Health & Safety

Your safety and well-being abroad is our top priority. At CISabroad, we have several measures in place to ensure your safety and security, including pre-departure and onsite orientations, 24/7 emergency assistance in-country and in the United States, and comprehensive health insurance included in all of our programs.

This section is for periodic updates of world events - natural disasters, political situations, disease outbreaks - that are currently affecting or could affect our programming locations and the participants that are or will be onsite.

February 1, 2017

A letter from the CISabroad President: 

Dear Colleagues, Partners, and Friends,

We are aware that President Donald Trump signed three Executive Orders this week that will affect some international students and scholars studying and working in the US. CISabroad has international students studying abroad with us but currently none are affected directly. However, our students, staff, and colleagues are concerned about what this type of action and stance means in the long-term for them, their family and/or their friends.

We at CISabroad believe that a safer and more peaceful world is made possible through international exchange, cultural awareness, diplomacy, and shared friendships and journeys that cross borders.

We are watching and listening, supporting our Muslim partners and neighbors, reaching out to our participants and applicants, and participating in international events and in NAFSA’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. next month.

We are committed to our vision of creating a more connected and compassionate world, one person at a time.

We are committed to sending students abroad for amazing, joyous, challenging experiences. 

We are committed to challenging ourselves, as a staff, to participate in activities that bring us closer with those across the world who experience discrimination due to race, religion, or gender identity. 

Explore. Learn. Embrace Diversity. Revel. Go places. 


Kris Holloway and the CISabroad Team"

January 18, 2017

There was a strong earthquake in Central Italy about early afternoon local time, with several after shocks ensuing. The main affected area is located between Lazio and Abruzzo regions about 110 km from Rome. All the CIS Rome and Perugia students have been contacted and they're all safe. Our participants in Florence were not impacted. At the moment schools, public offices and some hospitals have been evacuated in Rome but there are no significant damages to buildings and It seems there are no victims - at least in Rome. The metro in Rome has been closed about 50 minutes ago and the public transportation system in general is having problems. The phone lines and Internet are having issues in all Central Italy and there is no electricity in most province of L'Aquila (Abruzzo region).

December 20, 2016

Update to situation in Berlin: The incident is still under investigation, however, all participants on our Germany program have already finished their programs and departed for home. Our thoughts are with those affected in Germany and beyond. 

December 19, 2016

A situation involving a large truck driving through crowds at a Christmas fair in Berlin, Germany is currently unfolding. We are monitoring the situation and will update this site as we learn more about this incident. 

December 19, 2016

 At approximately 2:00 am local time, an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude struck on the coast of Ecuador, about 20 km from Esmeraldas. Our onsite staff reports that everyone onsite in Quito are fine, but there were damages in some coastal cities, specially in Atacames and Tonsupa (beaches of the Esmeraldas province).  Our thoughts are with the people of the affected areas. 

November 28, 2016

Hurricane Otto hit northern Costa Rica last Thursday/Friday, killing at least 9 individuals and causing an estimated 8 million dollars in damages to roadways as of Thursday evening. The president declared three days of mourning starting today.

Our partner university cancelled some courses on Thursday morning, however, as the damage was contained to the north part of the country, courses resumed on Thursday afternoon; even the Thanksgiving dinner went off as planned. All of our students are safe and well, but our thoughts and prayers are wth the people of the northern communities of Costa Rica as they begin to rebuild. 

November 13, 2016

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the South Island, near Hanmer Springs at 12.02 am local time. Civil Defence has downgraded the tsunami warning to a marine and beach threat for the East Coast of New Zealand, from East Cape to Southland, and also the Kapiti Coast and Tasman Bay/Marlborough Sounds. All CISabroad participants currently in New Zealand have been reported safe by our onsite staff. Our thoughts are with the people of the affected areas at this time. 

October 30, 2016

Italy: There was a very strong Earthquake (between 6,5 and 7,1) this morning at 7.40 am local time in the provinces of Perugia, Ascoli Piceno and Macerata. 

Many buildings collapsed in the following towns: Norcia, Preci, Visso, Arquata, Castel S. Angelo. The Earthquake was felt all over Italy, including Rome and Florence. The metro has been closed in Rome and many trains/buses have been cancelled all over Central Italy. All students have been informed of this, and reminded of the CISabroad emergency procedured on site.

We are glad to report that all our students in Perugia have been reported safe by our onsite staff: Our thoughts are with the people of the affected areas at this time. 

October 27, 2016

Italy: All students and interns in Perugia and Rome have been reported safe. Our heart goes out to the people who suffered losses in these recent earthquakes. 

October 26, 2016


A second earthquake, reported at 6.0 earthquake struck the Marche region of Italy at approximately 9:15pm local time. Buildings and phone lines are reported damaged, but there have been no reports of fatalities. We are in constant contact with our onsite staff who has confirmed the safety of all students in Perugia. 

