A three-week intensive Arabic course for 40 high school students from Boston, supported by the STARTALK Project

Application Information

The Arabic Summer Academy provides a dynamic academic environment where students from a variety of backgrounds can express their full selves, communicate with each other, and develop as life-long learners and global citizens.

The 2020 program has been cancelled because of the public health crisis. We expect to hold a program in 2021.

Why Arabic?

There are so many reasons! We’ve listed our favorites below. Learn more about these and others at the #ispeakarabic website.

It’s Free!

There is no tuition at the Arabic Summer Academy and all of the materials you need will be supplied by the program, including an MBTA pass. Similar programs around the country usually cost thousands of dollars.


You’ll set yourself up for great jobs. Knowledge of Arabic and Arab culture will offer expanded access to high-paying careers in business, diplomacy, journalism, defense, public policy, health care, and more.

Future Study

Arabic will help you get into college! By learning Arabic, you will distinguish yourself as a student who is willing to break the mold and try something different. You will stand out when applying for colleges, scholarships, and special programs.


The program provides breakfast and lunch every day, and you will experience catered Middle Eastern cuisine.

Arts & Culture

You’ll experience the fun and beauty of Arab arts and culture directly, learning how to sing Arabic songs, master Arabic drum rhythms, and create beautiful designs with calligraphy and geometric patterns.


Arabic is the fifth-most spoken language in the world, with over 200 million native speakers. In the United States, it is the fastest growing second language since 2010.



At A Glance

The Arabic Summer Academy is an intensive program that welcomes high school students from Boston to learn Arabic and explore the cultures of the Arabic-speaking world in an engaging and supportive environment. The program is designed both for beginning students who are new to the language and for highly motivated students who have studied some Arabic before. The Arabic Summer Academy is a 16-day non-residential program, with 40 students in total.


Every day, students rotate between Arabic language and culture classes that are focused on communication from day one. All students learn the alphabet and learn how to talk, write, and read in Arabic. The curriculum centers around the theme of navigating and describing a modern Arab city. Students go on field trips to use their new language abilities in real-world situations in the city of Boston.

In addition to providing intensive language training, our program stives to help our students become global citizens who are aware of the peoples, cultures and customs of the Arabic-speaking world. Students will complete their time at the Arabic Summer Academy excited for future learning, with a newfound energy to explore the cultures of the world.


The program runs Monday through Friday each week (including July 3) and runs from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM each day. There is a closing ceremony midday on the final Saturday. The schedule includes time for breakfast and lunch, three Arabic language and culture classes, and a midday period with a special cultural focus. Students should expect to spend about an hour on homework every night. Students who complete the requirements and maintain excellent attendance are invited to a graduation ceremony with performances on the final program day.


Arabic Summer Academy students come from all across Boston and from a variety of backgrounds. They are as young as rising 9th graders and as old as graduating 12th graders. They have in common a curiosity to explore the Arabic Language and Arab cultures together. Would you like to join us?

In 2020, there will be two broad tracks of students at the Arabic Summer Academy: Beginning Arabic students and the Arabic Explorers and Scholars. Both groups of students participate in cultural focus activities together, and conduct joint language-activation simulations, forming one program community. Each level’s language classes are held separately.

Beginning Arabic

Beginning Arabic students focus their studies on mastering the Arabic letters and sounds, and gaining skills in Arabic conversation.

Apply to Beginning Arabic …

  • if you are an absolute beginner in Arabic.
  • if you speak some Arabic, but do not know the Arabic letters and their sounds.
  • if you know some Arabic letters and their sounds, but need to review.
  • if you know the Arabic letters and their sounds well, but do not know the meaning of words or any conversation.
  • if you were a student at ASA before but would like to review.

Arabic Explorers and Scholars

Arabic Scholars are a group of students of mixed ability, ranging from high novice to intermediate levels. They have a passion for learning Arabic, a drive to explore the language and culture independently, and want to help create community at the Arabic Summer Academy.

Apply to Arabic Explorers and Scholars …

  • if you studied at the Arabic Summer Academy before and feel ready and excited to continue your studies.
  • if you know how to read and write the Arabic letters and sounds well, and know how to introduce yourself and have a short conversation about everyday topics.
  • if you are excited about serving as a role model for beginning Arabic students.
  • if you have a passion for Arabic that you would like to pursue with the support of a teacher.


The 2020 program has been cancelled because of the public health crisis. We expect to hold a program in 2021.

You, the student must complete the application yourself, not your teacher, parent or guardian.

Double-check that you are available for all of the program dates.

Prepare the following before clicking on the application link below:

  • Contact information for you and your parent or guardian
  • Name and email address of a teacher who knows you well
  • A short statement on why you want to study Arabic (25 – 150 words)
  • A short statement on your background, interests, and what makes you unique (25 – 150 words)

If you are applying to Arabic Explorers and Scholars:

  • You will be expected to write slightly longer statements (at least 40 words)
  • You will have the opportunity to serve as a mentor and role model to beginning Arabic students in learning the Alphabet. This will require interpersonal skills. Prepare a statement about an experience of facing a challenge while working with other people, and how you overcame this challenge.

If you are not sure whether to apply to Beginning Arabic or Arabic Explorers and Scholars, read more here. If you are still not sure which application is right for you, contact us.

Applications to our program are accepted on a rolling basis.

Apply to Beginning Arabic

Apply to Arabic Explorers and Scholars


Program Director

Richard Cozzens has been teaching, assisting, or directing at the Arabic Summer Academy since 2008. During the academic year he serves as Preceptor in Arabic at Harvard University.

Assistant Director & Lead Teacher

Alaa Razeq has been teaching at STARTALK programs since 2010 and has been with the Arabic Summer Academy since 2015. She is the school-year Arabic language teacher at Charlestown High School.

Lead Teacher

James Soares has been teaching at the Arabic Summer Academy since 2013. He studied Arabic in Jordan and currently teaches English and literacy at Charlestown High School.

Administrative Director

Alex Kalamaroff has been working with the Arabic Summer Academy since 2009. He is the Director of Outreach and Development at Charlestown High School.