The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will arrange your international travel to Knoxville, Tennessee (TYS Airport) and process your visa application.

UTK staff will meet you at the Knoxville, Tennessee (TYS) airport.  Please note that because of increased security, staff must wait for you beyond the secure area. As you emerge from the secure area (using the revolving door), a UTK staff member will greet you.  If no staff person is present to meet you upon your arrival, please call Shannan Williams – you should also receive her cell phone number in an e-mail message in early January. You may also call the UTK ELI office at (865) 974-3404 and leave a message if you are unable to reach Shannan Williams directly.

Please be aware that if your flight has been delayed or changed, UTK will contact the airline to try and find your new schedule. Still, if there are any changes to your schedule, it is important to call us as soon as possible. Once you have found a UTK staff member, she/he will assist you with your luggage and transport you to campus, which is about 20 minutes from the TYS airport.

Plan to eat meals on your own, with other participants in the program, or with other students or faculty whom you meet. You will receive a UTK identification card (VolCard) with funds loaded “electronically” on your card. When you go to a campus cafeteria or snack shop, you may purchase food with the card and the cost of the items will be deducted from your card. Note that you will also receive a cash allowance for meals which you may use to eat off campus at local restaurants and at McEwan's Kitchen located at the Four Points Hotel. Click here for the menu!

You will receive the following allowances during your stay in the U.S.

  • Meals: While in Knoxville, you will receive $46 per day: $20 per day will be loaded on your VolCard for meal purchases on campus, $26/day cash allowance for meals off campus
  • While traveling (to Atlanta, New York, and Washington) you will receive a higher meal allowance.
  • Incidental allowance: $10/day.  This money can be used for laundry, purchase of personal products, phone calls, etc.
  • Book/materials and cultural and mailing allowances: $225. These funds are for purchase of textbooks, software, mailing materials home to Brazil, and for admission costs to non-group cultural events.

While in the United States, you will sometimes find it easier to eat at restaurants. The appropriate tip percentage is 15% of the total bill. If you consider the service outstanding, then 20% is usual for tipping your waiter/waitress at any restaurant. For more information on tipping in the US click here.

You may not travel on your own outside of the Knoxville/East Tennessee community without permission from the Program Coordinator or Administrative Director.
If you have friends or family members who would like to visit you while you are in Knoxville or during the program's travel, you should communicate with Shannan Williams or Jim Hamrick to make advance arrangements. Visits from family members or friends may not interfere with Institute activities. You should also check the program schedule to be sure that you will be on campus when visitors come. Note that visitors will be responsible for their own lodging and meals. Visitor participation in group activities or events is subject to approval from program staff.  In general, visitors are not allowed in university vans or buses.

You will have access to Hodges Library, located in the middle of the UTK campus. Reference librarians will be available during normal library hours and you can chat with a librarian online anytime. You will have access to all library databases and electronic resources via your campus “NET ID” through May, 2013.

UTK will provide transportation to field trips and for cultural excursions in our passenger vans. You may use the campus bus (T-Access) system free of charge. For other travel in and around Knoxville, you can use the KAT bus system; fares cost about $1.50 one-way.

You will be staying at the Four Points By Sheraton on Cumberland Ave. on the edge of campus. Each room will contain two beds and all rooms are equipped with a bathroom. The Four Points has wireless internet access and coin laundry machines.

The style of dress on campus is mostly casual. Tennessee's weather during the winter months is relatively cold (usually about 10C), so you should plan accordingly. Most days you will want to wear heavier clothing (pants, long-sleeve shirts, etc.) and usually a jacket or coat.  Program staff will assist you with the purchase of warm clothing during your orientation here if necessary.

We recommend that you bring one set or more of formal clothes for special functions, a bathing suit, sneakers, and sturdy, comfortable shoes for walking and tours.
Coin operated laundry machines are available at the Four Points Hotel. There are other private laundry services located a short walk from the hotel.

During your stay in Tennessee, you will have wireless internet access anywhere on campus. You are welcome to bring your own laptop computer and cell phone. If you don't have a computer or prefer not to bring one, you may also use computers in any campus computer lab.

While you are attending the course, you may receive mail at the following address:
Your Name
c/o English Language Institute University of Tennessee
907 Mountcastle
Knoxville, TN 37996

You will be staying in the time zone called “Eastern Time” which covers all of the eastern United States, including New York and Washington, DC. This zone is four hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time in the summer (GMT -5).

Weather during East Tennessee winters can be unpredictable. The days are typically cold with a temperature of around 7-10 degrees Celsius, but it can be wet and cooler, especially at night.

In the United States you will be covered by a health insurance plan. The insurance covers any accident or injury you may sustain while you are here. You will have a $15 co-payment every time you visit the doctor. The policy does not cover preventive services like regular check-ups, blood tests, dental check-ups, eyeglasses or contact lenses, or pre-existing conditions.

If you get sick and need medical help, please speak with a UTK staff member and he/she will assist you immediately. A staff person will escort you to the UTK Health Center, which provides no-cost or low cost services.

If you are seriously injured or need immediate medical care call the national emergency number 911.