Program Offers Students Opportunity to Travel, Learn in China

The application period is now open, and closes April 29.


AMES, Iowa — Select Iowa high school students will have the opportunity to visit China this summer as part of the Global Youth Excellence Program. The program is designed to help Iowa youth gain the necessary international knowledge and skills to meet the demands of the new global economy.

“Today’s youth have a need to understand the growing global economy and how its needs can be met,” said Sok Leng Tan, Iowa State University Global Extension program coordinator. “This trip will expose students to new and different experiences so they will be better equipped to analyze issues from a global perspective.”

China is home to 20 percent of the world’s population and one of the fastest-growing export markets for the United States. It is a country that youth must be prepared to understand, and develop skills to work and negotiate with in the future, Tan said.

The China Leadership Experience is open to high school students entering their sophomore or junior years. The 11-day trip includes visits to historical sites, major cities and leading corporations. The application period is now open, and closes April 29.

"Our goal is to get more young Iowans engaged in understanding the global nature of the economy and consider the opportunities in food production in a global economy," said Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association.

The Global Youth Excellence Program is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and Iowa Soybean Association. Leaders from all three sponsors will accompany students on the trip, which occurs July 31 to August 10.

Highlights of the trip include:

  • Visits to historic sites such as Tiananmen Square and The Great Wall
  • A three-day attachment to Longping High Tech, a leading seed company in China
  • Visits to local markets and farms
  • Tours of the cities and immersion in the Chinese culture

“Students will really have a chance to develop their own perspectives of China and the impact this growing economic and political power will have in the world arena,” said Craig Lang, president of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. “It’s definitely a great opportunity that all upcoming sophomores and juniors should consider applying for.”

Cost to students is only $500, as the rest of the total cost will be covered by the Iowa Soybean Association and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The cost of the trip includes airfare from Des Moines, lodging, food, transportation in China, visa and insurance. Students are responsible for passports, necessary vaccinations for travel and incidental expenses.

Applications can be easily downloaded and submitted via mail or e-mail. Applications include five essay-style questions. Participants will be required to attend an orientation in June, as well as present to two local civic or agricultural groups by December 2011. No previous international travel is required and students do not need to be from a farm.

For more information or questions, please contact Sok Leng Tan at (515) 231-3670 or sokleng@iastate.edu.

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Additional contacts:
Dirck Steimel, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, DSteimel@ifbf.org
Karen Simon, Iowa Soybean Association,  KSimon@iasoybeans.com

[APPLICATION] Download the application in Word format.