Study in the heart of Mercosur, South America’s famous free trade zone, and experience all that Uruguay has to offer: charming colonial towns, beautiful beaches, hot springs and cattle towns on the Argentine border that boast world-famous steaks. Uruguay’s year-round mild climate, safe cities, good quality of life and long-standing tradition of democracy make it an excellent site to experience the rich diversity and history of South America.



Languages Spoken:

Spanish

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION OVERVIEW 

Upon completion of four to six years of university study, a student may receive a degree of licenciado (first university degree), followed by a bachiller, doctor, experto, or técnico (three years); procurador, bachiller, or técnico (four years); arquitecto, ingeniero, or doctor (five years); and ingeniero, notario, or doctor (six years). Technical and teacher-training schools are also available. 

STUDYING IN URUGUAY 

Courses 

Local students take all of their classes in one Facultad (academic department) and receive a degree in one field because Latin American universities operate on the carrera system. Under this system, students studying the same subject take all of their classes together for the full four years until they graduate with a degree from their Facultad. As a result, students in a given carrera know each other well and see each other almost exclusively throughout the academic day. Some ISEP students have found that a good way to get to know local students is to take a least two classes with the same group (e.g. two second-year classes in the Department of Sociology). 

Be aware that because of the carrera system and the bachillerato system (if it is different from the system in your home country), third- or fourth-year classes at a Latin American university might be difficult to manage. Unless the classes you take are called "Introduction to… ." professors will assume some knowledge of the subject, and in many cases, much more knowledge than you have. If your first language is not Spanish, do not forget that you will be taking these classes along with regular degree-seeking students in Spanish. The professors may give you an extra break, but they rarely slow down. 

Registration 

Check with your host coordinator for procedures regarding course registration. Certain documents must be sent to UCC before you can enroll.  

Course Load 

The Latin American system does not use contact hours as a way of determining how many credits to assign a course, as institutions might do in other countries. In the Latin American system, classes may meet for fewer hours and have higher expectations about the amount of time students put into their studies outside of class. Classes may meet in one solid block of time once a week as opposed to one hour three times a week. The class may meet in the afternoons or evenings. Professors sometime schedule classes at these hours to accommodate their day jobs. 

A full workload per semester is five to seven classes, depending on the course hours per class. Classes from the regular curriculum average about 45 course hours per 16-week semester. Spanish language courses for foreign students are more intensive and average 64 course hours per semester.

Exams & Grading 

Grades awarded are S (Sobre saliente), MB (Muy bueno), BMB (Bueno Muy Bueno), B (Bueno), R (Regular), and D (Deficiente); B (Bueno) is the lowest passing mark. 

Transcripts 

Transcripts are issues two months after the end of term. Check with your host coordinator for procedures to ensure your transcript is sent to ISEP to be forwarded to your home university.

Visa and Residency

Citizens of the United States, Latin America and the European Union traveling to Uruguay will need a passport valid for 6 months beyond the end of their program, but NOT a student visa to enter the country. ISEP participants from other countries should contact the Uruguayan embassy or consulate in their home country for visa regulation information. 

IMPORTANT: Occasionally airlines do not seem to be aware of the process of entering Uruguay as a tourist and then applying at the National Office of Migration once in-country, and so students can sometimes be denied boarding at the airport. It is a good idea to bring a copy of this section of the ISEP Country Handbook to the airport in case it is necessary to verify Uruguay’s official policy with airline personnel.

Semester students (programs less than 180 days) will enter the country with a Tourist Visa that has a duration of 90 days. Before the 90 days are up, the student will apply at the National Office of Migration for a 90 day extension that costs 300-400 Uruguyan pesos, amount subject to change. 

Full Year students (programs more than 180 days, but less than 365 days) must obtain a "Temporary Residence" permit that costs 716 Uruguyan pesos, amount subject to change, at the National Office of Migration in Montevideo, Department of the Minister of Interior after arrival in Uruguay. 

For the Temporary Residence permit application, the student must present:

1) A police report from the home country (obtained before traveling to Uruguay)

- For U.S. citizens, this will be an FBI Background Check

2) A passport (valid for 6 months beyond your departure date from Uruguay)

3) A health card that costs 300 Uruguayan pesos, amount subject to change (obtained once in Montevideo)

4) An acceptance letter from the host university in Uruguay that indicates the period of academic exchange

Culture

COMMUNICATIVE STYLE

Uruguayans are generally direct in their communication styles and can become very animated and assertive when if they get emotional. Uruguayans tend to stand very close when conversing and, between friends, there is a fair amount of physical contact during a conversation.

GREETINGS

With first introductions, a handshake is the custom between everyone. As you get to know someone better, male Uruguayans may greet each other with hearty hugs and women customarily will kiss each other on the cheek. Direct eye contact is important during greetings.

