CIEE Process for Evaluating Location Safety

Authored by:
Bill Bull

Bill Bull


In light of current global tensions, we want to share an overview of how CIEE evaluates location safety, and what stakeholders can expect from CIEE if any changes to current or upcoming programs become necessary due to concerns for student safety or our ability to provide a program free from academic disruption. Bear in mind, CIEE has a long history of anticipating and responding to world events as they unfold, whether they be natural disasters, social unrest, or disease outbreaks. At all times, student safety is our absolute number one priority.

CIEE’s experienced Health, Safety and Security team is closely monitoring the impacts of Putin's invasion of Ukraine on all locations where CIEE operates, including the potential impacts resulting from people fleeing Ukraine, local anti-war demonstrations, and the mobilization of humanitarian and defensive aid.

Although in many ways city life in St. Petersburg goes on as normal, the freezing of Russia's transportation and banking systems in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine means that CIEE is relocating the students currently studying with us in St. Petersburg to safe locations in Eastern Europe where they can complete their international programs.

At this time, departure from Europe is not a recommendation by the U.S. State Department nor necessary in CIEE´s opinion. Our analysis suggests no imminent threats to the safety of our students in Europe and no barriers to the continued safe operations of our programs there.

Our assessment includes information from all available intelligence, including local staff, our intelligence providers, the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), and cross-reference with our partner health and safety professionals in academia (Pulse). 

As events unfold, if we find circumstances jeopardizing the safety of our students at any CIEE location, we will promptly keep students, parents, and advisors apprised of our contingency plans.

We have implemented academic contingency planning after program suspensions as recently as 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite program interruptions, we were able to arrange for students to fulfill their academic requirements and receive the credits they earned. That experience will be able to guide us, as needed.

In the event of a program suspension, CIEE staff remain in all countries and cities and available to assist students. In all cases, we will support students in making appropriate travel arrangements and will provide guidance on how to safely return in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. No students will be left without housing support and staff assistance as plans are developed for their safe and responsible return to the U.S.

As always, to obtain the latest information on health, safety, and security concerns, we recommend that you:

  • Visit our website Health, Safety & Security | | CIEE for information about how we manage safety and security.
  • Visit our website It is regularly updated with security alerts to help communicate any health and safety updates regarding our students on programs.
  • Sign up for our Health, Safety, and Security updates RSS feed. This web-based news feed will allow you to receive alerts from CIEE about significant events via email, an alert notification on a web browser, and/or a push-notification on your cell phone or other mobile device. Instructions for how to configure your device(s) are located on the alerts page of the CIEE website.


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