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Aggies in China: Rising to the Challenge

- Released on May 02, 2011

This summer, nearly 100 Texas A&M students, the largest number ever, will travel to China, part of a growing number of Aggies opting to travel to China, to learn more about the culture, language, history, and society of the world’s largest nation. The University is sponsoring numerous programs this summer to increase the number of students with experience in China, including a program in which 25 members of the Corps of Cadets will travel to China and Taiwan to gain a deeper understanding of the geopolitics and pressures facing this rising giant. Other programs in China include groups sponsored by the Mays School of Business, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education and Human Development, and the Chemical Engineering Department. Together, these groups represent nearly a 40% increase in the number of students studying in China, and are the first year results of a university response to the national “100,000 Strong” initiative, a national effort designed to get 100,000 American students to China for study by the year 2014.

The initiative was launched in November 2009 by President Barack Obama, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has assumed leadership over the initiative. The goal of the national effort is to increase dramatically the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China, Redressing the imbalance in mutual understanding between the countries is essential to ensuring that Americans have the cultural understanding and language skills that underpin effective diplomacy and foreign policy, as well as to enhance US students’ ability to succeed academically and professionally in the global economy. As a part of this initiative, Secretary Clinton issued a challenge specific to American universities to double the number of students who study in China by 2014.

Texas A&M University has begun to develop plans to fulfill this goal. President R. Bowen Loftin notes, “Initiatives such as this play an important role in our Vision 2020 goal of preparing students for today’s highly connected global society. We are pleased to be involved in this effort to offer our students even more opportunities to study in China.”

In 2010, Texas A&M sent approximately 60 students to China. With this number as a baseline, the goal is to double the number of students to participate in University programs in China to at least 120 over the next four years. Key elements of the plan include expanding the number of scholarships available to students, increasing the number of faculty-led and university-sponsored programs in China, and increased outreach and education.