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.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
During the afternoon on Sunday, June 12th, there was an explosion in the check-in area in Terminal 2 of Shanghai's Pudong International Airport. There were no fatalities, but the explosion, caused by a homemade device, injured four people, including one Filipino and three Chinese citizens. The motive for the explosion is unknown and the man believed responsible is in critical condition after unsuccessfully attempting to kill himself immediately following the event. Pudong International Airport was operating normally by late Sunday afternoon with heightened security measures in place.
All ISA Shanghai spring students have safely departed Shanghai as their program concluded. The ISA Shanghai Resident Director has communicated with current intern participants and will keep them updated with any developments. All ISA Shanghai summer programs are scheduled to start as planned. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students and interns accordingly.
June 10, 2016
Today, Friday June 10th, taxi drivers across the Eastern Cape Province went on strike due to a permits dispute with the provincial government. Resulting protests from the strike have led to road blockages and caused a temporary halt in major transportation services across the Eastern Cape, including Port Elizabeth. Consequently, today?s final exams at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) were postponed and have been rescheduled for next week.
While there have been no reports of violence, security personnel have increased their presence around Port Elizabeth as a precaution. No ISA students had exams scheduled for today nor have they been affected by the strikes, and all NMMU finals scheduled after today are expected to proceed as planned. ISA staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
June 9, 2016
As of June 9th, students at the Pontificia Universidad Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) voted to join the strike proposed by the Confederation of Chilean Students (CONFECH). As a result, the PUCV has discontinued courses with locals for the remainder of the semester. The PUCV and ISA staff have been working diligently to keep students in ISA programs informed of any developments regarding the student movement, this includes course changes and suspensions. As anticipated, courses offered through the PUCV's international education department will continue to be held as scheduled and will not be affected by the strike. The only classes that will be cancelled are those offered with local Chilean students. Despite the strike, PUCV professors remain available and are advising ISA students enrolled in courses with locals on how to complete necessary coursework.
The Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez continues to remain unaffected. ISA staff will continue to monitor the situation and make recommendations to students as needed.
May 31, 2016
The Confederation of Chilean Students has called for an indefinite nationwide strike by university students to begin Wednesday, June 1st, due to dissatisfaction with the national government's education reform. Students attending universities that fall under the Consejo de Rectores of Chilean Universities, which includes the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV), will vote either in favor or against a student strike on their own campus ahead of Wednesday. At this moment, the PUCV does not know how the strike will affect the local Chilean student population; however, given the history of the movement, it is anticipated that some majors/departments will vote in favor of the strike and local students belonging to these majors will cease to attend classes.
The ISA Valparaiso staff, along with PUCV, is closely monitoring developments regarding this movement in order to keep all ISA students updated of any potential class changes or cancellations. At this time, all courses offered to ISA students through PUCV's international education department are scheduled to be held as usual and the university does not expect these classes to be interrupted. Courses offered with local Chilean students have the potential to be directly affected depending on the outcome of the local vote. Should students at the PUCV vote in support of the strike, then PUCV professors will remain available and plan to advise ISA students on how to complete necessary coursework in the case that any courses are directly affected. The Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez is not a member of the Consejo de Rectores of Chilean Universities and thus, remains unaffected by the student movement. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and make recommendations to students accordingly.
June 6, 2016
On Monday morning, an armed attack occurred at a security office of the Palestinian refugee camp of Baqua'a, approximately 12 miles north of Amman, resulting in the death of five members of Jordan's intelligence department. Government officials have labeled the incident a "terrorist attack" because it targeted an intelligence agency while also highlighting the rarity of such an attack in Jordan. Security operations to apprehend those involved are ongoing near the refugee camp.
All ISA Amman students remain safe and have been reminded to avoid any refugee camp areas in or near Amman. The ISA Amman staff is continuing to monitor the situation closely for any further incidents or effects on security and will advise students accordingly. Today's attack is not expected to adversely affect the ISA Amman Summer program.
June 2, 2016
French President François Hollande has declared a state of natural disaster in areas of the country most affected by recent flooding. The Seine River, which runs through the city of Paris, has risen approximately 16 feet above normal levels due to heavy rains in central France over the past week. Popular tourist attractions in Paris, including the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, have adjusted their hours of operation and taken precautionary measures to protect against risks of damage in light of rising water levels near their premises. Sections of RER C (one of the city's suburban métro lines) were partially closed today in response to rising waters, however, the majority of public transportation throughout Paris has remained fully operational.
The ISA Paris resident staff confirmed today that none of the apartments or host families housing ISA students have experienced flooding at this time and there are no known plans for ISA's host universities in Paris to change from their normal hours of operations. More rainfall is expected over the weekend across central Europe, and the ISA Paris staff will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.
May 31, 2016
On Tuesday, bus drivers belonging to the Transportation Labor Union (Sintraturb) launched a transportation strike in Florianópolis. The strike was sparked due to a rejected proposal for a salary increase for bus drivers and has led to the disruption of transportation throughout the city. As a result, the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (UNISUL) has suspended courses for the day. Professors will be in contact with students and plan to reschedule today's courses in order to recuperate lost class time.
All ISA Brazil students have been informed of the strike and the class cancellations at UNISUL, as well as recommended transportation options for today. The ISA Florianópolis resident staff is monitoring the situation closely and remaining in communication with UNISUL for any potential effects on classes beyond Tuesday. The resident staff will continue advising students accordingly.
Cartago, Costa Rica
May 24, 2016
The Turrialba volcano, which began erupting in Cartago, Costa Rica, on May 12th, remains active and has resulted in a large ash cloud approximately 9,800 feet high. The volcano, located about 45 miles east of the capital of San Jose, has led to various degrees of falling ash in nearby areas. Costa Rica's National Commission for Risk Prevention and Disaster Response (CNE) has declared a yellow alert for the volcano (the second-highest on a three-level alert system) and restricted access to the volcano within a 5 kilometer radius. The ISA resident staff has reported that wind has blown ash to Heredia and San Jose, as well as other nearby cities; however, the level of ash fall in Cartago, Heredia, and San Jose is currently modest.
All ISA students onsite are accounted for and safe and ISA programs have been largely unaffected by the ongoing eruptions. The resident staff has provided students with safety tips to stay healthy and protect themselves from the ash. Because the volcano continues to emit ash into the atmosphere, some flights have been rerouted as a precaution from the Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) to Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR), roughly 125 miles outside of San Jose. ISA's resident staff is monitoring local news and flight changes for the potential impact on ISA students arriving to or departing Costa Rica this week, as well as reminding students to reconfirm flight schedules with their airlines and assisting with alternative ground transportation plans for those diverted. The resident staff will continue to provide updates and advise students as necessary.
For over twenty-five years, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world.
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