Under what conditions will you cancel a program?
The Institute for Study Abroad has never yet had to cancel a program, including during the IRA bombing campaign or during the Gulf War. Our directors, who have been responsible for operating study abroad programs since the late 1960s, have never had to cancel a program either, and we do not anticipate canceling any programs now.
Our students are directly enrolled in existing major universities abroad, and IFSA-Butler would not cancel an individual university program unless that university canceled or suspended its operations.
As for evacuating students from a country, our policy is to follow the U.S. Department of State in its public announcements to U.S. citizens worldwide. If U,S. citizens were recalled from a country where we have a program, we would require our students to return home as well.
Our refund policy details the financial obligations of students who decide to return home or to cancel their study abroad experience as a result of war or terrorism.
What if there is an incident in one of your program countries?
We will communicate with students via e-mail or telephone through our emergency communication network. We will notify parents bye-mail (where we have been given an emergency e-mail contact) or by regular mail. During our overseas orientation, students are advised to follow basic security instructions while abroad.
These includes: letting people know where they are; leaving an itinerary with IFSA-Butler staff if traveling outside the host city/country; and other measures that will be listed at the end of this section.
What is your evacuation plan and when would you implement it?
We do not anticipate ever having to evacuate our students from our overseas locations. However, we do have an emergency evacuation plan in place for each of the countries in which we have programs.
We would implement our evacuation plan only in the event of a call from the U.S. government to evacuate all U.S. citizens from a particular country. A call for the withdrawal of U.S. citizens is an extreme measure and a last resort.
In an evacuation, the IFSA-Butler crisis management team (including the overseas resident director and several designated officers of the U.S. office in Indianapolis) would analyze the event and work together to create an appropriate response. The IFSA-Butler overseas directors are in regular contact with the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in their respective countries. We would closely follow the directors’ recommendations and notify students and their parents of the specific plan and recommended time-frame. We also would work very closely with our travel agent to arrange any necessary transportation.
We would arrange for students to be moved either to the U.S. or to another destination, according to the specific advice from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy. The cost of international travel is the responsibility of the student. This is true for evacuations by U.S. military planes as well.
What is your refund policy?
Please note that this refund policy applies to war or major terrorist incidents only.
Program fee refunds:
Until the date of departure, IFSA-Butler will offer a full refund to any student who withdraws from our program because of war or a major terrorist incident.
Students who choose to leave an IFSA-Butler program after their departure but before the start of classes overseas will receive a refund of all but $1 ,000.
IFSA-Butler will refund recoverable money to any student who decides to return home after taking up residence and starting classes overseas. This money includes any tuition and housing fees that are recoverable from the overseas university. In order to qualify for this policy, students must make the decision to return home within thirty days of the terrorist incident or the start of war.
Return flights home:
Students must make arrangements and pay for their own return flights home, including airline penalty fees for flight changes. All issues surrounding the return flight home are strictly between the student and his or her airline.
We would not suspend or cancel an individual program unless the university overseas closed or suspended classes. In the event of a program being cancelled, IFSA-Butler will, whenever possible, attempt to accommodate students in other IFSA-Butler programs.
What security measures do you recommend for students?
At our overseas orientations, we recommend the following personal safety measures to our students:
- Blend in to the local community. Socialize and study with host university degree students. Get to know the students in the host dormitories or in your host families.
- Speak the language in your host country. Don’t stick out by speaking English where Spanish or another language is the norm.
- Speak softly. Americans tend to speak loudly and attract attention.
- Follow local security instructions. If police or other government officials have instructed certain behavior, follow the rules, politely and quietly.
- Carry your IFSA-Butler laminated emergency card with you at all times.
- Don’t travel in large groups, but travel with at least one other person, especially after dark. Have money for a taxi in case you feel uncomfortable.
- Don’t frequent American hangouts (fast food restaurants, clubs, U.S. Embassy or Consulate). I FSA-Butler will register you with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
- Make a copy of the front page of your passport and give a copy to the IFSA-Butler overseas office. If your passport is lost or stolen, the local U.S. Embassy will be able to replace it more quickly.
- Stay away from political rallies or protests.
- Avoid risky behavior (e.g., excessive alcohol consumption, walking alone at night, bringing home someone you’ve just met, illegal drug use).
These FAQs are not meant to be an exhaustive list, nor do they address every scenario. If you have additional questions about IFSA-Butler programs or policies, feel free to contact our office at 317-940-9336.
The following file contains reference listings for some of the things you might find yourself wondering from time to time. Keep them handy, they become particularly useful when you have visitors come over.