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USAC Montevideo Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Academic Year


Montevideo, Uruguay




2.5 GPA. Good academic and disciplinary standing.

Application Due:

9/24 for spring semester and 2/24 for fall semester/Academic Year

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

This program focuses on the rich culture and contributions of the area known as the Rio de la Plata, which is the river and estuary that forms a border between Argentina and Uruguay. Courses that students take introduce them to these two “brother nations” and their political, economic, and lifestyle similarities and differences. This program is ideal for students who want to learn and/or improve their Spanish language skills while learning about a unique area of South America. The program is administered by University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member.

Academic Program

Upon arrival, all students take an intensive Spanish language course, which allows for rapid acquisition of language and culture. Students enroll in a minimum of 12 semester hours and up to 18 s.h. during the semester. Course options include intensive language courses, Latin American studies, gender studies, viticulture, and agribusiness. Students receive resident credit.

Examples of courses:

Language Courses:Elementary Spanish, Intermediate Spanish, Spanish Composition, Advanced Spanish, and Business Spanish

Agribusiness: Agribusiness, The Global Food Challenge

Latin American Studies/Gender Studies:: Latin American Social Revolutions, Latin American Women’s Voices: Argentina and Uruguay, Cinema of Uruguay and Argentina, Rio de la Plata History and Culture

Program Dates

This program runs very close to the University of Iowa schedule. The fall semester starts in mid-August and ends in mid-December. The spring semester starts in late January and ends in mid-May.

Application Deadline

February 24 for fall semester and September 24 for spring semester

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with USAC, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa.
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353


The Universidad ORT was founded in 1942 in Montevideo as a private technical trade school. In the 1960’s the university started teaching college level courses and by 1996 it offered so many classes that the government had to recognize them. The government had to set up laws and regulations because ORT is the first private higher education institution in the country. ORT offered the first MBA program in the country and was the first to offer college level electronics courses in the country. Enrollment at ORT is roughly 10,000 students with 7,000 being undergraduate students. The campus is split; there is a downtown campus and another campus in the middle class neighborhood of Pocitos. USAC students will attend classes on the Pocitos campus, which is modern and green. ORT is an international and non-denominational university.

The City

Montevideo is the capital of Uruguay and a port city. The city has a population of about 1.3 million, which is approximately one third of the country’s population. Because it sits on the coast, it has a massive coastal promenade where locals enjoy strolling, exercising, and hanging out at one of the nine beaches and socializing. The city has a laid-back lifestyle, but has a robust music, theater, and arts scene. The 2017 Mercer’s report rated the quality of life in Montevideo as the first in Latin America. Montevideo has held this position since 2005. The city has been going through an economic boom, so there is plenty of entertainment, culture and food to fill a semester of yearlong term of study abroad.

The Country

The official name of the country is the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. It boarders Argentina to its west, Brazil to its north and east, with the Rio de la Plata (River of Silver) to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. The Charrúa people inhabited Uruguay, which means, “River of colorful birds” in the native Guarani language, until the Portuguese established Colonia del Sacramento in 1680. This was one of the first settlements in the area. In 1724 Montevideo was established by the Spanish as a military stronghold, thus began the competing claims over the region. Uruguay won its independence in 1828. Today the country ranks first in Latin America in democracy and peace, and is the first in South America when it comes to freedom of press, size of the middle class, and prosperity.

Interesting Facts about Uruguay

  1. José “Pepe” Mujica, President of Uruguay between 2010 and 2015, donated 90% of his income to charity, a habit that earned him the moniker, “the world’s poorest president”.
  2. Montevideo hosted all the matches during the first FIFA World Cup in 1930 which they won
  3. Uruguay has renamed Christmas Day to Family Day, and Holy week is now called Tourism Week.
  4. Cattle outnumber people four to one in Uruguay
  5. In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to provide every school child with a free laptop and wifi access

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Students have the choice of either a homestay with a local family or shared apartment.


This is the option that is recommended. By living with a host family students are introduced to the culture and the language in an intimate manner. Language learning is intensified and happens quickly. This option also gives students a front row seat to the culture in practice. Students receive breakfast and dinner from their host family. Host families are within 20-30 minute commute to ORT University in Pocitos and are located in different traditional neighborhoods of Montevideo.

Shared Apartment

The apartment complex is a high-rise that is a 10 minute bus ride from campus. USAC students share a furnished apartment and are responsible for their own meals.

Travel Arrangements

Participants will make their own travel arrangements to Montevideo, taking advantage of any frequent-flyer options and/or internet specials available to them. Students should book airfare to correspond with the arrival and departure dates given by USAC.

Local Transportation

Montevideo is not a large city and it boasts a very efficient public transportation system so getting around is not difficult. There are websites similar to Google Maps that are useful. They are Cómo and MontevideoBus. The useful apps are Bondi for iPhone and SoloBus to help navigate the bus system. Upon boarding a bus you will pay either the driver or an assistant who sits next to the driver. You will receive a receipt and you will need to retain this piece of paper. Taxis are also available and are metered. Be aware that between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am, on Sundays and on Holidays, fares are 20% higher.


2.5 GPA. Good academic and disciplinary standing with the University of Iowa.

Good academic and disciplinary standing - It is the policy of the UI Study Abroad office that all students who study abroad must be in both good academic standing and good disciplinary standing. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance and will not be allowed to study abroad. Any student who must forfeit their acceptance and/or attendance on a study abroad program due to a probationary status is wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred. See the ‘Withdrawal Policy’ below for more information about the related late withdrawal fees.

Program Costs

Students are charged a Program Fee on their Ubill. This charge covers tuition, program organized field trips, and housing. In addition to the Program Fee, students are assessed a University of Iowa Study Abroad Administrative Fee . Also on the Ubill will be the mandatory Iowa Regents International CISI insurance
Other costs include but are not limited to, application fee, round trip airfare to the program site, passport fees, student visa fees, meals not included in housing, local transportation, books and supplies, and personal expenses.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options. Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

USAC has scholarships available to University of Iowa students. Please visit the USAC Scholarships and Discounts web site to find out more about their scholarships.

How to Apply

Schedule and meet with Kristine Djerf, the Study Abroad Advisor for Latin America. Appointments can be set up in person in 1111 UCC or by phone at 319-335-0353. After discussing the program and its requirements, students can then complete the University of Iowa Study Abroad application . Final admissions decisions to the program are made by USAC.

Application Deadline

February 24 for fall semester and the Academic Year. For spring semester the application deadline is September 24.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

An individualized meeting with the Study Abroad Advisor will cover content specific to this program and the host country. In addition, the advisor will address specific topics including registration in MyUI, billing, and course approval procedures at the University of Iowa. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session when the time is appropriate.

Before Traveling

Students must complete certain documents and activities for the University of Iowa and USAC before leaving for their study abroad experience and these include:

  1. Uploading a copy of the information page of their passport to their UI study abroad application.
  2. Completing and turning in a copy of their Credit Approval Form.
  3. Registering in MyUI for the appropriate study abroad course.
  4. Completing the ICON Course

USAC Orientation

Students will be assigned a USAC advisor upon acceptance to the program. Through their USAC advisor and documents on the USAC Gateway, students will give and receive information from USAC. The documents that students are required to read and to provide to USAC will prepare them for their arrival in the host country and for their time abroad.