Study in China

The 100,000 Strong Foundation formally launched in 2013 by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to help answer President Barack Obama’s call to deepen Americans’ understanding of China through study abroad. It is the 100,000 Strong Foundation’s mission to promote the expansion and diversification of Americans studying Mandarin and studying abroad in China. The goal is to bridge the gap between cultures, strengthen the bilateral economic and strategic relationship, and enhance global stability.

Any student can potentially be part of 100,000 Strong! A wide variety of study abroad opportunities, from language immersion programs to cultural and field-specific exchanges, as well as scholarships and fellowships, are available. Students should consult with local educational institutions, high schools, colleges and universities about the range of opportunities and explore a variety of resources on funding and programs. This resource guide will help you get started.



China Study Abroad Statistics


12x 12 times more Chinese study in the US than Americans who study in China
1/3 More than one third of China’s population studies English
60K Only about 60,000 K-12 students in the US study Mandarin
23% The number of Chinese studying in the US jumped 23% last year, compared to a 5% increase in the number of Americans studying in China

Government scholarships and fellowships


  • Fulbright Student ProgramThe Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government; it is designed to increase mutual understanding between the US and other countries. The Fulbright Program offers fellowships for graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study or conduct research abroad for one academic year. Additional funding is available for critical language study.


  • China Scholarship Council: The China Scholarship Council, affiliated with the Chinese government, provides information about numerous Chinese universities, programs and Chinese government scholarships for studying abroad in China. You can also find application requirements, tips for study abroad planning and preparation, and facts about China in general.


  • Critical Language Scholarship Program: The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is part of a US government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. It provides fully funded, group-based overseas intensive instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences in 13 critical need languages for US higher education students. Undergraduate, master’s and doctoral-level students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply for the seven- to 10-week long programs.


  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program: The Gilman Scholarship Program provides scholarships for study abroad to US undergraduates with financial need, including students from diverse backgrounds and those going to non-traditional study abroad destinations. Scholarships provide up to $5,000 for American students to pursue overseas study for college credit. Students studying critical need languages are eligible for up to $3,000 in additional funding as part of the Gilman Critical Need Language Supplement program.


  • National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y): The NSLI-Y provides merit-based scholarships for eligible American high school students to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs through a combination of classroom instruction, applied learning opportunities, peer relationships and host family experiences. NSLI-Y is part of a US government initiative that prepares Americans to be global leaders. NSLI-Y aims to provide opportunities to American youth that will spark a lifetime interest in language learning. Previous language study is not required and language learners of all levels are encouraged to apply.


  • Boren Scholarships and Fellowships: Boren Awards, funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), provide unique funding opportunities for US undergraduate and graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to US interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholarships can provide undergraduates with up to $20,000 and graduate students with up to $30,000, depending on the length of time overseas and the cost of the program. In exchange for scholarship and fellowship funding, Boren Award recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.


Where can you go to find out about studying abroad in China?



  • IIEPassport Study Abroad in China: This comprehensive guide to finding programs in China is available for free download and is produced by IIE in partnership with Lonely Planet. It includes 350 programs open to US graduate and undergraduate students offered by the US and Chinese governments, third-party organizations, private foundations and US higher education institutions. This magazine is designed especially for students and features information on scholarships and funding resources to study abroad in China, advice from students who have studied in China, and articles describing the efforts both the US and Chinese governments are making to promote US-China exchange.


  • Zinch: Zinch, a private US information management company with operations in China, offers an independent and free website for US students looking for information about studying in China, including programs, how to connect with other students and experts, and more.


  • IIE Freeman Awards for Study in Asia: Freeman-ASIA provides scholarships for US undergraduate students at two- or four-year colleges or universities with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. Need-based funding assists recipients with the cost of the study abroad program and related expenses, including airfare, basic living costs, local transportation, books and other expenses.


  • Hanban/Confucius Institute Opportunities: 10,000 scholarships — 2,500 annually for four years — will be available through various Confucius Institutes in the United States. These scholarships will be available to US students in high school, college or graduate school, as well as teachers and educators. These scholarships will cover all in-country costs and provide 10,000 Americans with the opportunity to study in China. Interested students and educators should apply to the nearest Confucius Institute, which administers these scholarships. For more about the Confucius Institutes, visit: