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Welcome to the AFP Family Information Page!

On this page, you will find frequently asked questions and information for families and friends of Arabic Flagship Program students. Have another question that isn't answered here? Feel free to contact us via email or phone at any time.


+What is the Arabic Flagship Program?

The AFP is part of a national initiative known as The Language Flagship. Flagship offers language programs at schools across the United States for undergraduate students in critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu. Designed as a network of programs, The Language Flagship seeks to graduate students who will take their place among the next generation of global professionals, commanding a superior level of proficiency in one of many languages critical to U.S. competitiveness and security.

The Language Flagship is a public/private partnership sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) of the Department of Defense and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

+What is the Capstone year?

The Capstone year is the final, 12-month immersion experience that takes place in Meknes, Morocco. Students typically complete the Capstone as a 5th year after spending four years at UMD, although pathways are flexible. Participation in the Arabic Flagship Program requires a commitment to completing the Capstone year.

The Capstone program and the AFP summer overseas program, also in Meknes, are administered by our partners American Councils for International Education.

+Is admission to Capstone guaranteed?

Students from all Arabic Flagship institutions in the US (currently 5 schools) must submit an application in order to be accepted to the Capstone. However, the admissions process is non-competitive as the number of spots in the Capstone program is not capped. Students must demonstrate a minimum language proficiency and overall readiness for study abroad in order to qualify.

University of Maryland students are typically excellent candidates for admission and acceptance rates in recent years have been 95%+. Program staff prepare students throughout their time domestically with annual advising, practice proficiency testing, and individualized tutoring when needed.

+What will a student do while abroad?

During the Capstone year, students take language courses in Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian Colloquial, and Moroccan Colloquial. In the Fall and Spring semesters, students will also enroll directly at the local university, Moulay Ismail, with Moroccan students in a course of their choice. They will also volunteer with a community service organization (Fall) and work in an internship of their choice (Spring). Students will also meet regularly with academic and language partners and participate in cultural activities and excursions throughout the country.

+How much does this program cost?

The domestic portion of the Arabic Flagship Program does not carry any additional costs (tuition or otherwise). Students and families are encouraged to plan ahead for the costs of any optional summer programs, such as the UMD Summer Language Institute or the AFP summer overseas in Meknes, and the Capstone year. Updated costs of attendance are provided to students each year, along with individual scholarship advising.

The current costs are as follows, please note that they are subject to change:

  • Summer Institute: $6,500 [tuition only]

  • Summer Overseas: ~$9,000 [full cost of attendance, including cost of living]

  • Capstone Year: ~$25,000 [full cost of attendance, including cost of living]

AFP offers scholarship opportunities for students in good standing for each of these programs. Funding is capped at $3,500 for SI, $7,000 for the Summer overseas, and $15,000 for Capstone. The maximum funding a student can receive throughout their time in AFP is $20,000. Our students are also very competitive for other scholarship awards including the Boren award, which covers $20,000 of study abroad costs, and the Gilman award, which offers up to $5,000.

+What safety and security measures are in place overseas?

Student safety is our first priority abroad. We work with our partner organizations, including UMD's Education Abroad and American Councils for International Education, to ensure a safe and secure environment overseas. The Resident Director is on the ground 24/7 for student support and is well trained to assist students and handle emergencies. The RD is in regular contact with the American Councils offices in DC, and program staff from American Councils and UMD conduct regular site visits to Morocco to assess overall safety and program quality.

Students are provided with evacuation and emergency plans as well as comprehensive overseas insurance through UMD.

+Why is the overseas site in Meknes, Morocco?

Morocco has a rich cultural heritage and has hosted American students for many decades. The country has remained politically stable and crime levels in Meknes are relatively low. Additionally, Morocco contains a wide variety of cultures and environments within its border. Students will enjoy excursions to the Sahara Desert in the South, populated by the indigenous Amazigh people, the Atlas Mountains in central Morocco, and the beautiful beaches and waterfalls on the North coast.

Meknes is a smaller city in northern central Morocco and was the capital city from 1672 to 1727 under Sultan Moulay Ismail. The city is full of traditional souks, museums, festivals, and interesting things to do. Since Meknes is a smaller, less touristy city than places like Rabat or Marrakech, students find that immersion into the local culture is easier and that Arabic, rather than English or French, is truly the lingua franca.

+Will a student be fluent in Arabic after this program?

We measure the progress of our students in terms of their language proficiency level. By the end of the Capstone year, students achieve a Superior, or Working Professional, level of proficiency. This means that they can effectively function in a professional environment, like an office job or a business interaction, with ease. Students at this level also have high levels of cultural competence and adjust their speech appropriately, switching from local language use with their friends to formal greetings in a work email. This is a very high level of proficiency rarely achieved by foreign language students in the U.S.

+What types of careers are open to Flagship graduates?

Any you can think of! In addition to more traditional fields like national security and language analysis/translation, Arabic Flagship graduates have gone on to work in law, social work, international development, international banking, humanitarian and non-profit work, education administration, and more in both the U.S. and abroad.

+Who should I contact if I have a specific question?

Please feel free to reach out to us at any time with the contact form above, or email us at arabic@umd.edu. During business hours, you can also reach us by phone at (301) 405-4742. We are more than happy to answer your questions! Please note that due to federal privacy regulations, we cannot discuss personal details about any specific student without their permission, so we recommend scheduling a meeting along with the student present if you would like to discuss any details related to financials, enrollment status, etc.


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