Getting There

The ISLE students' long journey and their first few days in Sri Lanka

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.

ISLE students meet each other at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Henry, Josh, Justin, Rachael, and Chantal chat and get to know each other while waiting to board the plane from Chicago to London.

ISLE Executive Director Sree Padma Holt speaks with students in Chicago.

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.

students read newpapers on the plane

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 on the plane to London

Emily, Jess, and Henry are all smiles as the plane takes off from Chicago.

Sasha and Chantal catch up on their sleep at Heathrow.

Sasha and Chantal try to catch up on some sleep during the long layover in London.

The group arrives in Sr Lanka

After almost two days of travel, the students stand together at Bandaranaike International Airport in Sri Lanka.

ISLE students get in the van to Kandy.

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 in the van

Sasha, Katy, and Chantal inside the van as they excitedly leave the airport.

students try tambili

The students stop at a roadside shop to try their first taste of thambili (King Coconut) water.

Emily tries thambili

Emily tries the tasty coconut meat inside.

Students and Sinhala Professor W. A. Liyanage

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.

Professor Stephen Jenkins and 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, Sasha and students

Katy and Sasha pose with three University of Peradeniya students as they enjoy tea together on behalf of the Buddhist monks.

Katy, Justin, Jess and two local students

Katy, Justin, and Jess chat with two University students over tea in the Buddhist temple at Peradeniya.

Program Director Prof. Jenkins and students enjoy dinner at a hotel.

Professor Jenkins and the students enjoy their first dinner at the hotel.

Dr. Liyanage teaches the first Sinhala class of the semester.

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 practice writing Sinhala.

Jen, Henry, and Jess studying hard during their first Sinhala class of the semester.

Sandamali works with Chantal and Liza.

Assistant Sinhala instructor Ms. Sandamali works with Chantal and Liza as they practice Sinhala greetings and numbers.

Caitlin, Liza and Rachael pose for a picture during a break from class.

Caitlin, Liza, and Rachael use their mid-Sinhala break to catch some fresh air outside at Peradeniya University.

Local students show Katy, Emily, Jess the university campus.

Katy, Emily, and Jess chat with some Sinhala students as they show the newcomers around campus.

Sasha and local student chat

Sasha and a student at the University chat as they look out over the bridge above the Mahaweli River that runs through Peradeniya.

Justin chats with local students.

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 meet archaeology instructor Mr. Rajapakse.

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 group at the hotel, sunset on the first evening

The students stand outside Hotel Sandakelum at sunset. It is their final evening at the hotel before they move in with their host families.

Justin and his host family

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 and her host family

Katy meets her host family for the first time and leads them into the ISLE center for tea.

Jess and her host family

Jess sits with her host family. Her malli or younger brother is particularly excited to meet his akka, or older sister.

Rachael and her host family

Rachel chats with her host family for the first time at the traditional ISLE center host family tea.

Chantal and her host family

Chantal talks and laughs with her host family as they meet for the first time.