STARTALK is an educational program designed to increase the number of U.S. citizens who learn, speak, and teach critical need foreign languages. STARTALK provides engaging summer workshops and experiences to students (K–16) and teachers of these critical languages. STARTALK strives to exemplify the best practices in language education and in language teacher development. It was launched in 2006 by the National Security Agency (NSA), which awarded a contract to the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) at the University of Maryland (UMD) to become the subject matter expert, taking the lead in implementation and administration the program.

STARTALK is guided by six Principles for Effective Teaching & Learning and has three main objectives:

  1. To increase the number of students enrolled in the study of critical need languages
  2. To increase the number of highly effective critical language teachers in the U.S.
  3. To increase the number of highly effective materials and curricula available to teachers and students of these critical-need languages

Through the accomplishment of these objectives, it is believed that the U.S. will be better equipped to improve its international relations, and to solidify its national security and global economic competitiveness in the years ahead.

To learn more about how STARTALK was created and the goals of the program, please visit https://startalk.umd.edu/public/about