The 100,000 Strong Initiative is transitioning into an independent, non-profit organization external to the State Department. Updates on the Initiative’s programs will be provided by the new non-profit organization soon.
Michelle Obama, in her remarks at Howard University on January 19, 2011, highlighted the importance and value of a study abroad experience:
"…studying abroad isn’t just an important part of a well-rounded educational experience. It’s also becoming increasingly important for success in the modern global economy. Getting ahead in today’s workplaces isn’t just about the skills you bring from the classroom. It’s also about the experience you have with the world beyond our borders — with people, and languages, and cultures that are very different from our own.
But let’s be clear: studying in countries like China is about so much more than just improving your own prospects in the global market.
The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important. So when you study abroad, you’re actually helping to make America stronger."
You can follow the 100,000 Strong Initiative on Twitter (@100kstudents) and on Facebook. Additional information is available at http://www.state.gov/100000strong, and to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, sign up here. Following are some frequently asked questions (below).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the 100,000 Strong Initiative?
Citing the strategic importance of the U.S.-China relationship, in November 2009, President Barack Obama announced his goal of seeing 100,000 Americans study in China over four years. This represents a significant increase over current numbers and signals a major investment in the future of U.S.-China relations. In addition, a central objective of the Initiative is to expand access to study abroad programs in China to underrepresented groups, including students from high schools, community colleges and minority-serving institutions.
The Initiative was officially launched in May 2010 by Secretary Hillary Clinton and is strongly supported by the Chinese government. In January 2011, on the occasion of the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington, the two nations reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing people-to-people engagement through educational exchanges.
For more information, please visit http://www.state.gov/100000strong.
How is the 100,000 Strong Initiative funded?
U.S. government-sponsored programs send more Americans to study in China than to any other country. Unlike these programs of direct support, the 100,000 Strong Initiative is not funded through a congressional appropriation. Instead, it is a public-private partnership. The U.S. government, through the U.S. Department of State, is working to encourage private sector donors – corporations, foundations and individuals – to pledge support for the Initiative through direct contributions to colleges, universities, study abroad programs and school systems As of January 2011, $3.25 million in pledges had been confirmed. These contributions will go directly to schools and exchange programs of the donor’s choice to further expand the number of opportunities for students to study in China.
How can I become a part of 100,000 Strong?
Any student can potentially be part of the 100,000 Strong! The 100,000 Strong Initiative works to help educational organizations and institutions increase their funding sources so that they can offer more opportunities for study abroad, and more financial aid and scholarships to students. Some students are able to cover their own costs. Others may seek financial aid, whether in the form of travel grants, in-country stipends or grants. Others may seek full scholarships. There are a wide variety of programs for people who want to study in China, including a number of U.S. government-sponsored programs, some of which are listed below. Students should consult with their local schools, colleges, and universities about the range of opportunities that may be available.
The 100,000 Strong Initiative is a government-driven effort, but it is not a government program. By establishing the Initiative as a public-private partnership, the State Department enables funding from private sector donors to flow directly to schools and study abroad programs. No money will actually come to the State Department, enabling us to avoid additional overheard and ensuring that the maximum amount of money can go to support students.
How can my organization or I contribute to 100,000 Strong?
There are many ways to contribute. If you are an individual, foundation or corporation that seeks to make a financial contribution, please indicate this in an email and we will contact you directly.
If you are a student, parent, educator or other interested member of the public, please help us by working to promote the importance of study abroad in your community. Work with your local K-12 schools, colleges and universities to raise funds for them to expand study abroad opportunities for their students.
What U.S. government programs exist to help me study in China?
The U.S. government sponsors a number of successful programs to support students who want to study abroad, including in China. Following are some of the key programs that students who want to go to China should explore:
• The Fulbright U.S. Student Program: The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study or conduct research abroad for one academic year. Additional funding is available for critical language study.
• Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: The Gilman Program provides scholarships to U.S. undergraduates with financial need for study abroad, including students from diverse backgrounds and students going to non-traditional study abroad destinations.
• Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS): The CLS Program provides fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks overseas. U.S. undergraduate, masters and doctoral students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply for one of thirteen critical languages.
• National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y): NSLI-Y provides merit-based scholarships to American high school students and recent high school graduates to study seven critical languages overseas through a combination of classroom instruction, applied learning opportunities, peer relationships and host family experiences.
• Boren Scholarships: Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security.
Information about these and other U.S. government sponsored study abroad opportunities can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ website: http://exchanges.state.gov/.
Does the Chinese government support more Americans studying in China?
Yes! Not only does the Chinese government share our objective of strengthening people-to-people engagement through educational exchange, but they have enthusiastically embraced the 100,000 Strong Initiative. Specifically, the China’s Ministry of Education has announced that it will provide 2,500 scholarships annually for four years to Americans to study in China, so that a total of 10,000 Americans will have the opportunity to have all in-country costs covered by the Chinese government through its Bridge Program. Starting with summer 2011 programs, these opportunities are available for high school and undergraduate students and educators. For more information, please contact the Confucius Institute nearest you (there are over 65 in the United States). For a list of locations, go to www.hanban.org.
In addition, a number of Chinese universities offer scholarships for American students. You might talk to the head of the study abroad office or Chinese Studies department at your school for more information.
How can I find out more about other programs in China?
The Institute of International Education (IIE) maintains a database for undergraduate and graduate programs for study abroad http://www.iie.org/en/program-finder.
Zinch China is working with IIE to develop an easy-to-use searchable database of study-in-China programs for all ages, which is expected to launch in mid-2011.
What are some good programs for students who have traditionally been underrepresented in study abroad?
In addition to the U.S.-government-sponsored programs listed above, below are some additional resources on study abroad for students who have traditionally been underrepresented in study abroad. These do not constitute U.S. Department of State or U.S. government endorsements.
Community college students: The Center for Global Education and Leadership (CGACC) is piloting a "mini-mester" program in China designed for community college students who cannot take a full summer or semester away from home, work, or school. They can also help students explore the landscape of opportunities (www.cgacc.org). Other community college umbrella organizations are also good sources of information.
HBCU students: Interested students may wish to contact the Thurgood Marshall College Fund or the United Negro College Fund. Both are working hard to identify and expand opportunities for minority students to study in China.
Latino/Hispanic students: Interested students may wish to contact the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) to learn more about opportunities they are developing.
High school students: Talk to your teacher, your principal, your parents, your district’s state superintendent – be proactive in finding opportunities! If none exist for your particular school or district, other programs include: