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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

ISEP at University of Debrecen



Bordering seven countries, Hungary is sometimes referred to as “The Gateway to Europe.” Discover the second most populated city in Hungary at the University of Debrecen, located only 130 miles from Budapest. Find yourself wandering through the lush, green forest surrounding the campus, or relaxing in a Hungarian bath house or water park on a break from class. Courses taught in English in arts, music, and science are available to ISEP students.

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus 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 Debrecen here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Debrecen, Hungary

Languages of Instruction

Hungarian, English, German

Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to January

Spring 2019: February to June

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


Early departure for fall term may be possible. Please contact the ISEP coordinator of the host country for more information. 


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.  


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.

ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Fair.


Just hours away from Budapest by train, Debrecen lies directly on the border of Romania and is the perfect starting point for many travel destinations. Debrecen, the second largest city in Hungary, is located on the Great Hungarian Plain. It is the administrative, economic, educational, scientific and cultural center of Eastern Hungary. The main campus of the university, with its numerous buildings, dormitories, sports grounds, service center, park and botanical garden, is located a 10-minute tram ride or 30-minute walk from downtown, in the leisure-time area called Great Forest. 


The University of Debrecen was legally established in the year 2000 when the three independent universities of Debrecen merged to form a single institution. UD has three centers (Agricultural, Medical, Arts, and Sciences), several research institutions and 15 faculties, educating over 30,000 students. UD’s central library is the second biggest in the country with its 6 million volumes. The university sports center proposes over 20 different courses for students. Courses are instructed in Hungarian, German, and English. Courses taught in English in arts, music, and science are available to ISEP students.

The University of Debrecen offers a number of English language programs, mainly in the fields of English and North American Studies, natural sciences, computer science, engineering, business and economics, medical studies, music, gender studies, drama studies, British studies. Additional courses may be started on demand and one on one tutorials may be given to students with specific needs. Students may also contact professors directly prior to admission with course requests.  

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.

In general, oral exams, a tradition at Hungarian institutions, are most common, but written examinations are also increasing in frequency. The local grading system is a 5-point scale where 1 is a failing grade and 5 is excellent.

Students usually take 10 courses per semester. Students must take 30 ECTS credits to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.

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



Students do not need to have any Hungarian language skills to attend the University of Debrecen and courses are widely available in English. Beginning and intermediate Hungarian language courses are offered as part of the semester program. Instruction in the departments of foreign languages is offered year round (fee paying) in the respective languages. Pre-session Hungarian language is available (not included in ISEP benefits).

Language courses, outside Hungarian, are taught in the respective language. While Hungarian is the primary language of instruction, special arrangements may be made to take courses in English as tutorials. This is especially true within the Faculties of Agriculture, Agro-economics and Rural development.


The Conservatory welcomes ISEP students but individual music lessons are not included in the ISEP benefits. 


Courses in English
Courses taught at the Institute of English and American Studies
Center for Arts, Humanities, and Sciences

You may also visit the University of Debrecen website, and click on “Current Students” and drop down to “Course List” for complete listings. Students may also contact Debrecen directly at the addresses listed to inquire about current course offerings and one-on-one tutorials.

Course Approvals

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

Student Life

UD’s central library is the second biggest in the country with its 6 million volumes. The university sports center proposes over 20 different courses for students. 



Always make sure to let your host ISEP coordinator know of your travel plans and arrival information in Debrecen. Most students will fly into Budapest and take a train to Debrecen. From there, students can have “Buddies” pick them up to take them to their dorms. Student tutors also help participants all through the orientation week with registration, student cards, opening a bank account, etc. They will also show students around and introduce them to university life and important places in town.


The University is home to soccer fields, tennis courts, a track and other sports facilities for student use. The University is located adjacent to a park that features a pond for fishing, running and biking, a zoo, an ice skating rink, and a zoo (open mostly in Spring). Additionally, Debrecen is home to many music and drama festivals, concerts and active student nightlife. For information regarding Debrecen’s student activities, please visit their website here: http://www.unideb.hu/portal/en/node/2266.

The city of Debrecen is also home to the American Corner of Debrecen, a cultural and informational resource center founded by the US Embassy, the City Council of Debrecen and the University of Debrecen, in order to foster US-Hungarian relations. The American Corner also sponsors English lectures, films, comedy nights, game days, sports teams and events such as the Annual Festival of Drama in English.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in double rooms in a university residence. A stipend is provided for meals in the 30-minute cafeterias. 

All dormitories have a refrigerator in each room, a well-equipped kitchen on every floor, laundry facilities, study and club rooms in each building. All rooms have cable internet access. Students also have access to gym, and sauna facilities.

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


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


College Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application


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


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

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP 


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, national insurance, if required, travel insurance, 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 January 2018. 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.