Many American Students Interested in Gaining Experience in China

China's role on the national stage has grown significantly in recent years. This is apparent based on college students' increasing interest in studying and interning in the Asian nation.

President Obama Encourages Studying in China

Recognizing the value in stronger relations between the U.S. and China, President Barack Obama announced the launch of the 100,000 Strong initiative in November 2009. According to the U.S. Department of State's website, this is an effort to dramatically increase the number of Americans studying in China.

For the U.S., familiarizing students with Chinese culture is essential. Overall, 10 times more Chinese individuals study in the U.S. than Americans in China. This, coupled with the fact that more Chinese people study English than Americans learn Mandarin, shows the unbalanced nature of the relationship between the two nations.

"The need for Americans to gain greater exposure to and understanding of China is clear: There is perhaps no more important or complex relationship in the world than that between the United States and China in terms of securing global peace and security," reads the Department of State's website.

China was among the top five study abroad destinations for American students during the 2010-2011 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education. However, China, which attracted 14,596 students, was still not as popular a destination as the U.K., Italy, Spain and France, respectively.

American Business Students Eye Chinese Internships

As China has become a major player in the global business sector, it should come as no surprise to see American students who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in business want to land an internship in China. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, individuals' interest in gaining international experience at Chinese companies is on the rise.

For example, Absolute Internship, a company that connects students with opportunities in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, is set to match 600 individuals with Chinese internships this summer. Since the company's launch four years ago, it has placed more than 900 students with internships in the Asian nation.

Alyssa Thomas, a senior at the Quinnipiac University School of Business, is a marketing and international business major who interned in Shanghai last summer. After graduation, she hopes to land a job overseas.

"Knowing how to do business there and understanding the culture there will help me get the job I want," Thomas told Businessweek.