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Gustavus J-Term 2022: With One Voice in Madagascar: Exploring Wellbeing from a Malagasy Perspective
Antananarivo, Madagascar; Antsirabe, Madagascar; Fort Dauphin, Madagascar (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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Dates / Deadlines:
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Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
January Interim 2022 05/01/2021 05/01/2021 TBA TBA
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Program Partner:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum GPA:
2.50 Program Design: Faculty led
Program Description:
Program Description:
**This course fulfills the Global Affairs and Cultures (GLAFC) requirement in the Challenge Curriculum.
Libanona Beach
Learn about healthcare and wellbeing in Madagascar from a holistic perspective, sing in Malagasy, and explore this beautiful country!

  • Explore health and wellbeing in Madagascar.
  • Visit health care settings in urban and remote rural areas.
  • Learn Malagasy songs in the Malagasy language to sing with the people and for patients.
  • Attend worship services of a mix of ancient tribal rituals and other complex beliefs.
  • Visit the habitat of endemic animals, plants, and insects only found in Madagascar.
  • Join the daily life of Malagasy people in the Capitol city, in rural Tobys, in the rice fields, and in a fishing village.
  • This course is approved for the GLAFC requirement in the Challenge Curriculum. It also fulfills one of the two IEX requirements in the Liberal Arts Perspective Curriculum. 

LemursThis course is designed for students who are interested in exploring global health and wellbeing in Madagascar from a holistic perspective that regards one’s physical, emotional and spiritual health as intricately enmeshed. Students will visit a number of health care sites, from hospitals, village clinics, rural Tobys, and homecare hospice. Students will learn how to introduce one’s self in the Malagasy language as well as to sing in Malagasy some favorite songs of the people for the patients in hospitals and in hospice.  There will  be opportunities to talk with doctors, nurses,  and community health workers as we travel through the country. In the highlands, we will visit the Antsirabe hospital, rural clinics, and a school for the blind. 
Because religious beliefs are embroiled in health and wellbeing, we will also be guests in a number of services and events. The religious beliefs of the people are quite diverse and an interesting blend of indigenous traditions and other beliefs. One such site is a Toby formed by the Indigenous Christian Movement to care for the spiritual, mental and physical needs of the people.
We will travel through the rice fields, visiting traditional villages, until we reach Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, where we will spend few days in an untouched paradise for animals, plants, and unusual insects found only in Madagascar. We will be guided at night to see the lemurs, and by day to visit a reptile and butterfly sanctuary.   
In Fort Dauphin on the southern tip of Madagascar, we will visit the oldest hospital in the country, spend time in a fishing village, and take a day trip to the Nahampoana Reserve: an exotic tropical forest with a robust lemur population and mountainous backdrop.

This course will be of particular interest to majors who are:  Pre-med, Pre-healthcare,  Nursing, Religion, Biology, Environmental Studies, Education, Psychology, Communication & Music.

  • The program begins at the Mt. Olivet retreat center in Farmington, Minnesota, for a two-day orientation, getting to know a few Malagasy songs and each other.  
  • The Madagascar experience will begin in Antananarivo, the Capitol City, visiting historic, ancient sites and the Toby of Ambohibao.
  • Moving on to Antsirabe for the Andranomadio Hospital, Toby Ambohimahazo, Schools for the Blind and the Hearing Impaired as well as the Tombontsoa Agricultural School and the Lovasoa Cross-cultural Center. In the Antsirabe area, are rural clinics, the volcanic Lac Tritriva, Lake Fiananana, a Thermal Spa, and markets.
  • We will take a domestic flight to Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, staying at the Vakona Lodge from which we will be guided on hikes through the park, including a night walk to see lemurs.
  • We will take another domestic flight to Fort Dauphin, on the south end of Madagascar to visit the oldest hospital in the country, sing with the Akon’ny Lanitra Choir, spend a day in the fishing village, and explore the Nahampoana Reserve.
  • Domestic flight back to Antananarivo aka “Tana” for our flight home, but not before stopping at the Dike Road Craft Market.
Academic Calendar
Expected dates
Fall 2021: There will be two orientation meetings on campus: one in September and one in December. - Please contact Professor Zust if you plan to study away in the fall.
Mt. Olivet Retreat Center: January 2-4, 2022
Study away arrival date: Jan 5, 2022
Study away return date: Jan 26, 2022

