University Participates in President Obama's Initiative to Increase Students Studying in China

Marcos Zarate, Int’l Relations major, studied in China as part of the Sichuan Direct Enrollment program in 2008-09.
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Marcos Zarate, Int’l Relations major, studied in China as part of the Sichuan Direct Enrollment program in 2008-09.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the F.Y. Chang Foundation/U.S.-China Education Trust under the Education Trust’s Student Leaders Program. The program, in its inaugural year, is the first major effort by the Trust to be launched under President Barack Obama’s “100,000 Strong” initiative, designed to increase the number of U.S. students studying in China. The award will be dispersed in the form of travel grants among students choosing to study in China during the 2011 calendar year.

The “100,000 Strong” initiative is a commitment by the United States to send 100,000 students to China over the next four years, a dramatic increase from the past. The State Department views this people-to-people educational exchange as an essential effort in preparing the next generation of experts in U.S.-China relations.

“I truly commend the administration for setting this goal to expand study abroad to China, and I am excited that the University of Arkansas will be participating in the effort to build up a cadre of students knowledgeable about Chinese history, culture and language,” said Todd Shields, interim dean of the Graduate School and International Education.

The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences has recently expanded the language curriculum, and beginning in fall 2011, a minor in Mandarin Chinese will be offered for the first time.

The University of Arkansas was one of four institutions (including Boston University, San Francisco State University and University of Northern Alabama) to be honored with the U.S.-China Education Trust grant opportunity.

Student interest in the grants has been strong.  

“We recently had one of the best turnouts for a country-specific informational meeting that we have ever had,” said DeDe Long, director of the office of study abroad and international exchange. “Offering travel grants makes students realize that study abroad is important and within their reach.”

Provost Sharon Gaber hopes to see more campuswide coordination in targeting country destinations that offer students a significant educational experience and prepare them for the global marketplace. 

“Creating international opportunities and securing sources of funding for study abroad are essential not only for the enrichment and training they provide, but also for their ability to bring people and nations together. The university has a role in promoting both,” said Gaber.

For more information, please contact DeDe Long at 575-7582 or email


DeDe Long, director
Study Abroad and International Exchange


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