About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Bush Fires in Australia

September 10, 2013

IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring the recent outbreak of bush fires in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW). Currently there are four major fires located at least 30 miles outside of Sydney, all of which have been downgraded from “emergency” to “watch and act” by the NSW Rural Fire Service. Cooling temperatures and the possibility of rain in the next few days is expected to help reduce the number and intensity of all fires currently burning in NSW’s rural areas. While IFSA-Butler students are not at risk, reports indicate that smoke from the fires can be smelled in Sydney and outlying areas.

With the increase in temperature and decrease of precipitation during Australia’s spring and summer months (September to February), bush fires in rural areas of NSW are common. During the mandatory IFSA-Butler orientation at the beginning of the semester, fire safety is discussed in length with all students. When students are planning a trip to the Australian bush for hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities, they are advised to check first with the weather service as well as with the NSW Rural Fire Services for current weather conditions, fire notifications and fire bans. Additionally, all students are to complete an online Travel Registration Form which notifies our Australia resident staff of a students’ trip details. Students may also contact our Australia resident staff with questions and concerns at any time.

We will continue to monitor this situation throughout Australia’s summer months and provide any relevant updates as needed. Feel free to contact our Indianapolis office if you have any questions and concerns. For further information, please see the following resources:

BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24028790

NSW Rural Fire Services: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?CAT_ID=1109

Australian Government: http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-weather-and-the-seasons

 
IFSA-Butler Statement to Israel Students

Friday, August 30, 2013

IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring the potential U.S. strike on Syria. According to our security intelligence provider, Max Security Solutions, the Israeli Defense Forces deployed the country's Iron Dome missile defense battery to the northern portion of Israel. The three missile defense systems are meant to intercept short- and medium-range rockets that could be fired from Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Assad regime in Syria. Additional deployments and preparations are likely over the coming days, which are meant to both deter and prevent the Assad regime or its allies from launching successful attacks into Israeli territory. The Iron Dome missile defense system is highly accurate.

According to many sources, attacking Jerusalem at this time is unlikely, so university courses and orientation activities are proceeding as planned. IFSA-Butler will continue to closely review the situation, consulting with our security intelligence provider, governmental resources and our partners in Israel.

IFSA-Butler students who just arrived in Jerusalem to start their semester at Hebrew University have been attending lengthy sessions on safety and security, which include instructions on how to respond in the event of a missile strike. All buildings on Hebrew University's campus have safe rooms, as does each student apartment in the Student Village complex. Students were provided cell phones upon arrival, which they can use to contact the IFSA-Butler student services coordinator and Hebrew University staff at any time. Cell phones should remain turned on at all times.

IFSA-Butler and Hebrew University have trained staff and established emergency plans in place should an emergency arise in Israel. Students were provided with an 24/7 emergency telephone number which they can use to contact our staff in Israel. We will be closely monitoring this situation over the holiday weekend, and we will provide you with any necessary updates. Should you have any questions or concerns over the weekend, please feel free to email Assistant Director for Safety and Security, Eryn Espín-Kudzinski.

 
New Zealand Earthquake on South Island on August 16

Friday, August 16, 2013

IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand at 12:31 p.m. on Friday, August 16 (New Zealand time), followed by a strong 5.7 magnitude aftershock. The epicenter of the earthquake was located at the top of the South Island, approximately 40 miles south-east of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. The earthquake was felt in Wellington; however, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported at this time. Additionally, only minor damage to buildings in Wellington has been reported.

IFSA-Butler resident staff in New Zealand followed all safety protocols, contacting students to determine their status as well as contacting Indianapolis headquarters to report the event. As a result, IFSA-Butler has accounted for all students, and everyone is doing fine. The scheduled cultural events for Saturday, August 17 and volunteering event for Sunday, August 18 are still running as planned.

Due to New Zealand’s location in the Pacific, earthquake activity is a normal part of daily life. Most earthquakes are small in magnitude, yet students will still frequently feel tremors. Because of this, IFSA-Butler staff teach students how to prepare for and respond safely to earthquakes during the mandatory program orientation at the beginning of the semester. IFSA-Butler staff follows the advice laid out by New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence (sic) and Emergency Management (www.civildefence.govt.nz). The basic safety message is to “drop, cover, and hold (on)” (www.getthru.govt.nz/web/GetThru.nsf/web/BOWN-7GY5TP?OpenDocument). Additionally, building codes in New Zealand are of a very high standard and strictly enforced to maintain public safety.

