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About ELI and East Tennessee

Sun rises over the Tennessee River, Knoxville, and the UT campus

ELI History and Mission

The English Language Institute (ELI) was established in 1978 to provide intensive English language study for prospective University of Tennessee students, visitors, and professionals. Our mission is to offer a sound program of English-as-a-second-language instruction, to promote research in language pedagogy, and to provide a language-learning resource for Tennessee’s non-English speaking public.

Previous ELI home on Montcastle Street before a move to UT’s downtown Knoxville Conference Center

For years housed in a 1910’s-era home on Mountcastle St. on the UT campus, ELI now enjoys a clean, up-to-date suite in UTK’s downtown Conference Center. With new classrooms equipped with Internet access, projectors, and video/audio capabilities, as well as a fully equipped computer lab, ELI is nestled in downtown Knoxville.

Knoxville and East Tennessee

East Tennessee is naturally beautiful. People from all over the world visit the Knoxville area to hike, boat, and camp in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited national park in the United States.

The Great Smoky Mountains are also home to Dollywood, a country-music theme park visited by over 2,000,000 visitors a year, and Gatlinburg, a shopping village with traditional German-style buildings, an aquarium, a sky lift, and other attractions.

Asheville, a hip town with trendy restaurants and a thriving arts scene, is just across the mountains to the east. In Asheville, Biltmore House, a European-style mansion, is set in beautiful gardens and well worth a day’s visit.

Only an hour and a half drive to the southwest is Chattanooga, with its unique river aquarium as well as a salt-water aquarium. Chattanooga also boasts an active arts community, the century-old iconic Rock City, and mile-long cave waterfall Ruby Falls.

Two and a half hours’ drive to the west is Nashville– “Music City, USA.” Second only to Los Angeles, Nashville has many of the best musicians and music studios in the US.

Click on this map to see other attractions in and around Knoxville.