ISLE Program

Spring 2009 Session III Activities

The third and final semester of the ISLE Program is taken up with the students' independent study projects. After much research and careful planning with their professors and with the Academic Director, ISLE students spent nearly a month conducting research and working on their chosen study projects, drawing on everything they had been studying over the course of the semester. The projects culminated in final papers as well as formal oral presentations. To view the titles of the students' projects, please see the Independent Study Projects page of the "About the Program" section of this site.

Sumanasena and ISLE students

Towards the end of the independent study period, Sumanasena and Katie join Joe, Andrew, and Damian in Ambalangoda before returning to the hill country.

Damian at the beach

Having spent the last week conducting interviews on the Southern coast, Damian takes in one last coastal sunset. 

Becky and Damian at Maligawa

Becky and Andrew go to an evening puja service at the Dalada Maligawa.

Downtown Kandy

After their independent study research was complete, the students returned to Kandy for the May full moon celebration named Vesak.  Vesak commemorates Buddha’s birthday, day of enlightenment, and day of final passing, and is recognized in Sri Lanka with the lighting of colorful lanterns. 

Downtown Kandy is decorated with streamers and lanterns in honor of Vesak. 


A view of the Dalada Maligawa lit up for Vesak.

Vesak Buddha lantern

An ornate Vesak lantern depicting the Buddha.

ISLE Center celebrates Vesak

The entrance to the ISLE Center ornamented with a handful of colorful lanterns.

Spring 09 ISLE t-shirt

Joe models the Spring 2009 ISLE Program t-shirt.

ice cream party

Following the students’ final Sinhala exams, ISLE staff and Sinhala instructors join the students for a celebratory ice cream party, durian tasting, and afternoon of games.

durian tasting

Emily, Katie, and Joe prepare themselves for the taste of durian (a tropical fruit with a flavor akin to garlic and a smell akin to trash…)

Gal haeta game

Having explained the rules of the game, Joe takes the first shot at the stack of coconut shells in a game of “gal haeta”.  Joe perfected his gal haeta technique during his stay at the SOS Children’s Village in Galle where he conducted his independent study.


Sinhala instructor, Dr. Amarakeerti Liyanage (Amare), takes his turn to shoot at the coconut shells.

Tilak stacks coconut shells

ISLE librarian extraordinaire, Tilak Jayatilake, stacks a set of coconut shells. 

Andrew presents

During his independent study presentation, Podi Andrew reflects on his stay at the Na Uyana forest monastery in Melsiripura.  

Carrie and Joe listen

Carrie and Joe listen intently.  

Becky presents    

Becky shares pictures from her work at the Blue Rose School, where she spent the second half of her independent study working with students with disabilities.   

table is set for tea

After the students sat their final exams and presented their independent study projects, it was sadly nearly time to say good-bye. The traditional “Final Tea”, an ISLE end-of-program tradition, brought the students and their families together for one last ISLE Center gathering and celebration before the program came to an end.

Carrie and family

Carrie Dulaney’s host family peruse the selection of “short eats,” chocolate cake, juice, and tea. 

Damian and family

Damian with his host family. 

Emily and family

Emily with her host family. 

Becky and host family

Becky with her host family. 

Joe and host parents

Joe with his host family. 

Carrie and host family

Carrie with her host family. 

Andrew and family

Andrew with his host family. 

isle students spring 09

The Spring 2009 ISLE students pose for a final group photo. 

students and families

The students and their families congregate under the ISLE Center’s token avocado tree.

Emily and nangi

Emily with her nangi (host sister). 

 Emily, Carrie and siblings

Carrie and Emily with their host siblings. 

isle group Spring 09

Rosemary finds herself in the midst of appreciative ISLE students. 

Damian and Rosemary

Damian and Rosemary share a laugh at the Final Tea.