FOOD

Meat, particularly beef, is the mainstay of the diet. The national dish is the asado (barbecued meat). The parrillada (beef and entrails) is the most typical dish. It contains a varied assortment of parts, the most common being beef ribs, kidneys, salivary glands or sweetbreads (mollejas ), small intestine (chinchulines ) or large intestine (tripa gorda ), and sweet blood pudding sausage (morcilla dulce ). Pork sausage usually is served as an appetizer. Barbecued lamb is consumed in large quantities, particularly in rural areas. At rural banquets, entire cows are barbecued slowly with their hides.

As a result of Italian immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s, pasta is a national food. Sunday is the preferred day for eating pasta. Most home cooking has a Spanish influence, and meals almost invariably include soup.

A standard fast food is chivito, a substantial steak sandwich. Bread is a staple, as are dairy products (which are high in quality) Dulce de leche, a sweet spread is a national treat, included often in sandwich cookies called alfajores.

Mate which is a strong tea-like beverage made by infusing coarsely ground leaves of Yerba Mate with hot water in a gourd and sipped through a metal straw with a terminal filter (bombilla ), is drunk at home, at work, at the beach, at soccer games and in public places. Coffee is drunk as espresso or with milk. Breakfast is a light meal. Traditionally, lunch and dinner are the main meals. Wine and beer commonly accompany the main meals.

FAMILY

The nuclear family is by far the dominant household unit in Uruguay. Most Uruguayans live with their parents until they are married. Grandparents (especially widowed grandparents) frequently live with the family of one of their daughters or sons. Married children normally visit their parents over the weekend and it is not uncommon for them to talk with their parents by phone almost daily. Aunts, uncles, and cousins are also considered to be close relatives and they frequently meet at family and social gatherings.

Daily Life

COMMUNICATIVE STYLE

Uruguayans are generally direct in their communication styles and can become very animated and assertive when if they get emotional. Uruguayans tend to stand very close when conversing and, between friends, there is a fair amount of physical contact during a conversation.

GREETINGS

With first introductions, a handshake is the custom between everyone. As you get to know someone better, male Uruguayans may greet each other with hearty hugs and women customarily will kiss each other on the cheek. Direct eye contact is important during greetings.

FOOD

Meat, particularly beef, is the mainstay of the diet. The national dish is the asado (barbecued meat). The parrillada (beef and entrails) is the most typical dish. It contains a varied assortment of parts, the most common being beef ribs, kidneys, salivary glands or sweetbreads (mollejas ), small intestine (chinchulines ) or large intestine (tripa gorda ), and sweet blood pudding sausage (morcilla dulce ). Pork sausage usually is served as an appetizer. Barbecued lamb is consumed in large quantities, particularly in rural areas. At rural banquets, entire cows are barbecued slowly with their hides.

As a result of Italian immigration in the late 1800s and early 1900s, pasta is a national food. Sunday is the preferred day for eating pasta. Most home cooking has a Spanish influence, and meals almost invariably include soup.

A standard fast food is chivito, a substantial steak sandwich. Bread is a staple, as are dairy products (which are high in quality) Dulce de leche, a sweet spread is a national treat, included often in sandwich cookies called alfajores.

Mate which is a strong tea-like beverage made by infusing coarsely ground leaves of Yerba Mate with hot water in a gourd and sipped through a metal straw with a terminal filter (bombilla ), is drunk at home, at work, at the beach, at soccer games and in public places. Coffee is drunk as espresso or with milk. Breakfast is a light meal. Traditionally, lunch and dinner are the main meals. Wine and beer commonly accompany the main meals.

FAMILY

The nuclear family is by far the dominant household unit in Uruguay. Most Uruguayans live with their parents until they are married. Grandparents (especially widowed grandparents) frequently live with the family of one of their daughters or sons. Married children normally visit their parents over the weekend and it is not uncommon for them to talk with their parents by phone almost daily. Aunts, uncles, and cousins are also considered to be close relatives and they frequently meet at family and social gatherings.

Health and Safety

Your health and safety is our number one priority. Please read and reference the Health and Safety section of the ISEP website for general information regarding health and safety abroad. 

Detailed information about Uruguay can be found here. Please pay special attention to the Safety and Security, Local Laws and Special Circumstances and Health sections. 

Note: Information sourced on this page is provided by the U.S. Department of State. Non-U.S nationals should disregard the Embassies and Consulates and Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements sections. 

Currency

MONEY MATTERS

Currency

The unit of currency in Uruguay is the peso, which is worth 100 centesimos.

For speed and convenience, nothing beats ATMs. They’re found in most cities and smaller towns. Banco de la República Oriental del Uruguay seems to have the least temperamental machines.

Credit cards are useful, particularly when buying cash from a bank. Most better hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards. Credit cards are widely used in Montevideo; the most common are Diners Club, Master Card and Visa.

There are plenty of casas de cambio in Montevideo, Colonia and the Atlantic beach resorts, but banks are the rule in the interior. Casas de cambio offer slightly lower rates and sometimes charge commissions. There’s no black market for dollars or other foreign currencies.


To compare your currency to the Uruguay peso, see http://www.xe.com.

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