Madagascar: Urbanization and Rural Development

Educational Excursions

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Eastern Excursion
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.

Tamatave (Taomasina)
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 four 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.

Western Excursion
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 a night 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.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Antananarivo

Language Study: French,  Malagasy

Prerequisites: 3 semesters French

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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