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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

ISEP at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente


ITESO is the only university in Jalisco to be recognized as an Institution of Academic Excellence by Mexico’s Ministry of Public Education. With a faculty made up of professionals and researchers recognized as leaders in their fields, together with up-to-date curricula and facilities designed to stimulate the development of students’ multiple dimensions, ITESO offers a solid preparation for life.


Please note there is a current US Department of State Travel Warning for Mexico. Please consult the section on Jalisco for site specific advisories and information. For more information, please click here.  

It is possible that students may not be approved to participate in this program until it is lifted. We strongly urge students to consider backup options in alternative locations.  

Learn more about ITESO here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Guadalajara, Mexico

Languages of Instruction

Spanish, English - minimum 4 semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent. Native Portuguese speakers must have minimum of 2 semesters.

Program Dates

Academic year: August to mid-May

Fall 2018: August to Early December

Spring 2019: mid-January to mid-May


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 program for students taking all courses in Spanish. Students must have an advanced level of Spanish. Native Portuguese speakers must have completed a minimum of 2 semesters of university-level Spanish prior to the start of the program. 
  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in application, even if native speaker

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


Guadalajara, the second largest city in Mexico, is the capital of the state of Jalisco. It is considered a major industrial, commercial and financial center for western and central Mexico. It is the Mexican Silicon Valley. At the same time, Guadalajara has retained the charm of its past and boasts a wealth of colonial architecture and important cultural centers, such as the Degollado Theater and the Cabañas Institute. The city is known for its clear, sunny weather, with an average temperature of 55 degrees in winter and 89 degrees in summer.


ITESO’s reputation as one of the strongest academic institutes in Guadalajara is due primarily to the quality of its architecture and engineering schools, as well as the social sciences research centers. According to a national ranking of Mexican Universities made by the newspaper “El Universal”, ITESO ranks in the seventh position of the best universities, and regionally, most of its programs were ranked in the first position.

NEW: A program that may be of specific interest to international studies is in Human Rights and Peace Studies. These are regular, credit-bearing courses taught in Spanish. Students can take classes in Peace and Conflict Resolution, Rights of Special Groups (Children, Women, Indigenous Populations, and Migrants) and Democracy, Citizenship, and Rights. For more information on this program click here

Students generally enroll in five courses per semester and spend 18-25 hours a week in class. Semesters are 16 weeks in length.

A limited number of courses are offered in English through the “Three Plus One” program at ITESO. For information on current classes offered, please visit this website.

ISEP Exchange-Regular University Courses (Spanish)
Language Requirement: A minimum of 4 semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent must be completed prior to the program. Students must have a minimum B2/Upper intermediate level proven by an official language certificate, no older than 2 years (Please note that the ISEP Language Proficiency Report is accepted for this purpose). If the student does not hold such a certificate, a free, online placement exam must be done to determine if it is suitable for the student to enroll in courses taught in Spanish. Please note that ITESO reserves the right to ask students to take this exam even if they have a prior language certificate. 

Language Courses: Intensive Spanish language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. Beginner classes (101/102) meet for eight hours a week, for a total of 120 instruction hours per semester. Intermediate classes (201/202) meet for six hours a week for a total of 90 instruction hours per semester. The Advanced class (301) meets for four hours a week for a total of 45 instruction hours per semester. 


Undergraduate programs: (Spanish)
1.Go to Programas Académicos
2. Based on your area of interest select the appropriate tab: humanities (humanidades), engineering (ingenierias) or administrative (administrativas). 
3. Click on the degree title of your interest and go to “Información General de la Carrera” on the right side, and/or then select “Plan de Estudios.”


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.

Can review the country handbooks for ISEP here as well:



ISEP Placement info: http://www.isep.org/Coordinators/us_placement_notes_english.asp


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.

Experiential Opportunities


ITESO, with its humanitarian inspiration, provides many opportunities for volunteering and social work in the community through different projects with a different focus, for instance, gender, empowerment, and sustainability. Internships are available through selected departments; contact your ISEP Coordinator and faculty advisor when course selection is made.

Student Life

Extra-curricular activities like acting, ceramics, drawing, singing, and classes for different musical instruments are available, as well as different events on and off campus such as poetry sessions and conferences. As a student at ITESO, you have access to the fully-equipped gym and the classes offered there (yoga, pilates, Zumba, boxing, spinning etc.). You may also try out for the university team in any of the sports offered.

Housing and Meals

Housing and meals for ISEP students are arranged with host families in Guadalajara. Alternatively, students may live in shared apartments and receive a housing and meal stipend. No on-campus housing is available. 

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, additional 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 February 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 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

Got questions? Contact an ISEP Student Ambassador who studied in this region.