The Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) offers three programs:
The CASA I program is designed for graduate and undergraduate students. (CASA I Announcement for 2013-14)
The CASA II program aims to provide further opportunities for CASA fellows who have completed the CASA Full-Year program within the past five years, to continue to enhance their language skills and advance their Arabic-based research in Egypt. (CASA II Announcement for 2013-14)
The CASA III program is designed to meet the linguistic and research needs of professors with specialization in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies.
All CASA programs provide intensive language, culture, and specialized area studies training, with 9 to 20 hours of classroom instruction per week plus homework. A series of lectures, tours, and visits to places of historical interest, both in and outside Cairo are an integral part of the CASA programs. Efforts are made to provide opportunities for CASA participants to interact with their Egyptian counterparts and experience life in Egypt to the fullest extent.
CASA Program Policies
Testing and Evaluation Policy
Each fellow's performance is evaluated through written tests, oral presentations and interviews in each of the courses taken. The evaluation component of each course is explained in detail in the course syllabus. In addition to the course-based evaluation, the CASA I program utilizes two general testing tools aimed at helping fellows gauge their progress in the various skills:
- As part of the selection process, all applicants take a comprehensive Selection Exam which tests their language proficiency skills in listening, reading, and writing.
- Applicants selected to participate in the CASA I program are given in an ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) during April, which serves as a pre-score and will be used to measure oral proficiency progress made during the course of their CASA year.
At the end of their year-long program (in April or May):
- Fellows take an Exit Exam, which is similar to the exam taken when applying to CASA. This helps provide each fellow with a tangible measure of his/her progress in the areas of listening, reading, and writing.
- Fellows are given another oral interview called an Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR). These interviews are rated on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the level of an educated Arabic native speaker. The ILR style interview is used as the post test because it allows more detailed ratings at the upper end of the scale (3s and 4s) than the ACTFL OPI does and it is expected that most fellows will be functioning in this range by the end of their CASA year. The pre-program ACTFL OPI rating is comparable to the post program ILR interview rating for the purposes of measuring oral proficiency progress.
All interviews are conducted by ACTFL certified oral interviewers. These tests and oral interviews constitute an integral part of the program; full participation from all fellows is required.
Arabic Speaking Policy
While abroad, it is CASA's policy that fellows speak Arabic at both inside and outside of the classroom. Speaking Arabic at all times will immensely facilitate the acquisition of vocabulary and structures, and will allow fellows to internalize them much faster. Restricting the use of Arabic to the classroom severely limits a fellow's potential to become a fluent speaker of Arabic, and will restrain the language progress. CASA expects all its fellows to abide by the Arabic Speaking Policy and to help create opportunities for speaking Arabic both inside and outside the classroom.
During orientation in Cairo, CASA asks each of its fellows to sign a Language Pledge affirming their commitment to uphold CASA's Arabic Speaking Policy and create an Arabic speaking environment for all members of the CASA group.
CASA fellows may not leave Egypt without permission from the CASA Executive Director, except during official school holidays. In case of an emergency requiring departure from Egypt, each fellow must notify the CASA Executive Director immediately to discuss the situation and request permission to leave. CASA students must alert the CASA administration by filling out a travel form when they are traveling, even within Egypt. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in loss of fellowship and dismissal from the program.
Departure from the program before classes are scheduled to end or joining the program after classes have already started is not usually allowed but may be considered under extenuating circumstances. Any absent requests must be approved through the CASA Stateside office and the CASA Executive Director at AUC. Failure to adhere to this policy may result in the loss of fellowship and dismissal from the program.