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Before You Depart

Welcome International Students!

Preparation for Arrival

Arrival on Campus

Medical Information

Other Important Information


Welcome, International Students!

Congratulations on your decision to study abroad at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). We in the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) would like to take this opportunity to welcome you. We are very excited that you have chosen our university for your American university experience. We are looking forward to meeting you very soon.

Center for Global Engagement

The Center for Global Engagement (CGE) is made up of several units: Office of International Support Services (ISS), International House (I-House), English Language Institute (ELI), Programs Abroad Office (PAO), Asia Engagement, and Global Research.

Center for Global Engagement

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1620 Melrose Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996-3531 USA
Phone: 865-974-3177
Fax: 865-974-2985

Useful Websites

University of Tennessee:

Center for Global Engagement:

International House:

Emergency Contact Information

Emergency CGE Contact: 865-297-3228

After-hours emergency line, not to be used for regular business!

UT Police Department: 865-974-3114

USA Emergency Response: 911

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Preparation for Arrival

Obtaining a Visa

Please refer to the Visa Information page to learn more about how you can obtain your visa to study at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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Arrival on Campus

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, all dates are subject to change. Updates will be provided as they become available. 


In the fall semester, you should arrive no later than TBD. In the spring semester, you should arrive no later than Monday, January 16, 2023. It is important that you arrive on time for the mandatory orientation.

You should try to fly into Knoxville, Tennessee’s McGhee Tyson Airport. Most international flights from Europe arrive in Atlanta, New York, Chicago, or Washington DC, with flights from Asia coming into Los Angeles and flights from Latin America flying into Houston and Miami. You will fly into these major airports and then take a connecting flight to Knoxville. You should expect long delays at immigration and security checkpoints in your initial arrival city, so we advise that you schedule long layovers between your flights to reduce the risk of missing your connection to Knoxville.

It is very important that you keep your immigration documents with you and not in your checked baggage. Please see our Checklist for a suggested list of documents.

You will be expected to leave no later than May 18, 2023 for study through the spring semester. Please refer to our Academic Calendar page for additional dates.

Mandatory Orientation

CGE has worked hard to schedule an informative and fun orientation for you. We want to help you get settled at the University of Tennessee. At orientation, you will learn valuable information about how to remain legal in the United States; how to read the course timetable so that you go to class in the right building at the right time; meet other international students; and begin to understand some of the cultural differences that you will encounter in the South. What does “y’all” mean anyway? We will have one session designed specifically for you, the exchange student. You are required to attend this special exchange student session (for the time and location check out the orientation schedule).


We will start pre-registering you into classes based off your course request list. You may also meet with an academic advisor upon your arrival who will help you register for the classes you are eligible to take and finalize your schedule. Please remember that your requested list of courses does not guarantee admittance into the chosen courses.


Residency on campus is required. Clement Hall is suite-style accommodations. Yes, this does mean that you will be sharing a bedroom, an experience common to American college and university students. You will be notified of your housing assignment via MyUTK in July for Fall start students and in early December for Spring start students.

Sheets, towels, and linens are NOT provided for you in the residence hall, but the International House will arrange shopping trips during orientation for you to purchase these items. To determine if housing is included in your benefits or if you will be expected to pay out of pocket, please refer to our budget sheets


To determine if meals are included in your benefits, please refer to our budget sheets. Students who have meals included in their benefits are provided with a check equivalent to the amount of the 7-Day Access Plan. Meal plans are NOT required, and there are several dining options available both on and off campus that you can utilize without a meal plan. You can review the meal plan options here. If you do purchase a meal plan and intend to stay for the entire academic year, you will be obligated to remain in that same plan for the following semester. If you do not choose a meal plan, a $300 Flex Meals plan will automatically be added to your account, of which the remaining balance will be refunded to you at the conclusion of your stay.

Cost and Payment Information

You will start to receive automatic emails from UT telling you to check your fees online. Please do NOT pay for anything until you arrive at UT! Exchange students will have items that are not payable by you, but rather by UT. These payments will be made after you arrive on campus.

Please check the budget sheets detailing the benefits received on each program so that you know what fees you can anticipate to be responsible for on your MyUTK account.

