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Being an Exchange Student

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Social Work recognizes that a quality study abroad experience can be central to students’ intellectual growth and professional development. Studying abroad is often one of the highlights of a student’s university career. Students can have wonderful and challenging experiences that will allow growth both academically and personally and prepare them to compete in today’s globalizing world.

Being an Exchange Student: From the US, Studying Abroad

The first step in studying abroad is to research the web site of UTK Programs Abroad Office. Students should spend some time browsing the links, reading through all of the information and learn about the many programs available for a semester, year, summer or mini-term abroad.

Secondly, consider priorities. Choosing the study abroad experience that’s right for you is always exciting and sometimes challenging. You should consider your priorities and think about programs that fit your personal, academic and financial goals. To help you determine your priorities review the following questions:

South Africa - Cape Point

Personal Goals

  • Why do I want to go abroad?
  • Which aspects of study abroad are most important to me? (language immersion, program duration, specific location, etc.)


  • What subject areas do I want to study?
  • Do I need to fulfill any academic requirements abroad?
  • Do I want to participate in an internship program?
  • Do I want to take classes in English or the language of the host country?
  • What is my foreign language ability? Do I speak another language and do I want to use that language abroad?


  • What country or region of the world appeals most to me?
  • Would I rather live in an urban or rural location?
  • Do I prefer big cities or smaller cities?
  • Would I prefer to live with a host family or in a dorm or student apartment?


  • What year do I want study to abroad?
  • How long would I like my program to last (semester, year, summer, and mini-term)?


  • How will I pay for my study abroad experience?
  • Do I need financial assistance?
  • Will I apply for study abroad scholarships?

Four Exchange Program Opportunities

There are four options for currently-enrolled College of Social Work students to participate in an exchnage program.

  1. Direct Exchange Program is an agreement between the College of Social Work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and another institution (national or international) this type of program allows for students to pay tuition at UTK but take courses at a host (International) institution. Students will have additional expenses in the host country of housing, books and food as they would if they were in the US. Depending on the destination country this could be more or less expensive that in the US. Student Support including orientation an ongoing support in Direct Exchange programs is provided by the host institution.
  2. Third Party Program is the opportunity to study in another country through a company such as: IEP – International Education Program, ISEP -International Student Exchange Program, SAS – Semester At Sea, ISA – Institute for Study Abroad, CEA, Center for Education Abroad, CIEE – Council on International Educational Exchange to name a few. These programs may or may not link a student to a host institution and most likely includes additional expenses related to services provided while abroad. Supports provided by a Third Party Programs include; pre departure and onsite orientation, excursions, advisors, and local support while abroad
  3. Faculty Led Program is an exposure trip guided by a faculty member which is embedded in a course relating to the specific destination of the trip. These courses are typically offered during the mini term or summer sessions, though there are some courses offered during the fall or spring with trips scheduled during academic breaks (fall/spring break). The faculty member teaches the course and leads the student’s through-out the length of time they are in the host country. These trips typical have a cultural emersion component as well as a service learning component. There is an additional cost to tuition for the course with the Faculty Led Program to cover the expenses of the actual trip.
  4. Independent Field Program (IFP) involves students enrolling for a field course at UTK while completing a placement in another location. IFP’s are typically linked with Non-Government Organization’s (NGO) or other international agencies and require significant planning prior to departure. The IFP requires the student to assist in locating an organization to complete the placement with as well being highly involved in housing, field instruction and other logistics.

Being an Exchange Student: Students from Across the World Study at the College of Social Work

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Social Work welcomes the diversity that is achieved when students from across the globe come to study at this institution.

Students may spend a semester or full academic year as an exchange student. Exchange students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville reside in University Housing, are enrolled in the student health insurance, meal plan and other campus resources. While studying social work at UTK you will have the opportunity to engage in academic course work as well as field experiences. International exchange students may enroll in any of the social work courses that match their academic level.

To begin your exchange experience, go to the Center for International Education website to review deadlines and application information.

Once you have been accepted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Becky Jackson, Director of Field and International Education, will assist in reviewing your transcript and developing an academic plan that meets your individual learning needs. If you plan to complete a field placement/internship while in the US, the Director will assist in coordinating your placement and ensure J1 or F1 visa requirements are followed. International exchange students are paired with a U.S. social work student who assist with getting acquainted with the U.S., the state of Tennessee, the University, and the College of Social Work. 


Being an Exchange Student
For Degree-seeking International Students
Student Testimonials
Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship
Social Work Study Abroad Manual
UTK Study Abroad Office