Why should Chinese students learn American history?
Sometimes Chinese students ask me why they should bother to learn American History (or study any history at all for that matter) when they already have such a heavy course load. My personal motivation is obvious, I enjoy it. But, it may not be so obvious for some. Even today events from hundreds of years ago affect the way people in different parts of the United States speak and act. History affects their diet and what people feel about political and religious issues. History affects every, or nearly every, aspect of life. Knowing why people act the way they do (being familiar with historic foundations of culture) in different parts of the country can give you an advantage when and if you decide to study there.
Another reason is that, given that human nature has remained pretty much constant over the course of recorded history, people tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. By studying history, any history, you can avoid, or try to avoid, blundering into the same mistakes as those that have gone before you. Learning from the experiences of others, if you can manage to do it, is much less costly in terms of both heartbreak and money.
Lastly, and considered by some but not myself to be more practically, it is required. History, specifically American History, is almost always a required course at almost every university in the United States. If you study it now you can skip the class altogether by taking either the AP US History exam before college or the C.L.E.P. (College Level Examination Program) test once you get there. This will allow you to save time and money, and move on to major specific classes more quickly than otherwise possible.
Each of these reasons taken separately would be enough to encourage you to take an American History class (or other history class for that matter). Taken together, along with countless other reasons, it becomes not only easy to justify taking the course but difficult to justify not taking it.