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The Caterpillar Foundation has selected Valparaiso University as one of five universities nationwide to receive funding to support study abroad in China, as a partner in the United States Department of State’s 100,000 Strong Initiative.

Recognizing the importance of studying abroad to an increasingly globalized economy, the Caterpillar Foundation has designated funds to help those students who wish to study abroad in China but might not otherwise be able to have the opportunity. Study-abroad programs have a long history at Valparaiso University, with the first programs in Cambridge and Germany going back 45 years.

“Participating in a study-abroad program is one of the best opportunities for students to transform their education, develop skills for their future, and broaden their perspective in life,” said Julie Maddox, director of study-abroad programs at Valparaiso University. “The need for graduates with cross-cultural competencies and language skills is so essential that The Caterpillar Foundation is awarding scholarships specifically for study-abroad.”

Valparaiso University will be able to award 10 $5,000 scholarships, on behalf of the Caterpillar Foundation, for students studying abroad at the Valparaiso University Hangzhou, China Study Center in fall 2013. Valpo received this award in recognition of its strong relationships with Chinese institutions of higher learning and the success of its exchange programs.

The scholarships are open to business, computer science, and engineering students; those who are selected for the scholarship will be considered for Caterpillar Talent Acquisition. In addition to their stay in Hangzhou, students will have the opportunity to visit cities such as Shanghai, Nanjing, Beijing, and Xi’an during their semester in China.

“Studying abroad through Valpo is an academic experience like no other, integrating cultural experiences that deepen our students’ understanding of their environment,” Maddox said. “It’s an experience and an education that simply cannot be replaced by any other trip later in life.  Students come away from these programs with self-motivation, confidence, and an ambition that regularly shapes their future vocation. It’s an honor to receive The Caterpillar Foundation award, as it shows they believe in Valpo’s ability to deliver on these outcomes.”

President Obama announced the development of the 100,000 Strong Initiative in November 2009 as an effort to increase the number of Americans who study in China, citing the strategic importance of the U.S.-China relationship.

For more information about this award and study abroad programs at Valparaiso University, please contact Nicole Niemi, director of media relations, at Nicole.Niemi@valpo.edu or 219-464-6010.