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PUERTO RICO - ISEP University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez

A Tropical Paradise for Spanish Speakers

Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island located south of Florida and east of the Dominican Republic. It is famous for its diverse tropical landscape, beautiful beaches and coral reefs, warm Caribbean climate, salsa music, and most importantly the friendly and hospitable people. 

Puerto Rico often called Isla del Encanto, has everything from caves, to tropical forests, to nature reserves for you to explore. Want to make the most of Mayaguez? Explore the Torre and make friends with the locals, check out Boricua for some local music, or sing karaoke on special nights. Mayaguez is rich in culture and adventure as well as history; the city boasts a tribute to Christopher Columbus! The classes offered at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez include aerospace studies, arts and sciences, business administration, engineering, and military sciences. You can even work for your master’s degree while studying in this exciting city!

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 the University of Puerto Rico: Mayaguez here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.



“I was very shy with my Spanish at the beginning and it was amazing to notice how I got better and better in speaking it. At the end, people even told me that I must be a ‘boricua,’ because I speak Spanish like a Puerto Rican!” – Pauliina Linden, University of Turku

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. It is important to note that while most textbooks are in English, the language of instruction is Spanish.
  • 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).


The city of Mayagüez is located on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. It is the center of population, commerce, and culture for the region and enjoys an excellent quality of life.


Public and coeducational, the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) serves a population of 3.6 million American citizens in Puerto Rico. Founded in 1903 as a small Teacher’s College in Río Piedras, UPR encompasses a modern system with three main campuses, two university colleges, six regional colleges and other units throughout Puerto Rico. UPR”s 55,126 students account for six percent of all Hispanics enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher learning. 

The classes offered at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez include aerospace studies, arts and sciences, business administration, engineering, and military sciences. You can even work for your master’s degree while studying in this exciting city!

The following fields are particularly recommended for ISEP participants: engineering, agricultural sciences, business administration, and arts and sciences. 

Students typically enroll in 4-5 classes per term which average to 12-15 hours in class per week. A term runs for 16-17 weeks. Students need to enroll in 15 hours of class (15 US credits) to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.  The educational system is similar to that in the United States.

Courses taught in English are offered in the following subjects: Engineering, Geology, Biology, Business Administration, Physics, Mathematics, Marine Science, Humanities. A complete list of courses can be found here. If you are wishing to enroll in courses taught in English, view “Special Application Instructions” below. 

If you are wishing to enroll in courses taught in English, it MUST be indicated within your application. When completing the Course Request List within the application, note that a course is taught in English under the “Other Information” section.

For more information on Courses offered, click here.

University Home Page.

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


Prior to the beginning of classes, there is a general orientation that includes student services, campus tour, culture information, emergency procedures and tourist information.

“I can only tell the best about the ISEP coordinator at UPR Mayaguez; she is great, she does a great job, I miss her and I wish her all the best. ISEP is lucky to have her as a coordinator. She was always open to any question and would help in any way she could!” – Andre Kaiser, Universität Trier


Students are not picked up at the airport. The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

Housing and Meals

All students are housed in shared apartments and will receive a monthly stipend to pay for housing and meals. UPRM doesn’t have on-campus housing. 

“My living arrangements were wonderful. I received a stipend check to buy food at the grocery store. I lived in a house with seven Puerto Rican girls and one exchange student. It was a great experience to become such good friends with the girls and get to practice my Spanish.” – Delaney Roberts, Hendrix College 

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 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 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 January 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