Christchurch Update

Update as of February 28, 2011 - 11:00 am

On February 24, 2011, the University of Canterbury announced that, for multiple reasons including campus infrastructure and health and safety concerns, it appeared unlikely that it would re-open any earlier than March 14 and possibly even later.

On the same day, based on this information and with the health and safety of our students as our highest priority, IES Abroad suspended its program in Christchurch and began preparations to move all students to the IES Abroad Auckland program.

Once moved, IES Abroad students will register at the University of Auckland and join the existing group of 21 IES Abroad students and the IES Abroad Auckland Program Coordinator Gael Howell.  The city of Auckland is more than 1000 miles from Christchurch and was not affected by the recent earthquake.

The University of Auckland is a world-class research and educational institution and is consistently ranked as one of the top 100 research universities in the world.  IES Abroad has partnered with the University since 2004. 

Information about the IES Abroad Auckland program can be found at

All IES Abroad students enrolled in the Christchurch program met with Eunice McKessar, the IES Abroad Christchurch program coordinator, to discuss the details of this transition.

Term information regarding the University of Auckland:

•    While the first official day of classes for the spring semester at the University of Auckland is Monday February 28, IES Abroad has received permission from the University of Auckland for students from Christchurch to arrive slightly later than the first day to accommodate travel details.

•    Student academic application materials from the University of Canterbury has been forwarded to the University of Auckland in advance of student arrival.  While the University of Auckland will try to accommodate class preferences as previously provided to IES Abroad, it cannot guarantee access to all the classes requested at this late date.

•    In Auckland, students will be housed in a campus residence hall, Railway.  After arrival, students interested in living with a local homestay family will be able to discuss this preference with Gael Howell as such accommodations may be available.

IES Abroad is pleased to offer students this move to the IES Abroad Auckland program, as it presents the best opportunity for students to begin and continue their long-awaited New Zealand study abroad experience.

For more information, please contact Carol Jambor-Smith

Update as of February 23, 2011 - 7:18 pm

While the University of Canterbury remains closed, it intends to complete its assessment of its buildings’ structural integrity by the end of this week. We assume that once this assessment is complete the University will determine when classes will resume and how to adjust, if necessary, the academic calendar.

This is the link to the University’s website:

After the September 2010 earthquake, the University resumed classes after two weeks; the Fall 2010 term did not extend beyond its original end date due to adjustments made to the term’s original schedule.

Depending on the outcome of campus facilities this week, we assume a similar approach will be taken by the University of Canterbury.

At this time, nine of our students are residing in Springfield, New Zealand (at the site of our recent orientation approximately 45 minutes away from Christchurch) with an IES Abroad staff member, and the remaining students are traveling independently in New Zealand.

Eunice McKessar, IES Abroad Christchurch Program Coordinator, has itineraries for all traveling students. We are currently projecting that all IES Abroad students will be residing at their former residence, Ilam Village on the University of Canterbury campus, on Saturday, February 26.

Please know that IES Abroad intends to continue its program in Christchurch; however, this could change if the University of Canterbury were to announce that it will remain closed for an indefinite period of time.

Any student who does not wish to remain with the IES Abroad Christchurch program is being offered the opportunity to transfer to the IES Abroad Auckland program now. Classes in this program will begin on Monday, February 28. Eunice McKessar will discuss this option with any interested student so they can make informed decisions about their study.

Update as of February 22, 2011 -  6:05 pm

As communicated earlier, all IES Abroad Christchurch students are accounted for and have been in communication with Eunice McKessar, our IES Abroad Christchurch program director.

The University of Canterbury remains closed until at least the end of this week, as damage to its buildings is assessed.

All IES Abroad Christchurch students have been offered the opportunity to relocate to Springfield, New Zealand, the site of their orientation program. This site was not damaged by the earthquake; it has electricity and water and meals will be served.

The students will be transported to Springfield this evening, which is Wednesday, February 23 in New Zealand. Student expenses for accommodation and meals in Springfield will be paid for by IES Abroad until the facilities at Ilam Village are fully operational.

Those students who choose not to travel to Springfield and, instead, travel on their own must register their travel itineraries with Eunice McKessar.

February 22, 2011 - 10:35 am

At approximately 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday February 21, 2011, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
All IES Abroad Christchurch students are safe and accounted for.
Because of the earthquake, the University of Canterbury campus is closed, at least until the end of this week.
The IES Abroad Crisis Management Team is working to determine the best course of action, both in terms of continued student safety and academic continuity.

More updates will be provided here as available.
Please contact the Dean of Students office at 800.995.2300 for more information.

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