Summer Language Program at Hunter College

“I'm so glad I participated in the STARTALK Program at Hunter College this summer, and I cannot believe it is already over. I did not know any Chinese before I started this program, and it amazes me when I think back to how much I learned. I'm so glad that STARTALK was my first encounter with Chinese and I developed a strong passion for learning languages.”


Program Duration 

Location: Hunter College Campus: 695 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065

Daily Face to Face Class Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Online Class Time (At Home): 1 Hour/Day

First Day of the Summer Session: June 28th (Friday).

Week 1: Face to Face: June 28th.
Week 2: Face to Face: July 1st, and 2nd, and July 3rd. Online: July 5th.
Week 3: Face to Face: July 8th to July 11th. Online: July 12th.
Week 4: Face to Face: July 15th to July 18 th. Online: July 19th.
Week 5: Face to Face: July 22nd to 25th Online: July 26th .
Week 6: Online: July 29th to July 31st.

Last Day of the Summer Session: August 1st (Thursday). Students return to Hunter College Campus for final assessments and end-of-program celebration

Post-summer Session: (Upon completing the Summer Program, students will be eligible to apply for additional online course during Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semester, limited seats)

Online Session I: September 2019 – December 2019
Online Session II: End of January 2020 – May 2020  
Specific dates will be announced by the end of the summer session.


Students Of Startalk


Applicant Eligibility

We will be enrolling 10-15 high school students who have no Chinese learning background, with preference given to rising juniors or seniors. Priority will be given to students who have limited background learning Mandarin Chinese, and can demonstrate a long-term commitment to learning Chinese with excellent academic standing.


Program Cost: FREE

Participants will have to pay for daily personal meals, transportation to Hunter College, and field trips costs,during the summer program. Out-of-state students are responsible for arranging their own housing.


Eating at a Restaurant


“I didn't really know what to expect at the beginning, on the first day. Since it was a free program, I wasn't really expecting something as intensive as what we achieved in a month! I was so happy with the way everything turned out, and I honestly have trouble believing that I went from barely remembering my own name on the first day to being able to talk for around five minutes straight completely in Chinese.”


Hunter College Chinese Flagship Center

We welcome rising seniors who apply to Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College or Hunter College and obtain admission to apply as incoming freshmen.

Incoming freshmen to Hunter College who have been accepted into STARTALK summer program will have priority to apply to Hunter College Chinese Flagship Center to continue their Chinese studies. The Chinese Flagship Center provides generous student support for study abroad, one-on-one instruction, and opportunities for internships in NYC and China.

For more information about the Chinese Flagship Center, please visit: or call: 212-396-6595.

For more information about the Macaulay Honors College, please visit:

For more information about Hunter College, please visit


People of Startalk


Proficiency Tests

A. Lingua Folio

Students will be instructed how to do self-assessment using the online tool Lingua Folio. Students™ learning portfolios will be used to evaluate their progress at the end of each session.

B. Standards-based Measure of Proficiency: STAMP Tests

Students will take STAMP proficiency tests during the first two days of the summer program and take post tests after completing the program.

The pre- and post-test results will be used as partial criteria for eligibility for the post-summer program. Click here to learn more about the STAMP tests.

A successful participant needs to demonstrate at least one-level of proficiency growth (i.e. from Level 1 to Level 2) in both speaking and reading of Chinese at the end of the summer and the post-summer programs respectively.



All students completing the summer program successfully will receive a certificate.


Highlights of Program Curriculum

The curriculum features language immersion with a theme-based and task-based approach, and utilizes authentic materials in the target language. The theme is “My Mysterious Pen Pal.” The tasks will involve practicing communication, learning about culture, creating connections, making comparisons, and performing community service. In addition to language instruction, students will also be engaging in activities, such as calligraphy, painting, making dumplings, chess, view movies, cartoons, comics, as well as fieldtrip to various locations in New York City.

Students Learning to make dumplings


“Another aspect of STARTALK that really helped me were the opportunities to speak to regular Mandarin speakers in the real world, such as when we went to the Metropolitan Museum or to the si4chuan1 restaurant in Chinatown. Yes, I was nervous! But I felt so proud when they understood what I was saying!”

Selection Criteria and Application Requirements

  • Students should have a long-term plan for learning Chinese and a genuine interest in using Chinese in their intended professions.
  • Students must have a record of outstanding academic performance and leadership.


Application Steps

  1. Fill out the program online application form.  
  2. Obtain a letter of recommendation from either a school teacher or principal. The recommendation can be submitted via email to
  3. Obtain a copy of your academic transcript.
  4. Write a personal statement essay in English (500 words, single space, size 12, Times New Roman, 1” margin) talk about why you should be accepted.
  5. Send us your letter of recommendation, academic transcript, and personal statement by email or by mail. You may send in the application form and statement of purpose first if you need extra time to obtain your transcript and recommendation letter.
    • Email:
    • Mail: High School STARTALK Program
      Hunter College HW1425
      Department of Classical and Oriental Studies
      695 Park Avenue
      New York, New York 10065
  6. Qualified candidates will be contacted for a 5-10 minute phone interview.

Application Deadline

Applications will be reviewed and accepted on a rolling basis until all the seats are filled.

People of Startalk


Contact Information



High School STARTALK Program
Hunter College HW1425
Department of Classical and Oriental Studies
695 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10065


Online Application Form:


“Every day, I would go home feeling incredibly accomplished, and would tell my parents everything I had learned.”

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