International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987

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 consulation.



Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

As French authorities continue to search for the suspect in a fatal shooting attack at the Christmas Market in central Strasbourg on December 11th, the French government raised its security alert (Plan Vigipirate) to its highest level. While security operations are on-going in Strasbourg, the heightened alert level is for the entire country, and additional security forces are being deployed across France. Increased security measures can be expected at popular tourist attractions, public transportation hubs, outdoor Christmas markets, government buildings, and other significant landmarks. Additionally, identification checks at border crossings are being implemented.

Strasbourg is located in the northeast of France, close to France's border with Germany, and is approximately 300 miles from Paris. The ISA Paris program was not directly impacted by the attack in Strasbourg. All ISA Paris students have been made aware of the incident as well as the heightened security alert for the country, and the ISA Paris resident staff have reminded students to practice situational awareness and to keep their families back home updated on their well-being. All ISA Paris host institutions are operating normally and will continue to enforce their current security measures. The ISA Paris resident staff remain available to students and will continue to advise them appropriately. We will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this ISA Worldwide Alert accordingly.



December 8th, 2018

The "Gilets Jaunes," or yellow vests, demonstrated again in Paris and other cities across France today. Nearly 8,000 police officers and 12 armored vehicles have been deployed in Paris, and about 90,000 officers were deployed countrywide to control the crowds. Large crowds gathered around the Champs-Elysées, La République, Place de la Bastille, Place de la Nation and Porte Maillot. Water cannons and tear gas were utilized to disperse protestors who clashed with security forces, and reports indicate that hundreds of protestors were taken into custody throughout the day. Many businesses and museums throughout the city closed in anticipation of the demonstrations, and multiple metro stations were closed throughout the day. Although protests in Paris have largely ended for the day, police presence remains high.

ISA students were advised to stay home all day on Saturday, December 8th as a precaution, and ISA resident staff remained available to students throughout the day. Students were also advised to check in with their families back home to keep them updated on their well-being and to monitor their email for updates from ISA. There have been no reports of students being directly impacted by the protests. The "Gilets Jaunes" protests have been reserved for Saturdays, and currently, normal business operations are expected to resume tomorrow, Sunday, December 9th. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this ISA Worldwide Alert as necessary.

December 7th, 2018

Supporters of the "Gilets Jaunes", or yellow vests, plan to demonstrate again tomorrow, Saturday, December 8th, in Paris and throughout France, despite an announcement by the French government to cancel the fuel tax that initially sparked the protests. Protesters will march along the Champs-Elysees and elsewhere around the city. Many businesses and tourist attractions, including the Louvre and Eiffel Tower, will be closed on December 8th. Some sporting and other large events have been postponed. French authorities have deployed an additional 8,000 security officers to the city ahead of the protests.

As a precaution, ISA has advised students studying in and traveling to Paris to remain in their accommodations on December 8th. Students have further been advised to check in with their families back home to let them know they are safe, and to continue to monitor their email for updates from ISA. The "Gilets Jaunes" protests have been reserved for Saturdays and the ISA Paris resident staff report the city was largely calm throughout the week. Classes at ISA partner universities continued as normal. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update students and this ISA Worldwide Alert as necessary.

December 3, 2018

Saturday, December 1st, marked the third weekend of demonstrations and protests by the "Gilets Jaunes", or yellow vests, in Paris and throughout France. The yellow jackets are protesting a fuel tax that although intended to fight climate change, many believe will disparately impact France's middle and working class citizens, many of whom reside outside of France's larger metropolitan areas. Saturday's demonstrations in Paris, which largely took place in the areas near the Champs-Elysées and Tuileries Gardens, led to clashes with the police as protestors burned cars and buildings and vandalized shops and monuments, including the Arc de Triomphe, which sits at the top of the Champs-Elysées. Transportation systems were also affected, including the metro system, which periodically closed several stations.

ISA Paris resident staff have been communicating with students, notifying them of any planned demonstrations and instructing them to avoid those areas. This morning, December 3rd, all ISA host universities reopened to their regular class schedule and the metro is running as normal. The ISA Paris program is continuing to run uninterrupted by the protests. Students have been advised to check in with their families back home to let them know that they are safe, and to continue to check their email for any updates by the ISA Paris staff. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update this ISA Worldwide Alert as needed.


Valparaiso and Viña del Mar

November 28th, 2018

The Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso (PUCV) canceled classes today on the Casa Central campus in response to an anonymous threat against the university posted to a social media page on Tuesday, November 27th. Local officials responded quickly and believe the threat to be a hoax, with classes being canceled as a precaution. All PUCV courses that meet away from the Casa Central campus will continue as normal. The ISA Chile resident staff has communicated with all PUCV students and advised them to follow local news and avoid the area. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.



November 9th, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. CST

Authorities in Melbourne have continued the investigation into the incident, which is now being considered terror-related, though local officials do not believe there to be an ongoing threat to the public.

ISA programs in Melbourne remain unaffected and resident staff continues to be available to support students. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and update this WWA as necessary.

November 9th, 2018

At approximately 4:20 pm local time on November 9th, police responded to a vehicular incident near Burke Street Mall in Central Melbourne. A male suspect set a car on fire near the intersection of Bourke and Swanston streets, before brandishing a knife during a standoff with police. Several passersby were injured in the fatal attack. The police shot the assailant before taking him into custody. Authorities placed nearby buildings on lockdown, including the Bourke Street Mall. Although the lockdown has been lifted, the area remains cordoned off as officials continue their investigation. At the time of this report, the incident is not believed to be terror-related.

ISA Melbourne staff has contacted all Melbourne program participants, who are safe and accounted for. Students were advised to avoid the area and to check in with their families back home. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students accordingly.

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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.