On Sunday, August 29, our student group met at an international departure gate at O'Hare airport in Chicago to start their long voyage to Sri Lanka. The program assistant, Sarah Lord, accompanied the group. Sree Padma had flown directly from Sri Lanka to Chicago to meet the students, provide last minute updates and what to expect during their first few days in Sri Lanka. During this meeting, students introduced themselves to each other and talked about their past international experiences and their enthusiasm for the trip ahead. Below are some of the pictures that Sarah has captured of students' journey, their arrival in Sri Lanka, their first meetings with their Sinhala instructors, Peradeniya students, and host families.
Henry, Josh, Justin, Rachael, and Chantal chat and get to know each other while waiting to board the plane from Chicago to London.
Sree Padma, the ISLE Program administrator, met the students at O’Hare airport to answer questions and wish them luck before beginning their journey to Sri Lanka.
Jen, Justin, and Josh spend some quality bonding time reading the newspaper as they wait for the plane to embark on the 8 hour flight to Heathrow airport.
Emily, Jess, and Henry are all smiles as the plane takes off from Chicago.
Sasha and Chantal try to catch up on some sleep during the long layover in London.
After almost two days of travel, the students stand together at Bandaranaike International Airport in Sri Lanka.
The students load their luggage and hop into the van for the 3 hour drive to Kandy and their first glimpse of the Sri Lankan landscape.
Sasha, Katy, and Chantal inside the van as they excitedly leave the airport.
The students stop at a roadside shop to try their first taste of thambili (King Coconut) water.
Emily tries the tasty coconut meat inside.
Justin and Emily walk with their Sinhala teacher, Dr. Amarakeerthi Liyange and Sandamali, one of his two assistants, Ms. Sandamali Karunarathna. They are climbing the hill to see the Hindu and Buddhist temples, mosque, and church that are available for University of Peradeniya students.
ISLE Program Faculty Director Professor Stephen Jenkins talks with students about Hindu temple rituals outside of the Hindu temple at the University of Peradeniya.
Katy and Sasha pose with three University of Peradeniya students as they enjoy tea together on behalf of the Buddhist monks.
Katy, Justin, and Jess chat with two University students over tea in the Buddhist temple at Peradeniya.
Professor Jenkins and the students enjoy their first dinner at the hotel.
Josh and Rachael listen attentively as Professor Liyange engages the students in their first Sinhala class. The students will take Sinhala for three hours every morning for the first few weeks to jumpstart their language learning.
Jen, Henry, and Jess studying hard during their first Sinhala class of the semester.
Assistant Sinhala instructor Ms. Sandamali works with Chantal and Liza as they practice Sinhala greetings and numbers.
Caitlin, Liza, and Rachael use their mid-Sinhala break to catch some fresh air outside at Peradeniya University.
Katy, Emily, and Jess chat with some Sinhala students as they show the newcomers around campus.
Sasha and a student at the University chat as they look out over the bridge above the Mahaweli River that runs through Peradeniya.
During the University tea, students meet their professors as well as other Peradeniya faculty and students. Here, Justin sits with two Sri Lankan psychology students.
Sasha, Liza, and Henry get to know their instructor, Mr. Rajapakse, who will be teaching the Material Culture course and leading the Northern Tour to Sri Lanka’s most ancient sites.
The students stand outside Hotel Sandakelum at sunset. It is their final evening at the hotel before they move in with their host families.
Just greets his host family: amma (mother), apachi (father), nangi (little sister), and malli (little brother)and leads them into the ISLE center for some tea and pastries.
Katy meets her host family for the first time and leads them into the ISLE center for tea.
Jess sits with her host family. Her malli or younger brother is particularly excited to meet his akka, or older sister.
Rachel chats with her host family for the first time at the traditional ISLE center host family tea.
Chantal talks and laughs with her host family as they meet for the first time.