Set apart from the African continent, Madagascar is the fourth-largest and one of the most biologically diverse islands in the world.
Rugged travel across a canvas of deserts, forests, mountains, and seas paint the vivid ecosystems and traditions that make up this island-nation. The country has been populated by waves of migrants; people who sailed across treacherous open ocean to create a distinct blend of African and Malay cultures. In addition to an unmistakable culture, Madagascar is also home to seemingly otherworldly flora and fauna. Indeed, over 80% of Madagascar’s plants and animals are found only there. Historical and geographic isolation have made Madagascar a place where almost all of what you see, hear, and do are possible nowhere else on earth.
Our semester exposes us to the stories that make Madagascar a place unlike any other. Alone at the bottom of the Indian ocean lies a beautiful and wild island waiting to be explored.
- Delve into issues such as the provocative legacies of African slave trade and local conservation issues – particularly the complex tension between economic development and environmental preservation in Madagascar.
- Investigate how the micro-economics and political events impact the environment in Madagascar.
- Spend two weeks in a home-stay with the Merina people in the highlands, several days with families in the western town of Morondava, and two weeks living with the Tsimihety on the north-eastern coast.
- Spend time with Malagasy non-governmental organizations that care for at-risk and underprivileged children in several different regions of the country. Engage with local environmental conservation efforts at various national parks.
- Travel throughout Madagascar on local transportation, which often winds slowly down sing-landed roads cluttered by cars, ox cards, bicycles and foot-traffic. Explore the ocean on traditional boats, stay in multiple humble home-stays with minimal amenities