USCET Student Leaders Exchange

The USCET Student Leaders Exchange program provides American universities with funding to award travel grants to students as a means to encourage study abroad in China, as part of the Presidential 100,000 Strong Initiative.

In 2010, USCET awarded grants to Boston University, San Francisco State University, the University of Arkansas, and the University of North Alabama. All four universities will use the travel grant funding to incrementally increase the number of students participating in their China study abroad programs, and leverage the grant into university-wide support for study abroad in China.

The USCET Student Leaders Exchange program was the first program to be launched under the 100,000 Strong Initiative, which aims to dramatically increase the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China over the next four years. USCET first unveiled the program in China at USCET’s 7th American Studies Network (ASN) conference with both USCET President Julia Chang Bloch and Director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative Carola McGiffert speaking in support of the Initiative’s purpose and importance:

“USCET has long believed that well-crafted education and exchange programs are the best long-term investment in US-China relations, and this program – USCET’s first to support US students’ study abroad in China – represents an investment in the American next-generation leaders whose deeper understanding of China will bear returns for decades to come.”
–Julia Chang Bloch, USCET Founder and President 

“People-to-people exchanges, such as the 100,000 Strong Initiative, have long-term strategic benefits for both the United States and China, and we are delighted to have USCET as our partner in this important endeavor.”
–Carola McGiffert, Director of the 100,000 Strong Initiative

USCET designed the Student Leaders Exchange program in close collaboration with NAFSA: The Association of International Educators and the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act, which is based on the belief that no education today is complete without a global experience. The legislation would establish a program to significantly expand study abroad participation through a competitive grant model that encourages institutions to promote and sustain a culture across campus in which study abroad is considered an integral part of a college education, and would require institutions to collaborate in ways that leverage both knowledge and resources to incentivize changes that increase access to study abroad for U.S. students. The specific goals of the program created by the Simon Act are to have one million U.S. students studying abroad each year within the next ten years, encourage diversity in student participation in study abroad, diversify locations of study abroad, particularly in non-traditional countries, and encourage a greater commitment by institutions of higher education to expand study abroad opportunities.

In 2012, USCET partnered with the Moore School of Business’ Governor Hodges Scholars Program at the University of South Carolina to provide travel grants to exceptional students. Mr. Wang Wenliang of the West Legend Corporation provided funds to support this initiative. 

The Student Leaders Exchange program is a milestone in USCET’s support of US-China relations through education and exchange. We give special thanks to Mr. Jan Van Eck of Van Eck Global for giving USCET the resources to launch this program.

“Why Should I Study Abroad in China?” – An open letter from Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch to American Students (Click Image for Full Size)