The following alerts are based on ISA's direct observation, U.S. Department of State recommendations, Overseas Security Advisory Council, WHO reports, and expert consultation.
Cape Town and Port Elizabeth
October 21, 2016
Protests at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University continued to escalate throughout the week with reports of vandalism and clashes between students and police. ISA students were kept updated on the situation on campus and advised to avoid campus. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University administration is currently in the process of considering alternatives to face to face lectures in efforts to ensure that students complete their semester successfully. The University of the Western Cape decided this week to suspend face to face lectures for the remainder of the semester, and similar to the University of Cape Town, is making provisions with students to complete semester coursework using online platforms and written materials. ISA resident staff is promtly updating students with information on academic accommodations released by the host universities and working with students to help prepare them for successfully completing their studies. ISA students remain safe as we continue to monitor the situation on each of our host university campuses.
October 18, 2016
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University attempted to reopen today as planned but escalated student demonstrations, during which protesters clashed with police on campus, resulted in campus closures. ISA resident staff contacted all students advising them to stay off campus, and ISA students remained safe. The University of the Western Cape did not reopen and the University of Cape Town's library hours and shuttle services were intermittently disrupted throughout the day as protests continued on both campuses. ISA resident staff continues to monitor the situation and update students accordingly. All housing for ISA students remains unaffected by protest activity.
October 17, 2016
Normal operations at the University of Cape Town were disrupted today as "Fees Must Fall" protests escalated on campus. A group of approximately 100 students had several clashes with security personnel on campus, vandalized campus facilities and interrupted lectures. All ISA students are safe and accounted for, and were not on campus during today's incidents. Due to today's protests, face-to-face lectures at UCT have been suspended for the remainder of the semester. Professors are now working with study abroad students to assist them in successfully completing their coursework and final exams. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University campus services and facilities have reopened, and plan to resume academic activities on Tuesday, October 18th. University of the Western Cape campus remained quiet today, and plans to reopen campus tomorrow. ISA resident staff remains in close communication with our students about the remainder of the semester, and will continue to monitor the situation and advise accordingly.
October 10, 2016
Due to continued demonstrations on campus, the University of the Western Cape announced today that classes and all campus activities will be suspended for the rest of the week. Similarly, the University of Cape Town will remain closed for the week. Both universities are continuing discussions with their Student Representative Councils and other key stakeholders. Following its communication on Friday, October 7th, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University did not reopen today and has not yet indicated whether it will open later this week. Its Office for International Education did, however, meet with study abroad students, including ISA students and staff, to reassure them of the university's commitment to the completion of their studies. ISA resident staff remains in close communication with our students, and will continue to monitor the situation and advise accordingly.
October 8, 2016
Late on Friday, October 7th, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University announced that classes would not recommence on Monday, October 10th as planned. The University of Cape Town will also remain closed on Monday, however the University of the Western Cape still plans to reopen. ISA resident staff are closely following the situation at each university and updating students appropriately. ISA students will be provided with any necessary instructions regarding returning to campus.
October 7, 2016
On Friday, October 7th, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University resumed operations to prepare for classes to recommence on Monday, October 10th. The University of the Western Cape still plans to reopen on October 10th as well. The University of Cape Town announced on Friday evening that its campuses will remain closed on Monday to allow for further discussions with its key stakeholders. ISA resident staff are closely following the situation at each university and updating students appropriately. ISA students will be provided with any necessary instructions regarding returning to campus.
October 6, 2016
The University of the Western Cape has announced that due to ongoing demonstrations, all classes and campus facilities will be closed until Monday, October 10th. There have been no changes in campus activity at the University of Cape Town, although its administration plans to resume mediation with demonstrators in hopes of reopening on October 10th as well. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University remains closed until further notice. Although a date to reopen has not been set, in a communication yesterday, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University reaffirmed its commitment to complete the academic year and advised that it is preparing its campus for classes to eventually resume. ISA resident staff continue to update students regularly with any new information regarding the closures as well as any forthcoming final exam information.
October 5, 2016
Due to security concerns for ongoing student demonstrations, the University of Cape Town administration closed its campuses again through Friday, October 7th. The University of the Western Cape also closed today due to threats of disruptive protests. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University remains closed until further notice. All ISA students were promptly notified of the campus closures and advised to stay off campus. The University of Cape Town administration held a meeting to discuss revised exam time tables for international students though a final schedule was not provided. Resident staff will confirm the new exam time table as soon as it has been released. ISA resident staff remains in regular communication with our students and report that they are continuing to come to the ISA office to study.
