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ECUADOR - ISEP Universidad Casa Grande - Guayaquil

Ecuador’s rich biodiverse Amazon Rainforest, stunning Andes Mountains, sun-drenched-beaches, volcanic islands, breathtaking colonial and historic centers, and indigenous villages and markets packed full of culture, will trigger your travel bug and leave you planning your next visit even before your departure. Ecuador’s small size (approximately the size of Colorado, USA), allows visitors to visit several of the country’s dazzling array of wonders. The multitude of universities throughout the country will allow you to learn from nation’s greatest treasure, the local people, who are generous, friendly, kind-hearted, and proud of their nation’s accomplishments and ability to overcome challenges in the last decade. Ecuador is also a great place to strengthen and develop your Spanish language skills, as it is known for a soft and clear accent that is easy for visitors to understand and has earned Ecuador the title of “the best country in Latin American to learn Spanish.”

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.  

Learn more about Universidad Casa Grande here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Language Requirement: A minimum of 4 semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent must be completed prior to the program.
  • The student must submit ISEP language proficiency report in the application, even if native speaker.

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up. Direct options may have an additional cost (see a financial section for more information).


Founded in the 1530s, Guayaquil is a vibrant sprawling city that continues growing in today’s society. The city’s high-rises, multiple hillsides engulfed by barrios, and the Río Guayas’ malecón define Guayaquil’s identity. The bustling downtown metropolis of residents, workers, and shoppers is balanced with urban renewal projects and revitalized squares and parks along the Rio Guayas. The picturesque barrio of Las Peñas, declared a National Cultural Heritage site in 1982, anchors the city both geographically and historically. The continued growth brings exciting theater, film, and arts to the city as well as lively bars and nightlife frequented by the large university student population.

Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city and beating commercial heart of the country, operating as the main port and access point for the Galapagos Islands. With a population of approximately 2 million inhabitants, the generally hot and humid climate has transformed in recent years and contains a rich mix of biodiversity as a result of the convergence of the salty Pacific waters and the fresh water from the Rio Guayas.


Universidad Casa Grande is a small university that prioritizes personalized learning through small class sizes and strives to implement innovative teaching methods and generate reflective learning. UCG is composed of 1,400 undergraduate students and teams of managers, educators, professionals, and researchers committed to academic excellence and constructive changes in different areas of knowledge.

The educational proposal of UCG aims to meet the needs of society in the new paradigms of education for change and to respond to national priorities and attend to the needs of the market and prepare socially responsible, efficient, ethical, creative, and caring professionals. UCG graduates have a high rate of employability and their prestigious Communication programs are nationally recognized.


Particularly strong or unique academic fields most recommended for ISEP students: Communication, Graphic Design, Broadcasting, International Business, Marketing, Political Science, Early Intervention, and Human Resources.


Semi-Intensive Spanish language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year and/or semester for an additional fee for Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior levels. Contact hours per week: 10 hours. The approximate cost of this course is $340USD.

A 3-week pre-session, intensive Spanish language course is offered in during the Academic year period 1 only for an additional fee for intermediate levels. Contact hours per week: 14 hours.

Note: The host institution ultimately determines your language proficiency level and course eligibility.



1. From the main website ( in the lower part, all the degrees offered are listed.
2. Click on the degree/major you are interested in and information will appear. On the right side there is a section where it says, “curriculum” (Malla in Spanish) if you click there, the courses will appear.
Courses open each semester are not shown on the web page, students need to contact ISEP for the list of courses and syllabi.



Included in ISEP Benefits for no additional charge:

- Comparative Literature
- Cont. Society: Conflicts and Consensus
- Creative E-Books
- Creative Entrepreneurship
- Customer Satisfaction
- Gender and Media
- Human Geography
- Information Technology in the Classroom
- English IV: Cinematography
- Interactive Distance Education
- Intercultural Management
- Latin American History
- Introduction to Psychology
- Methods and Material Design for Listening and Speaking
- Modern Short Story
- Professional Presentations
- Promotional Methods
- Project Management
- Representation of Violence in the Media
- Social Responsibility
- Strategies & Techniques for Writing
- World History

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Student Life

International students have the chance to participate in trips that the department will arrange and in several university activities, like pedagogical simulations. University activities are included in ISEP Benefits. Extracurricular activities, like trips, have an extra fee that has to be covered by the student.

  Volunteer Opportunities
The exchange program includes a general volunteering activity for all the international students, however, students that want to do regular volunteering activities while they are in Ecuador can ask the coordinator and the department can arrange them. The same applies for internships.
Housing and Meals

Students have the option of doing a homestay, where they stay with an Ecuadorian Family. Or, they may choose to live in an apartment with other roommates, but have their own room. Students will get an equivalnce of 19 meals per week. If staying with host families, most meals are covered by the family. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  These meals include are provided as a stipend to purchase food on your own or in the dining hall.

ISEP costs for Exchange are usually the most cost-effective, as it is intended to promote mobility of students around the world. Direct options are available for those students that prefer to attend a school with limited availability for Exchange, though costs may be different as they are set by the host school. For students that participate in ISEP Direct, the program fee includes all of the above plus insurance. However, the program fee may be different than that of Exchange.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance (estimated, $90/mo)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare

*Students placed on ISEP Exchange may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office