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KNOXVILLE — The Next Generation Sports Talent program (NEST) is gearing up for the fall 2010 semester with the arrival of 19 retired South Korean athletes. The athletes arrive Friday, Aug. 13.

In partnership with the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS), NEST is a program sponsored by the South Korean government and supported by collaborations with the NCAA, CEHHS, the English Language Institute and National/International Sport Governing bodies. In its third year, more than 50 athletes from South Korea have studied at UT through this program.

UT Knoxville competed against five other U.S. institutions to house this program.

“The Ready for the World initiative was very well received by the South Korean government,” said Fritz Polite, director of Outreach and Global Engagement. “NEST really highlights the concept of education and global extension. The only way to learn about another culture is to engage the culture and dialogue about the experience.”

The athletes will be at UT for one semester and will live in Andy Holt Apartments. They will study at the English Language Institute to improve their English language skills. Also, each athlete will have the opportunity to work in their area of athletic expertise, which ranges from basketball to volleyball to sports psychology. They also will be matched with UT students who will serve as their peer mentors.

As a follow up to the NEST program, UT staff and faculty provide programming and support to the athletes by providing expertise and knowledge in their quest for an athletic-related career. One of the promising outcomes from this partnership is the placement of NEST students in positions around the world, including Switzerland, Australia and the U.S. Two of these students currently are completing internships at the NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis.

The next step for NEST is an exchange program that will send UT students to South Korea.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled over the partnership between the University of Tennessee and the government of South Korea,” said Bob Rider, dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. “The NEST program is a primary example of how our college has responded to the UT Ready for the World initiative, as well the level of professional recognition our Sport Management Program enjoys internationally.”

C O N T A C T :

Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225, bhardy4@utk.edu)