A 5,4 earthquake was reported near Umbria in Italy at about 7:00 pm local time. The most affected area is located 60 km away from Perugia; our onsite staff reported that it was also felt in Rome. Phone lines may have been effected, but no victims have been reported. Our onsite staff is reaching out to students in Rome and Perugia to ensure everyone's safety and well-being. We are monitoring the situation and will update this page as appropriate. 

October 13, 2016

Thailand: Today the Thai government announced the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. There is now an official period of mourning of one year from 14 October 2016. Our participants have been informed the great importance of respecting the feelings and sensitivities of the Thai people at this time; to refrain from speaking negatively about the late King and royal family, and that they should behave respectfully when in public areas; if possible, wearing sombre and respectful clothing when in public; and follow the advice of the local authorities. We are monitoring the situation and will update this page as appropriate. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Thailand.

September 21, 2016

Costa Rica Update: According to local news, the Juan Santamaria International Airport has been re-opened and is currently operating on time, or close to on time. As always, we recommend that participants check the status of their flight with the airlines prior to departure. Our site director reports that the ash is a nuisance, but that everyone onsite is doing just fine. 

September 20, 2016

Costa Rica Update: According to local news, the Juan Santamaria International Airport is scheduled to re-open today at 11:00 am local time.   

September 19, 2016

This morning there were a series of eruptions of Volcan Turrialba, 50 kilomaters east of San Jose, Costa Rica, which resulted in the closing of airports and ash falling in the city of San Jose, the location of CISabroad programs. According to our site director in Costa Rica, participants are not in any danger, but is closely monitoring the situation. We will update this page as new information becomes available.   

September 2, 2016

Our thoughts are with the people affected by the earthquake in New Zealand, but all our program participants and onsite staff have reported that they are all fine, and didn't even feel a tremor.

September 1, 2016

Early local time, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit off the northeast coast of Gisborne, New Zealand. Thankfully, there were no immediate reports of any injuries, and our program locations are not in close proximity to the affected area. CISabroad staff and our partner universities' staff are confirming the safety of our students as they approach the morning hours on Friday and will update this page as soon as we know more. 

August 24, 2016

A 6.2 earthquake has struck the central region of Italy. Thankfully CISabroad has no students on site in Italy at the moment, and our onsite staff and partners, including our partner in Perugia, have reported that all staff is safe and and buildings are undamaged. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

August 12, 2016

This morning CISabroad was made aware of several explosions from small bombs in Southern Thailand.  At the moment authorities are uncertain of the motive behind the event, and no one has come forward yet to say they were responsible for the attacks. The location of two of the bombings took place in the city of Hua Hin, approxmately 200 kilometers (124.5 miles) and 2.5 hours away from Salaya, Thailand where Mahidol University International College is located and our students study and live on our semester programs. The area of Salaya, northwest of Bangkok, is a quiet area outside of the capital that has seen close to zero political protests or other activity related to the current political unrest in the country.

Currently there are no CISabroad participants on sponsored programs in Thailand. The CISabroad Fall Semester in Thailand program, scheduled to begin on September 3rd, is still planned to run with our normal health and safety practices and procedures in place. We take the health, safety and security of our participants very seriously and will continue to monitor the situation.

We are committed to providing our participants with safe, enriching programming abroad.  Our Semester in Thailand program remains one of our most popular destinations for students, and despite the recent tragedies we are confident in our upcoming delivery of this program for the Fall.  Our hearts go out to the victims and families affected by these tragedies.

July 25, 2016

In light of recent, horrific events around the Globe, although we cannot prevent them from happening, nor even predict them, CISabroad continues to advocate for international travel through an academic and professional lense along with having specialized team members on the ground, and of course a solid risk mitigation-, and emergency response plan. By dispelling the invisible veils that separate us through compassion, exposure, and understanding we move closer toward a more peaceful world. If not ironically enough, the DOJ recognized education abroad collaborative Forum recently came out with a recent study about the differences in safety when going abroad. Please look for updates on our Facebook , our website, or give us a call if you would like to touch base.

July 22, 2016

News emerging from Germany report of a shooting at a shopping center in Munich. We are saddened to hear of yet another incident where civilians are targeted and our thoughts are with the families of the victims, and those injured. Thankfully, CISabroad currently has no students on programs in Germany.

July 15, 2016

Update: Last night, a man rammed his large truck through crowds of pedestrians along Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France during Bastille Day celebrations.  Over 80 people are reported dead with hundreds more injured. 

All of our students in France are okay and have reported safe by onsite staff.  We are currently reaching out to all of European participants and checking on what they have indicated on their required travel forms to ensure they were not traveling through France.

