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FIJI - ISEP University of the South Pacific

Fiji is much more than white beaches, palm trees, and spectacular underwater scenery. Its capital city Suva, the largest city in the South Pacific, is home to nearly half its population, with a concentrated mix of ethnicities and cultures from all the surrounding islands. Colonial buildings line its streets, along with modern shopping plazas and breezy esplanades. Enjoy the lifestyle on this fascinating chain of volcanic islands and study alongside a growing number of students from the Pacific region.

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus 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 the University of South Pacific 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.  

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).


Fiji consists of 332 islands. About 110 of these islands are inhabited. The two largest islands are Viti Levu (4,109 sq mi; 10,642 sq km) and Vanua Levu (2,242 sq mi; 5,807 sq km). Fiji is located just at the rim of the International Date Line; therefore it is one of the first countries to see the dawn of each new day. USP’s main campus [Laucala pron Lau the la] and headquarters are in the capital city of Suva. There are plenty of other things that you can do and see while studying at USP from shopping to island hopping. Fiji and the Pacific have a lot to offer in terms of the natural environment – landscape, marine life, flora, and fauna.


Located in the hub of the Pacific Ocean, The University of the South Pacific [USP] is one of the only 2 regional universities in the world. It is made up of 12 countries in the South Pacific region. Given its vibrant and culturally diverse community, USP provides a rich and unforgettable experience for international students. We are proud to offer hundreds of courses through face-to-face and distance learning education, especially courses with topics currently relevant to the Pacific region like climate change, global warming, and sea level rise.

Recommended areas of study include Marine Science/Studies, Geography, Tourism, Land Management and Environmental Studies. Courses in these subject areas offer students insights into the development issues and challenges faced by Pacific Island Countries. Many of the courses include field trips and excursions in the curricula. 

There are 18 weeks per semester- 14 weeks of lectures, 1 week for mid-semester break, 1 week for a study break and 2 weeks of exams. The typical course load is three to four classes per semester equating to 12-21 hours in class per week. Classwork and assignments throughout the semester account for 40-50% of the final grade and the final examination counts for 50-60% of the final grade. It is estimated that you will need to take 16 hours of courses per week, to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.  Students must take face-to-face courses.

Classes are based on the British system of lectures and tutorials. Tutorials allow for question and answer sessions as well as presentations. Nearly all research is done in the library, as there are limited reference materials that can be checked out.  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.


Remember that USP follows the southern hemisphere calendar. Students wishing to study for a full year in the southern hemisphere should consider starting their program at the beginning of the academic year in February. Some institutions offer annual rather than semester courses.


REMEMBER that this site operates on the Southern Hemisphere calendar! Be sure to search for courses using the correct semester parameters: Southern hemisphere SM1 (NH SM2) is February – July; Southern hemisphere SM2 (NH SM1) is July – November. 

1. Click here and select “programs and courses”. This shows a list of all courses within the faculties. Click on specific subject links to take you to the individual courses for descriptions, course coordinators, semester availability, etc. 

Please keep these tips in mind when searching for courses:

  • Mode: choose F/F (face-to-face)
  • Semester: I = semester 1; II = semester 2; I/II = both semesters
  • Campus: choose L-Laucala [Main campus in Suva, Fiji]

Click here for a link to the Course Catalog.

Please review the ISEP country handbook for more information on the education system.

Student Life

The University of the South Pacific is the premier institution of higher learning in the Pacific region, uniquely situated in a region of extraordinary physical, social and economic diversity. Established in 1968, USP was a former New Zealand Air Force base for allied forces in the Pacific during the war. The twelve member countries that conjointly own USP are Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Niue, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Tokelau. The University has campuses in all the member countries. The School of Agriculture and Food Technology is based at the Alafua Campus in Samoa while the School of Law is based at the Emalus Campus in Vanuatu. The main campus and headquarters are based in Suva, Fiji.



The International Students orientation is mandatory for ALL NEW STUDENTS. It is organized by USP International the week before the commencement of lectures over a 4-day period. Prior to your arrival, all students are sent Offer Letters detailing all aspects of student life and enrollment. The orientation program covers academic advice, housing, health, emergencies, safety and general information. A guided local tour will help students get acquainted with our campus, city, and surroundings. The orientation program is inclusive of museum tours, and village stay or an excursion to a local attraction. All ISEP Direct and Exchange students should arrive at USP on the International Student Arrival Day. The date will be given to you in your offer letter. Students will be met at the Nausori/Suva airport or bus terminal by a USP International staff member and transported to USP. 

Airport pickup is offered. Please contact USP for more information.


International students have many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities as there are more than 15 student organizations available. The University of the South Pacific Students Association [USPSA] brings together international and local students for cultural and social activities. The International Students’ Association is affiliated with the USPSA and organizes activities for all its members throughout the semester. Why not join them on Face Book and start your USP experience NOW! Just click here

Campus Life is responsible for all activities on campus which are free to all students. Faculties also organize poetry slams, movie nights, lunch time seminars and public lectures.

  Experiential Opportunities
Campus Life coordinates volunteer activities during the semester. Additionally, the International Office organizes a volunteer day to the SPCA and an orphanage for any interested students. Certain conditions under a study permit limit students from volunteering with other organizations not associated with USP. Internships are restricted and approval must be obtained from the Department of Immigration –Fiji.
Housing and Meals

ISEP Exchange students live in the Resident Hall rooms on campus. All residence halls are single-sex and have shared bathrooms, common rooms, and coin-operated laundry facilities. ISEP Exchange students receive a monthly meal stipend which can be used to purchase food to prepare and/or purchase meals at the cafeteria and campus restaurants. 

ISEP Direct students are housed in shared apartments on campus. The apartments have individual bathrooms, fully furnished kitchens, and laundry facilities. ISEP Direct students do not receive meal benefits but can use the cooking facilities (microwave, stove, refrigerator, utensils, etc.) to prepare meals. 

For southern hemisphere programs, ISEP benefits do apply during the recess between semesters (June-July), whereas they do NOT apply between the end of one academic year and the beginning of a new academic year (December to February). 

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 to the University of the South Pacific includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and the equivalent of 19/meals per week.  

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 EXCEPT meals.  

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