Photo – Mrs. Obama with students in South Africa.
In a speech to a group of students at Peking University on the second day of her trip to that country, Michelle Obama notes that China is the 5th most visited destination for American students who travel for study abroad. Mrs. Obama also shared that the Chinese represent the highest number of exchange students in the United States.
Mrs. Obama quoted Philmon Haile, a student from University of Washington who had studied in China. “He said, ‘Study abroad is a powerful vehicle for people-to-people exchange as we move into a new era of citizen diplomacy.’”
Although the number of American students choosing to participate in study abroad programs is increasing, African American students are participating at very low rates.
A 2010 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education shared that African-Americans who participate in study-abroad programs are 13 % more likely to graduate from college in four years and have higher grade point averages than their peers who do not venture abroad. This report was based on research by the North Carolina Study Abroad/Global Engagement Partnership established at Livingstone College. Right now the SAGE program is accepting applications for students interested in a 5-week Public Health immersion program in Jamaica.