Faculty Leader
Barbara Zust
, NursingZust
Barbara L. Zust, RN PhD grew up in a family that went camping for a month every August.  When she was 10, Barbara and her two brothers began planning all the family trips on a tight budget. Collectively, the family camped in every state, except Hawaii, and every province in Canada, including the Yukon Territory. Having no cell phone or credit card—just a map and a plan, the family had fun together, problem solved together, and learned how to be creative and resourceful. Barbara credits her family for her love of traveling today.

Barbara loves the diversity and creativity she finds in nursing. She has had over 30 years of nursing practice ranging from large urban hospitals such as Rochester Mayo and the Denver Children’s Hospital, to remote, rural hospitals such as International Falls and New Ulm, MN.  In 2000, Barbara began teaching in the Nursing Department of Gustavus while continuing her practice at the bedside when needed. She finds that the rurality of the college gives Gustavus nursing students a unique opportunity to explore both urban and rural aspects of healthcare.  Since 2011, Barbara has created a clinical experience for nursing students in Utqiagvik, the North Slope of Alaska and one of the most underserved areas for health care. She also has created J-terms in Sweden, India, Tanzania, and Madagascar. These J-Terms attract a wide variety of students, including Nursing, Pre-meds, Pre- PA’s, Psychology, Communication, Music, Biology, Religion, and an occasional International Business major.          

In 2006, Barbara was awarded the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International Teacher of the Year Award. In 2011, she was awarded the Edgar Carlson Teaching Award at Gustavus.

Barbara lives in St. Peter with her husband, Roger McKnight from the Scandinavian Studies Department at Gustavus. They currently have three cats. Barbara loves to laugh and enjoys good times with her family and friends. Her life goal is to be fluent in Swedish someday

Todd Mattson, Living Waters Lutheran ChurchMattson
Todd Mattson grew up in the same family noted above. He added a geology flair to family trips, as well as music. Todd graduated with a double major in Music and Geology from Southwest Minnesota University. He went on to get his Master's at Luther Seminary and is ordained as an ELCA pastor. After writing a Christian musical, Todd put together his first theatre troupe called "New Wine." These high school students preformed in Minnesota churches as well as out-of-state churches over a 2 week tour.  Since then, he has written 10 musicals plus two folk services, and has traveled with 40-60 high school students every year for the last 38 years as they perform the musicals. These trips have covered the Southwest, East Coast, Southeast, Northeast, including Alaska, as well as Mexico and every province in Canada. In 2009, Todd co-led Gustavus students on a J-Term called "With One Voice in Tanzania," teaching  the students how to sing favorite Tanzanian songs in Swahili.  Since then, he has co-led all the J-Term groups of "With One Voice," teaching Gustavus students to sing in the language of the country.  

Todd is an ELCA pastor at Living Waters Lutheran Church in Sauk Rapids, MN.  Todd and his wife, Kris live in St. Cloud, MN with their cat, Glen. 

Anticipated accommodations will include guesthouses, hotels, conference centers, and lodges.

Manambaro hospital

Program Costs
Evatra VillageThe anticipated program fee will be between $5,950 to $6,600. The fee will cover roundtrip flights from Minneapolis to Madagascar, all lodging and local transportation in Madagascar, lodging and meals at the Mt. Olivet retreat center, meals in Madagascar, necessary entry visas, supplemental travel accident and sickness insurance, and instruction, guides, activities, entrance fees and excursions. Students should budget approximately $100 to $200 for personal expenses. 

All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. **Because the program will travel to remote areas, students with severe health issues that could potentially be fatal without immediate emergency health care should confer with their health care provider before applying.

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by May 1, 2021. 

Entry visas and passports
CICE will work with students to obtain the necessary tourist visa for Madagascar. All program participants must have a passport that is valid through at least July 31, 2022, by the start of Fall 2021 semester.

The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.

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