International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987

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Worldwide Alerts

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.

Costa Rica

San Jose and Heredia

November 13, 2017

On November 12th, around 8:30 PM local time, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred off the coast of Costa Rica near the town of Jaco, situated approximately 60 miles southwest of the capital, San Jose. Although tremors were felt across the country only minimal damage was reported as a result. All ISA Costa Rica students are accounted for. Students are also advised to check in with their families in the States. Classes at Universidad Veritas in San José and at Universidad Latina in Heredia proceeded as normal and service learning students will report to their placements as usual. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.

South Africa

Cape Town

November 2, 2017

On Wednesday, November 1st, in-class lectures resumed at UCT as planned. Some academic departments, however, decided to continue with blended and online alternatives to complete the semester and were in touch with students directly. On Wednesday afternoon, UCT held the University Assembly on Free Education, which members of the campus community were invited to join and discuss various positions on the subject.

Following the Assembly, on Thursday morning, November 2nd, protests occurred on campus and escalated into class disruptions, temporary closures of campus libraries and a brief suspension of the Jammie Shuttle Service. There were also reports of vandalism. Police and private security helped restore order on campus and several student protestors were arrested. The university has remained open despite the protests. No changes have been made to the final exam schedule.

ISA Cape Town resident staff have made students aware of the events on campus and continue to provide students with instructions to avoid protests. All ISA students are accounted for following the events on campus today. The ISA Cape Town office has remained open and students are using the office to study and work on assignments. The ISA Farewell Dinner is scheduled for this evening and will proceed as planned. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.

October 30, 2017

On Saturday, October 28th, the UCT announced that it would extend the suspension of in-class lectures through Tuesday, October 31st. The university remains open during this time, including its libraries, and alternative means of delivering course materials, such as online learning, is being implemented. There have not been reports of violence on UCT's campus as a result of the classroom disruptions that occurred during the week of October 23rd. University officials are continuing to engage the Student Representative Council (SRC) in discussions to ensure a safe and peaceful learning environment for all, without further classroom disruptions. UCT officials have reiterated the university's commitment to the successful completion of the term and there have been no indications of a change in exam schedules.

The ISA Cape Town staff was in touch with students to make them aware of the class suspensions. ISA is hosting additional events for students while classes are suspended and the ISA Cape Town office remains available to students to study and complete assignments. Classes at the University of the Western Cape are continuing as normal. ISA resident staff will continue to communicate with UCT administration, monitor the situation, and advise students accordingly.

October 26, 2017

Today the University of Cape Town (UCT) announced the suspension of in-class lectures for Thursday, October 26th and Friday, October 27th. The announcement follows a series of minor, peaceful disruptions on campus throughout the week by student demonstrators. The student protestors are demanding that South African President Zuma release the 2018 tuition and fees report and that tuition does not increase. A student-led march to Parliament also occurred off-campus on Wednesday, October 25th and resulted in clashes between demonstrators and the police. UCT's two-day class cancellation was done as a safety precaution in anticipation of further demonstrations. UCT has added private security personnel to campus to monitor the situation. UCT facilities, such as the library, health center and computer labs remain open. At this time, UCT has scheduled for classes to resume on Monday, October 30th, and UCT administration anticipates a successful completion of the last ten days of lectures. ISA Cape Town resident staff has been in regular communication with students throughout the week to alert them of any demonstrations and remind students of common safety practices. ISA students are aware of the class cancellation for the rest of the week.

There have been no reports of disruptions at the University of the Western Cape. ISA Service-Learning activities have also continued as scheduled. Pre-scheduled ISA activities were also uninterrupted this week. The ISA Cape Town office remains open, and students are welcome to use the office to complete assignments and as a quiet study place. ISA resident staff will continue to communicate with UCT administration, monitor the situation, and advise students accordingly.

Spain

Barcelona

October 27, 2017

On Friday, October 27th, Catalonia's regional parliament declared its independence from Spain, despite the federal government declaring Catalonia's October 1st independence referendum illegal. In response, the Spanish parliament in Madrid has approved a measure to revoke the autonomy of Catalonia following Article 155 of the Spanish constitution. Since the October 1st referendum, there have been demonstrations from both sides though they have remained largely peaceful. Large demonstrations are planned in Barcelona this weekend, October 27-29th and both the Catalonian regional government and Spain's federal government are urging citizens to remain calm. ISA resident staff have made students aware of the demonstrations this weekend and reminded students about best practices for staying safe.

ISA host universities in Barcelona have continued classes as normal since the October 3rd observance of a region-wide general strike. ISA Barcelona resident staff are in frequent consultation with host universities and currently, there are no further class cancellations planned. Additionally, ISA resident staff continue to communicate directly with ISA students, providing them with frequent updates regarding the referendum and its impacts. ISA continues to closely monitor the situation and will update the Worldwide Alert page as necessary.

October 4, 2017

On Thursday, October 4, all five ISA Barcelona host universities re-opened and classes resumed after the universities closed on October 3 in observance of the region-wide general strike. Additionally, ISA Barcelona resident staff confirmed that transportation services in the city began operating again on October 4. All students were informed of these updates in advance so they could prepare to return to classes. The ISA Barcelona Office has remained open all week and continued to welcome students, despite the general strike. ISA resident staff further reported that demonstrations on October 3 remained relatively calm. Although workers across various sectors may continue to strike during the coming days, the Barcelona resident staff has reported that many businesses are operating normally throughout the city.

ISA is continuing to monitor the security situation in Barcelona and is following updates on the referendum closely. We will continue to update this Worldwide Alert with any significant developments related to our programs.

October 2, 2017

On October 1, the autonomous community of Catalonia in Spain moved forward with its planned independence referendum. The Spanish government, calling the referendum illegal, deployed police to close voting booths around the region, leading to clashes between referendum supporters and police in Barcelona and throughout the region. Injuries have been reported as a result of the clashes. ISA Barcelona resident staff and its U.S.-based Office of Health, Safety and Security has been following the political situation and recent demonstrations closely, and students were advised ahead of the October 1 referendum of places to avoid and safe practices to observe.

ISA Barcelona resident staff reported that today, October 2, services were operating normally throughout the city and ISA host universities and office opened today. A region-wide general strike, however, is being planned for tomorrow, October 3, and is expected to impact various sectors in Barcelona and across the region. The ISA Barcelona resident staff is in communication with our host universities and have confirmed that all five universities will be closed tomorrow. Additionally, transportation strikes on October 3, which are expected to impact both metro and taxi services in the region, have also been confirmed. The ISA Barcelona staff is in communication with students to make them aware of class cancellations and any suspended services throughout the city. The resident staff is continuing to advise students to avoid demonstrations, follow directives provided by local authorities and monitor local news sources for updates. ISA will continue to monitor this situation as it develops and advise students accordingly.

Korean Peninsula

Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan

September 14, 2017

Just after 7:00 a.m. (local time) on September 15th, North Korea launched another projectile that flew over Japan's Hokkaido island before landing approximately 1,200 miles east of the island into the Pacific Ocean. Japan did not attempt to intercept the missile, but did activate it's "J-Alert" system, warning residents to take shelter while the missile passed. Hokkaido is the northern most prefecture in Japan, and its capital city Sapporo is approximately 1100 km from Tokyo. ISA's Tokyo Resident Director reported that the situation in Tokyo remains calm. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

September 3, 2017

On Sunday, September 3rd at approximately 12:30 p.m., local time, North Korea conducted a hydrogen bomb test at its Punggye-rj underground test site, in the northwest of the country. Seismologists initially detected a tremor with an estimated 6.3 magnitude, which was later determined the result of North Korea's nuclear test. Chinese officials reported a second, weaker, tremor was detected shortly after. The September 3rd test was the sixth such test conducted by North Korea since 2006. The U.S. and South Korea governments were joined by other leaders in the international community, including China and Russia, in condemning North Korea's actions.

ISA Resident staff in Seoul and Tokyo reported that things remained calm in their respective cities and the recent events had no impact on ISA programs. All ISA programs are running uninterrupted. ISA is continuing to monitor the situation closely and will continue to update this Worldwide alert with any significant developments.

August 28, 2017

Just before 6:00 a.m. (local time) on August 29th, North Korea launched another projectile. Japan's Prime Minister confirmed that the projectile flew over northern Japan and landed in the shores off the coast of Hokkaido. Japan did not attempt to intercept the missile, which broke into pieces before landing offshore. Residents in Hokkaido were advised to take shelter while the missile passed. Hokkaido is the northern most prefecture in Japan, and its capital city Sapporo is approximately 1100 km from Tokyo. ISA's Tokyo Resident Director reported that the situation in Tokyo remains calm. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

August 26, 2017

On the morning of August 26th (local time), North Korea launched three short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea). The missile launch, which came in the midst of the U.S. and South Korea's joint Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises, was reportedly unsuccessful. Officials from the U.S. and Japan have remarked that this latest provocation from North Korea did not threaten the U.S., Japan or Guam.

ISA programs in Seoul and Tokyo are continuing to run uninterrupted and fall programs in Tokyo are expected to start as planned. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this Worldwide Alert as necessary.

