The application process for all programs takes place once a year in February and decisions are made in March for the following academic year. Application forms are available online. Selection criteria include grades, faculty recommendations, essay and interview. Space in the program is limited.
Course of Study
FIU students may register for any of the regular courses offered by the University of Puerto Rico School of Law, provided that the student has not previously taken the same course at FIU. The language of instruction is Spanish (some courses are taught in English); exams and papers may be written in English at the individual professor’s discretion. Students will be tested for proficiency in Spanish prior to final approval to participate in this exchange program. FIU students normally take up to 15 credits per semester at the COL. Students are advised to take no more than 15 credits per semester at the UPR and may be well served by concentrating on slightly fewer credits, considering the different environment and extramural learning experiences offered by the program. A minimum of 12 credit hours is required. Courses eligible for credit upon return to FIU must be approved in advance by the Associate Dean at FIU. As with our other semester abroad programs, participating FIU students will be enrolled directly at the University of Puerto Rico. This means that the FIU students have not only the opportunity to sample the array of courses at their host school, but also are, for a time, students at another law school. They are thus subject to all the rules, regulations, and procedures of the host law school. No credit is given for a failed course or for courses in which a “C” grade or less is earned. The University of Puerto Rico grades our students as it does its other students. Courses from the University of Puerto Rico are treated the same as any other transfer credits on your transcript; the title of the course is listed on the transcript with the number of credits earned. No credit is given for a failed course or a course in which a grade of “D” is received. These credits are considered “transfer credits” and do not affect the GPA. Many classes have English-language casebooks and textbooks, although the class discussions are all in Spanish. Nearly all of the students are bilingual.
Housing is arranged through the Associate Dean at the School of Law at the University of Puerto Rico. There are several different options. Housing at the new international house, “Casa Turabo,” is close by the UPR School of Law. Students have their own bedroom in a three bedroom apartment, sharing bath, kitchen, and living areas. The cost in 2008 was approximately $300.00 per month and includes electricity, water, and Internet connection. Students need to bring bed sheets, pillows and towels. Casa Turabo is within walking distance to mini-marts and bars and typical college campus cuisine. Casa Turabo does not have air conditioning. There are lots of houses-turned-student-housing/apartments in this area. Due to the proximity to the nightlife, it is also a bit noisy. In Old San Juan, $450 would be the cost of sharing an apartment (splitting $900) nearly anywhere. While housing near campus is the most economical choice, very few offer furnishings. There may be some furnished places in Hato Rey (a train stop away from campus), but the majority of the furnished apartments are going to be in the touristy areas (Old San Juan, Condado, Isla Verde). These areas are along the coast (and the latter two offer nice beaches), and the commute from Condado by car is at least 15-20 minutes. Isla Verde has kind of a “spring break” feel, and Condado is a bit more relaxed- but “posh.” Either one is accessible to campus by either bus or a bus/train combo. There are some furnished studios from $650+ in these areas, but most one-bedroom apartments are at least $800. If you don’t mind furnishing an apartment yourself, then you can find studios and one bedroom apartments for much cheaper nearly everywhere in San Juan through Craigslist.org or the online classifieds of the two major newspapers in PR. If you don’t plan on living on/near campus, then make sure your housing is near a busline or the urban train. Unfortunately, the urban train does not reach the beach areas, but there are various buses that will reach campus. Students going to Puerto Rico should contact Michele Colón Garcia, Associate Dean, at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law and discuss their housing needs.
Under a special agreement, FIU students studying at the University of Puerto Rico pay their home institution for tuition. Thus, FIU students taking courses in Puerto Rico will receive a regular bill from the FIU Business Office, charging them for the number of credits taken at UPR. In addition, an FIU College of Law International Programs fee of $475 will be charged for each semester at UPR. Students participating in the Puerto Rican exchange should take into account the cost of travel to Puerto Rico, as well as the cost for accommodations and other expenses. Study in Puerto Rico should not affect your financial aid status.
The Island and University of Puerto Rico
The 100 by 35 mile island of Puerto Rico is the smallest of the Greater Antilles. The island enjoys extremely agreeable weather throughout the year, with temperatures ranging between the mid-70′s and high-80′s, ensured by the easterly tradewinds. Puerto Rico’s early history is one of Spain’s fight for control following the landing of Christopher Columbus in 1493. Despite frequent attacks by Spain’s enemies, Puerto Rico remained under Spanish rule for three centuries. The economy was mostly agrarian with sugar cane, coffee and cattle the principle income sources. Following the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico was ceded to the U.S. and became a Commonwealth in 1952. Puerto Rico has become an important business, cultural and communications center, not only recognized in the Caribbean Basin, but worldwide as well. Its strategic location has encouraged burgeoning commercial activity. Its 3.5 million people enjoy the highest annual incomes in Latin America. Among the large number of industries flourishing in Puerto Rico during the past 30 years are many high growth, high technology companies. These include makers of pharmaceuticals, computers and electronics. The University of Puerto Rico is located in the Rio Piedras section of San Juan. The School of Law is on the main campus of the university. This campus is noted for its many lovely buildings, including a majestic clock-tower which overlooks the Metropolitan Area of San Juan. As part of the main campus, the School of Law shares the amenities of campus life. The Student Center shows classic movies; the Cultural Center sponsors speakers, shows and plays; and the Sports Center offers swimming, tennis, volleyball, sauna, and aerobics.
Study at the University of Puerto Rico will not be canceled by FIU due to lack of sufficient enrollment. Should the University of Puerto Rico decide to cancel the program, FIU students will then register for regular classes at the FIU College of Law. In the event that cancellation occurs after the pre-registration period for the semester in question, every effort will be made to accommodate student preferences in registering for classes. No promise can be made that all desired classes will be available.