The course: NDS 171 LIME | Lafayette Initiative for Malagasy Education
The experience: LIME is a unique peer-to-peer mentorship program with high school students at the Lycée Andohalo in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Twelve Lafayette students who are nominated by Lafayette faculty are selected to participate in this program that spans three semesters. In the first semester, students developed lesson plans to prepare high school students in Madagascar to take U.S. university entrance exams (SAT and TOEFL). Alongside program leaders Rochelle Keesler, director of study abroad, and Joshua Smith, associate professor of mechanical engineering, they then spent three weeks in Madagascar, working daily with these high school students.
The mentors experience Malagasy culture firsthand through their relationships with the high school students and activities such as visiting lemur and wildlife preserves as well as visiting with a local entrepreneur.
“The three weeks in Madagascar culminate in a closing ceremony hosted by the high school students and the local teacher who coordinates the program with us. The Malagasy students made speeches about the personal and cultural impact that the exchange with the Lafayette students had on them,” shares Keesler. “It was clear that this was a mutual sentiment, and a moment where it became really tangible for our students that the impact of our engagement goes far deeper than helping students potentially study in the U.S.”
This spring semester, students involved will give a presentation to the Lafayette community about the LIME program and fundraise for the program. Lastly, in the second fall semester, they will assist any Malagasy students with their application materials and help prepare the next cohort of mentors.