Safety and Security
Notice Regarding the Cuban plane crash: May 19, 2018
We are aware of the tragic Cuban plane crash, near José Martí Havana airport yesterday, and sympathize deeply with the victims and families involved. Spanish Studies Abroad students and staff are not involved or affected by this accident and all student and program activities continues normally.
Notice Regarding Discover Excursions: April 20, 2018
We are aware of the unfortunate case in the news of sexual assault by a tour leader on American students while traveling in Morocco. The event occurred in 2013 and it involves the tour leader, also co-owner, of the travel agency Discover Excursions.
Spanish Studies Abroad has always made a point to NOT recommend Discover Excursions mostly because they do not take full responsibility of students in case of accident or illness and also we have seen their systematic use of parties involving alcohol to attract students to their excursions.
Our Seville staff members had been alerted after the news broke, and immediately reached out to all Seville students currently on site about this situation. Since last week, Discover Excursions has closed all their social media and websites, canceled upcoming trips, and shut down its business. They are reimbursing students for canceled trips.
Cuba Update: November 10, 2017
Regarding the U.S. Department of Treasury's November 8, 2017 press release about travel to Cuba, Spanish Studies Abroad does not anticipate any impact on our programs, as they operate under the guidelines of the license requirements for educational programming. The institutions with which we coordinate onsite are not on the recent list of restricted entities. Additionally, as per the U.S. Department of Treasury's recent fact sheet, educational travel programs scheduled prior to the announcement will not be affected.
Cuba Update: October 2017
Spanish Studies Abroad is aware of the recent U.S. decision to reduce the number of personnel at the Embassy in Havana, and we do not anticipate an effect on any of our academic programs in Cuba.
Though the number of personnel is reduced, the Embassy is not closing and will still provide emergency services, so the anticipated effect will be limited to their usual administrative services such as lost passport replacement or renewal; likely they may take a bit longer to process as well as incur a slightly higher expense.
Please note, too, that the U.S Department of State's travel warning should not affect participants in our programs either, as students and faculty are lodged in local, Cuban residences.
Our Resident Director and onsite team in Havana are carefully monitoring the situation daily and we are completely confident in moving forward with our programs as scheduled.
Barcelona Update: October 31, 2017
Life in Cataluña, Spain’s most prosperous region, is carrying on normally despite weeks of political confrontations between Catalonia’s regional government and Spain’s federal government in Madrid. People in Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, and the rest of the region are going about routinely to work, to school and leading their life as usual. SSA host universities in Barcelona have held classes all along. Transportation, hospitals, public services are functioning as expected.
The Catalonian regional government, which unconstitutionally declared its Independence from Spain on October 27, has been dissolved by Spain’s federal government. At this moment, the federal government has taken over the administration of the region until Catalonia forms a new government in the upcoming elections of Dec 21, 2017.
While there have been demonstrations in designated urban areas, these have been non-violent. Our students have been safe all along. The Spanish Studies Abroad resident staff in Barcelona has monitored the situation closely and has kept in constant communication with students to ensure their safety and inform them of the political developments.
Our students continue their daily routes to class and their routine as usual. They have the opportunity to safely observe, along with the Spanish people and the European Union, the political dynamics of the relation between Spain’s Federal government based in Madrid and its wealthy province in the Northeast Mediterranean.
Puerto Rico Update: October 2017
We are happy to announce that we will be welcoming students to Puerto Rico this coming spring semester. Following Hurricane Maria, the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón worked hard to clean up and reopened their campus on October 16th.
Anyone who is planning to travel in the coming days/weeks should be sure to follow our recommendations and those of the U.S. Department of State.
- Stay connected, let us know the details of your travel plans, and keep your telephones charged.
- See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and country-specific information for the countries you will be visiting.
- Authorities in Europe in general, as in the United States, are on high alert. Plan ahead, leaving more time for security checks at airports, rail stations, and other travel hubs.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Read information specifically designed for students abroad.
- Review the State Department's emergency recommendations.
Please do not hesitate to contact the U.S. office with any questions.