The New York Times profiled Michelle Obama’s visit to China, in which she touted the 100K Strong Foundation’s work promoting exchanges between China and the US. In it, they quoted 100,000 Strong Foundation President Carola McGiffert. From the article:
“Mrs. Obama appeared at the Stanford University complex at Peking University, where she spoke to an audience of several hundred American students studying in China and some Chinese students who had studied in the United States. The president of Peking University, Wang Enge, welcomed her, and the new American ambassador to China, Max Baucus, who is a graduate of Stanford and its law school, also spoke.
On Friday, Mrs. Obama visited the elite Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University, where, along with the Chinese student body, 30 Americans study, most of whom are from private schools in the United States and pay $50,000 annually in tuition. One of the American students in the program came from the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, which Malia and Sasha attend.
But in her speech, Mrs. Obama said that study abroad should not be just the preserve of the rich. “Too many students never have this chance, and some that do are hesitant to take it,” she said. “They may feel like study abroad is only for wealthy students, or students from certain kinds of universities.”
Others ask how useful study in a foreign country would be to their lives, Mrs. Obama said. In reality, study abroad is vital for people who want to participate in a world in which countries and economies are increasingly interconnected, she said.
During his visit to China in 2009, Mr. Obama announced a program, called 100,000 Strong, that was devised to send more American students to China.
But the effort struggled under the auspices of the State Department and was recently transformed into a nonprofit foundation based at American University in Washington in an attempt to encourage more funding and attract more students.
About 200,000 Chinese students are enrolled in institutions in the United States, according to the State Department. About 20,000 American students are studying in China, the department says.
The president of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, Carola McGiffert, said recently that a lack of knowledge about China among students in the United States stopped some from considering China as an option for study abroad.
In an informal session with students after her speech, Mrs. Obama said that fear was often an inhibitor to studying abroad.
Life is about “not letting fear be your guide,” she told the students who participated in a videoconference between the Stanford campus in California and the campus in Beijing.”
Here’s the link to the full article.