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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Università degli Studi di Trieste

History, art, culture, and style - Italy’s got it all!

The Università degli Studi di Trieste is an ideal location for students interested in improving their Italian language skills. Courses are taught in Italian at a university that consists of 12 faculties, boasting a wide range of university courses. Students will quickly adjust to Italian culture in Trieste as they will be surrounded by the beautiful cityscape and historic sites throughout the city.

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 the Università degli Studi di Trieste here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type



Trieste, Italy

Languages of Instruction

Italian, English - If taking courses in Italian, minimum 4 semesters of Italian or equivalent required.

Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to February

Spring 2019: February to 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.  
  • Language Requirement:

    • Courses in English: ISEP recommends that students who take courses in English have 1 to 2 semesters of university-level Italian in order to facilitate better communication in Trieste.
    • Courses in Italian: A minimum of 4 semesters of university-level Italian or the equivalent must be completed prior to the program. Students must submit the ISEP Language Proficiency Report as part of their application.
    • Students must submit ISEP language proficiency report in the 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 Excellent.


Trieste, for centuries the “gateway to the sea” of the Austrian Empire, lies at the northernmost tip of the Adriatic Sea. The capital of Italy’s Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region, Trieste is nestled between a beautiful gulf, which annually hosts the largest sailing regatta in Europe, and the highlands of Karst. Almost everything in Trieste is within walking distance and the city has reliable public transportation including a turn-of-the-century streetcar for the hills. Due to its past as a seaport and emporium, Trieste has a rich history of cultural and religious diversity. Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia are within easy reach.


The Università degli Studi di Trieste is an ideal location for students interested in improving their Italian language skills. Courses are taught in Italian at a university that consists of 12 faculties, boasting a wide range of university courses. The origins of the University of Trieste begin with the establishment of the Pasquale Revoltella Foundation for Economic and Business Studies in 1877. University facilities are located on two sites: the science and law faculties are located on a hill overlooking the city, and the arts faculties are located in the historical district close to the waterfront. The university also coordinates the Central European Initiative (CEI) Network.


Study Habits
Regular class attendance will be very important to your academic success in Italy. You may find that some professors do not take attendance, while others have strict attendance policies, where absences may affect your grade. Individualized learning is emphasized; there is a large amount of outside reading, and students study hard for exams.

Teaching Style/Interaction with Professors
Professors establish set office hours, but the student should contact professors to arrange an appointment in advance. Professors are often more formal than in the US and focus more on lecture than other forms of pedagogy.

Grades and Assessment
Grades are given on a scale of 0 to 30, with 18 considered the lowest passing grade.

While grading policies will vary by course and university, many courses taught in Italian will have an important final exam, the esame di profitto, which will determine a large portion of your grade. Many of these exams are oral, but some may be written. The minimum passing grade is 18.

With the exception of those participating in the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore International Curriculum, all students will register for courses after arriving in Italy. Normally you will have a trial period to determine which courses you want to register for.

Students typically enroll in 5-6 classes per term which average to 15-18 hours in class per week. A term runs for 14 weeks.  Students should expect to take 30 ECTS/CFU credits to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.

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



The Bachelor’s degree in Economics of Financial Markets and Innovation offers courses in English.

English Literature and American Literature are available in English in the Degree of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the Department of Humanities.  With the possible exception of English and Russian literature, courses at the Faculty for Interpreters and Translators are not open to ISEP students.

It may also be possible to arrange for independent study with a professor in English. However, this option may only be used to round out a schedule and achieve full-time status.

Language Courses: Semi-Intensive Italian language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year for beginner and intermediate levels (50 contact hours per course). Please note that this Italian language course usually begins a couple of weeks before the beginning of regular classes and continue for the whole duration of the semester. This is why they cannot be described as a pre-session course. These courses appear on the transcript as pass or fail, and are included in ISEP benefits. 



A course search engine can be found by clicking on the “courses” link. Students have the option to switch the language to English. Students should make sure to choose the Trieste campus.

Click on the degree program that appears from the search results
Click on the link next to “degree class”
Click on the links under the column “subject field” for a list of individual courses.

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

ISEP students may be able to volunteer at the Italian American Association/American Corner of Trieste which organizes English language film series, language classes, readings for children, and a host of other activities. The association’s website is found here. Other potential volunteer opportunities include cultural associations or special events.

Students with advanced knowledge of Italian may be able to intern as a part of their coursework, earning 3 ECTS.

Student Life


The staff of the Office of International Relations and the ISEP coordinator will provide students with all the necessary information to live and study in Trieste upon arrival. 


The host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet.

Housing and Meals

Students are housed in single-occupancy rooms in residence halls with bath, and receive a meal plan at student cafeterias.

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)


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


Layra N (New Mexico State University)- I learned a lot about myself and I grew from the experience. I was able to meet new people and go to places I had never been before. I highly recommend the experience, it is really life-changing!