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KNOXVILLE — To go or not to go? For many students, that is the question.

Studying abroad can make students more culturally aware, help them grow as people and allow them to see what the world has to offer. But how do students plan their study abroad programs and make all of the necessary arrangements?

UT senior Raquel De Bastiani took this photo of the Amalfi Coast in Positano, Italy during his study abroad adventure.At the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students receive study abroad information and assistance through the Programs Abroad Office, located in Melrose Hall at 1620 Melrose Ave. The office employs peer advisers — students who participated in semester or academic year study abroad programs — who are willing to share their experiences with fellow students and help guide them through the planning process.

Seven students are on the advising team:

  • Courtney Daly, junior in public relations, studied in Queensland, Australia
  • Meredith Hayes, junior in environmental studies and wildlife conservation with a minor in piano performance, studied in Accra, Ghana
  • Kristen Hickey, senior in advertising with a minor in business, studied in Rome
  • Jessica Hill, junior in public administration and Spanish, studied in Barcelona
  • Austin Kodra, senior in creative writing, studied in Turku, Finland
  • Ben Southard, senior in logistics and international business, studied in London and Barcelona
  • Kavon Togrye, senior in finance and international business, studied in Vienna

Each adviser has a unique experience to offer prospective study abroad students.

“Everyone always says that the world is such a huge place, but studying abroad made me realize how small it actually was,” Hill said. “People across the globe aren’t completely different from the people right here in my own neighborhood. I met people in Dublin that knew some friends in California. I ate meals in Spain that seemed to be from the exact recipe my grandmother uses. I heard music in Italy that I heard back at home. The world is full of differences, but there is so much that brings us together, no matter what part of the world you’re from.”

Along with sharing their experiences abroad, peer advisers staff the Programs Abroad Office Resource Room from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They host general information sessions in the Resource Room at 2 p.m. each day. The presentation covers the types of programs offered and gives students the chance to ask questions about programs and finances. Peer advisers also are available for one-on-one general advising for students who cannot attend an information session.

“No other experience at UT offers such self-building opportunities,” Kodra said. “The communication skills, flexibility and self-reliance gained from a semester in a different country cannot be overstated and can only help with life back in the states, both professionally and personally.”

For more information about the peer advisers and the Programs Abroad Office, visit the Programs Abroad website at


Bridget Hardy (865-974-2225,