China's education exchange initiative creates opportunities for American youth

Print Xinhua Updated: 2024-02-07

NEW YORK -- China's initiative to invite 50,000 US students on exchange and study programs in the next five years will create "new and exciting" opportunities for American youth to explore the Asian country, US scholars have said.

Highlighting "the importance of people-to-people exchange" in higher education, John Smagula, assistant dean of graduate and international programs at Temple University, said, "Please take advantage of these opportunities to study abroad in China."

"I did so as a junior in college in 1991. And it was transformative," Smagula said during a recent event at the Chinese Consulate General in New York in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of Temple University's conferment of an honorary Doctorate of Law to then Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping.

Students from both countries should take inspiration from their predecessors and make the most of the opportunities to connect, deepen their understanding of each other, and build a successful future together, said Smagula, echoing Chinese Consul General Huang Ping's encouragement for young Americans to go and see China with their own eyes.

"I am delighted these opportunities are there... it is a great time and a great opportunity to do so to become a part of this people-to-people exchange," said Smagula, who taught at law schools of a few prestigious Chinese universities prior to his work with Temple.

Noting that the university is at the forefront of Sino-American educational connections and engagement, Gregory Mandel, Temple's senior vice president and provost, said "We're eager to work with the consulate and our partners in China to continue to strengthen and create new and exciting initiatives as we look into the future."

"Our strong collaborations in China remain a fundamental part of our university mission," Mandel said, citing the Chinese idiom "Tao Li Man Tian Xia" to describe Temple's fruitful cooperation with its Chinese partners.

Mandel said it is often by experiencing another culture and getting educated in another country can people better understand their own culture and make insightful decisions. "As educators, we take great pride in developing connections, building those relationships... It's an important part of our commitment to developing relationship between our countries," he said.

Emilia Zankina, vice provost for global engagement, said the university has over 400 students and 55 scholars from China across its 17 schools and colleges, over 60 partnerships with China's higher education institutions and tens of thousands of Chinese alumni.

"We only hope that our mutual understanding will increase, and we will see even more Chinese students in America and American students in China," she said. "By educating our students to like each other, to understand each other, to be together, we are building this common future of peace, understanding and mutual growth."

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