Exchange to China Each spring, the National Committee selects twelve nationally-recognized American high school graduates to participate in the annual U.S.-China Student Leaders Exchange (SLE). The heart of the program is a two-week study visit to China during the summer between high school and college, during which participants learn about China's successes and challenges. Home stays with host families also provide exceptional opportunities for participants to meet and exchange ideas with their Chinese counterparts.

The National Committee has run the program since 2004. Through 2013, the program was open exclusively to U.S. Presidential Scholars, a designation annually conferred upon up to 161 American graduating high school seniors nationwide by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2014, the program was opened to the 40 Regeneron Science Talent Search Finalists (formerly known as Intel STS Finalists), as well. In choosing participants, the Committee gives preference to applicants who have not been to China before and/or who have had only limited exposure to the country.

The 2018 Student Leaders Exchange will take place from July 7 to July 25 (includes a mandatory three-day pre-departure orientation in Menlo Park, CA). Please check back for updates regarding application dates and deadlines. 

Exchange to the United States In 2007, the Student Leaders Exchange also began bringing twelve outstanding Chinese senior high school students to the United States for two weeks. The U.S. visit included many of the same types of activities enjoyed by the students' American counterparts: homestays, student-student interactions, university and high school visits, traditional sightseeing, etc. The program also included a community service component.

The program to the States ran again in 2012 and 2013, but is currently on hiatus.

Program Sponsorship In 2014, the Yihai Education Group became the exclusive funder of the Student Leaders Exchange to China. We are grateful to Yihai for its generous support.

Last Held:
Jul 7, 2018 to Jul 25, 2018

Program Materials


2018 Student Leaders Exchange

July 7, 2018 to July 25, 2018

The 2018 SLE will take place July 7 - 25, including a three-day, informative pre-departure orientation outside of San Francisco. The itinerary includes stops in Beijing, Guizhou Province (Guiyang), and Sichuan Province (Chengdu and Beichuan). 

Participants in the 2018 SLE will ...

  • Enjoy exceptional opportunities to engage with Chinese students
  • Live with Chinese families to experience daily life in a Chinese home
  • Delve into China's contemporary culture, history, and society through briefings with China experts and visits to important institutions
  • Take in the sights of modern and ancient China


SLE is open exclusively to 2018 Regeneron STS Finalists and Presidential Scholars. For Presidential Scholars, the SLE application will close on Sunday, June 3. 


Each 2018 Presidential Scholar selected for SLE is asked to contribute $900, which goes towards covering a portion of the airfare. The National Committee, its Chinese partner, and sponsors will cover the balance of airfare, as well as the cost of housing, activities, health insurance, and meals (which comes to well over $3,500). Some travel assistance will be available to subsidize those unable to contribute the full amount. 


Questions?  Contact Jessica Bissett, senior program officer, at or (646)-604-8012.

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