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 consultation.


Valparaiso and Viña del Mar

June 8th, 2018

Chilean students at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) remain on strike. ISA spring program dates have not been modified as a result of the strike, and we expect that all spring students will be able to successfully complete their programs as scheduled. PUCV administration has advised professors to work independently with international students in their courses with locals to allow them to complete any remaining coursework before their scheduled program end date.

ISA summer programs at the PUCV and semester programs at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez continue to be unaffected by the student movement. ISA staff will continue to monitor the situation and make recommendations to current and future ISA Chile students as needed.

May 17th, 2018

The Confederation of Chilean Students (CONFECH) is pursuing sanctions and increased prevention protocol for sexual harassment, assault, and gender-based discrimination at the university level, and in support of its position, has called for an indefinite nationwide strike by university students. 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. As of May 17th, students at the PUCV voted to join the proposed strike.

At this time, all courses offered to ISA students through PUCV's Program for International Students 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 been discontinued as a result of the strike. Students directly affected are working with their respective professors to receive instructions on how to complete necessary coursework. At this time, the academic calendar has not been changed, and students are expected to complete all coursework prior to the scheduled end of their program. The Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez is not a member of the Consejo de Rectores of Chilean Universities and thus, remains unaffected by the student movement.

The PUCV and ISA staff have been in close communication with students to inform them of any developments regarding the student movement, including course changes and suspensions. Yesterday, demonstrations associated with the movement took place, with the largest occurring in Santiago. ISA has reminded students to avoid any demonstrations and will make them aware of any planned protests in Valparaiso. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and make recommendations to students accordingly.



May 31st, 2018

After 11 days on strike, truck drivers in Brazil have reached an agreement with the government and have begun to remove roadblocks, allowing transportation to resume throughout the country. Although some areas of Brazil are still recovering from the impacts of the strike, such as delayed deliveries of gas and food, local sources have reported that the situation is normalizing and predict that it will continue to improve in the coming days.

ISA Brazil staff reported that the atmosphere in Florianópolis remained calm throughout the strike and that students have followed ISA recommendations to postpone independent travel plans until the country's operations fully normalize. All courses at the Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (UNISUL) were suspended this week due to the strike and a local holiday. The UNISUL plans to reopen as scheduled on Monday, June 4th. ISA staff have been in close communication with students regarding course cancellations and transportation updates and will continue to monitor the situation and advise students as needed

May 25th, 2018

A nationwide strike led by truck drivers in protest of rising fuel costs has caused disruptions to transportation and the fuel supply chain in various regions of Brazil. On the evening of May 24th, the Brazilian government and union leaders announced a temporary suspension to the strike; however, not all drivers are in agreement and some highways continue to be blocked. Although the situation has remained calm in Florianópolis, fuel shortages as a result of the strike have impacted transportation.

In Florianópolis, the public transportation system is still operational but the schedule has been reduced in an effort to conserve fuel. In anticipation of the strike continuing through the weekend, and possible disruptions to transportation as a result thereof, the host university, Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (Unisul) has suspended classes for international students from Monday, May 28th through Wednesday, May 30th. Students have been advised to communicate with their professors and complete their coursework from home. Courses taught with local Brazilian students have been suspended for Monday, May 28th. While Unisul has decided to allow students to work from home next week in order to avoid transportation issues, the university plans to remain open during this time. Unisul will be closed Thursday, May 31st and Friday, June 1st in observance of a local holiday.

Students have been informed of transportation and class schedule changes and have been advised to postpone any independent travel until the situation normalizes. ISA resident staff are monitoring local news for any related protests or demonstrations in Florianopolis, and will advise students appropriately. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and make recommendations to students.

South Africa

Port Elizabeth

May 4, 2018

NMU briefly re-opened this morning May 4th, but was closed by afternoon due to continued student demonstrations. ISA Port Elizabeth staff reported that the protests remained largely peaceful. ISA NMU students were informed of the developments and those on campus were advised to return to their accommodations. NMU lecturers are communicating directly with students about cancelled classes.

NMU Management is working towards a solution with the student organizers and the campus currently is expected to resume normal operations on Monday May 7th. ISA will continue to monitor the situation and advise students.

May 3, 2018

NMU remained closed today, May 3rd during on-going student demonstrations. The ISA Port Elizabeth resident staff promptly communicated this news to ISA NMU students and advised them to remain off campus. The demonstrations remained relatively peaceful, and NMU Management met with the student organizers to discuss their demands and work towards a solution. Currently, the campus is expected to open and resume normal operations, tomorrow May 4th.

ISA resident staff continues to follow the situation closely and will promptly advise students if any further disruptions occur.

May 2, 2018

Today, Tuesday May 2nd, Nelson Mandela University (NMU) cancelled all classes and closed campus due to student demonstrations. The ISA Port Elizabeth resident staff promptly communicated this news to ISA NMU students and advised them to remain off campus. The Port Elizabeth staff advised that the demonstrations on NMU campus remained largely peaceful and did not affect the student housing. There have been no disruptions or demonstrations at the University of Cape Town or the University of the Western Cape.

ISA resident staff are closely following the situation and will promptly advise students if any further disruptions occur. We will continue to update this World Wide Alert as needed.

United Kingdom

London and Reading, England; Stirling and Glasgow, Scotland

March 23, 2018

March 19th marked the official last day of the strike by the University and College Union (UCU), which came as UCU attempted to negotiate changes to its members' pension schemes with the Universities UK (UUK). The strike, which did not impact all institutions in the UK, passed peacefully and no unrest was reported on ISA host campuses. Though the strike officially ended, the UCU and the UUK were unable to come to a resolution on the pension matter. Until a resolution is reached, the potential for further disruption of university course schedules still exists and could impact the final exam and assessment periods.

ISA is in communication with all participating universities to confirm contingency plans in the event the examination periods are disrupted. ISA will continue to follow this situation closely and maintain close contact with affected ISA students. We will continue to update this Worldwide Alert as needed.

February 22, 2018

On February 22nd, 2018, lecturer members of the University and College Union (UCU) moved forward with planned strikes in opposition to their employers, Universities UK's (UUK), proposed changes to the pension scheme, (known as the Universities Superannuation Scheme), that affects 68 of the U.K.'s 108 universities. The strikes are scheduled to take place over 14 non-consecutive days between February 22nd and March 16th. Lecturers participating in the strikes, which are expected to remain peaceful, will cancel classes on certain dates, with no current plans in place to make up the missed lectures. Although some classes may be cancelled, universities are expected to remain open on the strike dates, and students will have access to campus facilities such as libraries and computer labs.

ISA England and Scotland resident staff reported that services were operating normally throughout the program cities and ISA host universities remained open today. All students have been advised to continue to go to any classes not cancelled, complete any assignments, and not participate in any demonstrations. The ISA London office remains open to students as a place to study, complete work and gather if and when their classes are cancelled. The ISA England and Scotland staff are in communication with our host universities as we continue to follow the situation closely. We will continue to update students and this WWA accordingly.

Korean Peninsula

Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan

November 28, 2017

On November 29th at approximately 3:30 a.m. (local time), North Korea launched a ballistic missile from Pyongsong in South Pyongan Province. Reports indicate that the missile traveled approximately 960 kilometers and landed in the Sea of Japan, around 250 kilometers off Japan's northern coast. Unlike some past launches, the missile did not pass over Japan and no alerts were issued in the country.

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

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.



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.

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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.