Published on February 23rd, 2012 | by Paz5
Study in China: As White House Pushes Study Abroad in China
Everyday I work with adults and students interested in moving, studying, and living in America. They are eager to learn and educate themselves on how to assimilate into American society and do business. I also work as a Cross Cultural Consultant helping Americans move to China, however these jobs are not as frequent and ironically sometimes don’t pay as much.
What I find most interesting is that the type of person/family that wants their child to learn English and study in America crosses all socioeconomic levels. My clients are all very different, from their jobs, homes, lifestyle, and beliefs. When I work with my Americans who want to come to China they are all much much more similar. They are all around the same income bracket, have similar beliefs and share a more international background. My conclusion is that many people in America don’t think or even know about the possibilities in China because they have not been exposed to the idea or lifestyle of traveling abroad.
I believe that this needs to change. Here is a great article about how the White House is planning on doing to increase exchange programs with China. Interesting fact 10 times more Chinese students come to study in China every year than Americans going to China. That is a huge gap….
An Obama administration goal to double the number of Americans studying in China by 2014 got a high-profile endorsement on Wednesday from Michelle Obama, who called such student exchanges “a key component of this administration’s foreign-policy agenda” in a speech at Howard University.
International educators’ excitement at this national spotlight on study abroad, however, is tempered by serious concerns about the achievability of such an ambitious target.
For one, the administration is putting forward a challenge but no cash, saying that financial support for the effort will come from the private sector. And getting large numbers of students to study in China—particularly those from groups that infrequently go overseas, like minority and community-college students, as the president has called for—will require the expansion of foreign-study programs in China and of curricular offerings in Chinese language, culture, and politics on American campuses.
Those changes can’t happen overnight, experts say.
“That’s a big ask,” Mitch Leventhal, vice chancellor for global affairs at the State University of New York, said of the president’s plan.
Mr. Obama originally announced the drive to increase study in China during a trip to that country a year ago. But while Carola McGiffert, director of what is now called the 100,000 Strong Initiative, said the administration was having conversations during that time with international-education groups, there was little public discussion about the plan.
This newly vigorous public push to raise study-abroad rates coincides with a visit here by Chinese President Hu Jintao, whose government will offer 10,000 scholarships to American high-school and college students.
About 13,000 American students now study annually in China, according to statistics from the Institute of International Education, making it the fifth most popular destination for overseas study and one of the fastest growing. But 10 times more Chinese students come to the United States for educational programs than Americans study in China.
Prior to Ms. Obama’s speech, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to major higher-education organizations, calling on colleges and study-abroad providers to double the number of students they send to China by 2014. More than 400 colleges have so far promised to do so, Ms. McGiffert said.
Need for Better Preparation
Brian J. Whalen, president of the Forum on Education Abroad, a membership association of American and overseas colleges and independent education-abroad providers, said he wonders whether presidents and chancellors making the pledge understand the changes that will have to happen on their campuses to meet the goal.
Although a number of Chinese universities and study-abroad programs are holding classes in English, many American colleges will need to increase their Chinese-language offerings if more students are to be proficient enough to function in Chinese-only classrooms, Mr. Whalen said. About 61,000 American students are enrolled in Chinese-language courses, according to the Modern Language Association. read more...