The South Asia Center is pleased to announce the 2017 Hindi-Urdu Startalk Program! The 2017 program will be completely online.

Interested in learning to communicate in Hindi-Urdu? After completing the 2017 Hindi-Urdu Startalk program students will be able to speak and understand Hindi-Urdu in a range of real-world contexts. Students will also learn to read and write one script. All materials will be provided in both Hindi and Urdu scripts—the language content is identical. Students will engage with various Hindi-Urdu authentic materials to gain direct experience of culture. Classes will be fun and interactive incorporating games, role-plays, guided conversations with native speakers, and many other engaging activities.The 2017 program will be held completely online.

Classes will be held Monday-Friday from 4:00 to 6:00 pm eastern time, May 22nd-June 28th (Summer Session I). Students will need a broadband internet connection to take part in the program.The program is open to students who will be college undergraduates or high school students when the program begins. This year’s program targets students at the beginning level. Students who have some limited prior exposure to Hindi-Urdu but are not yet at the intermediate level may also apply.

Credit and Program Cost

After completing the program you will receive one course unit (c.u.) of college credit from the University of Pennsylvania. One c.u. from Penn is usually equivalent to three credits in universities that use a credit-hour system. Please contact your home institution if you have questions about how to transfer credit.The program will offer all admitted students a scholarship that will cover 85-90% of the tuition and fees for the course. Information on the current cost of Penn summer courses can be found on the Penn Summer website. Additional funds could become available that would further lower the cost to students and we hope to make the program as affordable to students as possible.

How to Apply

Rolling admissions will begin on April 3rd and continue until all spots are filled. To apply complete all of the following steps:

1. Fill out the online application

The online application includes a 250-word-maximum personal statement. Please address these questions in your statement:

·         Why are you interested in studying Hindi or Urdu?

·         What makes you a strong candidate for the program?

·         Do you have any interest in continuing to study Hindi/Urdu beyond this summer?

2. Have a teacher familiar with your work submit a letter of recommendation. Please have your teacher address the following questions:

·         How long and in what capacity have you known the applicant?

·         Please comment on the applicant’s academic performance.

·         Please comment on the applicant’s language learning aptitude (if known).

·         Does the applicant demonstrate a consistently high level of maturity and responsibility? Does the applicant have good attendance and is s/he engaged in your class? Does the applicant put a consistent level of effort into class assignments?

Have your teacher submit the recommendation by email to Josh Pien (Program Director) at Please remind your teacher to send the recommendation from his/her official school email address.

3. Have your school registrar send an official transcript to the South Asia Center at this address:

UPenn Hindi-Urdu Startalk Program

South Asia Center, University of Pennsylvania

820 Williams Hall

255 S. 36th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305


 Questions? Please contact Program Director Josh Pien at


Previous Years

2014 STARTALK Program

STARTALK 2013 Program

STARTALK 2012 Programs

STARTALK 2011 Programs

STARTALK 2010 Programs

STARTALK 2009 Programs