SIT Madagascar: Biodiversity & Resources Mgmt.

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About

Study ecology in an island nation that has been isolated from other landmasses for more than one hundred million years.

Madagascar’s unique evolutionary path has produced immeasurable contributions to the world’s biodiversity —more than 80 percent of the flora and fauna in Madagascar are endemic.

This program offers classroom and field-based instruction in natural and social scientific methods to encourage students to analyze environmental issues in an array of ecosystems — including rainforest, dry spiny thicket, alpine and transitional forest, savannah, gallery and littoral forest, mangrove, and coral reef — and within multiple economic, socio-political, and cultural contexts.

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Reviews

6 Rating
based on 1 review
  • Academics 4
  • Support 2
  • Fun 3
  • Housing 4
  • Safety 2
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Maris
6/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Lack of Support from Leaders Especially Regarding Health Issues

Madagascar, while a very beautiful country to visit, is also a very dangerous place to visit. The country poses many health risks daily from a number of sources, as well as safety risks regarding unpaved roads, vehicle break-downs, dangerous people, constant harassment, and bias against foreigners.
Most of the students on my program got ill at one point, and I was the most ill as I got a parasite - an ameoba - early on in the journey. My professors' and leaders' ability to sympathize and help me deal with this very real, horribly agonizing, traumatic experience was very poor. They weren't able to get me to proper medical attention, and their ability to sympathize and help was mediocre.
After experiencing this, when I went home early the program refused to refund my parents the remaining part of the trip, even though I had to leave due to terrible illness and had missed 40% of the trip. I thought this was unethical and a cruel punishment for having endured what I endured. If only I had left earlier, right?
The leaders of my trip also did not properly prepare us for the treacheries that the country would provide, as when my fellows were hiking through the jungle and got parasites in their feet, infections up their legs, and leeches on their bodies during their ISP projects.
One of my fellows, during our village stays, was vomiting the entire time. She was very sick and living in the desert, and our leaders Jim and Barry refused to let her go back to the hotel they were stay at. I found this horrible. She was violently ill, and she was forced to stay in the grounds of the village stay until the end and dance through the hot desert to our final party so they could maintain "good relations" with the village.

I felt that serious medical issues were poo pooed due to the desire to keep the program a good reputation, and my fellows and I had to deal with our issues in a manner I didn't find comforting or necessary.
I had fun because my fellow students were able to take care of me and support me, but only to a point. If my leaders were to take my health issues more seriously, perhaps one of them would have been logical enough to ask for a basic stool sample and figure out that I had a parasite. I feel that especially in a place like Madagascar, this would have been a basic and intuitive thing to do, especially for people who have lived in the country for so long. When I had to leave early they were surprised, which I find disorienting considering the massive pain I was in for two months.
I feel cheated due to the lack of refund, and that the program was very unsympathetic. I would not recommend this program to my friends due to the sketchy nature of SIT, having not refunded my parents after this issue. I find it very disrespectful, and an irrational policy with no amendments for serious health issues.