This review is only the tip of the African iceburg, but everyone should experience it. Past Review

By (Environmental Studies/Sociology, Middlebury College) for

SIT Study Abroad: Madagascar - Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was overall an amazing experience that's really hard to encapsulate in these questions. Everyone should do a program that puts them out of their comfort zone like this one does.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Much less work, and easier grading than I was used to. Teaching was not nearly as formal as it is in the US. There were syllabi but they weren't as strict in terms of dates stuff as they often are in the US. Everything was more laid back, which was a nice change of pace.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was great. Some people thought they weren't as comforting as they might have been when people got sick, but I never got seriously ill so I can't speak to that.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Not much variety. A lot of rice and meat, which was an adjustment as a vegetarian. Only a few restaurants spaced throughout Fort Dauphin. Both high-end and low-end. Mostly ate with my host family though.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

20 girls and 4 guys. That's a lot of girls, man.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt safe walking around day and night. I'm also a tall guy. Girls should have someone with them at night, just to be sure. There were never any incidences of muggings or anything though. Just be smart and don't go where you're not supposed to.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I spoke a lot of French coming in, and had trouble motivating myself to learn Malagasy since it's so useless once you leave the country. A lot of the students' level in French was far below my own, which was frustrating since it meant there was almost no French spoken between students. I spoke French almost 100% of the time when not with the other American students. Almost no one (but us and some staff) spoke English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Integration
  • Independence
* What could be improved?
  • More guys
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you want to get away from the typical undergraduate status quo, go to a place like Madagascar.