Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
This excursion lasts for total of six nights and allows students to begin exploring geographic, cultural, and economic realities in a range of urban and rural settings outside the capital city of Antananarivo.
A crossroads for transport by road and a market town, Moramanga offers students the opportunity to explore a smaller urban environment (a population of 42,300 in 2010). The town also figures prominently in Madagascar’s struggle for independence from French colonial rule. The program visits a tomb known as Fasan’ny Mahery Fo, located a few kilometers outside of town. The site includes a mass grave and national monument dedicated to the Malagasy who lost their lives on March 29, 1947. While in town, students meet with local officials and visit a history museum at the Ecole Nationale de la Gendarmerie.
Students spend two nights in the town of Moramanga.
As Madagascar’s principal port, Tamatave plays a vital role as a commercial hub and link to international markets. A regional capital, the town also serves as an administrative center for the eastern part of the country. Given its position on the Indian Ocean and the relative ease of access from Antananarivo, the town and its surroundings attract significant numbers of domestic and international tourists.
Students spend three nights in Tamatave. Scheduled program activities include lectures and field-based activities related to local history, culture, economy, and administrative structures.
Andasibe National Park, part of a montane rainforest ecosystem, is one of Madagascar’s most accessible and popular natural areas. Home to numerous species of endemic flora and fauna, the park offers students opportunities to experience some of the island’s rich biodiversity and to consider the needs and lifestyles of the local population in relation to the environment as well as questions of natural resource management, and eco-tourism, as they relate to rural livelihoods.
Students spend one night in the small town of Andasibe, which is located on the perimeter of the park.
On the way from Tana to Majunga, students visit the towns of Maevatanana and Marovoay. On the return trip, the program spends two nights at Ankarafantsika National Park.
Maevatanana and Marovoay
Students visit the market towns of Maevatanana, located in the Betsiboka region, and Marovoay, located in the Boeny region. In each place, students gain insight into a highly productive agricultural zone through site visits in each town and the surrounding rural areas.
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.
During the visit, students take part in a half-day guided hike in the forest followed by a 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.
Central Highlands Excursion
This excursion takes place in the Vakinankaratra region of the central highlands. The excursion begins with three nights in the regional capital of Antsirabe and continues with a six-night homestay in the vicinity of the town of Betafo.
A former colonial capital, Antsirabe remains the administrative and commercial center of the Vakinankaratra region and is noted for its hot springs and thermal baths. The city and surrounding area have a population of at least 200,000. Most of the inhabitants are either Merina or Betsileo, but people from all parts of the country can be found here. While in the Antsirabe area, students have site visits to a number of locations, including a factory and a microfinance institution.
The town of Betafo is about 20 kilometers to the west of Antsirabe. It is situated in a region of inactive volcanoes; the volcanic soil helps to make the Betafo area rich in terms of agricultural production. The area has a relatively high population density and the size of the local population is increasing rapidly, which is also bringing about social change and economic growth.
The rural homestay near Betafo allows students to participate in daily life in a peri-urban/rural area by living with a host family; to gain an understanding of local social structures, livelihoods, and access to resources; to explore issues related to farming and rural development; and to decide whether or not they are interested in conducting their ISP in a rural area.