Educational Exchange between the United States and China

Few countries have seen such rapid economic and educational change in so short a time period as China. Since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping began to send students and scholars to study abroad in large numbers as part of his broad modernization efforts, some 800,000 Chinese students and scholars have studied outside their home country. These numbers make China the overall largest supplier of international students to countries around the world over the past decade. The liberalization of the education sector, which accompanied China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, has also permitted more students from outside China to enter the Chinese educational system. The number of Americans studying abroad in China increased by over 500% in the past ten years, making China one of the top 10 study abroad destination countries for U.S. students, and one of the top 10 host countries for all internationally mobile students.

This IIE Briefing Paper examines the current state of U.S.-China educational exchange and presents the variety of study abroad program offerings and existing funding opportunities for American students wishing to study or conduct research in China.