Center for Arabic Study Abroad
Center for Arabic Study Abroad

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CASA?
The Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) is an intensive advanced level Arabic program held at the American University in Cairo, Egypt; however, due to recent political events in Egypt, the program has been temporarily relocated to the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan for fall 2013 and spring 2014.  CASA is represented by a Consortium of 35 universities and colleges in the U.S.

What is CASA's source of funding?
CASA is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Education with additional funding from a variety of other sources.

Can other sources of funding be used in support of CASA studies?
Applicants are encouraged to seek funding from other available sources, such as Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, NFLI, and Fulbright Hays Student Scholarships, for their CASA studies.

What programs does CASA offer?

  • CASA I Full-Year
  • CASA II for Recent Alumni (The CASA II program has been temporarily suspended for 2014-15.  The program will resume, in shaa'allaah, in 2015-16.)
  • CASA III for Faculty (The CASA III program has been temporarily suspended as a result of loss of Fulbright funding for the program. The program will resume, in shaa'allaah, in 2015-16.)

Does CASA offer a Summer-Only program?
CASA no longer offers a Summer only program; CASA I fellows participate for the full academic year.

What does a CASA fellowship include?
CASA fellowships pay: tuition for courses, a modest monthly stipend, roundtrip airfare*, and program-sponsored tours and trips.  *Travel is restricted for CASA's program dates only; travel arrangements outside of the designated program dates will be fellow's financial responsibility.

What expenses are NOT included in the fellowship award?
All fellows are responsible for paying the CASA non-refundable program fee, housing costs, living expenses, required medical insurance, costs for travel preparations (such as passports, visas, required medical exams, etc.), and personal travel outside of CASA's program dates. 

Pay-Your-Own-Way (PYOW) fellows are responsible for tuition and airfare, in addition to the expenses listed above.  For more information on the Pay-Your-Own-Way Option, please see Section 6 on the Applicants' Forms Guide

Who is eligible to apply for a fellowship?
Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for a CASA fellowship award.  Applicants for the CASA I program may be graduate students, upper level undergraduate students or between academic degree programs.

Non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents, are welcome to apply to CASA, and if accepted, may participate on a Pay-Your-Own-Way (PYOW) basis only.

How many years of formal Arabic instruction are required prior to applying for the CASA program?
Applicants should complete at least 3 years of formal instruction in Arabic prior to applying to the CASA program.

Does CASA offer beginning or intermediate level courses?
CASA only offers advanced level coursework. It does NOT offer beginning or intermediate level courses in Arabic.

How many hours per week are required in the classroom and for related activities?
Fellows have approximately 20 contact hours per week in the classroom setting. Fellows are expected to devote an additional 25 to 30 hours outside of class for homework and studying.

What are the CASA program dates?
You can find the CASA program dates on the Forms and Selected Fellows pages of our website. 

How do I obtain an application?
Application forms are available on the CASA  and updated in September for each new academic year.

When are applications due?
Please refer to the Forms and the Applicants sections for more information.

Do you need to receive my application by the deadline or can it be postmarked by that date?
Applications must be in our office by the deadline. We are not able to consider any applications received after the deadline.

Am I eligible for the consortium fee rates?
An applicant must be currently enrolled or a current faculty member with a CASA Consortium School when the application and program fees are due.   

Can my reference send in a letter via email?
We prefer to receive hard copies of letters via mail but realize that this is not always possible. If a reference needs to send in a letter via email, the letter must be 1) sent from their email address, 2) signed on letterhead, and 3) include a completed Confidentiality Reference Form provided in the application packet.  To ensure letters of recommendation are filed with the appropriate application, please include the applicant's name in the subject line of the email. 
Letters of recommendation can be written in English or Arabic.  Please refer to the Application Guide (Section 4) for more details.

Can my recommendation letters and transcripts be sent electronically to CASA?
Yes, letters of recommendation and transcripts may be sent electronically to the CASA office. If separate items are being sent by different sources, please ensure your name and/or your EID is listed on the document or in the subject line of the email.  For more information about sending transcripts electronically, refer to the Application Guide (Section 3) for details and keep in mind that it must be an official transcript sent directly from the institution.

Will I get a confirmation that my application was received and is complete?
Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to let applicants know that their applications were received. You are welcome to check on your items via email and we will do our best to help verify what we have received. Please be patient as we receive many applications and questions during application season. If the CASA office has time, it will do its best to send an email regarding missing items.  

Can you arrange a proctor for me?
It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure a suitable proctor. Please see Proctor & Reference Information (Section 4) for more details. 

When is the selection exam?
The selection exam will be administered at various locations around the U.S. and abroad starting at 9 AM your local time.  The exam is coordinated based on being administered from a stateside or international location, please refer to the CASA Proficiency Exam page for specific information about the dates and exam content.  Please keep in mind, it is the applicant's responsibility to know the date of the exam and to be in contact with the designated proctor in regards to any details. 

When is the oral interview?
For CASA I, an oral interview in Arabic will be conducted via Skype with only those applicants who have been selected and admitted into the program. The selected fellows will be contacted in April with instructions on proceeding with this interview after confirming their enrollment in CASA.

For CASA II applicants being considered for a fellowship, a 15-20 minute oral interview in Arabic will take place via telephone with the CASA Executive Director in early March when the CASA Selection Committee convenes for the application process.  The CASA Stateside office will contact applicants directly to schedule an interview.

When are fellowship decisions announced?
Notifications are sent via email in mid-March.

What factors are considered in the selection process?
The selection committee considers a variety of factors in the decision-making process including but not limited to:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Reference
  • Grades from transcripts
  • Score on written exam

How many people applied to CASA last year?
CASA received approximately 105 applications for the 2013-14 academic year.

How many people were selected for CASA last year?
Last year there were 37 CASA I fellows and 3 CASA II fellows for the 2012-13 academic year.  For the initial 2013-14 academic year, 30 full-year participating fellows (21 Fellowships + 8 PYOW) and 1 CASA II fellow were in Egypt studying at The American University in Cairo.  Due to the political events that developed in June 2013 in Egypt, the program relocated to Amman, Jordan and 18 CASA I fellows, plus 1 CASA II fellow are currently studying at the Qasid Arabic Institute for the remaining academic year.