Frequently Asked Questions – STARTALK Portuguese Student Camp

Yes. The program is designed to accommodate children who have never learnt Portuguese before. We expect that about half of the children attending the summer camp will be children with no prior knowledge of the Portuguese language.
“A heritage language learner is a person studying a language who has some proficiency in or a cultural connection to that language through family, community, or country of origin. Heritage language learners have widely diverse levels of proficiency in the language (in terms of oral proficiency and literacy) and of connections to the language and culture. “ (Heritage Languages in America website
The program is not suitable for children who are highly fluent in Portuguese. The program is best suited for heritage learners up to lower intermediate level of proficiency.
The summer camp is not residential, which means that we do not provide lodging for children attending the camp, nor do we cover the cost of travel to and from the camp. Parents or guardians need to be able to drop kids off every morning at the SDSU campus, as well as pick them up in the afternoon, once the classes are over. Therefore, the program is open primarily to children who live within the San Diego County.
Yes. We are accepting applications from children who will complete Grade 3, 4, or 5 in summer of 2017
Yes, families with more than one child who fulfill the eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply.
Yes. The cost of the camp (tuition, facilities, materials, etc.) is covered by the federal STARTALK grant which allows us to offer it free of cost to San Diego County residents.
Please go to the Applications part of our webpage [Coming Soon]
We will review all the applications submitted before the deadline and determine acceptance by May 22nd 2017. There are only a limited number of spots; therefore it is highly recommended to apply early. Other details, pertinent only to those who are accepted, will be mailed to students once they are accepted. This includes: orientation information, daily schedule details,graduation ceremony information, etc.
No. Only kids who can attend all four weeks will be admitted to the program. The attendance is obligatory throughout all four weeks. It is your responsibility to ensure that your child’s participation in the program is not affected by travel plans, family events, etc.
All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered very carefully. About half of the summer camp spots are reserved for heritage learners, i.e. children who have a connection to the Portuguese language and Portuguese or Brazilian culture through family or community. The rest of the spots are open to all the other eligible children in San Diego county. Children will need to be able to attend the entire four weeks of the program. We will also aim to have a diverse classroom where children from different backgrounds and walks of life will be able to work together on this journey of learning and discovery.
We will start every day at 9am. The main portion of daily language instruction will take place between 9 o’clock and noon. The morning break (10:30-10:45) and the lunch break will be an opportunity for children to talk to their instructors, get to know them and each other more, ask questions, and practice what they have learnt during the day. The instruction will be differentiated to accommodate the needs of both the heritage and non-heritage learners. In the afternoon, children will watch age-appropriate videos or listen to/read age-appropriate stories or comic books. Additionally, they will participate in cultural activities led by our instructors or guest teachers (capoeira, samba, Afro-Brazilian dance, soccer, mosaics, etc.). Parents will pick up their children at 3:30pm. Children will need to be dropped off at the SDSU campus between 8:30am and 8:45am, and picked up between 3:45pm and 4pm.
Parents are expected to prepare lunches for their children.
Students will not be given a formal grade at the end of the summer camp. However, we will provide each student with a clear assessment of progress from the start to the end of the summer camp. Our instructors are trained to provide on-going assessment of student's progress in a variety of ways. At the very end of the program, students will take part in an engaging activity that will assess their ability to communicate in the language independently outside the classroom. They will also take part in an informal interview that will mimic the Student Oral Proficiency Assessment [] Self-assessment and peer assessment will be an integral part of the program so that children can learn to take responsibility for their own learning.
Yes. All students will be awarded a certificate of completion at the graduation ceremony on Friday, August 2, 2019.
We expect you to be an enthusiastic partner in your child’s learning, show an ongoing interest in their newly acquired skills and knowledge, answer their questions, and be an active companion on their learning journey. If you are a heritage parent, we expect you to talk and share with your child your knowledge of and pride in your culture. Also, please free your calendars on the afternoon of Friday, 11th August, for your child’s graduation ceremony.
Children will be encouraged to make use of the many Brazilian cultural offerings in San Diego. They will be provided with a list of organizations within San Diego county that promote Brazilian and Portuguese culture, as well as the study of the Portuguese language. They will also have an opportunity to meet and work with some of the representatives from these organizations during their afternoon cultural activities.

Points of Contact

Nadezda Novakovic, Portuguese Program Director

Cassia de Abreu, Program Co-director