The overall goal of the Study of the U.S. Institute is to contribute to your learning and leadership through a comprehensive program that engages participants in a critical exploration of the central institutions of the American experience (political, economic, religious, and cultural). This goal and Institute design reflect the view that participants best understand American life and culture when they see its many contemporary components in a context of historical events and values. Not only does history help explain current phenomena, but it also provides insight into the tensions, inconsistencies, and diversities that mark contemporary American life. The design of the Institute also reflects the belief that a prime (and distinctive) American value is to accept, welcome, and value diverse cultures, ethnicities, religions, and lifestyles. The Institute will give you the opportunity to observe the diversity inherent in contemporary American life.
    The Institute's curriculum includes four primary components:

  1. An Academic Component titled “Democracy in the United States: Its History and Current Challenges” occurs primarily on campus in morning classroom activities and is supplemented through field trips and the Study Tour Component.
  2. A Leadership Development Component, consisting largely of experiential group activities that will allow you to examine your own leadership style and will encourage community-building among members of your group.
  3. A Community Service Component that will give you opportunities to learn about several social services and community development organizations, and actively assist those organizations.  Community Service activities will be arranged at several organizations in the Knoxville area; activities will be determined based on participant interests and goals and the needs of service providers.  Individual participants or small groups will be assigned to an organization, allowing you to have extended experience with both the staff and clients of local service organizations.
  4. A Study Tour Component, which will include cultural activities in addition to opportunities to enhance knowledge acquired in the Academic/Cultural component. This component includes local field trips, as well as overnight trips to Atlanta, Georgia, New York City, and Washington, D.C.

     Here are some examples of the academic sessions that will be provided:

  • Freedom and Order In British Colonies
  • Origins and Legacies of the American Revolution
  • The U.S. Constitution
  • Slavery and the Civil War
  • Immigration
  • The Golden Door
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • American Dream
  • Capitalism and Critics
  • U. S. Foreign Policy, with an emphasis on the relationship between the United States and Latin America

     The UTK campus and Knoxville have a number of cultural resources available to the community at large:

You will also be able to attend university lectures, sporting events, films and concerts held at many venues on campus and the community.
You will be matched with UTK undergraduate students who will serve as “community hosts”.  The community hosts will involve you in local activities typical of U.S. college student life.   On the first weekend, your community host will bring you home to their families.

You will have free time most evenings. You will also have access to the T-Recs (gym/recreation center) and all university student facilities.
As a participant of this program, you may not extend your stay in the U.S. beyond the February 16, 2012 end of program date.

As a participant of this program, you may not extend your stay in the U.S. beyond your visa expiration date on February 16, 2013. If family or friends want to visit you, we recommend that they visit you in Amherst. You are required to attend all Institute classes and site visits; however, during free evenings and weekends you may spend time with your visitors.  Not all evenings and weekends are free so please check-in with institute staff before scheduling personal time. Visitors are responsible for their own accommodations and transportation while visiting you in Amherst. You are not allowed to fly or travel long distances to visit family or friends who live a long distance from Amherst.  With the permission of ITD staff you may make arrangements to meet with family or friends while on study tour as long as your visit does not conflict with programmed activities and you provide us with clear contact information for the person and places you are visiting.  If you have any questions about visitation policies please consult with an ITD staff member.

Institute participants who meet the requirements of the course will receive a Certificate of Course Completion from the University of Tennessee, English Language Institute.
Exams, tests and quizzes will not be used to evaluate your performance. However, to complete the Institute successfully, you must do the following:

  • Attend all scheduled course activities, including lectures, discussions, and field trips. Participate in class discussions and exercises.
  • Complete reading assignments and other assignments as required by the presenters.
  • Complete journal assignments.
  • Prepare a final presentation about your experience during the institute during our final meeting in Washington, D.C.

You will receive more information about each of these activities during your orientation and on your first day on campus.