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Universidad Icesi


Program Snapshot

Icesi is a private, non-profit university, founded in 1979 by key business leaders in the region. With strong programs in business (AACSB accredited), humanities, engineering and natural and health sciences, the university is located in one of the most prosperous regions of Colombia: The Cauca Valley. The International office provides a buddy program and city tours.

Why study in Colombia?
Colombia lies in a distinctive geographical location and is one of the most dynamic countries in Latin America. It has two coastlines along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and is bordered on the east by Venezuela, on the southeast by Brazil, on the south by Peru, on the southwest by Ecuador, and on the northwest by Panama. Colombia has three mountain ranges, tropical and cloud rain forests, and vast savannas. Colombia is considered the second most biodiverse country in the world, due to its diverse ecosystems and varied climate. Our cultural richness, which is influenced by our ethnic diversity, includes different types of music, dance, food, and customs. Colombia has signed free trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, the US, the Republic of Korea, Chile, Peru, and the European Union, which have opened windows to developing our economy. Additionally, globalization has allowed our country to explore many opportunities in education and research, which denotes challenges for Colombian universities.

Population: 46.890.633
Capital city: Bogota
Total territorial area: 1.141.750 km2
Language: Spanish
Currency: Colombian Pesos ($)

Cali, Colombia
Cali is located in Valle del Cauca. It is 100 kms from Buenaventura´s port on the Pacific coast. Cali is the second most important city in Colombia, after Bogota. Cali has one of the fastest growing economies and is also the principal urban, cultural, economic, and industrial center of southwestern Colombia. The city is a cultural salsa music mecca, which has helped the development of a cultural industries cluster. This has contributed to our service-oriented economy which attracts an important number of tourists. Cali offers a region full of nature, adventure, and entertainment. It is an ideal place to have a fully South American experience.

City Population: 2’294.653
Annual average temperature: 24°C (75,5°F)
Weather: Tropical (hot and humid)
Area: 564 km2
Currency: Colombian Pesos ($)

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Fair.
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Fair .
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students or Sites Open for I-to-I Applications.

Program Dates
Academic year: January through November
Semester 1: January through May
Semester 2: July through November
Please note that this site observes the Southern Hemisphere academic calendar. If you want to study for a full-year in the southern hemisphere, consider starting your program at the beginning of their academic year in February or March. Some institutions offer annual rather than semester courses. For southern hemisphere programs, ISEP benefits do apply during the recess between semesters (June-July), whereas they do NOT apply between the end of one academic year and the beginning of a new academic year (December to February-March).

Fast Facts
Cali, Colombia (pop. 2 million)
Student Enrollment: 5,600
Language of instruction: Spanish
University Home Page
International Office Home Page
Study at Icesi!
Please note the current US Department of State Travel Warning for Colombia. For more information, please click here

  • School of Business and Economic Sciences: Public Accounting and International Financace, Business Administration*, Economics* (with emphasis on Public Policy), International Marketing* and Advertising, and Economics and International Business
  • School of Law & Humanities: Law, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science with emphasis on International Relations
  • School of Engineering: Industrial Engineering*, Industrial Design, Computer and Software Engineering (Systems Engineering), Computer and Communications Engineering* (Telematics Engineering), Interactive Media Design, Biochemical Engineering (first cohort started in Southern Hemisphere semester 2 2015)
  • School of Natural Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • School of Health Sciences: Medicine

Additional information on Programs (all according to the Southern Hemisphere Academic Year Schedule)

Bachelor of Educations in Primary School (first cohort started on semester 2015-2)
Bachelor of Social and Human Studies (first cohort starting on semester 2016-1)
Bachelor of Natural Sciences (first cohort starting on semester 2016-1)
Bachelor of Language and Literature (first cohort starting on semester 2016-1)
Bachelor of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language (first cohort started on semester 2015-2)
Bachelor of Arts and Creative Technologies (first cohort started on semester 2015-2)

Courses for Graduate (Masters) Level
Course marked with an asterisk (*) above are also offered at the Graduate level. Students may enroll in graduate level courses during their ISEP-Exchange.

Undergraduate students completing one year of exchange at University Icesi can enter a Graduate level program after fulfilling all entrance requirements. For more information, please consult the admission requirements for Graduate programs on the University’s website: www.icesi.edu.co.

Other Graduate level programs (not available to undergraduates) are: Human Resources Management; Management Information Systems.

