Since 2004, the National Committee has been selecting twelve graduating U.S. high school seniors who have received national recognition for their accomplishments to participate in the yearly U.S.-China Student Leaders Exchange. For the young American participants, the heart of the program is a two-week study visit to China during the summer between high school and college. Americans participants learn about China's successes and challenges and have unusual opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with their Chinese counterparts as a consequence of homestays throughout most of the program.
Providing participants an up-close perspective on life inside an American home and the opportunity to form close friendships with their hosts, local homestays have long been a feature of Committee itineraries for Chinese delegations visiting the United States. Although visitors often express trepidation ahead of time, afterwards they regularly cite their homestays as highlights of their visits. Over the years, hundreds of Committee friends have graciously welcomed Chinese visitors into their homes, starting with the first Scholar Orientation Program in 1980 and continuing to the present day, and we continue to be grateful for these wonderful acts of generosity.