Wednesday, October 8, 2014

In recognition of its ongoing commitment to educational exchange between the U.S. and China, the University of Iowa was recently chosen as one of eight signature partners of the 100,000 Strong Foundation for 2014-15.

100,000 Strong
To see the list of all 100,000 Strong Signature Partners for 2014-2015, visit the the 100,000 Strong Foundation website.

The 100,000 Strong Initiative, the impetus for the 100,000 Strong Foundation’s formation, is a national effort designed to increase and diversify the number of American students studying abroad in China. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the initiative was announced by President Barack Obama in 2009 and officially launched by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2010 with the goal of sending 100,000 U.S. students to China in four years.

UI students have many opportunities to study abroad in China. The UI offers seven reciprocal exchange programs with institutions in China, allowing students to pay Iowa tuition and fees while enrolling in the foreign university, or students can study through one of 11 other UI-sponsored programs in China.

With this new partnership, the UI hopes to increase the number of students studying abroad in China. While China has been one of the top 10 most popular destinations for UI study abroad students in the past several years, significantly more Chinese international students come to the UI—a trend seen at institutions nationwide. The 100,000 Strong Initiative aims to build a two-way exchange by sending more American students to China.

Number of students studying Mandarin language at the UI by year:
2013 – 415
2012 – 413
2011 – 400
2010 – 408
2009 – 388

Another goal of the initiative is to increase the number of American students studying Mandarin language. The Chinese program at the UI has offered courses in Chinese language, literature, and civilization for over 60 years. In 2013, over 400 UI students enrolled in Chinese language courses, which are offered through the Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Each year around 30 students are declared Chinese majors.

The UI will designate up to 10 students who have either studied in China or study Mandarin to serve as student ambassadors for 100,000 Strong. Through a series of at least three creative projects, these ambassadors will work at the grassroots level to encourage fellow students to study Mandarin and study in China.

To read a related story, see Cultivating Chinese connections.