Madagascar

Island of Diversity

A 6-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
41 Days
Description

Explore Madagascar’s biological and cultural diversity, economic challenges, environmental threats, and local conservation efforts.

Dates

Jun 28 - Aug 8, 2018


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

open

Begins In

41 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,250


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,180

Toamasina

Antananarivo

Ampefy

Ranomafana Park

Isalo Park

Toliara

Program Overview

Madagascar: the eighth continent. Stunningly diverse and colossal in size, more than 80% of the plant and animal species in Madagascar are not found anywhere else in the world.


The Malagasy people are similarly unique. Over the past 2,000 years, immigrants have paddled dugout canoes across the Indian Ocean and floated rafts across the Mozambique Channel, blending the influences of Southeast Asia and Africa into a distinct Malagasy identity. Over the course of the summer, we’ll uncover the diverse narratives of the Malagasy people, as well as the diverse species that inhabit this incredible island.

Our journey begins in Ampefy, a village nestled in the shadows of a thunderous waterfall. A short orientation provides the foundation for our future travels, as we learn to navigate local transportation, speak with home-stay families and examine the influences of globalization with a more critical eye.

Next, we travel to the coast of the Mozambique Channel for our first home-stay. Our life slows down, slowing syncing with the rhythm of the tides and we find ourselves exploring the beach with our home-stay siblings, relaxing in hammocks and becoming more comfortable…

The Malagasy people are similarly unique. Over the past 2,000 years, immigrants have paddled dugout canoes across the Indian Ocean and floated rafts across the Mozambique Channel, blending the influences of Southeast Asia and Africa into a distinct Malagasy identity. Over the course of the summer, we’ll uncover the diverse narratives of the Malagasy people, as well as the diverse species that inhabit this incredible island.

Our journey begins in Ampefy, a village nestled in the shadows of a thunderous waterfall. A short orientation provides the foundation for our future travels, as we learn to navigate local transportation, speak with home-stay families and examine the influences of globalization with a more critical eye.

Next, we travel to the coast of the Mozambique Channel for our first home-stay. Our life slows down, slowing syncing with the rhythm of the tides and we find ourselves exploring the beach with our home-stay siblings, relaxing in hammocks and becoming more comfortable with our Malagasy language skills. Unfortunately, our home-stay community is currently grappling with the impacts of overfishing and marine habit destruction, and local environmental activists share their perspective on this global issue with us. By the time we say good-bye to our generous hosts, we have a better understanding of the interconnected nature of marine ecology and coastal life.

Boarding a small bus, we return to the highlands, camping in the ruddy sandstone canyons of Isalo National Park and searching for lemurs in Ranomafana’s lush mid-altitude rainforest. On the periphery of Ranomafana National Park, it becomes clear that the historic scale of this unique rainforest has been greatly reduced due to mass deforestation and land-clearing efforts by farmers and developers alike. As we hike, we reflect on the complex tension between economic development and environmental preservation.

We soon return to Antananarivo (or Tana for short), Madagascar’s bustling capital city. We stay at a home serving vulnerable children, where we work alongside staff and learn from their 40+ years of experience in the community. This extended learning service project helps add perspective to our on-going conversation about “what contributes to a good quality of life?”

The rest of the month takes us on a winding journey through rural home-stays and a few learning service projects. Whether we’re meeting with policymakers in Antananarivo or looking for chameleons in Andasibe National Park, we come to realize that each creature has a role to play in shaping the future of Madagascar: it’s complex, it’s diverse and it’s an incredible place to explore what it means to be human in the 21st century.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

1/5
Comparative Religion

Explore the intersection of Christianity and a rich system of traditional beliefs.

5/5
Development Studies

Examine how the political situation has affected local development, meetings with local conservation and community organizations.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Take a first-hand look at Madagascar's stunning biological and cultural diversity, focusing on local conservation efforts in parks and coastal areas.

4/5
Home Stay

Spend six days in a home-stay in a coastal fishing community and five days with a family in a Merina community on the plateau.

1/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Try your hand at local handicrafts or participate in mentored study in another area of interest.

2/5
Language Study

Learn to speak basic Malagasy through frequent language lessons and practice your French at any level through immersion and supplementary lessons.

2/5
Learning Service

Engage with local environmental conservation and research efforts at various national parks.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Travel overland in a taxi-brousse, staying in home-stays along the way with minimal amenities.

1/5
Trekking

Walk through Madagascar's unique landscapes on a three-day trek in Isalo National Park and enjoy day and night hikes in several national parks.

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