About Us: The Institute for Study Abroad, Butler University
Earthquake in Chile

A 7.0 earthquake has struck Chile this afternoon. The earthquake was centered near Concepcion, about 7 hours south of Santiago and the same location where an earthquake hit in February 2010. Our Chile resident directors, Isabel Yevenes and Viviana Vasquez, have been in contact with the IFSA-Butler U.S. office, and they have confirmed that the earthquake did not appear to significantly affect Santiago or Valparaíso.

Universities in Chile do not begin their semesters until later in February, so no students are currently in Chile as part of our programs.

 

 
Egypt Program Evacuation Timeline

On Monday, January 31, IFSA-Butler's 12 Alexandria program students and a U.S.-based staff member were evacuated successfully from Egypt. Below is the timeline of the evacuation:

Monday, January 31: A private charter plane arrived at the Alexandria airport and flew our students to Prague
Tuesday, February 1: IFSA-Butler made the decision to keep the students in Prague for several days because of severe winter weather throughout much of the U.S.
Thursday, February 3: The students left Prague, at no cost to them, to return to the U.S. or to fly to their alternate study abroad program locations. Of the 12 students, eight flew to other study abroad programs in Oman, Morocco, Dubai and France. One student chose to participate on an IFSA-Butler Australia program. The others returned home to re-enroll in their home colleges for the spring semester.

Our Egypt-based resident director and other staff are looking forward to welcoming students to Egypt as soon as the U.S. State Department Travel Warning for Egypt is lifted. In the meantime, IFSA-Butler is actively pursuing additional options in the Arab world for future programs.

The photo below shows some of our students at a farewell dinner in Prague. We wish them all the best for the remainder of the semester, as well as in their future study abroad experiences.

prague_farewell_dinner.jpg

 
Cyclone Hits Queensland

February 3, 2011
Cyclone Yasi has passed through northern Queensland yesterday. We are pleased to report that the storm appeared to cause only minor damage to James Cook University campuses. The worst of the storm passed through a town called Tully, about 130 miles north of Townsville and 90 miles south of Cairns. Despite plenty of property damage in Tully and the surrounding area, there have been no reported deaths or injuries from the storm.

Staff at JCU and our IFSA-Butler staff member in Townsville have been in touch with us throughout the storm and will continue to update us on storm damages. At this point we do not anticipate that our students' semester will be affected by the cyclone.

February 2, 2011
A cyclone has hit the state of Queensland, Australia. It made landfall at category 5 but has since been reduced to a category 3. The cyclone hit in an area between cities where IFSA-Butler has programs. Currently no IFSA-Butler students are in Queensland, as classes do not begin until later this month. IFSA-Butler Australia staff have made alternate plans for upcoming arrivals of student groups in northern Queensland, including James Cook University campuses in Townsville and Cairns, in case of destruction to facilities. IFSA-Butler students are not scheduled to arrive in the state for another eight days.

The storm is reportedly the largest tropical storm to hit the area since Europeans arrived more than 200 years ago. One of IFSA-Butler's staff members has been evacuated from the area and we look forward to hearing from her as soon as possible. We will also post updates on changes, if any, to our students' orientation, arrival or semester schedule as a result of this storm.

For more information:

Brisbane Times

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

 
Protests in Egypt

February 7, 2011
All students in Alexandria are gone from Prague and have either returned to the United States or arrived at their alternate study abroad destination. We are continuing to accept applications for our Egypt programs for future semesters and are assessing the political situation on a regular basis.

February 1, 2011
The charter flight carrying our 12 Alexandria students left Egypt on Monday and arrived in Prague early Tuesday morning. Some students have found alternate study abroad programs and are leaving for those programs directly from Prague, while others have made arrangements with their home colleges to re-enroll for the spring semester. We will be keeping the U.S.-bound students in Prague until Thursday due to the serious winter storms that are affecting much of the U.S.

January 31, 2011
IFSA-Butler has made the difficult decision to evacuate our Alexandria students. On Sunday, in anticipation of worsening unrest, the U.S. State Department announced the evacuation of all non-essential personnel and U.S. citizens over the weekend. IFSA-Butler had already begun the evacuation of students already in Egypt, and those students are awaiting departure from Egypt by charter flight.. Though we felt that our students were safe in Alexandria, we cannot run a program at this time because the university is closed indefinitely until the political situation stabilizes.

