The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

College of Engineering

Global Initiatives

Alternative Break Trips

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About the program

The College of Engineering (COE) recognizes the need to prepare an internationally-aware generation of engineers for success in the global workforce. To that end, COE offers the opportunity for insight abroad experiences for students for periods of a week to ten days, scheduled during school breaks. This enables the engineering major to have a short abroad experience without interrupting classes or delaying graduation.

The flagship program which began this initiative is the Engineering Alternative Spring Break, an annual trip to a foreign location to participate in an engineering project of local impact. On trips during other times of the year, engineering students may participate in a field-relevant service project in a foreign location, see engineers at work outside of the United States, or observe engineering applications and methods employed abroad. This may happen through a visit to an engineering university, lectures on specific engineering challenges, tour of a plant or manufacturing facility, or observations of pertinent engineering developments in locations overseas. In addition, students will visit sites of cultural and historic significance.


Although these programs are not credit-bearing, they satisfy the Honors’ “Ready for the World” requirement and are a significant addition to a resume. A limited number of scholarships are offered to defray travel costs.


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