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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Université de Lausanne - French Language and Culture

Wilkommen and Bonjour in Switzerland!

Snow-covered Alpine peaks, geopolitical neutrality, high-tech watches, gourmet chocolate, yodeling mountaineers, and sophisticated banking are 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 but can function with some additional support services with the French as a Second Language program.   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.

Program Type



Lausanne, France

Languages of Instruction


Program Dates

Fall 2018: mid-September to End of January

Spring 2019: February to End of June

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP 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 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.
  • Full year or semester language and culture courses at the École de Français Langue Étrangère (EFLE) Note that the EFLE does not offer a beginner’s course in the full-time program. For beginners, students must enroll in the intensive French courses during the summer break. For enrollment in the full year or semester language and culture program, students must be able to start at an intermediate level, having had 2 semesters of college-level French.
  • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in application, even if native speaker


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 Very Good.


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.


Students may take full-time language and culture courses either a first or second semester or for the full year. The School of French as a Foreign Language offers a full-time course, around twenty hours per week, in the French language. It provides in-depth training in French as a foreign language in both its linguistic and cultural dimensions and provides the theoretical knowledge of literature, linguistics, and teaching necessary to achieve a good mastery of the subject, which includes literature of French-speaking countries, linguistics and sociolinguistics of French, literature and language teaching, and more. 

Program Website


Course Description

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


A student must take 30 ECTS credits to earn 4 Lake Forest credits.

Credits will only be given for a course if the student has passed the evaluation. A written or oral exam will usually be administered at the end of the semester.

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

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 (www.unil.ch/xchange) 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 Affaires 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 (http://www.unil.ch/xchange) offers a lot of social and cultural activities (theater, music, ski camp, pub nights, meals, travel, etc.) Xchange also organizes a buddy program.

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 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 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.