Madagascar

Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

Accessibility

This information is provided to assist you in identifying possible accessibility barriers and preparing for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Abroad. You should be aware that while in-country conditions and resources vary by site, every effort is made to work collaboratively with qualified individuals to facilitate disability-related accommodation. If you have a disability, you are encouraged to contact SIT Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu for additional information related to access abroad and to discuss possible accommodations.

Academics

During the coursework phase of the program, you will generally be in class three to four days per week for five to seven hours per day and are otherwise in the field, depending on study unit. You will be given one break approximately every two hours.

Learning is typically assessed through take-home assignments, in-class assignments, written assignments/exams, oral presentations/exams, individual assignments, group assignments and ongoing language assessment. You will only be in a formal classroom setting for the first eight weeks. Course readings and in-class materials are typically available in a digital format.

If you have questions about alternate format materials, testing accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Program Center

The SIT program office is accessed by a sandy footpath and veranda, with only one step. The building does not have an elevator. The exterior door and most of the interior doors and pathways measure at least 32 in. (82 cm.) wide. The program’s classrooms, and study/library space have accessible door handles but are not located on the ground level. The site’s restroom is located on the ground level, with the toilets one small step up, and has a raised toilet seat (approximately two ft. from the ground). The program does not have a separate computer space or lounge for students.

Activities/Excursions

The program includes single- and multi-day excursions to rainforests, dry forests, rice farming areas, and coastal/marine areas. Program excursions involve standing, walking, and hiking for prolonged periods of time in a multitude of environments with variable climates. A pair of comfortable, rubber-soled, waterproof shoes is recommended. Program excursions may occasionally vary to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities.

Housing

Each program’s homestay coordinator will be responsible for placing students in homestays. These placements are first made based on health concerns, including any allergies or dietary needs, to the extent possible. Homestays offer students fairly regular access to electricity to charge devices. If a refrigerator for storing medication is not available at the homestay, the program center can arrange an alternative. During the rural homestay, you will not have access to electricity or running water. The physical accessibility of homestay options is currently limited. If you have questions about homestay accessibility, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Dietary Needs

Rice is a staple of the Madagascar diet. It may be accompanied with sauces and with zebu (local beef) as well as pork, chicken, crab, fish, corn, peanuts, and potatoes. Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Broth with leafy greens is also popular.

SIT Study Abroad works with students, program staff, homestay families, home colleges and universities, and others to accommodate student dietary needs whenever possible. For more information on dietary needs and dietary preferences, please review the Student Support section of the Student Health, Safety, and Support web page.

Transportation

In Antalaha, students typically walk or use a bajaj on the 15–50 minutes between their primary homestay and the bus stop from where they travel for 15 minutes to the program center. Taxis and buses can be arranged as necessary. Walking, mini-buses, 4X4 vehicles, tractors, boats, and planes are used for program excursions. Wheelchair lifts and ramps are not available. The general routes of travel in Madagascar are poor, with uneven terrain and large pot holes. Sidewalks lack curb cuts and are very uneven and cracked with many large gaping holes. There are no traffic lights or crosswalks.

Technology

You are advised to bring your own academic technology, including laptops, thumb drives, recording devices, and assistive technology. Special care must be given to electronic devices due to the high humidity and large quantities of dust. It is recommended that you fully insure your electronic property against loss or theft. Computers for word processing, printing, copying, and scanning are available in town on a fee-for-service basis. Video projectors are also available for presentations.

If you have questions about assistive technology, note-taking accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Health Resources

Medical centers and hospitals are concentrated in urban areas, and trained medical professionals are often less available in rural areas. Payment for medical services is covered by your health insurance, although in Madagascar it is necessary to pay this upfront while you are receiving the medical service and claim it back from the insurance provider afterwards.

Once admitted, you are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about accessing health services or medication while abroad during the health review process. Read more about the health review process and the summary of benefits for student health insurance.

Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations

To request disability-related accommodations once you’re admitted, you should contact the Office of Disability Services. For more information about the accommodation process, documentation guidelines and a link to the accommodation request form, please visit the Office of Disability Services website.

If you have a disability, you are encouraged to contact Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu or 802 258-3390 as early as possible for information and support.

Additional Support Resources

MIUSA (Mobility International USA) is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision, and other disabilities. It offers numerous resources for persons with disabilities who wish to study abroad and/or engage in international development opportunities.

Abroad with Disabilities (AWD) is a Michigan nonprofit organization founded in 2015 with the goal of promoting the belief that persons with disabilities can and should go abroad. AWD works diligently to empower clients to pursue study, work, volunteer, and/or internship opportunities outside of the United States by creating dialogue, sharing resources, and spreading awareness.