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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias in Portugal


Though sharing the Iberian Peninsula with Spain, Portugal has its own language, history, and culture. From the beaches to the mountains, the geographic diversity of Portugal is vast and unspoiled. 

The capital city of Lisbon is considered one of the most attractive cities in Europe, with historic buildings, tree-lined avenues, and traditional streetcars. Set on a series of hillsides on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon lies six miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The Baixa district is the place to be for shopping and cafes.

Numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites can be found in Portugal, from the Alto Douro Wine Region to the prehistoric rock-art sites in the Côa Valley.

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 Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Lisbon, Portugal

Languages of Instruction

Portuguese - Depending on which option you choose: minimum 4 semesters or equivalent of Portugese or 5 semesters or equivalent of Spanish

Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to mid-February

Spring 2019: mid-February to Early August

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.  


Language Requirement: Non-native Portuguese speakers must meet one of the following requirements to apply:

  • 1. A minimum of 4 semesters of university-level Portuguese or the equivalent completed prior to the program.
  • 2. A minimum of 5 or more semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent completed prior to 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 Good.


Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and lies on the north bank of the Tagus Estuary, on the European Atlantic coast. It is the westernmost city in continental Europe. The city lies more or less in the center of the country, approximately 300 km from the Algarve in the south and 400 km from the northern border with Spain. Lisbon offers a wide variety of options to the visitor, including beaches, countryside, mountains, and areas of historical interest only a few kilometers away from the city center. Approximately 600,000 people live in Lisbon. However, if one includes the various satellite towns, the population of Greater Lisbon rises to approximately 2.1 million people.


Learn Portuguese in one of Europe’s oldest cities! Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias is located in Lisbon, which enjoys one of Europe’s best climates. The university boasts a wide range of degree fields and places a special emphasis on the Portuguese language. Students with an intermediate level of Spanish can also apply, and enroll in a Portuguese course noting the differences between the two languages.

Recommended fields of study include cinema, video and communications multimedia, physical education and sports science, culture and communication science, psychology, and law. 

Students generally enroll in five courses per semester and spend 25 hours a week in class. Semesters are 15 weeks in length.  Students must earn 30 ECTS to earn the equivalent to 4 Lake Forest credits.

University Life

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.  Many classes follow a lecture style of teaching and are less discussion based. However, some lab courses offer a great amount of interaction with the professor.

Portuguese students are admitted to a determined major at the time they enter the university and must follow a specific curriculum for each year. As an ISEP participant, however, you will be able to take courses from different faculties and at different levels. Nevertheless, you should seek to take courses in one faculty if at all possible. Typically, the layout of Portuguese universities is decentralized and faculties are located throughout the city. If you enroll in courses in different faculties, you may find that you have to cross town to go from one class to another. One word of caution: make sure that you have sufficient background for a course in which you register, especially if it is a required course for a third-, fourth- or fifth-year student. 

Depending on the type of classes you take, you will generally have tests and papers with a final exam at the end of the course. Form and organization are important in presenting written work. Check with a Portuguese student about correct form so that your assignments will be properly presented. Make sure that your grammar and sentence structure are correct; have a native speaker check it over if necessary.

You should have access to computers at the university to complete your assignments. Commonly, each faculty or center has its own computer lab for student use. During busier times of the year, it is likely that you will need to reserve a computer ahead of time. 

Exams are typically given at the end of the semester and will include materials covered in class throughout the semester. It is important to keep up with your coursework, as it’s difficult to “cram” a semester’s worth of studying into the period before the exam. Exams may be oral or written. The format for exams will vary from class to class.

The academic year runs from September to early June with exams offered in February for the first-term courses and finals in late June and July for year-long (annual) and second-term courses, which test cumulative knowledge of the entire course.

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. 



Some film courses are taught in English. 

1. Click on Course information. This will give you a list of all the degrees offered. 
2. Click on a degree title for additional information. 
3. Scroll down to the courses listed, and click on a course title to get detailed course description.



Language Courses: Portuguese language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the Academic Year and Semester
Pre-Session: A 2-week pre-session, intensive Portuguese language course is offered before fall (SM1) semester and spring (SM2) semester.
Additional Information: For more information on courses and language options, see the:
ISEP Portuguese Language Advising Guide for US Students


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

Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias is the biggest private university in Lisbon. The name comes from the word Lusofonia, which names all the Portuguese speaking countries and their common linguistic and cultural background. It is a university where cultures and nationalities come together. The University assumes itself as the leading institution responsible for the development of these physical and cultural spaces of the Portuguese-speaking world of 250 million inhabitants believes that the best way one can become a better individual is through education. The atmosphere at Universidade Lusófona is safe, friendly and informal and our student’s benefit from small class size. 



During the Introduction Week the students will participate in the following activities:
1 – Welcome meeting – provided by and organized by the International Office. The Students will have the opportunity to meet other International Students, receive general information about the period abroad and get to know more about the University and the University Group.
2 – Introduction to Campus Life –student services, staff, activities, library, etc.
3 – Meeting with the Student Manager and the Staff Department – to meet the professors and the staff, and visit the facilities.
4 - Cultural Visits – the main goal is to provide an overview of the Portuguese History as well as a small introduction to the Lisbon area, monuments, environment, literature and natural resources. This includes visits to local points of interest. 

Airport pickup is available if students provide their itinerary in advance. Lisbon is also very accessible by public and private transport.

Housing and Meals

Most ISEP students will live in a residence hall. Many buildings in Portugal are quite old which gives them a lot of charm. You will soon notice that if you live in an old building, it will have its quirks. 

It is not uncommon for students to live in coed apartments or dorms. You may share your apartment with members of the opposite sex, although you will not share a bedroom with a member of the opposite sex. 

Students stay in university residence halls and dine in on-campus cafeterias Monday through Saturday. Students receive a meal stipend on Sundays to purchase food or prepare meals. 

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

*Exchange students who apply by stated deadlines may be eligible for up to $750 airfare award


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.