Madagascar: Is all really possible? Past Review

By (Neurobiology, The University of Texas at Austin) for

SIT Study Abroad: Madagascar - Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Systems (Summer)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes it was completely worth the money for the people that I met, the experiences I had, the places I saw, and the life long friends that I made.

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.

Field based learning is the best. Experience is the best teacher one can have, not sitting in a classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Their needs to be an american director to help with cultural differences and bridge the gap. The program directors there did not understand american culture at all and had no idea where we were coming from and this caused a lot of communication problems and upset students and directors.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Host family was awesome, but depends on where you are set. SIT needs to check into their families more carefully and thoroughly. I felt safe but another student had to be moved after she was placed with a single, divorced, alcoholic man. But I loved both of my home stay families...although not everyone felt this way.

* Food:

It's madagascar.....you eat rice 3 times a day. You aren't going there for good food. You are going to learn another culture. To escape and eat good cheap food and drinks though...Cafe de la Guare at the end of independence avenue is amazing. $3 mojitos.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Going to a discotheque in the rural home stay was very fun and definitely gave you another side to the country. I liked getting to go to the historical places, hold lemurs, zoo etc. I wish they were a little less strict on letting you go out at night.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you are in a home stay you feel un safe in, ask to leave immediately, they have to remove you. Do not try and wait it out, you are still in a foreign country. For health related issues, if you do not feel better within 3 days, tell the program directors that you are going to the hospital and will not take no for an answer because they will not take you. You have to take your health into your own hands here. Yes vaccines are needed to travel here but I do not know all of them because I already had the ones required from visiting south africa previously.

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

Finances

* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Traveling to Madagascar and IN the country is just extremely expensive. There is no way around it, but it is totally worth it.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Elementary French 1.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Yes we practiced French daily while learning Malagasy. Lectures in French, spoke both with your home stay family unless they wanted to practice english.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be prepared for nothing, and take everything as it comes. Respect and appreciate what you are experiencing and learning in this country because many people in this country and especially around the world will never have the chance to even imagine what you will see and the people that you will meet, and the life style you will live. If you are ready to push yourself to new boundaries, jump on in.