Madagascar: Cultural & Ecological Diversity Gap Year Semester

Video and Photos

Photo by Micah LeMasters
Photo by Micah LeMasters
Phot by Micah LeMasters
Phot by Micah LeMasters
Photo by Micah LeMasters
Photo by Micah LeMasters
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity
Madagascar Semester: Cultural & Ecological Diversity

About

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.

Highlights
  • 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

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 1 review
  • Housing 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 10
  • Safety 9
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Jennie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Madagascar Senegal 2017 review

I got home from my gap semester and since than have thought, spoken, or written about my experience with Dragons every day since. I traveled to Madagascar and Senegal with limited knowledge of both places but now want nothing but to return to spend time with my host families and continue exploring both countries. One of my favorite memories was after our first trek in Ranomofana, Madagascar we got to a village and were hoping to camp in one of their rice patties. They were not expecting us but the agreed to let us stay and later on all the villagers came down to where we were camping and brought instruments and they gave us a performance of singing and a dance and it was just unlike anything I had ever experienced. After the performance and dinner they came back and at first it was just a big game of keep away with a beach ball and than music started and we continued dancing into the night even while it was beginning to rain, and that was when I fell in love with Madagascar. I learned about community while I was with dragons; I saw how community was such a big part in the lives of the people we were meeting and before I had this idea in my mind that being independent and self sufficient was the ideal way and that that was good, even if it felt lonely at times, and now I see that having people who support you and love you and work with you is so much more important than being able to do everything on your own. For future students I tell them to just say yes, say yes when your host sister asks you to go to the market, and say yes when she wants to braid your hair, say yes when your host mom wants to dress you traditionally, and say yes when your fellow student who wants to bring you a mango when you injur yourself. Just saying yes to opportunities even if they sound strange and not everyone is doing them are where some of my best experiences came from.

What would you improve about this program?
My program switched countries unexpectedly because of the plague in Madagascar but that resulted in 7-10 days of sitting in hotels in both Senegal and Madagascar of just doing nothing while things were being worked out. I think if that could have been improved or something to fill that time with something beneficial would have been better cause I’m those times everyone was upset and stressed but it felt like a waste of time and that isn’t what people wanted on their gap semester. Other than that I wouldn’t change anything.

About Where There Be Dragons

Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly...