Important Information about the Earthquake in Chile

UPDATED AS OF MARCH 12, 2010 1:45 PM

On Tuesday, after a 7.2 aftershock near Santiago, our IES Abroad Santiago staff conducted a visual inspection of our academic center and believes no damage was sustained.

During the Santiago orientation program this week, staff provided information on earthquake preparedness and safety to all students. We will continue to educate and remind students of what they should do in the event of an aftershock. The health and safety of our students remains preeminent.

Please contact our Dean of Students, Matt Rader, at if you have any questions or concerns.


At this time, we intend to run our Santiago program this semester with a tentative start date of March 8.We are mindful that some students and families may have safety concerns about Chile at this time. We have offered all of our Santiago parents and students the option to change programs to the IES Abroad Buenos Aires program, subject, of course to their home school study abroad office’s approval from an academic standpoint. 

In addition, for any IES Abroad Santiago students who simply wish to withdraw altogether, we will issue them full refunds. 

We have been in communication with US Embassy personnel in Chile since Saturday, and the State Department has issued a Travel Alert (as opposed to a more serious Travel Warning) for Chile, recommending that Americans avoid tourist and nonessential travel to Chile for the time being. 

We are continuing to monitor this situation, both through our on-site staff in Santiago and from here in Chicago, and we will not hesitate to cancel the program should conditions change on the ground in a manner we believe endangers the safety of our students. Their health and safety is, as always, our highest priority. 

Please contact our Dean of Students, Matt Rader, at or Michael Green, Associate Vice President of Recruitment, at if you have any questions or concerns.

UPDATE AS OF MARCH 1, 2010 at 9:55 AM

All IES Abroad Santiago students are safe and accounted for, and we continue to communicate with both students and their parents, as well as with students’ home schools.

We are also in communication with U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel in Chile, and we are awaiting further information about travel to Chile.

Our Center Director and staff in Santiago have evaluated the status of our facilities, housing and academic, and believe that they are or will soon be ready to accommodate students.

Students who still want to study abroad but are concerned about staying in Santiago have been given the option to change to our Buenos Aires program (subject to home school study abroad office approval).

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact:

Presently, IES Abroad is doing the following:

  • Monitoring the status of the airport in Santiago reopening. It appears that some flights are being allowed to land in Santiago now, but it could be some time until full schedules resume. As soon as we know more, we will be in touch with students and their parents.
  • Advising students who plan to continue their enrollment in IES Abroad Santiago to consult with their airline about the best way to complete their travel to Santiago. In order to have our Santiago staff meet students upon arrival in Santiago, students have been instructed to let us know their travel plans via telephone or email as soon as they are confirmed.
  • Contacting our two partner universities in Santiago regarding their plans. As soon as we know more, we will pass this information on to our students, their parents, and their home schools.

The following advice has been shared with our Santiago students regarding travel:

  • Students who are home should stay home and await further information about the possible start of the program 
  • Students in transit in the U.S. should choose for themselves whether to return home or continue to Chile via airline travel arrangements. Students have been advised to consult with their airlines regarding possible forfeiture of airline tickets if students elect to return home 
  • Students in transit in South America have been advised to let us know if/when they will arrive in Santiago
  • Students already in Santiago will be housed in their homestays while waiting for official word on the program.

FEBRUARY 27, 2010 12:55 PM

As you have probably seen on the news, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck Chile this morning. The epicenter of the earthquake was Concepcion, Chile. This is approximately 200 miles away from Santiago, where the earthquake was registered at 7.58. 

All IES Abroad Santiago students are safe and accounted for, and we will continue to communicate with both students and their parents, as well as with students' home schools.

The earthquake caused the cancellation of all flights in and out of Santiago today. The latest reports are that the Santiago airport will likely re-open in 72 hours. The runways are reportedly intact but there has been some damage to airport facilities.

For students who were already in South America and who are having trouble returning to the U.S. right away, our Center Staff in Quito and Buenos Aires are willing to receive them and house them temporarily.

Our academic facilities and student homestays do not appear to have been damaged. 

We believe the Santiago program is likely to be able to resume in Santiago some time soon after March 2. Details about the official start of our program in Santiago will develop over the weekend.

Official communication about the start of our program and/or alternative IES Abroad programs to attend will be sent sometime after March 1.

Our hearts go out to the Chilean people in the wake of this natural disaster. We will continue to provide updates about our program as the situation in Chile unfolds.

You can also view an update about our other programs in South America in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Quito, Ecuador.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Matthew Rader, Dean of Students at 800.995.2300 or 312.261.5055.

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