What is LIME?

LIME is a peer-to-peer mentoring program between Lafayette College students and high school students from Lycée Andohalo Antananarivo, one of the public high schools in Madagascar. The goal of LIME is to prepare the Malagasy LIME students for the process of applying to colleges in the United States. Each year, twelve Lafayette students are selected to participate in the program in which they work closely with the Malagasy LIME students to guide their steps in the college application process. The Lafayette LIME mentors formally commit to mentoring over a 1.5 year period which includes a three week trip to Madagascar in January. However, the informal commitment is for a lifetime!

Here is a 2013 segment on LIME from the PBS39 Tempo program (just the first couple of minutes of this show):

Who are the Malagasy LIME students?

The Malagasy LIME students are current and previous Malagasy students who are studying / studied at Lycée Andohalo Antananarivo (pronounced “ahn-dew-AHH-lew”), a public high school in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar. Most of the Malagasy LIME students come from low socio economical families and cannot afford the costs of college applications outside of Madagascar, but they are however hard-working and truly eager to further their Education at a qualitative university outside of Madagascar. One of their main goals is to create a better version of Madagascar. 

To become a Malagasy LIME student, students must be enrolled as a high schooler at Lycée Andohalo Antananarivo. LIME students are usually selected to partake in written essays and interviews at the end of their 10th grade (“Classe de Seconde” in French). Selections are based on the students’s performance in Mathematics and English classes by the end of their 10th grade as well as on their overall performance in the whole 10th grade academic year based on their Grade Point Average (“Moyenne générale” in French). Accepted LIME members are usually those who have the highest grades in Mathematics, English, and the Grade Point Averages among their classmates. They are students who are among the top 25% of their classmates. Once they are accepted to be a LIME member, they will always be a part of the LIME family forever 💚. 

The Malagasy LIME students are comprised of two groups: the morning group and the afternoon group. The morning group is made up of recent accepted LIME students who are in  11th grade at the beginning of their journey in LIME. The afternoon group is made up of students who are 12th graders and above (including students who already graduated from Lycée Andohalo Antananarivo).  The LIME students (morning and afternoon) meet twice a week as a group for a period of 1hour and a half to practice their English and Mathematics skills. They all work together to help each other. LIME, for most Malagasy students, is their second family 💚. 

It is worth noting that being a Malagasy LIME student is for free. 

If you have questions or concerns about how to become a Malagasy LIME member, please email Mrs Vatosoa Solofo Raharinosy at soloforaharinosy04@gmail.com or send a private message to her on Facebook at Vatosoa Raharinosy. 

How did the program start?

The intiative for the LIME program originally came from the recognition that very few Malagasys study in the US (e.g. 75 undergraduates in 2011/12) compared to those from other Francophone African countries (e.g. 904 undergraduates from Cameroon in 2011/12; source is Open Doors Data).

LIME was designed by a team of ten Lafayette students who traveled to Madagascar in January 2010 to meet with Malagasy high school students and teachers, US Embassy officials, and Peace Corps volunteers working in the education sector.  This team discovered bright young Malagasy students for whom opportunity beckoned if they could pursue higher education in the US.

They realized that, although the Malagasy high school students received a sound education, they were disadvantaged in terms of preparation for applying to colleges in the US.  Thus, the 2010 LIME team proposed a program in which future Lafayette students visit Madagascar each January to work with the Malagasy students at Lycee Andohalo to coach them on taking standardized tests, writing essays, filling out the Common Application, applying for financial aid, choosing appropriate schools, and speaking English.

Are there any Malagasy students in college in the US?

The LIME program is in its tenth year since the launch in January 2011, and each year a handful students apply to colleges.  These students have all passed their national high school exams and are very promising.  So far, eight Lycée Andohalo students have come to the United States to study at Lafayette College with full financial aid packages. Moreover, they have been doing well academically, socially and emotionally. Indeed, the pioneering student graduated in May 2016 and earned her Master of Development Practice at the University of California, Berkeley.  The advisor of this first Malagasy student asked the LIME team to “Bring more like her.” Other graduates are in graduate school or are back in Madagascar working for NGOs. For more information about Malagasy students in the United States, visit the LIME students page on top of this page. 

What are the financial challenges for the Malagasy students?

Even for Malagasy students who receive full scholarships to cover tuition, room and board, there are substantial expenses that make it difficult to make the transition to college in the US.  These expenses include standardized tests such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and SAT ($250), visa fees ($250), air fare to the United States ($2,500), and initial health insurance ($2,500).  This extra $5,500 is insurmountable for each of the talented but economically disadvantaged Malagasy students.

