Welcome to the year-round STARTALK student program in Chinese, Persian, and Russian at San Diego State University!

Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC) at San Diego State University (SDSU) is excited to announce that it is hosting its first-ever year-round student Startalk program in three languages: Chinese, Persian (Farsi), and Russian. The program is open to up to 48 highly motivated high-school students (16 per language) in grades 9-11 with no prior knowledge of the language. The program comprises 170 hours of instruction: 30 hours of online instruction January–May 2022, 80 hours of in-person instruction during the four-week summer immersion camp, and 60 hours of hybrid post-summer instruction August 2022–May 2023.

The program uses a thematically organized curriculum and focuses on language learning through authentic texts and resources. Students acquire the language through lessons that are culturally rich and cognitively engaging and through meaningful real-world activities that prepare them to communicate outside the classroom. In addition to being immersed in the language, students also participate in a variety of authentic cultural activities that deepen their understanding and appreciation of the target language cultures.

As part of the program, students are able to take, at no cost, the computerized Oral Proficiency Assessment twice, the gold standard in the assessment of speaking proficiency used by government agencies, companies, and educational institutions. By the end of the program, students are expected to reach the intermediate level of oral proficiency on the ACTFL scale.

Students may earn 8-10 units of undergraduate college credit at the end of the program.

  • Dates: January 2022 - May 2022 (pre-summer program); June 2022 - July 2022 (month-long summer camp); August 2022 - May 2023 (post-summer program)
  • Format: Online (pre-summer program), in person at San Diego State University campus (summer camp), hybrid (post-summer program)
  • Cost: The program is offered for free
  • Graduation: May 2023, San Diego State University campus
  • Sign up to the mailing list to receive updated information about the program

Click on the sections below to view more information.

Please check this page regularly for dates of our webinar info sessions, in-person visits to schools and organizations preparing high school students for college, and webinar sessions. You can also sign up for our mailing list.
Participants must be:
  • High school students in grades 9-11
  • US citizens or residents
  • Available for the entire duration of the program
  • Highly motivated and committed

Application opens on October 1, 2021.

Application Process:

Step 1: Complete and submit the application form by December 3, 2021. You will receive a notification that your application has been received. As part of the application, you will be required to submit a short essay outlining the reasons why you would like to attend the program and what career you would like to pursue after their university education. Step 2: You will be informed whether you have been accepted to the program by December 17, 2021. Step 3: If you have been accepted to the program, you will have until December 23, 2021 to confirm your participation and submit the refundable deposit of $100.
Instructor information will be posted at a later date.
Startalk students may apply for optional undergraduate college credit. The program is the equivalent of two university courses: Startalk classes from spring 2022 to the end of the summer correspond to one course, while the follow-up classes in fall 2022 and spring 2023 correspond to the second course. The program covers $100 per student for each course out of $288 (Persian) and $360 (Chinese and Russian).

student preparing a presentation
students in the computer lab
student playing the sitar
students presenting
two students working together

Point of Contact

Shahnaz Ahmadeian
Nadezda Novakovic
STARTALK Program Directors
Phone: 619-594-0846

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STARTALK is a national project funded by the National Security Agency. STARTALK’s mission is to increase the number of U.S. citizens learning, speaking, and teaching critical-need languages, with programs nationwide for students (K-16) and teachers. startalk.umd.edu