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San Mateo County Community College District tapped for international program
April 12, 2013, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report
Students and faculty from the San Mateo County Community College District will get the chance to travel to China starting in 2014 through a new program.

This week, during a ceremony in Beijing, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the creation of a new program to send California community college students to study in China beginning in 2014. At its outset, the program, which is made possible through a gift from the Florence Fang Family Foundation, will send dozens of students from the San Mateo County Community College District to China.

District Chancellor Ron Galatolo said being tapped to be the first college partner is a unique opportunity, particularly for students who wouldn't traditionally have the chance to study abroad.

The study abroad program is expected to grow thorough the state. The initial grant was made in support of 100,000 Strong Foundation, an initiative launched by Hillary Clinton to diversify and expand the number of U.S. students learning Mandarin and studying in China.

Galatolo will work with the 100,000 Strong Foundation to create the three- to five-week programs, called a mini-mester, that will immerse students and faculty in the culture. When asked why San Mateo County was tapped as the first partner, Galatolo said the district has created unique partnerships with noteworthy universities allowing students a guaranteed path to transfer.

In a press release, Carola McGiffert, president of the 100,000 Strong Foundation, said of the community college program: "This pilot program with San Mateo is so critical to the mission of the 100,000 Strong Foundation. Approximately 43 percent of American undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges, but community college students represent less than 3 percent of those who study abroad. We must ensure that this important part of our future workforce is prepared to engage constructively with China, our fastest growing trade partner."

Brown's announcement was during a week-long visit to China to promote the country's investment in California.

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