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SPAIN - ISEP Universitat Rovira I Virgili

URV is a comprehensive, research-oriented university committed to the region and to global citizenship. It is located in the largest petrochemical complex in Southern Europe and is very well connected by sea, high-speed trains and roads. 

URV leads the Campus of International Excellence of Southern Catalonia and is ranked 3rd in teaching quality, 5th in research quality and 6th in research productivity in Spain.

Students going to Spain must be independent, self-reliant, and able to handle ambiguity, as acclimating to the Spanish university system is challenging.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to 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 URV here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Experiences of Former Students


See what former students have to say about their experience at URV, and the advice they offer for preparing for your stay.

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. Students must be at the B1 (Mid to High Intermediate) level in 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).


URV has several campuses in the region of Tarragona, the city of eternal spring. Tarragona is a UNESCO world heritage site, and a short car or train ride from Barcelona. The region boasts a high quality of life, with a mild Mediterranean climate, clear seas, sandy beaches, mountains and beautiful scenery. ISEP students are welcome at all URV campuses.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the ISEP Country Handbook for Spain. 


Universitat Rovira, I Virgili (URV) is a comprehensive university devoted to teaching and research in many academic fields, including those that drive the region´s economic engines: Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Enology (Wine Science), Archaeology, Nutrition, Biotechnology, and Tourism. Small class sizes and proximity to faculty and staff are excellent features of URV.

URV is very strong in the fields of Languages, Engineering, Nursing, Chemistry, Business, and Biosciences.

As an ISEP participant, you will be able to take courses from different faculties and at different levels. However, to avoid scheduling issues, ISEP strongly recommends that you take courses in one Carrera or degree if at all possible. Spanish students in the same year of the same degree will likely take the majority of their classes together, similar to a cohort, and their classes will normally be located close together. Typically, the layout of Spanish universities is decentralized and faculties can be located throughout the city. If you enroll in courses in different degrees or faculties, you may find that you have to cross town to go from one class to another.

As universities assign credits to classes differently, a full workload varies across institutions. Some Spanish universities use ECTS, whereas some have their own system. Normally, an explanation of the credit hours is provided on a transcript. To see a typical course load at a particular university, consult the institution’s IIS. An average of 15 to 25 hours per week is spent in class lectures. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 27 ECTS credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 21 ECTS credits.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.


Faculty of Education Sciences and Psychology: Early Childhood Education, Primary Education, Social Education, Psychology, and Pedagogy.
Faculty of Arts: Anthropology (Social and Cultural), Art History, Audiovisual Communication, Catalan Language and Literature*, English Studies, History, Journalism Publicity and Public Relations, and Spanish Language and Literature. 
Faculty of Chemistry: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Chemistry. 
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences: Medicine, Nutrition, and Dietetics, Physiotherapy
Faculty of Legal Sciences: Labor Relations and Employment, Law, Social Work 
Faculty of Business and Economics: Accounting and Finance, Business Administration and Management, and Economics 
Faculty of Oenology: Biotechnology, and Oenology* 
School of Architecture: Architecture 
Faculty of Nursing: Nursing 
Faculty of Tourism and Geography: Geography and Land Management*, and Tourism*


URV offers a number of classes in English. After finding a degree you are interested in (see list above in the Courses section), follow these steps to find those taught in English:

  1. Click on the link to the Faculty
  2. Click on the name of the degree
  3. You will see a PDF list, with the names of courses offered. Courses taught in English will have the designation of in English after the title of the course. You may also note the number of credits offered for the course, and when the course is taught.

The number of courses offered in English at the undergraduate level will vary by degree, but generally, students can look for courses in English in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Education, Engineering, English, Finance, Geography, International Business, Linguistics, Marketing, and Tourism.



To view the courses available to international students click here. These are the only courses that ISEP students may enroll in. Courses listed in Spanish are taught in Spanish.

To find course descriptions for these courses:

  1. Consult the links to the various faculties listed above.
  2. To see a list of courses and their descriptions click on more information about the study programs, which is below the degree titles.
  3. On the next web page, click on a degree you are interested in under the Study Programmes header on the left side of the page.
  4. Click on subjects to view the available courses.
  5. On the following page, click on the course you are interested in to view a detailed course description. Note when the course will be taught under period (semester). Also, note the language of instruction under Llengua d’impartició. CAT means that the course is taught in Catalan, CAS means that the course is taught in Spanish, and ANG means the course is taught in English.


Language Courses: Semi-Intensive Spanish language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year and/or semester for an additional fee for all levels. 

Semi-Intensive Catalan courses are offered in addition to regular classes for free. Through the URV Language Center students may participate in the Language Volunteers program which promotes the use of the Catalan language. Non-Catalan speaking students are able to participate in activities designed to introduce them to the Catalan culture.


Study Habits and Learning Styles
Your professors will expect you to take thorough notes on the lectures. In the Spanish university system, learning from lectures is emphasized over learning from a textbook. Note-taking and following lectures may be a big adjustment. You will find that after a few weeks it all becomes much easier. If necessary, you can ask to borrow notes from a classmate for some of the first lectures. Many Spanish students take great pride in their notes and often rewrite them to have them neatly organized.

Learning is done more independently than you might be accustomed. You are expected to do substantive reading and studying outside of class. Aside from the assigned reading and class work, the professor may also suggest a supplementary list of books pertaining to the course topic.

You should have access to computers at the university to complete your assignments. Commonly, each faculty or center has its own computer lab for student use. During busier times of the year, it is likely that you will need to reserve a computer ahead of time.

Interaction with Professors
Spanish professors often do not deal directly with students. If you have questions or problems, it is up to you to arrange a meeting with the professor either before or after class or by setting up an appointment. Office hours may also be available for consultation.

You may be assigned a professor or other staff member to serve as your Academic Tutor while in Spain. You should consult with this person with any questions regarding registration, courses etc. You may always contact your ISEP Coordinator if you are unsure who you should consult.

Exams and Grading System
Depending on the type of classes you take, you will generally have tests and papers with a final exam at the end of the course. Form and organization are important in presenting written work. Check with a Spanish student about correct form so that your assignments will be properly presented. Make sure that your grammar and sentence structure are correct; have a native speaker check it over if necessary.

Final exams are typically given at the end of the semester and will include materials covered in class throughout the semester. It is important to keep up with your coursework, as it’s difficult to “cram” a semester’s worth of studying into the period before the exam. The format for written and oral exams may vary from class to class.

It will be important for you to check with both your home and host ISEP coordinators to ensure that your grades will be recorded in Spain and the credit transferred to your home institution. Although your host coordinator in Spain will help you in this matter, it will be your responsibility to make sure your grades are recorded. Be forewarned that if you choose to depart the program early, it is your responsibility to make any special arrangements in writing with your professors.

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


The International Center (I-Center) organizes orientation and provides a useful Welcome Pack that includes information about enrollment, online platforms, libraries, the campus and student activities. Each semester the I-Center offers a city free tour to incoming students. 

Upon acceptance, students will receive a URV email account which will allow them to access additional information related to their exchange, including information on visas and academic advisors.


International students have access to all activities that URV offers. Student life doesn’t consist of only books, classes, and study, and at URV you will find much fun and enriching activities to enjoy your free time. At the same time, you will discover new hobbies and make friends! Available activities include: Cinema group (organizes films, seminars, and talks), Theatre Group, Art Group, Debate Club, University Choir, XVI-XXI Orchestra, and the Trekking Club (hiking, etc.) 

EsportsURV is the university’s sports service. In addition to caring for university sports facilities, EsportsURV organizes sports classes including tennis, yoga, basketball, swimming sailing and more! For some courses, you may be able to earn ECTS credits. As a member of EsportsURV, you will receive discounts on sports classes, rent and reserve facilities, discounts on gymnasiums and take part in university sports leagues. 

URV organizes a mentor program annually to support incoming international students. Each URV volunteer (a local student) will serve as a mentor to a small group of incoming international students to help them adjust to life at URV. 

The URV also has libraries and the CRAI (a learning and research resource center) on all campuses. Some of the services offered include library loans, laptop loan (within the library), group study rooms, E-reader loans, access to online materials, WIFI, photocopiers and more!

Experiential Opportunities

Students can volunteer through the URV volunteer office which works in the community with campus organizations. 

Additionally, URV Solidarity also organizes altruistic projects.

Housing and Meals

During the first month, students are housed in double rooms in the university residence hall. Single rooms are available for an additional fee but are not included in regular ISEP benefits. Students can eat breakfast and dinner at the residence dining hall and will receive meal tickets to eat lunch at URV’s campus cafeteria Monday through Friday. 

After the first month, students can decide if they would like to remain in the residence hall or move into an apartment in the city. If they move into an apartment they will receive a monthly stipend to cover their expenses.

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 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item



Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Confirmation and Application Fees


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

Note: Some countries require national insurance, which may be instead of, or in addition to, ISEP 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 March 2019. 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.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

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