About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Zika Virus in Latin America

January 25, 2016

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel alert for people traveling to regions and countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The CDC describes Zika as:

  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon
  • Deaths are rare

However, the Zika virus has also been linked to increases in microcephaly cases, which cause underdeveloped brains in infants. At this point, the CDC advises that pregnant women, and women trying to get pregnant, consider postponing their travel to these regions.

For the average traveler like students preparing to study abroad, the risk seems to be similar to other vector borne diseases in the region, such as dengue or chikungunya. The best advice for students is to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or IR3535. Always use as directed. Insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin and IR3535 are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than two months when used according to the product label. Oil of lemon eucalyptus products should not be used on children under three years of age.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents)
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any relevant updates. The full CDC warning can be found here:

Centers for Disease Control

Please contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security with any questions or concerns.

 
Car Bomb in Tel Aviv

January 19, 2016  

IFSA-Butler is monitoring events in Tel Aviv, Israel, where a car bomb exploded early this morning in close proximity to the stock exchange in Ramat Gan, which is about 45-60 minutes away from our Hebrew University program in Jerusalem.  Initial reports indicate that three people were wounded, and the incident is suspected to be criminal activity rather than related to terrorism.  All IFSA-Butler students and staff are accounted for and busy with orientation in Jerusalem. 

We take student safety and security very seriously. A dedicated team of individuals regularly monitors the reports mentioned above, assesses current security conditions in all IFSA-Butler program locations and surrounding areas, as well as responds to emergencies and critical incidents that may happen during the course of a program. Additionally, the program orientation includes several discussions on safety and security. Our students can contact our student services manager in Israel 24/7 at an emergency number given to them during the orientation.

We will continue to monitor this situation and provide any relevant updates. More information on this incident can be found here:

Times of Israel

Please contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security with any questions or concerns.

 
Flooding in Lancaster

Update: December 11, 2015

Full power was restored to campus on December 9. Areas in the region around Lancaster are still experiencing the effects of Storm Desmond. The City Center in Lancaster is gradually returning to normal, and graduation ceremonies took place this week.    

Students were informed that they could return to campus accommodation if they wished, though many chose to stay on campus throughout the power outage. Classes remain cancelled and departments at Lancaster are in the process of communicating revised assessment arrangements directly to students. This should be completed by December 14.  

IFSA-Butler staff in England and our Academic Affairs department in the U.S. will continue to stay in communication with students to make sure they are safe and aware of any academic obligations as they finish up their time abroad. Students can contact our resident staff at any time if they have any questions or need assistance.  

If you should have any additional questions or concerns, please contact us at 800-858-0229. Academic questions should be directed to Rhonda Hinkle, Assistant Director of Academic Affairs.

December 7, 2015

IFSA-Butler is monitoring a developing situation for students finishing their term at Lancaster University. There has been severe flooding in and around Lancaster over the weekend. All IFSA-Butler students are safe and accounted for. IFSA-Butler staff members in England have been in touch with each student individually.  

However, the flooding has submerged an electricity substation and has left many homes without power. The university was without power for most of the weekend. Over the weekend, Lancaster University made the decision to close the school and cancel all classes this week following problems with electricity and running water. Power was restored on campus on Monday, December 7 from emergency generators and students are being well looked after.  

Lancaster University will communicate more formally with students and IFSA-Butler directly regarding end of term assessments as they work to return to normal operations. IFSA-Butler staff in England will continue to stay in communication with students to make sure they are safe and comfortable.    

More information on this incident can be found here:
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-35020049

 
Travel Safety Update

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In light of recent world events IFSA-Butler has been closely monitoring world news, reports from the U.S. Department of State and the government of the United Kingdom, as well as security information from our private security intelligence company.

At this time, all IFSA-Butler programming for both fall/semester 2, 2015 and spring/semester 1, 2016 study abroad programming will continue as originally planned. Official program dates can be found on the IFSA-Butler website.

We take your safety and security very seriously. A dedicated team of individuals regularly monitors the reports mentioned above, assesses current security conditions in all IFSA-Butler program locations and surrounding areas, as well as responds to emergencies and critical incidents that may happen during the course of a program. Each IFSA-Butler program location counts on the dedication and expertise of our fulltime resident staff, whom are our local experts on your host country and city.

Before studying abroad, we suggest you check out the following resources:

  1. Review country specific information on the U.S. Department of State (http://www.travel.state.gov/) website for valuable information on topics ranging from safety and security to visa requirements.
  2. Register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) (http://www.travel.state.gov/) .
  3. Check out the Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov/) website for information regarding health concerns and recommended vaccinations for your program location.
  4. Read up on local news and current events. News outlets like the BBC provide excellent coverage and in-depth background information to provide you with a good understanding of recent events.
  5. Speak with CISI about any physical or mental health conditions that you may have in order to verify insurance coverage and access to medications while abroad.
  6. Contact your program advisor directly if you have any questions about safety and security at your host university or program location.
 
Update on Paris Attacks
November 14, 2015

Last night, IFSA-Butler located 20 program students who are visiting Paris over the weekend. The students have reported that they are safe and sheltering-in-place in their Paris accomodations. Parents and home university advisors of these students have been notified of their students' wellbeing.

At this time, IFSA-Butler recommends that all students in Paris continue to shelter-in-place until the French government lifts the State of Emergency and local authorities verify that it is safe to move about the city. Students have been advised to continue with their regularly scheduled travel plans back to their respective study abroad programs. The French airports and train stations are open; however, they are running on a slight delay. Students should therefore contact their transportation provider ahead of time to confirm departure times, as well as arrive at the airport or train station several hours before departure.

IFSA-Butler students with travel plans to Paris this weekend have been advised to reschedule their trips for the time being.

We will continue to monitor developments coming out of France over the weekend. For more information, please see the following resources:

BBC (http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-europe-34815972)

CNN (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/13/europe/paris-attacks-at-a-glance/index.html)

U.S. Embassy (http://france.usembassy.gov/usc_travelinfo.html)

Contact Eryn Espín-Kudzinski, Director of Health, Safety and Security, with any questions or concerns.

 
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