Mrs. Obama urges students to study abroad
January 19th, 2011
02:39 PM ET

Mrs. Obama urges students to study abroad

WASHINGTON (CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama spent part of her busy morning (she had a few people at the White House for a welcoming ceremony for the President of China!) at Howard University encouraging students to study overseas.

Mrs. Obama said that American students studying aboard help not just the students but help the United States.

“Studying in countries like China is about so much more than just improving your own prospects in the global market. The fact is with every friendship you make and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world,” she said.

Mrs. Obama spoke to university and high school students about her own college experience and why she didn’t take the opportunity to study overseas.

“My brother and I were among the first in our families to go to college. So trust me, we were way more focused on getting, in, getting through, and getting out,” she said.

She encouraged the students not to follow her example.  Mrs. Obama’s remarks were part of a program that included a panel discussion with four students who studied in China.

Topics: China • Michelle Obama • The Family

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Jay in NC

    This is actually a wonderful idea, however let's look at it realistically. According to the Department of Education there are approx. 43 million students in Post Secondary and Secondary schools. There are only 100,000 slots available for this exchange program. Therefor only 1 in 430 students ( .002 ) would be able to participate. A little more research reviled that the annual cost of participating in an exchange program can exceed $8,000 above the normal expenses of attending school. In addition the students will take, on average, a year longer to complete their degree. This may be a wonderful idea for those that can afford the cost and time. I think that the President could do more for education if he would just create the jobs he promised. With everyone working, parents could then decide where and when to send their children to school. Encouraging and hope are OK but now is the time for action.

    January 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • EmmatheGrey

      Jay, not sure what you're talking about but taking a year abroad does not make you graduate later than not doing so. Also, it's often cheaper.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
      • Jay in NC


        From a paper published by University of Bern,Switzerland
        "Are Student Exchange Programs Worth It?", 1995

        ...the data analyzed in this study show that exchange semesters lead to a significant extension of study duration (almost an entire year), even when exchange semesters are accredited by the home university.

        Google ( exchange student "year longer" degree ) you can find many other examples.


        January 21, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • Fooch

      You are another sheep in the herd. Funny, China guts people for their organs and decimates falun gong practitioners and we turn the cheek to that, but when it comes to invading other countries for the same actions or other, then it's okay. So long as it benefits the this government then so be it.

      And to say our government is misleading. The banking cartel is running this country. And they are going to crash the economy so they can buy it up for pennies on the dollar.

      This article has nothing to do with making friends in China and positive experiences for the kids, it has to do with integrating China into the United States. They OWN us. They own our debt. And eventually, some day, we will in all probability be under their rule. China is what the New World Order will be. The Republic of the United States is essentially dead. And the more people get blinded by the BS like this article, the more dead it becomes. Also, it's not Democracy here, it's REPUBLIC! "....and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation under God..." People don't even know what the hell our country is! No wonder we are so clueless.

      January 20, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  2. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Very good research, Jay! However, I'm sure the only ones who could possibly choose to participate in the educational exchange program would be the ones who could afford it. That goes without saying; even before the unemployment rise. Even while AMERICANS had jobs, MANY of them wouldn't have been able to send their children to study overseas! OBAMA is not GOD, (create) but he's been working very hard to open up jobs in AMERICA, and I know the completion of that mission is, and has to be a long time off!

    January 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  3. Liz Carter in Georgia

    OBAMA can't 'create' enough jobs to put everybody back to work! I think he tried to SAVE many of them by trying to 'strap' the banks; WALL STREET; who many employers depend on, supposedly, to stay in business! But that didn't happen! Corp CEOs just 'pocketed' that money, and 'flew the coop'! Businesses couldn't borrow and had to shut down anyway! I'm sure he learned a great lesson on the extent of GREED and inhumanitarianism in this GREAT country! The rest of our jobs need to be brought back from overseas!

    January 19, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  4. busbus

    Of course it will be difficult for many students to study abroad due to cost and extended time in school. However, students could look toward spending a year or two working in the Peace Corp upon graduation. It may even be possible for some to apply with the state department to work overseas when they graduate. Interestingly enough, relationships with folks from other countries can be forged right here in this country.

