If you are trying to decide where to study abroad, China should be on your list. Not only could studying in China let you finally see the Great Wall, but it also goes along with a program originally set up by the US government and officially launched in 2013, called the 100,000 Strong Foundation.
That’s right, the White House is strongly suggesting that high school and college students alike consider studying abroad in China. The plan is to have 100,000 students or more to studying abroad in China with the end goal of helping to bridge the cultural gap and provide for a more globalized future.
Reasons for the Proposal
According to Language Magazine, one of the main reasons for the push toward studying abroad in China is the current number of Chinese students who visit the US to study. On average, twelve times more Chinese students study abroad in America every year than American students study abroad in China.
Another reason for the initiative is to reach out to students who have never been given the chance to participate in a study abroad program. Now students at high schools and community colleges, as well as disadvantaged schools, can study abroad in China through the use of scholarships when necessary.
In addition, the US government is attempting to encourage students to learn Mandarin. More than one third of the Chinese population learns English while only about 60,000 K-12 students in the US study Mandarin. Learning Mandarin would not only help our national security and diplomacy efforts, but also provide students with more business opportunities since this language is among the most popular in various industries.
Funding for the Project
Since its formal inauguration in 2013, the foundation has transformed into an independent, nonprofit organization external to the State Department. Originally funded by the Ford Foundation whose fund was matched by the Florence Fang Family Foundation, the project now relies on resources from other corporate, foundation and philanthropic sources.
Much of the money is distributed among a wide range of scholarships that pay for students to study abroad in China. There is a scholarship for practically every type of student in order to ensure that nearly everyone has a chance at studying abroad.
For example, many scholarships target undergraduates, but there are some available for graduate students and even high school students.
One scholarship in particular focuses on helping students study in countries that affect national security. The Boren Scholarship and Fellowship offers financial help for students studying abroad in China, as long as they seek a job in government when they graduate.
Learning the Language
As long as you are interested in going to China to study, you have a chance of qualifying for the program. You do not have to know the local language before you go, so don’t let the language barrier stop you from applying.
However, you can always prepare to study abroad in China by learning at least the basics of Mandarin or another Chinese language. There are books, CDs and even smartphone applications that allow beginners to start learning the language before stepping foot in China.
In addition, many Chinese colleges have tried to make the international move easier on students by offering more classes and entire majors in the English language. While you should still pick up at least some Mandarin or Cantonese while studying abroad in China, there is no rush to become fluent the minute you arrive when you have classes in English.
The 100,000 Strong Foundation makes it possible for interested students to study abroad in China. Whether you have always wanted to learn Mandarin, broaden your horizons or see a giant panda in-person, let this initiative get you excited about the prospect of studying abroad in China.