Payments are typically due in late-August for the Fall semester and mid-January for the Spring semester.

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Medical Information

Health Insurance

Health Insurance is essential and required by US law. Insurance is expensive, but that does not mean it covers everything. Please be aware that dental work, for example, is not covered. You are, however, covered for repatriation and evacuation. You will learn what you need to know about insurance and medical services during orientation.

  • UT Exchange & Fee-Paying Students will need to buy the UT Student Health Insurance plan. If you are currently covered under a policy from your home country, you may request to waive the UT Heath Insurance plan charge. If your request is denied, you will be required to purchase the UT Student Health Insurance plan.

The Center for Global Engagement does not manage insurance policies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 

Student Health Services

Students can use UT’s on-campus Student Health Services for routine medical needs, usually for free. Services include, but are not limited to, primary care clinic, women’s health clinic and pharmacy.


Immunizations are a state mandated part of enrollment at UT. It is very important to provide all documentation necessary before arriving on campus. If you do not, you may not be allowed to move into your campus accommodations. Please follow the submission instructions of your immunization records carefully. Having many immunizations completed in the US will be quite costly and your insurance will likely not cover these costs. If you have questions, please contact the Student Heath Center at +1 865 974 3135 or email

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Other Important Information

Knoxville’s Weather

You cannot actually predict the weather because you really cannot tell what might happen during one 24-hour period in Knoxville.

  • Fall/Autumn—This is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Knoxville, as this is when the leaves turn and you see an amazing range of colors—red, orange, yellow, and brown. In September, it will still be very warm, and this often lasts into October. As the leaves change, the weather will get cooler, and you can expect some rain, but there might be a day or two when you can leave your sweater at home. By the end of November, winter is in the air.
  • Winter—Knoxville is not the coldest place during the winter, but it is certainly time to get out your hat, scarf, and gloves. Snow is not a common sight—we might see one or two snowstorms per season, but the snow only tends to stick around for a couple of days. However, Knoxville has been known to have blizzards and ice storms.
  • Spring—By March, the weather usually starts to improve, and the trees start to bloom. In April, the days get warmer, although this is when the temperatures can change by 25 degrees in one day. By May, the days are very warm, and summer will soon arrive.
  • Summer—Hot, hot, hot! And wet! Summer storms in Knoxville are intense— thunder and lightning and a lot of rain, all of which only lasts for about 1 hour. Then the sun comes out, and you would never know it had rained at all.

What does this mean for you? You need to be prepared for all types of weather. Do not be surprised if it is T-shirt weather one day and winter coat weather the next. It is a good idea to dress in layers!

Jeans are a big favorite on campus, but you will see everything from orange jogging suits to military uniforms. You should bring whatever you feel comfortable in, and bring clothes that you can wear in any weather, from shorts to big coats. There are plenty of places for you to go shopping for new things, so leave some room in your suitcases so you can take your purchases back home.


You do not want to pack too much as you want to avoid paying any extra baggage charges. You can buy many items here, such as hairdryers and alarm clocks, for very reasonable prices, and you will not need to bring converters to operate them. Cumberland Avenue, the street that runs parallel to campus, has stores where you can buy shampoo and soap. We recommend that you bring photographs that remind you of home as they can brighten up your room, and your new friends may ask you about your family and friends at home. You might also want to bring your favorite music as anywhere can feel like home when you listen to something familiar and reassuring. Certain items are not permitted in the residence halls, so please check the UT Housing website to learn what not to bring and review the rules and regulations for living on campus.

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Carry the following items on you or in your hand luggage:

  • Passport
  • DS-2019
  • Proof of financial support
  • Acceptance letter from UT
  • Copies of all these documents(keep in your checked baggage)
  • At least $150 USD (for taxi fare, settling-in expenses, etc.)
  • Another form of picture identification
  • Personal toiletries and a change of clothes (in case you get stuck overnight at the airport or your luggage doesn’t make it to Knoxville at the same time you do)
  • Programs Abroad Office contact information:
    • 1620 Melrose Avenue
      University of Tennessee, Knoxville
      Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
    • Tel: US +1-865-974-3177 (Monday–Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • UT Police Department contact information
    • Tel: US +1-865-974-3114 (anytime)

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