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I study environmental and international development studies in Canada. After my second year as an undergraduate I wanted to have a hands-on experience in my field. I therefore applied to the Explore Program and had the opportunity to get professional experience on a project promoting sustainable development.
While I was there I had the chance to discover and learn more about the unique flora and fauna of Madagascar.
I also learned about the culture of the Malagasy people and the way they perceived and use their environment. I witnessed firsthand how people working in conservation work to protect the environment and improve people’s welfare. This experience was unique and I think that there is no better way to learn about a different culture and conservation work of a foreign country than going away for three months living and working with the local people.
Expect to go to remote and wild places, meet lovely people and see breathtaking landscapes. It is probably going to be more exciting, amazing and harder than you thought.
"There is no better way to learn about a different culture and conservation work of a country than going away for three months living and working with the local people"
To fully enjoy your time there you have to come with an open mind and ALWAYS remember that there is no universal value.
Try to learn as much Malagasy as you can since it will avoid misunderstanding with the Malagasy people and language barrier. You will also bond more easily with villagers and the WWF agents on the field which will make your experience more satisfying.