Scholarships in Madagascar
Where in the world is Madagascar?
The Republic of Madagascar is an island nation off the southeast coast of Africa. Madagascar’s flora and fauna are tremendously diverse, with many species of lemurs and chameleons. Approximately 85 percent of its living things are found nowhere else in the world, because Madagascar separated from a larger continent over a hundred million years ago. Unfortunately, Madagascar is also noteworthy for destruction of habitat and loss of species, a frequent concomitant of unchecked growth.
The country’s focus on agriculture and economic development puts great stress on its remaining ecosystems. That means many of the Madagascar programs now offered feature environmental or sustainable development themes. The presence of 18 separate Malagasy tribes, plus other immigrant ethnic groups, makes Madagascar a rich field for ethnographers.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships offer undergraduates a splendid opportunity to study in lesser-traveled spots around the globe, like Madagascar. Since the program’s goal is to diversify the student body sent abroad by the U.S., financial need is a criterion for the Gilman (you must be a Pell Grant recipient to apply).
There are also other eligibility requirements for Gilman awards: the student’s chosen study-abroad program must give college credit and the student must work in one country for at least four weeks. Students attending community colleges or two-year institutions are one of the Gilman’s target populations. Gilman awards may be as much as $5,000 for one academic year.
The David L. Boren Awards for International Study are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which promotes education in those languages and cultures considered important to national security. That explains the Boren awards’ government service requirement, the NSEP Service Requirement.
It also accounts for the selection of countries in which a Boren will pay you to study. Note that while Madagascar is not on the list of preferred countries, you still stand a chance of winning a Boren to study there if you can make a strong case for why your planned course of study furthers the mission of the Boren program.
Applicants may be either undergraduates (for scholarships) or graduate students (for fellowships), and must be pursuing intensive studies in language or culture. Scholarships can bring as much as $20,000, and fellowships $30,000. You can find a list of recommended languages here.
The Garden Club of America takes an interest in furthering the study of tropical plant life, and its Awards in Tropical Botany are given to graduate students pursuing independent field study. Applicants must expect to finish a Ph.D. in botany within two years. GCA makes two monetary awards annually in the amount of $5,500 each.
Study Abroad Organizations
The School for International Training (SIT) offers study-abroad programs for both undergraduates and graduate students. The SIT program is sponsored by a nonprofit called World Learning, the mission of which is to foster not only academic but also cultural interchange among nations, giving a student’s education and personal development increased breadth.
SIT offers three different courses in Madagascar:
- The Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management course, emphasizing field research of flora and fauna
- The National Identity and Social Change course, about the Malagasy people and their culture
- The Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Systems summer course, about traditional and modern healthcare practices and systems.
SIT has a page devoted to information about the scholarships and grants to which SIT students have access. SIT directs its own scholarships (ranging from $500 to $5,000) to financially needy students, and over 80 percent of program participants receive some monetary assistance.
SIT posts a long list of awards for which financial aid applicants are automatically considered. Here are some examples:
- The Compton Fund, especially suited to students in one of the environmentally themed programs
- Sally Bragg Baker Scholarship, given to a female student with a demonstrated interest in multicultural collaboration and working for world peace
- SIT Fund, aimed at students who have less money
- SIT Engineering Scholarship, for financially needy undergraduate students working toward engineering degrees
- HBCU Scholarships, reserved for those SIT participants whose home institution is one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Michigan State University offers an extensive study-abroad program, much of which is open to students from around the country. The College of Natural Science program in Madagascar, called Paradise in Peril?, is designed for students interested in biodiversity and conservation. There are pages with information on study-abroad scholarships for undergraduates and graduate students that maintain current details on what’s available.
NOTE: If your country of choice is under an official travel warning, that may affect any applications you submit. Please check application requirements carefully.