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NETHERLANDS - ISEP Tilburg University

The Netherlands is often described as a gateway to Europe. The country has absorbed influences from neighboring countries but retains its own strong cultural identity. It is a great place to study and observe the changes that are transforming Europe economically, politically and socially. Besides the windmills, canals, bicycles, and tulips that you expect, you’ll find a dynamic economy, state-of-the-art technology, rich cultural treasures and a lively contemporary scene. 

Located on a compact, suburban campus west of the city center, Tilburg is in one of the loveliest parts of the southern Netherlands with its many forests, lakes, dunes, and rivers. Tilburg has become a cultural center for young people where students can enjoy restaurants, cafés, and historical sites. Courses in English include social sciences, humanities, economics, business administration, and law.

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus o thrive in this location. 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 Tilburg University 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 interested in the Business program must be declared majors and have completed 8-10 courses of business coursework at time of application including one upper-level math course.
  • All other students should have completed 4-5 courses within their major.

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).


The 11-hectare university campus is located in the city of Tilburg, about 100 kilometers south of Amsterdam. With a population of nearly 200,000 inhabitants, Tilburg is the sixth largest city in the Netherlands. It is situated in the beautiful Brabant countryside, one of the most attractive areas in the Benelux. Brussels and Paris are within a few hours reach by train, car or bus.


Originally established in 1927 as a school of economics, Tilburg has since diversified its curriculum to include several main faculties, as well as special research programs and institutes. Tilburg University (Universiteit van Tilburg) is a government-financed university of Catholic affiliation. A large number of research institutions are directly allied to Tilburg including the Center for Economic Research (CentER), one of the top research institutes for fundamental economic research in Europe.

Exchange students should visit the Tilburg University exchange portal for current information regarding all aspects of exchange (courses, accommodation, pre-arrival, etc.) in Tilburg. For more information, click here


Students typically enroll in 4-5 classes per term which average to 10-20 hours in class per week. A term runs for 13 weeks.  Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.  Courses in English are available in most subjects. 

During the semester, students are expected to participate actively in any course they take. This means preparing for lectures and seminars (often much larger than those offered at Lake Forest), doing the necessary homework and carrying out the appropriate assignments. The Dutch style of higher education entrusts students with a high degree of individual responsibility, encouraging them to develop an independent and critical way of thinking.

Tilburg is strongest in the fields of economics, social sciences and humanities and all programs offer a number of programs in English. For information on Courses being offered: click here.

There are also a number of certificate programs available to exchange students including the following: Econometrics Certificate, Management Certificate, International Business Administration Certificate, International Economics, and Finance Certificate, Organization Studies Certificate, Social Psychology Certificate Humanities Certificate, and Public Administration in Comparison Certificate. Students can obtain up-to-date information regarding certificate programs for exchange students by visiting the certificate page for details. 

Language Courses: Dutch language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year or semester.  Exchange students receive two language course vouchers, which they can use for up to 12 ECTS in courses at the language center. Any further language courses are fee-based. These courses are provided during the semester. Semester Language Courses  

Pre-session: Exchange students receive two language course vouchers, which they can use for up to 12 ECTS for often two courses at the language center to learn Dutch. These courses are provided during the summer. Summer School Students would still be responsible for housing and meals.

  • academic growth during intensive academic summer courses
  • official credits (2 to 12 ECTS)
  • the unique experience of meeting people from all over the world
  • over 50 nationalities
  • exploring the Netherlands together during the social program
  • accommodation near the campus
  • personal focus and atmosphere
  • guidance of buddies


Courses may be assessed by means of papers, or written or oral exams. An oral exam usually lasts 30 minutes to 1 hour. Written exams normally last 2 to 3 hours. During a written exam, students have to answer open, multiple choice, and/or essay type questions.

Grading system
Passing grades range from 6 (pass) to 10 (outstanding). The grade 10 is not usually given, so in practice, the grading scale runs from 1 through 9. The grading practices tend to be a bit more difficult than other places, with a grade of six considered a satisfactory mark. Eights and nines are generally considered outstanding.

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

Tilburg University welcomes about 400 international exchange students each year. These students come to Tilburg within the framework of ERASMUS agreements and bilateral agreements with universities all over the world.  Exchange students should visit the Tilburg University exchange portal for current information regarding all aspects of exchange (courses, accommodation, pre-arrival, etc.) in Tilburg. For more information, click here



Orientation will cover essential information about living and studying at Tilburg University. It will include important information about registration and enrollment as well as topics in the following: transportation, accommodations, cultural information sessions, and a tour of the campus.


The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.


There are many student organizations at Tilburg University, including academic, social and athletic groups and clubs. Two special student organizations, the Erasmus Student Network and ICONN, organize many activities during the semester for international students.

Housing and Meals

As you may know, Tilburg University does have a campus however it is not possible to live on the campus itself. Student houses are spread all over the city of Tilburg, but the houses offered to international students are most often located between Tilburg University campus and Tilburg city center.

Students are housed in student apartments and given a stipend for purchasing meals at the cafeteria or preparing their own meals (19/week). Besides your room, you also have access to all shared facilities such as a bathroom, living room, toilet, kitchen, and garden (if available).

NOTE: Students going to Tilburg University must pay a housing deposit, the equivalent of 2 months rent, and a cleaning deposit upon arrival (~$1,200). Students should be prepared for significant expenses up front. The student will ultimately be reimbursed for the rent through a monthly stipend distributed to the student’s Dutch bank account. The deposits will be returned providing there are no damages.

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 program includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing and a stipend to cover the equivalent of 19/meals per week.

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-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 Expected 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