These and similar projects at many other US campuses go beyond helping fulfill US president Barack Obama’s call two years ago to send 100,000 American students to China over four years.
Called the "100,000 Strong" initiative, it "seeks to prepare the next generation of American experts on China who will be charged with managing the growing political, economic and cultural ties between the United States and China," the US State Department said.
Whenever "100,000 Strong" is discussed, officials from the State Department and schools often cite Obama’s comments that far fewer Americans study in China than Chinese in the United States. These days, the numbers are about 20,000 versus more than 127,000.
"Many citizens of China have a strong knowledge of the English language and American culture, but in the US, there are many fewer citizens with a strong knowledge of the Chinese language, history and culture," Michael Johnson, the principal of Phelps High, said