We will keep you abreast of the safety of our European based students and update this page as more information becomes available. 

July 14, 2016

We are saddened about the news of an attack in the city of Nice, in the southern part of France and our hearts go out to the people of Nice; the victims and their families.  All CISabroad participants on our programs in Paris and Aix-en-Provence are reported safe.

July 13, 2016

Zika Virus Update: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a global health emergency on January 28, 2016, making extra resources available to combat the spread of the virus.

The CISabroad Risk Management Team is carefully monitoring this public health threat and will take every reasonable precaution to ensure the health and safety of our participants. Please review this infographic and visit the Center of Disease Control's webiste to learn more about the Zika Virus.

July 12, 2016

This morning we are saddened by the reports of  a head-on collision between two passenger trains near Corato, Bari province (map). According to initial reports of this developing incident, several lives have been lost, with many more people injured during the crash. Our programs, located in Florence, Perugia and Rome are unaffected, but our thoughts are with the families of the victims.

July 10, 2016

Today at 9:10 pm local time, two significant earthquakes struck the coastal Esmeraldas province of Ecuador.  We are pleased to report that all CISabroad participants are reported safe, and despite these powerful quakes, it's business as usual for our programs in Ecuador. Our thoughts of safety and support go out to our friends in this beautiful and incredible country.

June 28, 2016

On Tuesday, 28 June, emerging media reports about an evolving situation at the Istanbul's Ataturk Airport (IST) indicate that at least twenty-eight people have been killed and 60 injured following a gun and bomb attack.

CISabroad does not operate programs where there are US Travel Warnings, so we have no programs running in Turkey, and even with independent student travel thoughout Europe, our program participants inform our onsite staff of their travel plans through mandatory travel forms and are advised not to travel in countries where there is a travel warning. 

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. 

June 28, 2016

Press Release: 

“How Brexit will affect students studying abroad in the UK”

NORTHAMPTON, MA June 28th, 2016

CISabroad, an international education organization, sends hundreds of U.S. university students to London and Edinburgh on summer, semester, internship and faculty-led academic programs every year. We’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in our almost two decades doing this work.  What effect will Brexit, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, have on U.S. students studying and working abroad? Here’s our opinion:

Nothing will change right away.  The change will take two years and then some. “Stay calm and carry on” as they say. 

Education system: The effect is unlikely to be in the academic system itself, and more likely to be in its price tag to UK and to EU students. However, for U.S. students, due to the relatively higher cost already charged to visiting students, the UK will remain the same or decrease. (ex: a year at the University of Roehampton, Britain’s #1 Modern University, is just about $30k per year for tuition and housing.)

Finances:  Sterling down = dollar up. A better exchange rate will make London a more affordable travel and study abroad destination.  

Health & Safety: likely to remain the same, as the systems and infrastructure to ensure student safety are bigger and wider than this decision.

Culture: Our on-site director in London, Regina Tingle, mentioned that talking politics in Britain isn’t taboo, and this subject is a great way for U.S students to get tight-lipped Brits talking passionately. Our students in London are sure to ask them about Brexit and they are sure to give their opinion. Put the kettle on, it’s time for a chat. 

“In times of change, we can tend to hunker down and stick with what is familiar,” says Kris Holloway, President of CISabroad. “But a recent study shows it’s safer to study abroad than to stay on-campus. Perception is everything. We don’t know what this change means for the future. We do know that travel has never been safer, and that it’s an exciting time to witness history in the making and connect with local people on issues that affect us all; how cool is that?”

CISabroad is known for its welcoming company culture here in the U.S. as well as its affordability and innovative cultural programming in other countries. CISabroad is a member of NAFSA, the National Association of International Educators and one of the original members of The Forum on Education Abroad. The company has employees in 22 countries, and is based at 17 New South Street in Northampton, MA. To find out more about CISabroad check out our website at: 

For all press inquiries please contact Karen Carswell,, 413.923.8420

June 6, 2016

Australia: A severe storm has caused heavy rains and strong winds to the East Coast of Australia, including Sydney and the Gold Coast, with 3 people reported dead and several missing. Our Site Director has reported all program participants safe and accounted for. 

June 3, 2016

Paris, France: On June 2, French President Hollande declared a state of natural disaster around the Paris area due to heavy rains across France, which has caused the river Seine, which runs through Paris to burst its banks in certain locations. Transportation has been disrupted and the Louvre and  Musée d'Orsay museums has been closed, so that staff can evacuate works of art threatened by rising flood waters. All our program participants and staff onsite have been reported safe. 

May 25, 2016

According to media sources on Wednesday, 25 May, a 650ft stretch of road collapsed on the Ponte Vecchio in central Florence cutting off water supplies to parts of the city. No injuries are reported, program participants have been informed, and the water has already been turned back on so there should be no lingering issues for our participants and staff in Florence. 