In addition, our Cairo programs are officially cancelled for the spring semester. Our Cairo students had originally been scheduled to depart today, but as with Alexandria University, universities in Cairo are closed.

We are offering all of our Egypt students alternate program options. These options are located at Southern Hemisphere universities that do not begin until February, so students would still be able to earn a full semester of credit.

January 29, 2011
IFSA-Butler continues to watch the Egypt situation closely to determine our next course of action for students. We have postponed the start of our Cairo programs since the Cairo universities have suspended classes indefinitely. We are exploring other academic options.

Our Alexandria students are now finished with orientation and living in their apartments. They have been advised to stay inside and avoid all public gatherings, though most of the protests are up to an hour away. They are well supplied with food and other necessities, thanks to Resident Director Dr. Mohamed El-Komi and Director of Student Services Chris Harrison, who came to Egypt with the students for orientation.

Communication between the Alexandria students and their parents has resumed since cell phone networks have been reactivated. Additionally, the IFSA-Butler Indianapolis office is speaking to Dr. El-Komi and Ms. Harrison daily and is updating parents after these conversations.

We will continue to make updates on the status of our programs as new details arise.

January 27, 2011
Protests are once again scheduled for tomorrow in Egypt. This time the protests are planned throughout the country but, as with the original demonstrations in Cairo earlier in the week, they are intended to be peaceful. However, some fear that the arrival of Egyptian Nobel laureate Mohamed El-Baradei and growing discontentment throughout Egypt may be cause for violence from police and/or protesters.

IFSA-Butler Director of Student Services Chris Harrison is currently in Egypt and reports that people are calm and going about business as usual. However, in consultation with our Egypt resident director, Dr. Mohamed El-Komi, and our Middle East Advisory Committee, we have made the following precautionary measures for our students:

  1. We have moved tomorrow's orientation meetings for Alexandria students to a site on the outskirts of Alexandria.
  2. Once the day's orientation meetings are finished and the students return to Alexandria, they will be strongly cautioned to stay in their apartments and away from the center of Alexandria. The apartments are about an hour's walk from the areas of Alexandria where protests are expected to be strong tomorrow.
  3. Plans are underway to delay the start of our Cairo programs.

For more information, we recommend the following websites:

BBC News
U.S. Embassy Cairo

January 25, 2011
IFSA-Butler is closely monitoring political protests in Cairo. The protests were planned in advance for today and were intended to be peaceful, but media outlets have reported that police are using tear gas and water cannons against demonstrators.

Opposition movements organized the demonstrations to protest against torture and human rights violations, as well as to ask Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek to step down.

Our Alexandria program students are currently in Egypt for the IFSA-Butler orientation. They have been outside of Cairo for orientation meetings and activities all day and have not witnessed significant protest activities. In addition, their hotel is located about 45–60 minutes from the nearest protests. Nevertheless, our staff in Egypt have advised students of the following safey precautions:

  • Do not leave your hotel
  • Do not take photos of police or protests
  • Avoid any activity or gathering that appears to be a protest or demonstration

Cairo University has been mentioned as a protest site, but our Cairo programs have not yet started, and the university was closed today because of a national holiday unrelated to the protests. Our Alexandria students will leave Cairo on Thursday to move into their housing in Alexandria.

For more information on this situation, we recommend the following news articles:

BBC
Al Jazeera
CNN

 
Flooding in Queensland

January 21, 2011
We are pleased to report that the University of Queensland has made outstanding progress in its flood cleanup. All four campuses, including St. Lucia, reopened yesterday, and the university reports that the St. Lucia campus is nearly back to its original condition. However, crews continue to work to restore outdoor sports and recreation facilities.

Cleanup and repairs are also continuing at a remarkable pace throughout the city of Brisbane.

IFSA-Butler's semester 1 program at UQ will begin as scheduled. Thanks to the efforts of thousands of volunteers, we do not foresee any changes to the orientation or move-in schedule.

For an update on the university's recovery, we recommend the UQ Back in Business video. We also recommend monitoring this page for new details on the cleanup.

