Students from the San Mateo County Community District will travel to China via a new pilot study abroad program in 2014 set by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Gov. Brown announced recently the launch of the program made possible by an initial $250,000 grant from the Florence Fang Family Foundation in support of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. The program is expected to begin with students from the district and expand to other community colleges in the rest of California.
“The best way for students to learn about China is to go to China. Through this program, students will forge great friendships in one of the world’s most creative and dynamic countries,” Gov. Brown said in a press release on April 10.
The governor’s announcement was made as part of his weeklong trade and investment mission to China and concluded with Gov. Brown returning to California April 17.
“Domestic students they get a chance to go to another country and learn,” said Adejumoke Akin-Taylor, project director of international education here at Skyline College.
She also stated that “to study abroad really brings our own domestic students to foreign soil” giving them a chance to learn different cultures and language that could possibly be of value to them in the future.
The Florence Fang Family is based in San Francisco and was founded by Florence Fang. Fang is also one of the founding supporters of the 100,000 Strong Foundation alongside Jon Huntsman, former U.S ambassador to China, and Luis Ubiñas, President of The Ford Foundation.
The 100,000 Strong Foundation was created in 2012 as result of the U.S State Department initiative of a similar name, the 100,000 Strong Initiative. The Initiative was launched with the mission of dramatically increasing the number of Americans studying overseas in China, one of the U.S.’ largest trading partners, and to get to know Chinese culture better.
The 100,000 Strong Foundation draws on the same spirit of the original 100,000 Strong Initiative. By seeking to promote the growth and broadening of Americans studying Chinese culture and Mandarin overseas in China, they hope to build firmer ties between the U.S and China and bridge the gap between them.
According to the 100,000 Strong website, 12 times more Chinese students study in the U.S. than Americans who study in China and in the last year alone, the number of Chinese students studying the U.S. increased by 23 percent while the number of Americans abroad studying in China has only increased by 5 percent.
The program hopeful will increase the number of students willing to study overseas allowing them to gain firsthand experience and learn a new culture and language.
This article has been updated to fix AP style mistakes. 4/19/2013 1:08 p.m.
This article has been update to fix AP style mistakes. 4/19/2013 2:32 p.m.