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KNOXVILLE — Studying abroad can be the highlight of a college career and the University of Tennessee Parents Association hopes to help students realize those dreams.

For the second year, the UT Parents’ Association will award two scholarships — the International Internship Scholarship and the Programs Abroad Scholarship — allowing students to study, intern or volunteer abroad. The application period for the two scholarships is Feb. 1-28.

The scholarships will grant funds donated by parents for overseas internship opportunities or study abroad programs. Only children of association members are eligible to receive the scholarships.

“The opportunity to learn in another culture and from its people is invaluable for students graduating in today’s global society,” said Emily Parker, interim director of the Parents Association.

Leslie Sadeghi, a senior in animal science, traveled up the coast of Queensland, Australia, for a month last summer to learn about tropical marine ecology. She worked on research projects with seagrass, coral and fish specimens.

Sadeghi said she was able to hold a koala and a python, swim with seals and scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef.

“If I had not received the scholarship I would not have had these amazing experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. My dream ever since I was a kid was to go to Australia,” said Sadeghi. “Because of this experience, I’ve learned to not be scared to jump into new and different situations, to be open-minded and strive to learn everything I can and to make the most of every opportunity offered.

Eric Seifert, a senior in political science, traveled to China for three weeks.

“We saw many of the tourist atractions and historical landmarks that China has become known for, but we also got to see a different side of China. Our first day we witnessed a protester right outside of Tiananmen Square get arrested for voicing his grievances against the government,” said Seifert.

“The trip really got me interested in going into the Foreign Service after I attend law school.
“I paid for the entire trip myself, and it would have been much more difficult without the Parents Association scholarship,” Seifert said. “I don’t think most students realize the opportunity that studying abroad provides them, but I can tell you firsthand that it is certainly a life changing experience.”

The two scholarships help to broaden the university’s Ready for the World initiative, which focuses on providing more international and intercultural experiences and knowledge for all students.

All money granted to a student through this program is intended to supplement the costs of an international internship, including but not limited to tuition, books, supplies and health insurance. The scholarship is not limited to one company or organization, so numerous opportunities around the globe are available to students receiving this scholarship.

In its fourth year, the Parents Association already has more than 3,600 members, and continues to grow at a fast rate.

“The Parents Association was founded so parents could stay involved with their students and develop their own connection to the university,” said Parker.

In addition to the international scholarships, association members fund a general scholarship. The Parents Association also sponsors a Family Weekend during fall semester and members receive discounts from participating hotels, restaurants, rental car agencies and airlines through STA Travel agency, located in the University Center.

Membership is open to all parents of UT undergraduate students. Parents can join on an annual basis or for the academic career of their child.

Interested students can download a scholarship application at

For more information on the international scholarships or membership information, visit

Emily Parker, (865) 974-4546 or
Beth Gladden, (865-974-9008) or