All students in New Zealand are also provided a card with emergency contact information for the IFSA-Butler New Zealand resident staff. Students can call this number 24/7 should they need assistance or guidance for any emergency situation.

We will continue to monitor this situation in New Zealand and provide any updates as needed. For further information, please see the following media outlets:

ABC
www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-16/earthquake-strikes-south-of-wellington-nz/4892248

New Zealand Herald
www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10913399

BBC
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23721969

 
July 21 earthquake in New Zealand

New Zealand Earthquake near Wellington New Zealand on July 21

A magnitude 6.5 earthquake occurred 35 miles south southeast of Wellington, New Zealand, on Sunday morning local time. There was no tsunami warning issued and no major structural damage reported, but there were two injuries reported. While isolated power outages have occurred, most residents do have power and other utilities.

Guy Ferguson, IFSA-Butler's student services coordinator in Wellington, has contacted all IFSA-Butler students in the area to ensure that they are safe. Because earthquakes can be unsettling, students are urged to call him if they want to talk. Local university staff will also be available to speak to our students about any safety concerns.

Both of IFSA-Butler's affiliated universities in Wellington, Victoria University and Massey University Wellington, are closed on Monday July 22, to ensure that no structural damage occurred to campus facilities. Classes will likely resume on Tuesday.

Train and air travel are suspended until further notice. Wellington authorities are asking residents not to go into the central business district on Monday, July 22, so that engineers and authorities have the chance to check the city for damage.

As a nation that is part of the earthquake zone known as the Ring of Fire, residents of New Zealand and its government are prepared for responding to earthquakes. Buildings and infrastructure are built under strict standards to withstand earthquakes. In addition, all IFSA-Butler students in New Zealand are prepped about earthquake safety during orientation, and the IFSA-Butler New Zealand Student Handbook contains additional information about earthquake safety.

There will be an update to this message on Monday, July 22.

Resources:

Victoria University: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/home/default

Massey University Wellington: http://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/about-massey/news/article.cfm?mnarticle_uuid=085C780B-F49C-E889-7998-DDC4E153D448

http://www.getthru.govt.nz/web/GetThru.nsf/web/BOWN-7GY5TP  Instructions about how to prepare for an earthquake as well as what to do when one occurs and what to do afterwards.

http://www.google.org/publicalerts/alert?aid=648ba36324a7131a&hl=en&gl=US&source=web Update from the US Geological survey with map showing distance from land and Wellington city.

New Zealand Local News Sources:

http://m.tvnz.co.nz/news/top_stories/5516106

http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/894538/Big_quake_shakes_central_New-Zealand

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Student Strikes in Chile

Students at some universities in Chile have been on strike since early May, demanding lower tuition costs and other education reforms. These strikes have been relatively peaceful, but are expected to last into semester 2 (fall semester). Click here to read our FAQs about university strikes abroad.

Strikes have been much more widespread in Santiago than in Valparaíso, so our office in Valparaíso has been coordinating academic options for our students with university partners. Because of these strikes, our semester 2 students in Valparaíso have been informed of the following updates:

Students will still take courses at our host institutions, but these courses will likely be taught for international students only.
IFSA-Butler program courses, including the internship option in Valparaíso, will not be affected by these strikes.
As it appears that students will not be able to take classes with Chileans, we will be focusing on additional ways they can get involved in the community, including volunteering and local cultural activities.
It is illegal for non-Chilean students to take part in student demonstrations or protests.
We believe that even with the challenges presented by these strikes, students will have a full study abroad experience, and at the same time gain a unique perspective on history in the making and the way democracy unfolds in Chile. However, we are also giving our Valparaíso students the option of changing to IFSA-Butler programs in Santiago, Lima, Peru, or in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Students, parents and advisors are welcome to contact Erika Ryser-Garcia, Director for Programs in Latin America and Spain, about this situation. She can be reached via email or at 317-940-4220.

 

 
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