    I do believe that President Obama has been working to create the climate for businesses to hire in this country. He can't do it alone. It will take a concerted and honest effort from all entities – Chamber of Congress (corporations and big business), Congress, Wall Street, K Street and demands from American citizens,

    I think back to those "shovel-ready" projects that governors said that they had. President Obama extended the offer and some governors reneged, some refused to accept the offer and some took the offer but actually did not have "shovel-ready" projects. This would have been a win-win situation - people working to improve our infrastructure, collecting a paycheck and stimulating our economy.

    January 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  5. Odalice Yolanda Feliz

    “Studying in countries like China is about so much more than just improving your own prospects in the global market. The fact is with every friendship you make and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world,” she said. really liked it

    January 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  6. Virginia Nielsen in FLORIDA

    Great idea !!! When you go abroad and experience different cultures you're going to be a much better citizen in your own country... with a open mind and much more knowledge (languages etc) you can build a much better society !!!

    January 20, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  7. Bill in STL

    so how can you study abroad if you can't afford it? Most people can't afford a community coillege these days,,, Old money I am sure can do it... and after all the pres has a 400k salary per year ......

    January 20, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
  8. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @Bill in STL; have you read any of the posts on this subject? You might have found an answer to your question there, since it came up already! One post said it maybe cheaper; However, the fact is, her VERY GOOD suggestion was probably NOT meant for people who couldn't afford it! There are many students HERE who really can't afford these tuitions; but if they are ambitious and 'smart' enough, they can get scholarships, grants, etc! Have you researched to see if the same could apply for studying abroad?

    January 21, 2011 at 8:45 am |
  9. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @Bill in STL; there are many students here who have gotten assistance through the government; banks, private organizations, VA loans, even some state lotteries to go to college; even to your local community colleges! You can bet their fathers or mothers weren't in the 400k bracket either! And that's been the situation for years, for many; long before this president came into office! Oh, and just so you know, OBAMA didn't go in making any MORE than any of the previous past presidents. They all made 400k!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  10. panamajack

    Study abroad is nice if you can afford it. Of course, if I had the American taxpayer funding my date nights and luxious vacations to Spain all the time, I could send my kids overseas, too. She just needs to shut the h3ll up and enjoy the remaining time she has in the White House. One and Done! January 20, 2013 The End of an ERROR!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  11. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @panamajack; Allright Mr PanamaJack! I'm sure that's what you're hoping for; so all of you haters can continue on your strategic mission to teardown this president and his genuine efforts to save this nation! You don't want him going down in history as being one of the greatest presidents this nation has ever had! The truth will always prevail though! So don't be surprised when your HOPE of 2013 being the signification of the 'END OF AN ERROR', develops into a new begining, and the 'END OF EVIL'! MARK ME!

    January 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  12. Triple A

    As a person who has studied in many countries outside his own, one thing I learnt is that you can study abroad if you are willing regardless of whether you can afford it or not. You must be willing to study hard and work to pay your tuition.

    In fact in many countries in Europe and Asia the cost of university tuition is way cheaper than in the US. The problem is that most young people in the US are so ignorant of the opportunities out there... and the media is certainly not helping matters with the mis-information they dish out everyday

    January 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • susie nace

      I totally agree with you. If students seriously investigated semesters or even a full year abroad, they would find that often the tuition and expenses are less, even includiing the travel. And the experience is invaluable. I think people in Europe and Asia, and South America have far more interest in the United States than our students have in learning about other parts of the world, and that is a direct result of our education system. We no longer teach gegraphy and foreign language requirements are minimal. In many countires, students learn at least two other languages fluently.
      So I'm delighted by the First Lady's statements on this. It's shocking to me that only 30% of our population has a passport. How can people not want to see the world? There are many wonderful things in the U.S., but there is a great wide world out there that existed long before we did.
      (And in the interest of full disclosure, my son fell in love with Paris when we went there for my 50th birthday; he spent his senior year of high school in France; took a leave of absence from college which he spent in South Africa; and after returning to college, spent a semester in Morocco; and won a grant to circumnavigate the globe one summer, and that formed the basis of an Honors thesis in college. So I think travel outside the U.S. is a good thing for young and old.)

      February 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  13. susie nace

    i need to shorten my prior message.

    February 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm |