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KNOXVILLE — Twenty-nine undergraduate students from China arrive today to participate in a short-term language and culture program at the English Language Institute (ELI) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The students attend Sichuan University of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
Jim Hamrick, ELI director, said this program will help foster the relationship between the two universities.

“And it’s a good way to expose the Chinese students to the UT campus and give them a glimpse of college life in the United States,” he said.

UT and Sichuan signed a five-year linkage agreement in November 2004 to promote the exchange of students, the exchange of faculty members and collaboration on research.

The Chinese students will participate in an English language course two hours per day during their visit. They also will attend several culture lectures focusing on U.S. government, music, social and ethical issues and the development of the American character.

The students will stay in a UT residence hall through Aug. 2 and then tour Washington, D.C., for a few days before returning to China. Their visit to UT is self-funded.

The group from Sichuan University is the second group of foreign students to participate in an ELI program this summer. ELI is currently hosting 18 undergraduate students from South America as part of a program administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State.

ELI, which began in 1978, is a part of UT’s Division of University Outreach and Continuing Education. ELI offers programs to students and professionals to help improve their English and teach them about American life. Many students are sent to the U.S. by their employers to learn to speak English more proficiently. Other students are trying to improve their English before enrolling in an American university.


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,
Jim Hamrick, English Language Institute, (865) 974-1371,
Darrin Devault, Outreach & Continuing Education, (865) 974-0270,