Why do Lafayette mentors travel to Madagascar? 

College applications, especially to colleges in the United States, is a whole new domain for the  Malagasy LIME students. Because they come from low socio economical families, the opportunity to get an Education outside of Madagascar is a dream for some as they do not have the financial means to do so. However, LIME changes this situation.

Because they are not used to apply to colleges in the United States, the Malagasy LIME students do not know what the TOEFL test is, what the SAT test is, and what a college board is. Even if they do, they do not study for the TOEFL test and the SAT test at Lycée Andohalo Antananarivo. It is true that they take English and Mathematics classes, but their English and Mathematics curriculum differ substantially from what the TOEFL and the SAT tests test students. In addition to this newness, English is a challenge for the Malagasy LIME students. All the Education at school, except in English, Spanish and Deutsch, are in both French and Malagasy. English is barely spoken at school and English classes do not have listening sections, a section of the TOEFL test that the Malagasy LIME students struggle a lot with. This is not surprising since English is the third language in Madagascar after Malagasy and French.

This is where the mentors come in. Lafayette mentors who are experts in college applications (since they are already in college) introduce the Malagasy LIME students to all the perks of the college applications. They mentor students about what the TOEFL test is, what the SAT test is, and what a personal statement for college looks like. Furthermore, the Malagasy LIME students get to get a one-on-one listening practice with the mentors everyday for 3 weeks. After the intensive in-person three weeks LIME program between the mentors and the students, the Malagasy LIME students will be able to independently work on their English and Mathematics skills so that they can be prepared for the TOEFL and SAT test.  LIME is a two way connections where the Malagasy LIME students receive tips of college applications from the mentors and the mentors receive 1 Global and Multiculturalism (GM2) college credit, a credit that counts towards college graduation at Lafayette College, at the end of the 3 weeks LIME program in Madagascar. 

However, even if LIME is all about learning, at the end of the day, the connections between the Malagasy students and the Lafayette mentors are truly unique and genuine, a connection that might last for a life time! The experiences that the mentors get from participating in the LIME program might also be life changing for some. Some mentors never traveled outside of the United States before the LIME program. However, in Madagascar, they get to witness and experience a whole set of new cultures, new food, new ways of living, and to immerse in the culture as well. 

Who are the Lafayette student mentors?

A team of 12 Lafayette students is selected by the futre LIME course instructors by the end of each Spring semester to teach TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) test, SAT test, and college applications essays to the Malagasy LIME students. These mentors are often flexible, creative, able to work as part of a team and able to immerse themselves in the local cultures of Madagascar. Beginning in the Fall semester, they formally commit to mentoring over a 1.5 year period which includes a three week trip to Madagascar in January.  The informal commitment, however, is for a lifetime!

I am interested in becoming a LIME mentor. What do I do? 

To be a LIME mentor, applications are open to current first-year and sophomore Lafayette students of all majors, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion/spirituality, nationality and socioeconomic status. A team is usually represented by both domestic and international students. We are not requiring applicants to have prior visits outside of the United States for the application

Application to become a LIME mentor happens during the first three weeks of the Spring semester, and Lafayette students are nominated by faculty members as well as previous LIME mentor teams prior to completing an application. A Lafayette student interested in becoming a LIME mentor should then consult a faculty or a previous LIME mentor to request a nomination from them. Then, each applicant fills in a reflection of written responses of questions about LIME and has an interview with the future course instructors who will go to Madagascar for the next trip. Status of acceptance to be a LIME mentor is released by the end of April. 

LIME mentors include students who were athletes, musicians, actors, poets, writers, dancers, computer scientists, and STEM students among many other areas of study.  The one thing they all have in common is a desire to work together as a team to guide young Malagasy students in the process of applying to colleges in the United States.

What does a day in the LIME trip look like?

  • Breakfast at Hotel Ibis
  • Bus ride to school with the man, the myth, the legend (Monsieur Nini)
  • 6 hours of mentoring per day
  • 3 hours per session
  • 2 sessions (older and younger)
    • Morning and afternoon sessions
  • Lunch with team in between sessions
  • ~2:1 student to mentor ratio
    • More personal mentoring rather than lecturing
  • Intermittent ice breaker activities
    • Simon Says, Limbo, Dancing, Ninja, etc.
  • Bus ride back to Hotel Ibis
  • Dinner with the team
  • Team meeting
    • Discussion of what went well, what could improve
    • Organize the next day’s lesson plan

If you have questions or concerns about the LIME program, feel free to email the current Malagasy Lafayette students