the equivalent dollar amount toward out-of-state tuition) and are typically awarded to 20 students.

Students applying for a scholarship should NOT enroll themselves in any of the Language Institute’s summer Arabic courses. Students awarded a scholarship for the STARTALK Arabic Academy will receive additional information regarding the steps and forms necessary to enroll. Please note that students under the age of 16 at the time of the program require Faculty Senate approval to enroll.

To learn more, visit the Scholarships page.

How to Apply to the STARTALK Arabic Academy

STARTALK Arabic Academy application form for high school students

STARTALK Arabic Academy application form for college school students

The application form should be submitted to the address on the form, together with:

  • An academic transcript
  • Standardized test scores (high school and home school students only)
  • A letter of recommendation
  • A personal statement describing your interest in studying Arabic

Questions regarding the application process should be directed to:

Elena Galinova
Phone: 814-867-1665