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Drawing from Ambassador Max Baucus’s life and work experience building diplomatic bridges, including as the Unites States Ambassador to China, the Baucus Institute brings Montana students on immersive study and cultural exchange programs in China and Ireland. The students, many of whom have never travelled internationally, engage in people-to-people diplomacy with students, professors, and leaders native to these countries.

China has emerged as one of the world’s most powerful economic forces in today’s global economy. Our future, and the future of our children and grandchildren, will be greatly affected by how well we manage our relationship with China. There is an increasing need for experts familiar with the ever-changing nature of the Chinese economy and Chinese political and legal systems to provide guidance to businesses and policymakers. The Institute recognizes these needs and offers Montana students the opportunity to experience China’s culture, language, policies, and people firsthand. The Institute provides scholarships so that students who would not otherwise be able to travel internationally have the opportunity to participate. When few Americans have in-person experience in China, we aim to create opportunities for students to see for themselves what life there is like.

Our China exchange programs for 2024 are as follows:

2024 China Program 1: CUSEF 10-day Cultural Exchange
In Spring of 2024, the Baucus Institute plans to bring up to 15 students from Montana-based colleges and universities to China for 10 days. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus and his wife Mel plan to accompany part of this program. This program will travel to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai, meeting with government and business leaders, as well as visiting cultural sites such as the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. Students will also meet with Chinese university students to learn about the lived experience of their peers in China. Program dates are June 9 to 18, 2024. (Participants should plan to arrive on or before June 8 and depart on or after June 19.)

Other participants in CUSEF’s programs have included;

  • Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
  • Harvard Kennedy School

Applications for Program 1 are open now and due by Monday, February 12, 2024. 

2024 China Program 2: Environmental/Climate Emphasis
In 2024, the Baucus Institute will bring up to 15 students from Montana-based colleges and universities to China for 4 weeks. Students will be hosted on Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic’s campus in Hangzhou, with side trips to Beijing and Shanghai. This program has an emphasis on learning about China’s sustainability efforts, with lectures and site visits to power plants, EV battery manufacturers, and the Wanxiang Innova Smart City project. Students will also participate in several cultural courses, including tea ceremonies, martial arts, language classes, calligraphy, making incense art, and woodblock printing. Day trips usually include visits to a silk museum, the Xixi wetlands, a tea farm, and an evening canal cruise through Hangzhou. Lunches and dinners are group events, creating informal opportunities for American and Chinese students to learn about each other over shared meals. Program dates are June 30 to July 27, 2024. (Participants should plan to arrive on or before June 29 and depart on or after July 28.)

Other participants in Wanxiang’s programs have included;

  • Northwestern University’s Buffett International for Global Affairs
  • University of Chicago

Applications for Program 2 are open now and due by Monday, February 12, 2024.