May 18, 2016

According to local media outlets, the western part of Ecuador was hit by another earthquake and aftershock today near Rosa Zarate, Esmeraldas Province. Some minor structural damage has been reported, mainly to buildings which were weakened by the tremor on April 17.   

We are pleased to report that all CISabroad participants are reported safe, and despite these powerful quakes, it's business as usual for our programs in Ecuador. Our thoughts of safety and support go out to our friends in this beautiful and incredible country of Ecuador.

April 17, 2016

As many of you have probably heard by now, there was a significant and devastating earthquake that occurred in the Esmeraldas coastal region of Ecuador. We have heard from our Site Director in Quito and all students currently in Ecuador have been confirmed safe. Our thoughts of safety and support go out to our friends in this beautiful and incredible country of Ecuador.

March 30, 2016

Our top priority at CISabroad always (and especially in the current global climate) is the safety and health of our students. It isn’t just one person, system, preparation, or response that keeps our students calm, supported, and safe, but many approaches and an entire team near and afar. 

As a reminder CISabroad uses a numerous measures to ensure responsible program delivery and emergency management which include: 

  • Risk Management Training and Professional Development 
  • Careful Choice of Program Locations and Overseas Partners
  • Student Health Questionnaire
  • Pre-departure Orientation
  • On-site Orientation
  • International Medical and Accident Insurance
  • On-site support and 24/7 Emergency Assistance
  • Experienced CISabroad Crisis and Emergency Response Team
  • Independent Travel Forms
  • Close Monitoring of Global News and Safety Alert
  • Regular Re-evaluation and Assessment


We also strive to adhere and exceed Forum Standards set forth in our field. They recently released a few more resources including Advocating for Student Safety Abroad: Working Together at Home and Abroad which carefully speaks to how all of us can continue feeling confident in sending students abroad and  the importance of International Education.

Alert March 23, 2016

The U.S Department of State has issued a Travel Alert for Europe that expires June 20, 2016. This alert means that "U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events." 

Update March 23, 2016, 3:00pm EST

We are relieved to announce that 100% of students studying with CISabroad in Europe are located and confirmed safe. 

Update March 22, 2016, 3:45pm EST

As we continue to keep Brussels and the world in our thoughts, confirmation of CISabroad student location and safety progresses. We know many students are on spring break and chose to explore their region and surroundings. During this time, our on-site staff remains available for our students and are encouraging them not to travel. Along with the NAFSA EA KC Health and Safety Subcommittee Recommendations issued earlier today we are also following U.S. Department of State and OSAC travel guidelines. 

Update March 22, 2016, 9:15am EST

Our hearts go out to all who are affected by the attacks that occurred in Brussels today. Two fatal explosions occurred at the Brussels Zaventem Airport, and another at the Maelbeek metro station. While CISabroad does not have a program running in Brussels, our European site directors have reached out to all students to confirm their location, regardless of whether or not they filled out our mandatory Independent Travel Form. CISabroad’s U.S.-based risk management team is closely monitoring the situation. Please look for updates here.

Update March 21, 2016

 On Sunday, March 20th, CISabroad was made aware of a tragic automobile accident that involved international students in Spain. The accident injured some of the European students on board and claimed the lives of many. The CISabroad team extends its heartfelt condolences to all involved. There were no US students involved in the accident, however some of the European students involved were studying at the same universities where US students are currently enrolled. CISabroad has reached out to all of its students in Spain to offer emotional support to students.

Update February 3, 2016

Dear fellow current, potential and future travelers,

In the past few days a virus called the Zika virus has been making headlines around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Zika virus a global health emergency on January 28, 2016, making extra resources available to combat the spread of the virus.

The CISabroad Risk Management Team is carefully monitoring this public health threat and will take every reasonable precaution to ensure the health and safety of our participants. Please read the following FAQ to learn more about the Zika Virus.

Where have cases of the virus been confirmed?


What is It?
The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne virus that was first identified in 1947, from a monkey in the Zika forest in Uganda. Mostly, this virus is transmitted by the species Aedes aegypti, which is also the same mosquito responsible for transmitting dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

What are the Symptoms?
The most common symptoms of Zika virus are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about 1 in 5 people infected with Zika will get sick. For people who get sick, the illness is usually mild and for this reason, many people might not realize they have been infected. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. There have also been reports of birth defects suspected to have been caused by the virus.

How could this affect me?
None of the countries in which CISabroad operates study or intern abroad programs are currently affected. However, we already do and will continue to remind all of our participants of how they can prevent mosquito bites.

What else do I need to know?
For the most up to date information on the Zika Virus, please visit the Center for Disease Control. If you have other concerns or questions, please contact your Program Advisor at CISabroad.