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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Uruguay

 

Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, is no ordinary port city. It is filled with WWII history, museums, a still standing gate to an old Spanish fort, and of course, Universidad Catolica del Uruguay. The University offers up the chance to take classes such as business, education, and sociology, but in a way that helps you master the Spanish language! If that isn’t enticing enough, Uruguay is home to many beaches and a year-round mild climate that begs students to visit.

Founded in 1954, the Jesuit-administered Universidad Católica del Uruguay was recognized as a university in 1985 and continues its tradition of providing personalized education. The faculty offers solid undergraduate and graduate coursework, integrating theory and practical experience. International professors frequently visit the university to give lectures and seminars. Student facilities include a library, counseling center and student advisory services, a recently renovated radio studio, a photo lab, computer labs, and membership in the Iberoamericana Educational Television Network. Students also have access to a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. Total enrollment: 4,500 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 Universidad Católica del Uruguay here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type

Exchange

Locations

Montevideo, Uruguay

Languages of Instruction

Spanish - A minimum of 5 semesters of university-level Spanish language or the equivalent

Program Dates

Academic year: March to December

Fall 2018: Early September to Late December

Spring 2019: Early January to Early May

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

Eligibility

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
  • A minimum of 5 semesters of university-level Spanish language or the equivalent must be completed prior to the program
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in application, even if native speaker

 

ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Very Good.

Location

The university is located in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. A port town on the Río Plata, Montevideo is the capital of the MERCOSUR and is mainly populated by European immigrants. The city offers a mild climate, clean air, and wonderful beaches. The university is a 15-minute ride from the downtown area.

Academics

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Please understand that the academic system at UC 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.

Latin American universities prepare their students for professional careers. They are not committed to educating the whole person as a useful citizen. Latin American universities place much less emphasis on student services. If a student has a problem, it is generally up to the student to find a solution, perhaps with the help of his or her family. Most professors and other academics are not expected to spend time advising students through regular office hours. You will need to chase down your professors before or after class or stop them in the hallways to set a time to talk to them about the class.

In most state run universities, students have to present two term papers or exams along with quizzes and a final oral and written presentation of the results of a research topic or, a specific assignment. This research paper can be substituted by a final comprehensive exam. Most of the time, research papers are done in groups, which requires a good cultural sensitivity on the part of the international student in order to fit in. This is a challenge that after completing their exchange period most students find it very rewarding.

Please review country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette. 

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Course information

Local students take all of their classes in one Facultad and receive a degree in one field because Latin American universities operate on the Carrera system. Under this system, students studying the same subject take all of their classes together for the full four years until they graduate with a degree from their Facultad. As a result, students in a given Carrera know each other well and see each other almost exclusively throughout the academic day. Some ISEP students have found that a good way to get to know local students is to take a least two classes with the same group (e.g. Two second-year classes in the Department of Sociology).

Be aware that because of the Carrera system and the Bachi Llera to system (if it is different from the system in your home country), third- or fourth-year classes at a Latin American university might be difficult to manage. Unless the classes you take are called “Introduction to… .” professors will assume some knowledge of the subject, and in many cases, much more knowledge than you have. If your first language is not Spanish, do not forget that you will be taking these classes along with regular degree-seeking students in Spanish. The professors may give you an extra break, but they rarely slow down.

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.

The Faculty of Communication Sciences, the Department of Sociology, the Business School, and Psychology are favored by international students because of the specific courses they offer. 

In addition to taking courses from the regular curriculum, the special program for international students offers four courses per semester: 
1. Uruguayan and Latin American History
2. Uruguayan Literature (selected authors)
3. Spanish language (two levels offered)
4. Uruguayan Culture 

See the Additional Course Offerings for International Students for course descriptions.
NOTE: Students are encouraged to take at least two courses from the regular curriculum in order to immerse themselves more fully into university life. 

Students typically enroll in 5-7 classes per term which average to 20-25 hours in class per week. A term runs for 15-16 weeks. There is no system of credits in Uruguay.  

1. Go to the Carreras page to find a list of the majors offered at UCU.
2. Under each Facultad, click on the carreras (majors) to see its general description, syllabus, professors, courses, among other useful information.
3. On the next page, look for a link that may say “Plan de Estudios”, “Folleto de la Carrera” or “Ver signatures” to see courses offered. 
4. If you are studying March-July, only the classes listed in the ODD-NUMBERED semesters will be available to you. If you are studying July-December, only the classes listed in the EVEN-NUMBERED semesters will be available to you. The annual courses are year-long courses instructed during the Southern Hemisphere academic full year (March – December)

Note: The courses may not be available each semester. Some courses are full-year only (March-December) and these are known as annual. Upon receipt of your application, the ISEP Coordinator at UCU will confirm whether or not your desired courses are available during your requested study period.

Experiential Opportunities

The Human Sciences Faculty offers a Community Service Program where international and Uruguayan students work in poor areas. Program participants work with children or young people in a cross-cultural service-learning experience. Students enrolled in this Community Service Program receive a grade and credit hours for their participation. Click here for more information from the university’s website regarding the Community Service Program.

“I became heavily involved with an NGO called Un Techo Para Mí País and learned a lot through my experiences with them. I had the good fortune to know many parts of Montevideo normally hidden from the views of foreigners.” – Samuel Kenney, Kansas State University

Student Life

The orientation program covers academic advice, housing, health, emergencies, safety and general information. Integration activities will help students connect with each other. Optional activities for the following weekends (walking tours, trips to surrounding tourist places, etc.) will be offered during those days. Students will have to take a Spanish Language test upon arrival. If the student’s Spanish proficiency does not meet the level required by the university, he or she will be required to take a private Spanish language course (not included in the ISEP benefits).

International students have the chance as all Uruguayan students to participate in extra-curricular activities, such as sports (swimming, football, basketball, handball, etc), theatre, choir and visual arts. Every semester an International Fair is organized with the help of exchange students in order to reach out to the university community.

 

Housing and Meals

All students are housed with host families and receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the host family. UCU does not have on-campus housing for international students. In the unlikely event that a host family is not available, students are housed in a student hostel. The ISEP coordinator advises students on their housing accommodations prior to arrival.

“I really enjoyed living with a family. My host family was very helpful and nice to talk to. Living with them gave me another perspective to really see the Uruguayan culture in everyday life. And it’s nice having someone cook every day.” – Kayla Pulvermacher, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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 semester:

Budget Item

Amount

Lake Forest College Tuition

$22,412

Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost

$5,100

College Deposit (credit)

($250)

Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College

$27,512

ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application

 $325

College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)

 $250

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

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP

 $360

Additional Meals

 $300

Estimated Airfare

 $1,200

Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional travel etc.)

 $1,300

Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses

 $3,735

Total

 

$31,247 

 

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2017. 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, nor fees to enroll in courses at partner institutions, and will depend on your course registration choices.  

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

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Experiences of Former Students

Check out a blog post by a student who studied abroad in Uruguay. 
Got questions? Contact an ISEP Student Ambassador who studied in this region.

Links

http://www.isep.org/students/Directory/member_site.asp?CSID=237&ID=52