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Caterpillar Foundation Award Supports Study Abroad in China

Published date: November 19, 2013

Virginia State University has received a $59,000 grant from the Caterpillar Foundation to support students studying abroad in China.  The grant is part of a $1 million pledge by the Caterpillar Foundation in support of the U.S. Department of State’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” to increase the number of American college students studying abroad in China.  This is the third consecutive year that VSU has received funding under this initiative from the Caterpillar Foundation.  

The first award, in November 2011, led to the establishment of the VSU Caterpillar Foundation Global CitizensProgram. Since then, 17 VSU students have spent either a semester or a summer in China, learning Chinese language and completing courses such as international business, international marketing, civil society in China, industrial ecology and environmental conservation.  Their study abroad has included both classroom and field study experiences in conjunction with international programs hosted at Shanghai University, Shanghai University for Finance and Economics, Beijing Normal University, and the University of Yunnan.  Study locations of students awarded for spring semester 2014 will include Sichuan University, in Chengdu, China, and other areas.

While creating opportunities for students with no previous international experience to travel to China to study Chinese language and culture, the funding has contributed to a dramatic increase in students pursuing global opportunities to make education abroad an integral part of their academic experience at the University. “The Caterpillar Foundation is proud to support U.S. college students studying abroad in China,” said Michele Sullivan, Caterpillar Foundation President. “We hope this experience provides students with valuable insights on the global economy, the importance of China on the world stage and an unforgettable cultural experience. U.S. companies, including Caterpillar, have been rapidly expanding operations in China, and students with a firsthand knowledge of the country and culture will have a strategic advantage upon graduation.” 

VSU students who have participated in the program described their study abroad experience in China as empowering and said it provided confidence to believe that they can work anywhere.  Several students reported a better appreciation of life in America.

Caterpillar supports the philanthropic efforts of the Caterpillar Foundation.  Founded in 1952, the Caterpillar Foundation has contributed more than $550 million to help make sustainable progress possible around the world by providing program support in the areas of environmental sustainability, access to education and basic human needs.  To learn more about the global impact of the Caterpillar Foundation, please visit   

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