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 conservation efforts, and the stories of the Malagasy people.

Dates

Jun 28 - Aug 8, 2018


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

open

Begins In

32 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,470


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,180

Antananarivo

Ampefy

Ranomafana Park

Isalo Park

Morandava

Ambatamanga

Antsirabe

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 uncover the diverse narratives of the Malagasy people, as well as the diverse species that inhabit this incredible island.

Our journey begins on the central plains. in a village nestled in the shadows of a booming waterfall. A short orientation provides the foundation for our future travels, as we learn to navigate local transportation, speak with homestay families, and examine the influences of globalization with a more critical eye.

We journey south to camp in the sandstone canyons of Isalo National Park and search 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…

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 uncover the diverse narratives of the Malagasy people, as well as the diverse species that inhabit this incredible island.

Our journey begins on the central plains. in a village nestled in the shadows of a booming waterfall. A short orientation provides the foundation for our future travels, as we learn to navigate local transportation, speak with homestay families, and examine the influences of globalization with a more critical eye.

We journey south to camp in the sandstone canyons of Isalo National Park and search 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.

Next, we travel to the coast of the Mozambique Channel for our first homestay. Life slows down, 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. This community is grappling with the impacts of overfishing and marine habit destruction, and local environmental activists share a unique perspective on this global issue.

The rest of our journey takes us on a rugged, winding path through rural homestays and breathtaking landscapes. Whether we are 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.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

1/5
Comparative Religion

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

4/5
Development Studies

Examine how the political situation has affected local development and meet 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 central 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.

4/5
Rugged Travel

Travel Madagascar's bumpy roads overland in a taxi-brousse, stay in home-stays along the way with minimal amenities, and camp in national parks.

3/5
Trekking

Walk through Madagascar's unique landscapes on a 3-4 day trek in Isalo National Park, spend 2 days hiking in Ranomafana National Park, and enjoy day and night hikes in other parts of the country.

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