Academic Notes
Universidad Icesi is particularly strong in programs in business (AACSB accredited), humanities, engineering and natural and health sciences. Students can also study different languages, including: English (for non-native speakers), French, Italian, Portuguese, Mandarin, and German.

Students typically enroll in 5-6 classes per term which averages to 15-20 hours in class per week. A term runs for 16 weeks.


Transcripts are generally released by the middle of June for Semester 1 and by the middle of December for Semester 2. Full year transcripts are sent as per the final semester. Transcripts are sent to ISEP and then immediately released to the student’s home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes
Language Requirement: A minimum of 5 semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent or a level B1 according to the Common European Framework must be completed prior to program. A letter from your university Spanish teacher / head of Language Department certifying your level is accepted as proof of your language requirement.

Graduate students must take and pass a language exam administered by the Spanish Department at Universidad Icesi before starting classes.

Language Courses: Spanish language courses are offered in addition to regular classes during the academic year or semester. All undergraduate students willing to are able to register for this class. Please note it is a non-credit bearing course.

  • For more information on courses and language options, see the:
    ISEP Spanish Language Advising Guide for US Students
    ISEP Spanish Language Advising Guide for I-to-I Students

    Note: The host institution ultimately determines your proficiency level and course eligibility.

    Special Academic Conditions
    Courses in the following fields may be limited to ISEP students: Industrial Design, Interactive Media Design and Medicine, Master's in Economy courses. Interest in other masters programs will be reviewed upon request.

    Programs not available for Exchange students: MBA Global con doble titulacion.

    Special ISEP Application Instructions

    ALL applications MUST include a Language Proficiency Report (LPR) regardless of language level or having a background as a native/heritage speaker.

    Hints for Researching Courses
    1. Go to the PROGRAMAS page to find a list of the programs, carreras (majors) and Maestrías (Masters) offered at Icesi.offered at Icesi.
    2. Click on the carrera (majors) to see its general description, syllabus, professors, and courses, among other useful information.
    3. On the next page, look for a link that may say “Plan curricular” or "Plan de Estudios" to see courses offered.
    4. Click on each course name to see its full description.

    Note: The courses may not be available each semester. Some courses are full-year only. Upon receipt of your application, the ISEP coordinator at Universidad Icesi will confirm whether or not your desired courses are available during your requested study period.

  • Housing and Meals
    All students are housed with host families. Students receive a monthly meal stipend equivalent to 19 meals per week. The stipend can be used to prepare meals, purchase meals at cafeterias, and purchase meals at restaurants. Please note that married student housing is NOT available.

    The campus is located in the southern part of Cali. It has 124.701 square meters, most of them are sports and outdoor activities. The University is composed of 13 buildings totaling 44.314 square feet that host classrooms, auditoriums, laboratories, a library, ITC rooms, faculty lounges, offices, cafeterias, and recreational areas. The building for student activities has an area of 23.549 square feet. It has rooms for handcrafts, dance performances, musical rehearsals, yoga, and games, among others.


    You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at $200 USD.

    Orientation takes place during the first week and includes a special program during the weekend with local and international students. Orientation is held on-and off-campus and covers academic issues, registration advising, academic life and information on cultural and social aspects of Colombia. It includes tours of the campus and downtown Cali. The first day, a member of your host family or a student from Icesi will take you to the university, where Orientation will be held, and then take you back home. The second day, students will take the language placement test in the morning and register for classes in the afternoon. (Note that at Icesi a full-time program constitutes taking five-six classes.) All students will be registering for the Spanish class (intermediate or advanced level) plus four-five more courses (an arts course, a humanities course and two major or minor courses are suggested).


    Students arriving on the Official Arrival Date will be picked up at the Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport.

    Student Activities
    Through the office of Bienestar Universitario, Icesi offers many extracurricular activities, including gymnastics, theater, music, art, dance, sports, volunteering, social activities - and much more!

    During the first month in Cali, international students will be accompanied by local students to familiarize them with university student regulations, system and academic methodology, the culture, local transport system and other items to help with adjustment to life in Cali and at the university.

    Community Engagement (Internships, Service-Learning, Volunteering, etc.)
    The student activity council provides many opportunities for volunteering in the community through campus organizations. Internships are available through selected departments; contact your ISEP Coordinator and faculty advisor upon arrival.

    ICESI is a private, non-profit university, founded in 1979 by key business leaders of the region with the purpose of producing excellent business professionals. Representatives of these founding organizations continue to serve on The Council of Trustees and the Board of Directors.