October 3, 2016
As of Monday, October 3rd, the University of the Western Cape has remained opened and classes have continued without reports of protests or demonstrations on campus. ISA students have continued to attend classes at the University of the Western Cape as normal. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth remains closed until further notice as stakeholder discussions continue. The University of Cape Town did open today although there were reports of ongoing demonstrations and classroom disruptions and the shuttle service was suspended. The University of Cape Town administration is continuing to work on a plan for the student final exam schedule. ISA resident staff has reported that students remain safe and they are continuing to update students with any information received regarding lectures and class schedules.
September 27, 2016
On Tuesday September 27th, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University reported that it will remain closed until further notice as the university continues discussions with various stakeholders. Students have been advised to continue to check their emails for updates from individual professors. The University of Cape Town continues to remain closed through Sunday, October 2nd. Classes continued without interruption at the University of the Western Cape. ISA resident staff have reported that the atmosphere on our host university campuses remains peaceful. No decisions have been made yet by the University of Cape Town or Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University regarding how the recent class cancellations will affect the final exam periods. ISA is continuing to closely follow communications from each university's administration and updating students on any new developments.
September 26, 2016
On Sunday, September 25th, the University of Cape Town formally announced that classes would remain cancelled and the libraries closed until Monday, October 3rd in order to continue peaceful discourse between university administration and the students behind the the "Fees Must Fall" movement. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University remained closed on Monday, and is expected to reopen on Tuesday September 27th. Classes have continued without interruption at the University of the Western Cape. ISA resident staff have reported that the atmosphere on our host university campuses remains peaceful. No decisions have been made yet by the University of Cape Town or Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University regarding how the recent class cancellations will affect the final exam periods. ISA is continuing to closely follow communications from each university's administration and updating students on any new developments.
September 23, 2016
Due to ongoing "Fees Must Fall" protests at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, the university administration cancelled classes and campus activities again on Friday, September 23rd. ISA students were notified of the cancellations and advised on areas to avoid. The University of Cape Town continues to remain closed through Sunday, September 25th. Classes continued without interruption at the University of the Western Cape. ISA resident staff reported that protests on our host university campuses have remained peaceful throughout the week. No decisions have been made yet regarding how the recent class cancellations will affect the final exam periods. ISA is continuing to closely follow communications from each university's administration and updating students on any new developments.
September 21, 2016
On Wednesday evening, University of Cape Town administration announced that all university activities will remain suspended through Sunday, September 25th in anticipation of further protests. This includes closing the campus library and suspending shuttle services. The ISA resident staff has reported that "Fees Must Fall" protests have remained peaceful over the last day. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University remains closed through Thursday September 22nd. The University of the Western Cape has remained unaffected. ISA resident staff is continuing to update students regarding the closures as well as any new information regarding protest activity and areas to avoid.
September 20, 2016
Due to ongoing "Fees Must Fall" protest action, classes and campus activities have been suspended at the University of Cape Town for Tuesday and Wednesday, September 20th -21st. Protests also took place at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, resulting in classes being suspended through Thursday, September 22nd. Protests have remained non-violent, although there have been reports of minor vandalism. ISA students at both universities have been advised by ISA resident staff to avoid campus and protest activity. Classes at the University of the Western Cape have continued as normal. ISA is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to advise students appropriately.
September 19, 2016
University of Cape Town cancelled classes and closed student facilities again on Monday, September 19th, in anticipation of continued protests due to the scheduled announcement by the South Africa Minister of Education on tuition fee increases for 2017. "Fees Must Fall" protesters organized demonstrations in major roadways on and around campus and held demonstrations within lecture halls on campus. Protest activities have remained non-violent. ISA students have been notified of the cancellations and will continue to be updated by ISA resident staff with any new developments.
September 16, 2016
On Friday, September 16th, due to ongoing student protests on campus, UCT suspended classes and campus activities. The protests have remained calm and non-violent, and there remains an increase in security presence on campus as the university takes steps to ensure the well-being of the campus community. UCT administration advised that classes and university activities are scheduled to resume on Monday morning. The ISA resident staff met with our students to discuss the protests and review safety protocols. There have been no reports of protests at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), ISA's other host university in Cape Town, and students attending UWC have been unaffected. ISA staff will continue to update students and university partners on any new information regarding the protests and any future campus closures.
September 15, 2016
On Thursday, September 15th, a group of approximately 200 student protestors gathered at the University of Cape Town's (UCT) lower campus and moved off campus to protest a student disciplinary tribunal against students accused of vandalism and other acts during previous demonstrations. Protesters returned to campus in the afternoon, disrupting normal activity at the library and computer labs on campus. Classes were not officially cancelled, however, the library and computer labs were closed and ISA resident staff received notification of the cancellation of an evening exam. The ISA resident staff was in communication with our students attending UCT to make them aware of these events and areas to avoid, and to remind them of safety protocols. UCT's Campus Protection Services is closely monitoring the situation. Classes and campus activities are expected to resume as usual on Friday, September 16th, and ISA resident staff will continue to provide the most up to date information to students and advise them accordingly.
