About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Valparaíso program update

Updated Wednesday, March 3, 2:30 p.m. EST
IFSA-Butler has officially rescheduled the Valparaíso program start date for March 12. Below are some additional details about the new arrival date and our Valparaíso program.

1. If you are taking the group flight and you booked your domestic ticket through Advantage Travel, Advantage will also change your domestic ticket to arrive in Miami on March 11. Advantage will e-mail you with your updated domestic ticket details.

2. If you are taking the group flight but booked your domestic ticket on your own, contact your airline or travel agent to rebook your domestic flight. Be sure to book a flight that arrives in Miami at least two hours before the departure of the group flight (11:45 p.m.). Please e-mail your updated domestic travel plans to Donnetta Spears.

3. If you are traveling independently and are still in the U.S., contact your travel agent or airline to rebook your flight to Santiago. Please do not plan to arrive earlier than March 10 or later than March 12. E-mail your updated travel plans to Donnetta Spears.

4. If you are already in Chile, you may move into your host family's home on or after Saturday, March 6. Please contact our Valparaíso resident director, Viviana Vasquez, so that she can help you make arrangements to meet up with your host family

5. Orientation will now take place March 12-14. Obviously the originally planned sessions and activities will be consolidated, but our orientation will still cover essential academic, cultural and safety topics.

6. The Valparaíso universities have agreed to allow IFSA-Butler students to register for classes on March 15.

 

Updated Tuesday, March 2, 3:20 p.m. EST
We are continuing to receive information from our Valparaíso staff about the status of our affiliated universities and the safety of Chile in general. Below is an update on numerous issues related to our Valparaíso program:

  1. The universities in Valparaíso have announced their revised semester start dates: Universidad de Valparaíso will begin on March 10. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile will start classes on March 15 and Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María will start classes on March 22.
  2. These revised semester start dates will not affect the end dates for the semester. Each university has pledged to make arrangements for international students to end their semesters as scheduled.
  3. Our Valparaíso Resident Director, Viviana Vasquez, has confirmed that no host family home suffered significant damage from the earthquake.
  4. The media have been issuing reports of looting, robbery and assaults. However, these incidents are happening in the hardest hit areas near Concepcion, not in Valparaíso or Viña del Mar. Map of Chile
  5. If you are traveling independently to Chile, please do not rebook your ticket at this time. Although we are pleased to have received the semester start dates, we still are waiting to determine when the Santiago airport will be fully operational again. As we mentioned in Monday's update, we also are considering the viability of alternate arrival cities in the region. We will be sure to inform everyone as quickly as possible about the revised arrival date and arrival city.


Updated Monday, March 1, 4:45 p.m. EST

IFSA-Butler has cancelled the March 2 group flight to Santiago, Chile, that was scheduled for our Valparaíso students. We are working hard to establish an updated arrival date for Valparaíso students, but the safety of our students is paramount. Therefore, we are monitoring updates from the following entities so that we can establish a safe, realistic arrival date, arrival city and orientation program for students:

-Universities in Valparaíso: The universities must assess damage to university buildings and determine when classes may start for the semester. Campus officials were scheduled to meet about this issue at noon Valparaíso time Monday, but this meeting was delayed until late Monday afternoon.

-U.S. Department of State, which issued a travel alert for Chile earlier Monday. The alert strongly discourages non-essential travel to Chile at this time, mostly due to the situation at the Santiago airport (see below).

-American Airlines, our group flight airline. American is canceling flights to Santiago on a day-by-day basis.

-Santiago airport officials: Although some flights are landing, non-passengers are not being allowed in the damaged airport terminal. Instead, arriving passengers are being shuttled to several different bus stations. We will not fly our students into Santiago until we are confident that our staff can meet them in a single, secure location in the terminal.

Below are some actions that IFSA-Butler is currently taking to ensure safety once the program does begin:

  1. We are working with Advantage Travel to rebook all group flight travelers (both the domestic and international portions of their tickets) as quickly as possible once a new arrival date is established.
  2. We are considering alternative arrival cities in Latin America in case the Santiago airport is not a safe option for our arriving students.
  3. We are considering alternative orientation and/or intensive Spanish language class locations in the event that Valparaíso university buildings are unusable.
  4. Our Valparaíso resident director, Viviana Vasquez, is working to verify that all Valparaíso host family homes are structurally sound with no significant damage from the earthquake.
  5. Viviana has confirmed that the infrastructure of both Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are quickly returning to normal. Electric power, water, phones and gas have returned to most of the area, though there are planned 48-hour periods of water shutoffs for repairs this week.

 

 

 
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