Based mostly on diaries, memoirs, and student publications, this paper tries to examine and evaluate the role played by Chinese students in the internationalization of American higher education in the first half of the 20th century. Driven partly by the need of modernizing and internationalizing China’s educational system, Chinese students began to enter American colleges and universities in significant numbers since the early 1900s and rose to the largest foreign student body in the United States by the mid-1920s. A close examination of their educational experiences in the United States will show that they not only benefited tremendously from the internationalization of education in this country, but also helped shape the same process through their broad and deep interactions with their fellow students, professors, and other community members beyond the confines of educational institutions. The width and depth of their engagement in and outside the classrooms, this author attempts to argue, was largely determined by their individual aspirations and deeply felt obligations to the modernization of China and the internationalization of her education.
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