September 9, 2016
On the morning of Friday, September 9th, 2016, a small group of "Fees Must Fall" student protesters blocked the main entrance to the University of Cape Town's upper campus, preventing the student shuttle and transport services from dropping students off and causing substantial traffic disruptions. At approximately 9:00 a.m. local time, the university administration announced that the protesters were dispersed and traffic cleared. Lectures and regular campus activity quickly resumed as normal. ISA resident staff was in communication with students to make them aware of the protests and that no penalties will be assessed against any students who may have missed classes as a result of the protests.
Last year, the Fees Must Fall Movement, which at its core rejects increases in tuition, led protests at universities across South Africa and resulted in campus closures. The South Africa government and university officials are taking measures to try to prevent similar disruptions from occurring this year. ISA resident staff remain in close communication with university administration and will continue to monitor the situation on campus and update students accordingly.
October 13, 2016
On Thursday, October 13th, the Thai Bureau of the Royal Household confirmed that King Bhumibol Adulyadej has died. Notable disruptions to business, commercial, and diplomatic operations are anticipated during the coming days as the country enters a period of mourning. The U.S. State Department has not issued any travel restrictions for American citizens in Thailand. However, some transportation services may potentially be disrupted over the next few days. No class cancellations are expected at Mahidol University and all ISA Bangkok activities are running as scheduled. The ISA Bangkok resident staff is remaining in close communication with our students and will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
October 5, 2016
The PUCMM returned to normal operations today after being closed on Monday and Tuesday as a precautionary measurement with the passage of Hurricane Matthew through the Caribbean. All students were alerted last night about the reopening of the university and ISA office. Our resident staff reported that the increased wind and rainfall from Hurricane Matthew has now subsided in Santiago and operations throughout the city are functioning normally.
October 3, 2016
Tropical Storm warnings and watches have been issued for the Dominican Republic as a result of the passage of Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, through the Caribbean. Hurricane Matthew is expected to hit parts of Haiti and Jamaica overnight on October 3rd to October 4th, before moving through Cuba and on to the Bahamas. The Dominican Republic is expected to receive heavy rainfall and strong winds, and Santiago is expected to receive several inches of rainfall according to the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center. The Pontificia Universidad Católica - Madre y Maestra cancelled classes for today, Monday, October 3rd, as a safety precaution. All ISA students have been accounted for and informed of the university closure as well as the closure of the ISA office, and have been advised to stay at home until the storm passes. At the time of this report, the ISA resident staff has advised that Santiago is experiencing mild rain and winds. They will continue to monitor any developments and advise students as necessary.
Cartago, Heredia, and San Jose
Monday, September 19, 2016
As of September 17th, the Turrialba Volcano has experienced increased activity after a period of relative rest. The latest two eruptions, taking place at 3:00am and 11:30am on the morning of September 19th, sent a considerable amount of ash into the air causing a yellow advisory alert to be issued for the surrounding areas. The volcano is located in the city of Cartago, which is about 40 miles northeast of the capital city, San José. The eruptions have caused ash to fall in San Jose, Heredia and Alajuela, where the Juan Santamaría International Airport is located. Due to the high levels of ash, the airport suspended operations at 1:15pm local time and it remains unclear when the airport will resume its regular operations. Students currently abroad in San Jose and Heredia have been provided safety recommendations and have been advised not to travel to Cartago while the volcanic activity persists. There are currently no ISA students living or studying in Cartago. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to students as needed.
August 31, 2016
On Wednesday, the Brazil Senate voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, effectively removing her from office for the rest of her term. She had been under investigation for corruption since May 2016 and impeached under those charges. Vice President, Michel Temer, has been sworn in as Brazil's interim president and will serve the remainder of Rousseff's term through 2018.
While demonstrations and strikes by Rousseff supporters are possible across the country in the coming days, the ISA Florianópolis staff has advised students about this potential and reminded them of relevant safety precautions, including avoiding any public gatherings they encounter at this time. The ISA Florianópolis program is not otherwise expected to be impacted by today's ruling and continues to run as normal. The ISA staff will closely monitor this political situation in the coming days and further update students as necessary.
Follow Alerts on Twitter
<escape>Tweets about "#ISAworldwidealert"
Since 1987, ISA has offered quality study abroad programs for U.S. and Canadian students, and we are proud to have joined the WorldStrides organization. WorldStrides is the largest and most trusted educational travel company in the world. Founded in 1967, WorldStrides has grown to provide global educational programs for 400,000 students annually.
ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, England, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and Thailand.