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CIE Hosts Undergraduate Group from Argentina

The UTK Center for International Education (CIE) is hosting a group of 20 undergraduates from Argentina. The students arrived in Knoxville on Friday, January 5, and will be on campus through February 24—the program coincides with the summer vacation period in Argentina.  The students are in their third and fourth-year as undergraduates at various universities in Argentina. While on campus, the group will be attending selected classes related to their academic majors, and participate in community service and leadership development activities.

The students are sponsored by the U.S.- Argentina Fulbright Commission in Buenos Aires. They were selected through a highly competitive process, and are among a group of 280 of high participating in similar programs at 15 campuses in the U.S.

Many of the students intend to pursue graduate degrees after completing their undergraduate studies in Argentina.

CIE’s Office of International Partnerships and Exchanges and English Language Institute (ELI) are responsible for the program. Questions may be directed to Jim Hamrick at ELI,by email at,  or by phone at 865 974 3404.

ELI Alumni Spotlight: Morgane from France

Morgan at the ELI Easter Party

Meet Morgane Perret, who is originally from France. She studied at the ELI for two terms in 2016. According to Morgane, the ELI helped her to learn English and be able to study in the US. Here is what she told us about the ELI:

“I am really glad that I went to the ELI because I am more open-minded now that I was before. I was able to meet wonderful people there, such as the teachers and also students. Studying at the ELI has been a really important experience in my life and I am really happy of what they helped me accomplish.”

What is Morgane doing now? After she left the ELI, she was planning on going back to France. However, she also applied to Pellissippi State Community College, a nearby college in Knoxville. She was accepted and is now studying education. This is her first semester.

Morgane was a great student to have at the ELI and we are so happy she is still in Knoxville. We are sure she’ll do great at Pellissippi!

ELI Alumni Spotlight: Bingshu from China

Meet Wu Bingshu from Qingdao, China! He studied at the ELI for two terms in 2015. After that, he began studying at the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business (one of the top businesses schools in the United States). He is currently a junior now! Wow. That means he is almost finished! Time really flies.

He says that the ELI helped him a great deal:

“My English was not good to attend UT directly. ELI helped me to improve my English skills including listening, writing, speaking, and reading a lot.”

Being a business student means he is very busy. So, what does he do when he is not busy? In Bingshu’s free time, he likes to play basketball, which helps him meet new friends. He also likes video games, which helps him relax.

We wish the best for Bingshu and hope that he puts his business skills to good use!

ELI Teaching Associate Anthony Schmidt Awarded Grant

Anthony Schimdt is the recipient of the 2017 University of Pittsburgh Travel Award for IEP Instructors.

The award is used for expenses associated with attending the TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo in Seattle, Washington, USA on 21-24 March 2017. He will be recognized at the keynote session at the Convention and an Awards Reception. At the TESOL Convention, Anthony will be giving a presentation entitled: “Off Course: A Comparison of EAP Writing Coursebooks and University Writing Tasks.”

Proyecta Students Visit Cades Cove

On November 26, the students from Proyecta visited the beautiful Cades Cove located in Sevier County Tennessee to enjoy the natural beauty of the Smokey Mountains.  They were able to see the majestic mountains in their beautiful autumn colors and see some wildlife during the drive.  Although it was cold, the trip allowed the students to see new landscapes during their time here in the United States.

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Welcome to our New Home!

The English Language Institute moved from its home for the past 30 years on Mountcastle Street to new facilities in the UT Conference Center on Henley Street. Here’s a look at our brand new home!

ELI Hosts Proyecta Students from Mexico in July

Proyecta photo 7 16-001ELI is hosting a group of 24 university students from Mexico. The group arrived on July 4 and will study at the Institute through July 29. The students are participating in a scholarship program called Proyecta 100,000. The group is funded by AMEXCID (Agencia Mexicana de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo) —  Mexico’s agency for international cooperation and development. Mexico is endeavoring to send thousands of students and teachers to the U.S. for short-term English language instruction as a part of the Proyecta 100,000 initiative.

Anthony Schmidt of ELI’s faculty has been pleased to have several of the Proyecta students in his classes: “They quickly integrated into class and into the academic life of the Institute.  They are focused language learners and intense in their learning style.”

Em Chitty, ELI Senior Teaching Associate, said that “the Proyecta group has been outstanding. They are eager to learn and all are good language learners.”

The students have a range of English abilities – but all are highly motivated and have enthusiastically engaged in activities, such as a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a tour of Neyland Stadium.

The students will return to Mexico at the end of July. All of the students are enrolled at universities in and around Mexico City.

ELI Welcomes Students from Shanghai University of Sport

ELI and UTK’s Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sports Studies (KRSS) are teaming up for the fifth consecutive year to offer a summer program to undergraduates from Shanghai University of Sport (SUS). This summer’s group arrived in Knoxville on July 25 and will depart July 29.

This year’s cohort includes 14 students and two faculty/staff advisors from SUS – China’s premier higher education institution for physical education and sports.

The Summer Language, Culture, and Sports Studies Program offers daily English language instruction with a focus on experiential language use in the community, particularly through sports and recreational activities. Those activities included stand-up paddle boarding and a visit to UTK’s climbing wall. The program includes a series of KRSS seminars and tours such as tours to the Exercise Physiology Lab, and Neyland Stadium.

Students participated in a home-stay experience the weekend of July 8.

Lauren Wood, who coordinates ELI’s efforts for the group, commented on the group’s reliability and enthusiasm for classroom activities: “Our SUS students have been involved in class and are really positive about applying what they are learning in English classes to outside activities. They’ve been great to work with.”

Rob Hardin, who leads KRSS’ programming with the group, said “It’s always great to host students from SUS and introduce them to the American sporting culture. The group this year was able experience everything from Ijams Nature Center to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame to the Biomechanics Lab. Most of these things are totally new to them and it is great to see the look on their face when they experience something for the first time. It also a great learning experience for the students in our department as they lead many of the seminars.”

SUS 2016 group photo-001

Suzanne Meyer Moving to Pennsylvania

suzanneSuzanne Meyer, ELI Assistant Director, will leave the Institute this summer. She and her family are moving to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

Ms. Meyer joined ELI in 2006 as a term instructor. She became a Senior Teaching Associate in 2010. She has served the Institute as Assistant Director since October.

Ms. Meyer has led the Institute’s curriculum development activities, both as an instructor and as Assistant Director. It is fair to say that the ELI curriculum is what it is today because of her tireless efforts. She has presented widely at professional conferences and has had professional service roles with CEA. ELI Students and colleagues alike will miss her keen intellect and enthusiasm for encouraging students to learn.

Linda Rahbar Retiring This Summer

lindaLinda Rahbar is retiring from ELI at the end of the Summer term. She has served as an instructor at ELI since 1981. Prior to joining ELI, she taught at and owned a language school in Iran. She says the best part of her job is that ELI allowed her great professional and personal flexibility.

After more than 30 years of teaching, Mrs. Rahbar has observed many changes to ELI and the ESOL profession. She says that teaching is much more professional and structured than when she began. She has also learned that anyone can learn English – in some cases it just takes a lot of time. She reached this conclusion by interacting with students who didn’t seem to progress a lot in ELI class — then she met them a few years after their time at ELI and noticed how their proficiency had improved.

After retiring, Mrs. Rahbar plans on taking care of her baby granddaughter and getting her house organized.

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