2021 Russian Student Program

Russian in the Sky and in Outer Space


July 19 - August 13, 2021
from 9:00am to 3:00pm (weekdays only)

Please see the application form below.

Registration fee: $55




  • High school students
    (including entering 9th graders)
  • Heritage speakers of Russian
    (Heritage speakers grew up speaking the language at home.)

The STARTALK Student Program, "Russian in the Sky and in Outer Space," aims to enroll 20 high school Russian heritage language students in a four-week intensive language program. The program will combine the history of the most important events of space exploration with that of aircraft design and the language of science and technology. A content-based component STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) will be woven into this program through a partnership with the Museum of Flight. Students’ various interests will be further addressed by a range of projects above and beyond the STEM topics; such as language, culture and translation, lego robotics, and biology.

Applications for Summer 2021 are closed. Please check back for news on Summer 2022.

Please email startalk@uw.edu if you have any specific questions.



Goals of the Program

  • to sharpen and expand students’ use of formal Russian language beyond intimate family speech
  • to strengthen students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening ability, especially in formal Russian language in varied disciplines
  • to prepare students to take their Russian language skills out into the Russian community and the world

Летняя программа STARTALK «Русский язык в небе и космосе»

Интенсивная четырехнедельная языковая программа STARTALK при Университете Вашингтона рассчитана на старшеклассников - наследственных носителей русского языка, умеющих читать и писать. Программа посвящена истории изучения космоса и самолетостроению,что позволяет учащимся освоить научный стиль речи. Изучение русского языка происходит на основе STEM (естественнонаучные дисциплины, компьютерные технологии, инженерное дело и математика) и включает экскурсии и лабораторные работы в Музее Воздухоплавания (Museum of Flight) в Сиэтле. Помимо изучения технических дисциплин, студентам на выбор предлагается ряд гуманитарных проектов, например, по истории и лингвистике. По завершении программы учащиеся могут получить 5 университетских кредитов и сдать устный и письменный тест, чтобы подтвердить уровень владения русским языком. Используя результаты тестов, старшеклассники могут получить до 4 кредитов в школе.

If you are interested in applying for the program:

Please review and complete the form below (it scrolls down multiple pages and has a 'submit' button at the end).
We strongly recommend submitting a form as soon as possible if you are interested, even though funding is pending, as the 20 student slots fill up quickly. Interested students will be contacted as soon as we receive notice about funding, after which our staff will assess each interested student's Russian proficiency levels in speaking/listening and writing/reading.


Who can apply?

  • High School students who learned to speak Russian at home with their family (generally, Heritage speakers) and have at least basic skills in reading and writing Russian

Our program is designed to help Russian students develop their literacy skills in Russian while also refining their presentational speaking skills. Using the NCSSFL-ACTFL Intermediate Can-Do Statements, Russian-speaking students should aim for at least Intermediate Low in all skills (in Russian) in order to be successful in our program.

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Do we have housing options for students?

Unfortunately our program cannot support housing for minors. For registered students who live within commuting distance from Seattle, there are reduced-cost transportation options through UW Transportation Services. Students who live further away must make their own arrangements to participate in the face-to-face portions of the program.

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What does the STARTALK timeline look like before the program starts?

  • Feb or March - Notice of Grant Approval
  • March through May - Info sessions and Interviews with Lead Instructors (We will send out emails with specific dates and times)
  • May and early June - Acceptances sent out with registration packets and fee to be returned before the start of the program.
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We're going on vacation this summer. Can I/my child miss a portion of the program?

Due to the intensive nature of the program, students cannot receive full credit if they have more than a few absences. All absences should be communicated to the lead instructor as soon as possible. If you are unsure about committing to the program, please talk to a program team member.

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How are the university credits earned?

Students who complete the course satisfactorily will receive credits from the University of Washington that will appear on their University of Washington transcript just like any other university course. These credits may be transferred to another institution at the institution's discretion by requesting a copy of your transcript be sent to their offices. Please see https://registrar.washington.edu/enrollment-and-records/ordering-transcripts/ for more details.

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How are the high school credits earned?

At the end of the program, students will take a proficiency exam to test their language skills. You will receive a letter issued by WAFLT (Washington Association for Language Teaching) indicating your test results and recommended high school credits. The letters also indicate whether the test results qualify you for the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy. The STARTALK program can email test results and letters directly to high school counselors, as well.

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"STARTALK offered me a way to share my Russian culture with others and learn more about my heritage as something to be proud of in the process. It was wonderful to meet new people and compare my experiences with their own, as well as discovering relationships between Russia and America that I never knew existed."

"The STARTALK Student Program appealed to me because of the opportunities I received to work with flourishing young minds of students who were able to speak Russian. The program allowed people with similar backgrounds and interests to meet one another, and, through personal and direct conversation, develop their skills in a way no classroom environment can."

"I enjoyed the STARTALK program because of the people I met, it's pretty rare to come across other russophonic kids, especially ones that share your interests."

Past Program Information:

University of Washington Language Learning Center Seattle, WA 98195-4340    Phone:(206) 543-0536     Email: startalk@uw.edu