Madagascar: National Identity and Social Change
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Educational excursions to locations across Madagascar are an important part of the program. These excursions are essential to acquiring a more complete representation of the country's many layers of diversity, including the country's ethnic, geographic, and ecological landscapes.
Andasibe and Ankarafantsika National Parks
The Andasibe excursion is an overnight trip that includes a stop in the market town of Moramanga. In Andasibe, students have an opportunity to begin thinking about the needs and lifestyles of the local population in relation to questions of biodiversity, natural resource management, and eco-tourism. Situated on the eastern escarpment, the park offers an excellent example of montane rain forest. The visit includes a half-day guided hike in the forest.
The visit to Ankarafantsika, a dry deciduous forest, includes two nights of camping at the park entrance. Located along the road to Mahajanga, the visit allows students to continue exploring the themes introduced during the Andasibe visit, but in a completely different ecosystem. Ankarafantsika is considered a dry deciduous forest.
During the visit, students take part in a half-day guided hike in the forest followed by an hour-long guided night walk. In addition, the visit includes sessions with park management officials and a stop at a local weaving cooperative that was started with seed money derived from park entrance fees. The local partner for both of these visits is Madagascar National Parks, a national association devoted to the management of the country's parks and protected areas.
Situated just off the northwest coast of Madagascar, Nosy Be is known worldwide for its accessible coral reefs and attractive beaches. The island has a rich cultural history and diverse present-day population. Tourism, the fishing industry, and cash crops of sugar cane and spices, combined with an active commercial port, also contribute to Nosy Be's role as a regional and national economic hub.
The Nosy Be excursion usually lasts for three days and four nights. Scheduled program activities typically include lectures on local history, traditions, and customs and a day of snorkeling at nearby Nosy Tanikely. Students also are given time to conduct individual field-based inquiries. Accommodations during the Nosy Be excursion are at a hotel in the port town of Hell-Ville.
The National Center for Oceanographic Research (CNRO), based on Nosy Be, is SIT's local partner for this portion of the program.
Students spend a week in rural areas of the Bongolava region. At the end of the village stay, the group spends a day and a half in the town of Ampefy for discussion and analysis. The town's position on the shores of Itasy Lake draws numerous local visitors and makes it an ideal location for debriefing after the village stay. Along the road between Antananarivo and Tsiroanomandidy, the group makes a number of brief stops at sites of historic and cultural importance.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Madagascar, Antananarivo
Language Study: French, Malagasy
Prerequisites: 2 semesters French Read more...
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