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SWITZERLAND - ISEP Universite de Lausanne

Wilkommen and Bonjour in Switzerland!

Snow-covered Alpine peaks, geopolitical neutrality, high-tech watches, gourmet chocolate, yodeling mountaineers, and sophisticated banking is the Switzerland you know. However, ISEP’s Swiss institutions offer exciting academic and extracurricular opportunities to immerse yourself in the dynamic, youthful, and high-tech Switzerland that you have yet to discover.

Situated in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, beautiful Lausanne sits next to one of Europe’s bluest Alpine lakes, offering students the opportunity to sail and ski. Lausanne is home to the International Olympic Committee and stakes its claim as the smallest city in the world to have a rapid transit system! The University offers strong programs in business, sciences, humanities, law, theology, and sport as well as French as a Foreign Language (EFLE) courses to exchange students.

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 Lausanne 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.  
  • French language study strongly recommended, but not required.

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).


Lausanne, which is in western Switzerland on Lake Geneva, is a business center and capital of its canton. It offers many shops, theaters and art galleries. Lausanne has frequent concerts and hosts the ballet troupe, Béjart Ballet Lausanne. Most of the university buildings are located in Dorigny, to the southwest of Lausanne, at an attractive, modern campus by the lake.

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


Founded in 1537 as a school of theology, Lausanne evolved into an academy and became a university in 1890.  The University offers strong programs in business, sciences, humanities, law, theology, and sport as well as French as a Foreign Language (EFLE) courses to exchange students.

Courses taught in English can be found here.

Strong fields of study at the undergraduate level include business, economics and several courses in biology. Strong graduate level fields of study include business, economics, biology, and Geosciences

Researching courses in English on a Swiss university homepage can sometimes be difficult and confusing. You can use the ISEP Guide to Course Selection to find information about navigating a university website, finding courses in English, French and German and some translations of common words and major fields of study. 

Website for Course Availability

Students may choose to participate in the pre-program intensive French course to prepare for life in Lausanne.  This program would be at an additional fee.

Swiss institutions use the ECTS system. Exchange students attending classes in a Swiss institution will be expected to spend an average of 20-25 hours in class per week, and take between 6-8 courses per semester. 

Transcript evaluators are advised to use the contact hour for credit transfer instead of ECTS credits. 

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 168 total contact hours, or 672 hours of in-and-out-of class time.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 126 total contact hours, or 504 hours of in- and out-of class time.

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.

Student Life

Founded in 1537 as a school of theology, Lausanne evolved into an academy and became a university in 1890. The physical education center of Dorigny offers multi-purpose sports rooms, physical training facilities, a stadium, and sports fields. Total enrollment: 11,500 (including 6,500 bachelor students, 2,300 master students, 1,600 PhD students and 2,300 international students). 


The UNIL Xchange Association ( will contact you before your arrival in Switzerland to offer you a partnership; a UNIL student may pick you up at the airport or at Lausanne’s train station and bring you to your student residence. The Affairs socio-culturelles office will welcome and assist you in administrative and academic procedures. The Welcome Days for new students give general information about the university and information about the departments (faculties) is given out. The service d”orientation et conseil and the mobility advisors in each faculty will be at the service of the students who have difficulties in their studies.


International students have many opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities at the University of Lausanne and the student organization Xchange offers a lot of social and cultural activities (theater, music, ski camp, pub nights, meals, travel, etc.) Xchange also organizes a buddy program. For more information, click here

Housing and Meals

Single students are housed in residence halls or in off-campus rooms. A stipend to cover the cost of room and board is provided. 

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