January 18, 2011
Our on-site staff member in Brisbane, Christi Hoover, is reporting that much of the city is returning to normal. Power has been restored to most of Brisbane, and 90 percent of city buses and trains are running. Christi's update also included information about the campus cleanup and other aspects of life in Queensland:

Food and water
In some stores there are limited grocery items available, particularly fruits and vegetables. It is likely that supplies of produce will be limited in the near future and that prices will rise as a result of the crops throughout Queensland that are now devastated. As for drinking water, health officials are urging people to boil their water before drinking. This is just a temporary measure that probably will be rescinded by the time our students arrive next month.

Housing
Emmanuel College experienced minor flooding but sustained no major damage. The college is expected to be fully operational by the end of this week. Urbanest is without power at this time but will probably be reconnected by Wednesday or Thursday. St John's College was not affected by the flooding.

University of Queensland campus
The University of Queensland continues to try and clean its flooded facilities and to determine the extent of the water damage. Volunteers are working to remove water, mud and debris from academic buildings. For more information about the cleanup and its impact on international students, visit the university's FAQ page.

The university also has a photo page showing the aftermath of the flooding and the cleanup efforts. We recommend visiting the page to experience the terrific spirit of the UQ community!

 

January 12, 2011
Many parts of Brisbane continue to be evacuated, but St. Lucia (the area where University of Queensland is located) is not one of them. The Brisbane suburb of Nathan, where Griffith University is located, has not been affected by the flooding. Urbanest, a housing complex for University of Queensland students, is in an area with some flooding, but the housing complex itself is not expected to flood.

Southern Cross University, which is in the state of New South Wales near Queensland, reports that it is experiencing "minor inconveniences" due to heavy rains, but no flooding.

The Brisbane River is expected to peak to be at 11 a.m. local time on Wednesday. Unfortunately, more significant rain is forecast for the upcoming days and weeks.

Please be assured we are keeping in close contact with our on-site staff in Queensland so that we can continue to offer current and reliable safety advice for our arriving students.

For updated, accurate news regarding the flooding, we recommend visiting the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website.

January 11, 2011
Heavy rains have once again fallen in Queensland, causing flash flooding and water damage in much of the state. However, our program locations of Gold Coast, Townsville and Cairns remain free of flooding.

As of today, heavy rains have caused the Brisbane River to burst its banks. Authorities are evacuating some homes in Brisbane, but so far there have been no evacuations or serious flooding in areas where our students will be located.

As there are no major rivers running through the Gold Coast, no warning have been issued for this area of Queensland.

In the area near Townsville, there have been some highway and road closings, but no major disruptions in life. Of our four Queensland program locations, Cairns has received the least amount of rain and therefore is not at risk for flooding.

At this point, we anticipate that our semester 1 programs in the state of Queensland will begin as scheduled next month, but we will continue to monitor the situation, particularly in Brisbane.

For the latest updates, we recommend the news articles below. Also included is a flooding statement from the University of Queensland.

University of Queensland

Brisbane Times

BBC news

CNN

CBSnews

January 4, 2011
Staff in our Australia office have sent the following updates regarding our program locations in Queensland:
• Both Cairns and Townsville have not been flooded, nor is there a threat of flooding.
• However, many roads and bridges have been destroyed, and so a massive infrastructure plan will go into action soon as the waters have subsided.
• The rivers near Cairns and Townsville are expected to reach their maximum height tomorrow.

Brisbane and the Gold Coast remain unaffected by the flooding.
• There has been a lot of rain over the last two weeks and some flood warnings issued for some areas, but Brisbane and the Gold Coast have not been included in these warnings and remain fine. The forecast for the next week does include rain and possibly thunderstorms, but at this point there is no concern for excessive flooding.

More information can be found at:

http://www.bom.gov.au/qld/forecasts/index.shtml

http://www.disaster.qld.gov.au/news/default.asp


January 3, 2011
IFSA-Butler is monitoring a flooding situation in the state of Queensland, Australia. Much of western Queensland is in a state of emergency due to heavy rains and flooding, but our program locations in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Townsville and Cairns are not affected. Although Brisbane is the closest city to today's heavy flooding, it is still more than 380 miles from the hard-hit area of Rockhampton.

However, we will continue to review the safety of our program cities with the help of our on-site staff, and we will update our students, parents and advisors as necessary. Our Australia semester 2 program ended in November, and our semester 1 (spring) programs do not begin until February.

Media resources:

Courier Mail

Brisbane Times

 

 
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