The Chronicle of Higher Education — January 19, 2011
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.