During Session III of the program the students set off on a four week independent study project on a topic of their choice. The independent study period is the most significant and most challenging session of the program. Students embark outside of the “Kandy bubble” where they contend with travel, Sinhala, research methodology, new home stay experiences, and new communities.
The ISLE 2010 group was dispersed throughout areas of Sri Lanka including Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Matara, Matale, Colombo, Nawalapitiya, Hatton, Galle, and Kandy. The students spent two to three weeks in the field and then returned to Kandy to continue their research and write a final paper. Following group presentations about their research experiences, the students enjoyed a final tea with their families and friends before packing up to head back to the U.S.
Justin stands outside the Bhikku University in Anuradhapura, one of the two sites he stayed during Independent Study to research monks and politics at the university level
Above left: Josh heads into his home stay in Anuradhapura at the beginning of Independent Study period. Josh interviewed (and cooked with) Sri Lankan women while examining how they related ethnically to their food.
Above right: Katy and her Akka stand at Alu Vihara, a Buddhist temple in Matale. Katy stayed in Matale with her Akka as her translator to research the Tamil community. Katy was particularly interested in peace and reconciliation and human rights in the aftermath of the conflict.
Above left: Emily stands outside her school in Hatton with a resident English teacher. Emily was interested in studying alcoholism, its effect on children, and the mechanisms the school has in place to support the students.
Above right: In Puttalam, Jen chats with her home stay father’s brother-in-law about how to make coconut oil. Both Jen and Caitlin stayed with a Muslim family during their Independent Studies. Jen was interested in women’s health while Caitlin was interested in the effect of the war on internally displaced children.
Back in Kandy
Henry and Rosemary share a moment while eating snacks at Caitlin’s birthday party. Caitlin’s Amma and Apachi threw Caitlin a party and invited the ISLE crew over.
Emily and her Amma at Caitlin’s birthday
Rachael, Liza, and Jen
Above left: Caitlin feeds all her guests a bite of cake, a Sri Lankan birthday tradition. Above right: Caitlin and Chantal at Caitlin's birthday party.
Final Exams and Independent Study Presentations
Ms. Sandamali and Professor Liyanage talk with Caitlin in Sinhala during her final oral exam
Independent Study Final Presentations: The students present to each other, Professor Jenkins, Professor Meegaskumura, and Tilak regarding their Independent Study experiences
Josh's and Justin's presentations
Rachel's and Sasha's presentations
Henry gives a mini-concert and lecture on western pop music at the Fine Arts Faculty at Peradeniya University
During Final Tea at the ISLE Center, the host families joined the students to celebrate the end of the program and to thank the families for all of their loving support
Tilak, Professor Liyanage, Professor Jenkins, Henry, Justin, and Josh get together for a “boy picture”
Katy, Jen, Jess, Rachael, Emily, Sasha, Liza, Chantal, and Caitlin in their beautiful saris
Above left: Jen and Caitlin pose while Henry hops into the background Above right: Chantal with her Akka (older sister) and Nangi (younger sister)
Above left: Jess and Jen; Above right: Jess and Rachael
Josh with his Amma and Apachi
Above left: Katy and Sasha at the final tea Above right: Caitlin and Emily pose with their Ammas
Above left: Professor Jenkins and Emily; Above right: Liza with her two little sisters
All the students pose with Sinhala teachers, Ms. Sandamali and Professor Liyanage