August 11, 2017

On August 5th, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution imposing additional economic sanctions against North Korea as a result of their recent missile tests. In response to these sanctions, North Korean authorities have made various statements threatening the United States, which have been met in kind by statements from the U.S. administration. Among these threats, North Korean military authorities released a statement on August 9th threatening to launch missiles in the vicinity of the U.S. Territory of Guam. Despite this increased rhetoric, Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo released a statement saying that the security situation in Guam remains unchanged and that there has been "no change in the threat level resulting from North Korea events." Several security analysts have noted that the United States and South Korea are scheduled to begin their annual "Ulchi Freedom Guardian" joint-military exercises on August 21st. Historically, North Korean rhetoric towards the U.S. and South Korea has increased prior to these annual defensive exercises.

ISA South Korea and Japan staff have reported that the recent rise in rhetoric has not had an effect on daily life in Seoul and Tokyo, respectively. ISA programs currently on the ground in South Korea and Japan have not been impacted by these recent provocations, and all upcoming ISA programs in Asia are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

July 28, 2017

At approximately midnight on the evening of July 28th / morning of July 29th (local time), North Korea fired a ballistic missile not far from Panghyon Air Base in North Pyongan Province. Early reports indicate that the missile traveled for approximately 45 minutes and is believed to have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). American, Japanese, and South Korean officials have confirmed that the launch was a ballistic missile, though authorities have yet to determine the range of the missile that was fired.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea or Japan. All ISA Seoul and Tokyo programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

July 3rd, 2017

At approximately 9:40 a.m. (local time), North Korea fired a ballistic missile from Banghyon in North Pyongan Province. Early reports indicate that the missile traveled approximately 930 kilometers and may have landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea or Japan, though leaders of both countries continue to condemn North Korea's provocations. All ISA Seoul and Tokyo programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

May 28, 2017

Early Monday morning, May 29th (local time), North Korea fired a ballistic missile near the city of Wonsan, Kangwon province, toward the eastern part of the Korean Peninsula. According to a statement from South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the missile flew about 450 kilometers and reportedly landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. All ISA Seoul programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

May 21, 2017

Sunday afternoon, May 21st (local time), North Korea test fired a medium-range ballistic missile near the city of Puckchang in South Pyongan Province. The missile is believed to have traveled approximately 500 Kilometers (300 miles) and landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) between South Korea and Japan.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. All ISA Seoul programs are continuing to run as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

May 13, 2017

Early Sunday morning, May 14th (local time), North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile near the city of Kusong in North Pyongan province. The missile is believed to have traveled approximately 700 Kilometers (435 miles) and landed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) between South Korea and Japan. While South Korean and American authorities have yet to determine what type of missile was fired, initial reports suggest that it was not an intercontinental ballistic missile.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

April 28, 2017

Early Saturday morning, April 29th (local time), North Korea test-fired a ballistic missile, near Bukchang, South Pyeongan Province. The missile was supposedly fired in the direction of the Sea of Japan (East Sea), and it's actual distance traveled has yet to be determined, while some news outlets are reporting that the test failed. The missile test occurred several hours after U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, addressed the United Nations during a special meeting to call for increased pressure on North Korea. As recently as Wednesday, April 26th, the Trump administration noted that it was still focusing on economic and diplomatic resolution to the increased tension with North Korea, though both U.S. and North Korean leaders continue to exchange rhetoric.

At the time of this report, there have been no changes in the security situation in South Korea. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and our Worldwide Alert accordingly.

April 18, 2017

Recent weeks have seen an increase in tensions on the Korean Peninsula in addition to an increase in rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea (DPRK). ISA has been closely monitoring these developments, in addition to the upcoming election for a new South Korea president, and any impact these events may have on our Seoul programs. The U.S. State Department has not issued any travel alerts or warnings for South Korea, nor have there been any recommendations that U.S. citizens stop traveling to South Korea at this time. ISA Seoul resident staff has reported that daily life in Seoul remains largely unaffected by recent events, and our spring programs have proceeded uninterrupted. The Seoul staff has been in regular communication with spring students to remind them of ISA safety procedures, offer support, and advise students to keep their families back home updated on their well-being.

ISA's Office of Health, Safety and Security is continuing to monitor the security situation in South Korea, including, but not limited to, reviewing any travel recommendations provided by the U.S. and other relevant governments, analysis by trusted security resources, and the most up-to-date information on the situation on the ground provided by the Seoul resident staff. Currently, all ISA Seoul programs, current and upcoming, are expected to continue as planned. ISA will promptly communicate with students, their home universities and emergency contacts should there be any changes to the security situation in South Korea or our programs.

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For further information, please refer to ISA's Health and Safety section, particularly the information regarding the monitoring of world-wide security levels.

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