In my opinion, all children, whose native tongue is not Chinese, should learn Chinese as second language. Learning Chinese will give the younger generation a sharp-edge advantage in every aspect of their future life, strategically, culturally, and practically (see Why children should learn Chinese?)
Now, more and more college students are encouraged to study in China, thanks to U.S. President Barack Obama’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” which aims to increase the number of U.S. college students studying in China to 100,000 by 2014.
According to the United States’ Department of State, the number of Americans studying in China grew 30 percent annually from 2001-2007. In the 2007-08 school year, for example, 13,165 American college students and an estimated 1,000 high school students went to China for some type of study program.
Given the need for Americans to gain greater exposure to and understanding of China, in November 2009, President Barack Obama announced the “100,000 Strong” initiative, a national effort designed to increase dramatically the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China.
“Studying in countries like China isn’t only about your prospects in the global marketplace… It’s about the friendships you make, the bonds of trust you establish, and the image of America that you project to the rest of the world,” in support of the President’s “100,000 Strong Initiative, on January 19, 2011, Mrs. Obama spoke to more than a thousand young people from Washington, DC, area public, private and parochial schools, colleges and universities about the importance of building relationships with their peers in China and creating a mutual understanding around the world (see First Lady Michelle Obama Urges American Youth to Strengthen U.S. – China Ties)
In May 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially launched the initiative in Beijing.
Unlike those successful existing study abroad and language study efforts by the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Defense, however, the “100,000 Strong” Initiative relies fully on private-sector philanthropic support to direct funds to existing U.S.-China educational exchange programs that are seeking to expand their programs.
Higher education associations have pledged to make more funds available for students to engage in study abroad experiences. These funds are being used in terms of increased funding for programming and financial aid for those studying abroad to offset the expense of the trip (see What is the “100,000 Strong Initiative?”).
More than $2.25 million in private sector pledges in support of the initiative’s goal of dramatically increasing the number and diversity of American students studying in China. In particular, the $1 million pledges by both Caterpillar Inc. and Citigroup, the $100,000 pledges by Motorola Solutions Foundation and the U.S.-China Education Trust (USCET) are the first major financial commitments made in support of the Initiative (see First Lady Michelle Obama Urges American Youth to Strengthen U.S. – China Ties).
The Chinese government strongly supports the initiative and has already committed 10,000 “Bridge Scholarships” for American students to study in China.
For students looking to study abroad, there are a wide variety of options available.
Under Barack Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative, students who are looking to study abroad in China may see that opportunity become a reality through increased support and availability of study abroad programs in China.