Not one country is the strongest. Of course some are larger than others, some may have bigger economies, populations, or larger military forces; however, every country needs alliances and bonds to maintain their strength. The United States is not an exception, and a long time ally has been China. By that logic, shouldn’t Americans want to visit such a strong and loyal ally?
America and China are the first and second largest economies in the world, respectively, and China is also America’s largest foreign creditor. Americans should want to study and see a country so like our own that has also helped to shape our way of living. Most people only know about China because of how many products have “Made In China” on the bottom of them, or many of the common stereotypes about Chinese people and culture, but there is so much more. Americans, especially students, should study abroad in China to learn so much more about Chinese culture and how they aren’t that much different from us. They will be able to debunk stereotypes and understand why and how the bond between the two countries was made and why it persists. They could strengthen relations, become ambassadors, learn the language, and succeed with the knowledge that they acquire, as long as they give it a try.
Lastly, studying abroad can make you a better person. It enables people to not just think in a single-minded manner, but instead think globally. Studying abroad can grant a better understanding of economics, global relations, and to convey this knowledge to others. Studying abroad can also help develop critical professional skills like second languages. That also means more job opportunities, more promotions, and even that extra push towards a full-ride scholarship for college. Studying abroad can lead to so much in life, it’s just up to you to pursue it.
Jayda Grissett is part of the US-China Strong Foundation Student Ambassador Program.