Hightlights from Session III

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. 

Independent Study

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 at Bhikku University

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

Josh enters his homestay in AnuradhapuraKaty and her akka

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.

Emily at her school in HattonJen in Puttalam

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

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

Emily and her Amma at Caitlin’s birthday

Rachael, Liza, and Jen

Rachael, Liza, and Jen

Caitlin feeds Emily birthday cakeCaitlin and Chantal

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


Caitlin's Sinhala exam

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 and Justin

Josh's and Justin's presentations

Jess's presentation

Jess's presentation

Rachel's presentationSasha's presentation

Rachel's and Sasha's presentations

Henry's concert and lecture

Henry gives a mini-concert and lecture on western pop music at the Fine Arts Faculty at Peradeniya University

Final Tea

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

The boys of the ISLE Program

Tilak, Professor Liyanage, Professor Jenkins, Henry, Justin, and Josh get together for a “boy picture”

The girls of the ISLE Program

Katy, Jen, Jess, Rachael, Emily, Sasha, Liza, Chantal, and Caitlin in their beautiful saris

Chantal, Caitlin and HenryChantal and her akkas

Above left: Jen and Caitlin pose while Henry hops into the background Above right: Chantal with her Akka (older sister) and Nangi (younger sister)

Jen and JessJess and Rachael

Above left: Jess and Jen; Above right: Jess and Rachael

Josh and his host parents

Josh with his Amma and Apachi

Katy and SashaCaitlin and Emily pose with their Ammas

Above left: Katy and Sasha at the final tea  Above right: Caitlin and Emily pose with their Ammas

Professor Jenkins and EmilyLiza and her little sisters

Above left: Professor Jenkins and Emily; Above right: Liza with her two little sisters

ISLE's 2010 Sinhala class members

All the students pose with Sinhala teachers, Ms. Sandamali and Professor Liyanage