By Carola McGiffert, President of the 100,000 Strong Foundation
April 2, 2014

First Lady Michelle Obama recently traveled to China to promote educational exchange, and she called on young Americans — from every background, every walk of life — to study in China, learn Mandarin and forge friendships that will deepen cross-cultural understanding. Her message: Understanding China is a critical skill, one that all Americans must gain in order to compete, collaborate and succeed in the 21st century.

Speaking at Peking University’s Stanford Center, Obama drew on her own experience. As a young woman from a working class family, so focused on simply getting into college and earning a degree, Obama never thought to study abroad. She observed: “Too many students may never have this chance, and some that do are hesitant to take it. They may feel like study abroad is only for wealthy students.”

As the president of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit committed to strengthening US-China relations through study abroad, I couldn’t agree more.

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