During the month of July, 2014 the South Asia Center at Penn offered an intensive three-week Hindi-Urdu language program through Startalk. The program provided six hours of daily instruction to 24 college and high school students through a new hands-on, Standards-based curriculum that took students on a virtual trip through major Hindi-Urdu speaking cities and regions of South Asia.
The program took a novel approach by teaching Urdu and Hindi simultaneously in all classes. Students benefited from exposure to both varieties and by learning about a broader range of cultural products, practices, and perspectives. The program also included talks on South Asian music and literature by Penn faculty members and various fun activities such as connecting via Skype with native Hindi-Urdu speakers from South Asia.
After visiting Penn, reviewing instructional materials, and observing classes, Startalk invited the Hindi-Urdu program to deliver a workshop on methods for integrating language, culture, and content during the upcoming Startalk conference.
The program was planned and directed by Joshua Pien, and Penn instructors Mustafa Menai and Amrit Gahunia provided valuable instructional expertise. The program also benefited immensely from continuous support from South Asia Center's staff members Dr. Raili Roy and Jody Chavez. The Penn Hindi-Urdu Startalk program looks forward to continuing successes in future years!