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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

ISA Valparaiso

The Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso (PUCV) was founded in 1928 and is one of the most prestigious institutions of the Chilean higher educational system. With an enrollment of over 13,000 students, the university hosts around 250 international students each semester. Although the PUCV’s academic facilities are located in both Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, its main complex is located on the northern edge of Valparaíso across the street from the ISA office. This complex houses administrative offices, classrooms, laboratories, libraries and computer and audio-visual facilities. All international students will have orientation sessions at the university at the start of the semester to finalize course selections. Study abroad students also have access to tutoring, computer, sports, and recreation facilities. ISA participants may also participate in the various workshops and organizations that the Pontifical Catholic University offers.

Program Type

Approved Third Party Program


Valparaiso, Chile

Languages of Instruction

English and Spanish

Program Dates

Fall 2018: mid-July to Late-November 

Spring 2019: Late Jan to Early May

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISA will alert all accepted students of final dates.


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 second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus)  Junior status or higher is strongly preferred.
  • 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. 
  • Must have completed four semesters of college-level Spanish
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5.  


All students must take a Spanish language placement exam upon arrival in Valparaíso. The exam will indicate each student’s language proficiency level and will determine the Spanish courses in which the student is eligible to enroll. Students who arrive in Chile having completed one full year of college-level Spanish will likely place into intermediate level courses.

Students are required to take at least 90 hours of language courses and may select their remaining courses from among elective courses instructed in Spanish and courses instructed in English with international students.Only students with a high intermediate level of Spanish or higher are eligible to choose from among 38-hour general elective courses instructed in Spanish with local Chilean students. All courses are instructed at the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaíso by local faculty.

Though letter grades will appear on the Lake Forest transcript, they will not factor into a student’s GPA except in calculations of honors or the Dean’s List.  Students must take a minimum of 15 credit hours to obtain the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest College credits.

More course information can be found on the ISA page.

Experiential Opportunities

In addition to their academic courses, students will have the opportunity to spend 5-10 hours per week at a host organization, increasing language proficiency and gaining valuable international experience. Placements are arranged prior to arrival in the host country and language requirements vary. Visit the ISA Service-Learning website for more information on placement opportunities.

 Service-Learning placements are coordinated by ISA and have no affiliation with the university. Students will develop a Portfolio throughout the program, documenting their projects, hours, and program activities.

Students can earn 1-6 credits based on the number of contact hours accrued at the host organization and successful completion of the Portfolio. 

Sample placements have included medical clinics, micro enterprise NGOs, or education placements.

Housing and Meals

ISA Housing in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar provides students with the opportunity to enjoy a truly memorable experience by living in a Chilean home with a local family! All home stays and pensions are located in middle to upper-class neighborhoods and offer glimpses of everyday life with easy access to your university and to city amenities. The experience of living in another culture will be both educational and rewarding. You just have to remember to stay open-minded and flexible at all times. You will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience a new culture and place as a local would, so take advantage and let yourself embrace the Chilean culture!

Each homestay has been carefully selected by ISA’s staff. Living in a homestay, you are provided with three meals a day (except on ISA excursion days) and laundry service once a week for the official duration of the program. This is included in the ISA program price. Students will generally have their own room but will share the home with another ISA student. Students may have the option of paying extra to be the only ISA student in the home.

Pensiones house anywhere from four to ten Chilean, Latin American, and international students at a time, providing you with an opportunity to practice Spanish at home. If you choose to live in a pension, you are provided with three meals a day and laundry service once a week, which is included in the program price. 

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 the ISA Valparaiso program includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, airport reception, internship placement, housing, most meals, laundry, several excursions, and insurance.  

Here is an estimated budget for your Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester: 

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)  


Program Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Program Deposit (non-refundable)




Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, books, supplies, personal expenses, 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 December 2014.  We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

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.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php