In Session I, students begin formal instruction in Sinhala, the language the majority of Sri Lankans speak.
The students were very excited for their first class and posed for a photo with their Sinhala textbooks:
Below, Professor Konara leads the Sinhala class at the ISLE center. Students learned how to introduce themselves and describe their host families in Sinhala during their first lesson.
In week two the students visited a crafts village to witness the laborious drum making process.
Above, one of the craftsmen demonstrates how to shape the rough tree trunk into a smooth Kandyan drum.
Later, the students visited a local orphanage where they quickly made a number of new friends.
Above, Sam and Program Director, Professor Jake Carbine, give two young boys piggy back rides.
Meanwhile, other students showed the young children how to operate their cameras.
Above, Angela helps a young boy take a picture.
Soon enough, the young children were snapping photos of everyone and everything.
Above, Alex poses for a photograph.
The other students held a photoshoot of their own with this young girl (below) the center of attention.
The students, many of whom are ultimate frisbee players, brought a disc to the local park by the university and made some new friends.
The group (above) posed for a "team photo".
Session I concluded with a five-day trip to the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. The students visited the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polunnaruwa, and the magnificent ruins of an ancient palace built on a rock in Sigiriya.
The trip begins with a hike to the top of Sigiriya rock, where the views make the journey worthwhile.
Sam (above) takes a moment to observe the majestic beauty of his view atop Sigiriya.
The students raised their arms triumphantly in celebration of finally reaching the top of Sigiriya.
Later in the week, the students visited Ruwanweliseya (the Great Stupa) in the ancient city of Anuradhapura.
Above, the Great Stupa at night.
The students then traveled to Mihintale, a peak near Anuradhapura believed to be the meeting place of Buddhist monk Mahinda and an ancient Sri Lankan king, marking the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Kallie and Rachel, both students at Bates college in Maine, pose for a photograph atop Mihintale.
Not to be left out, the Carleton contingent also posed for a group photo.
Later, the students visited the Elephant pond, a man-made structure six-times the size of a modern-day Olympic Swimming Pool.
Amiya (above) sits down to record her thoughts in her journal.
The trip also exposed students to the abundance of wildlife in Sri Lanka.
Above, a monkey and her baby.
Later, the students visited the ancient irrigation tank, Tissa Wewa, constructed in the third century B.C.
Above, the students posed for a photo along the banks of Tissa Wewa after a long day of field study.
They also visited the grounds of the ancient Buddhist monastery, Abayagiri.
Rachel pulls out a handful of imaginary rice from this giant rice trough, once used to store rice for up to 5,000 monks during the 5th century.
After the five days journey, Charlie and Alex (left,right) relaxed under the shade of a tree with our driver, Sanjiva (center).
Meanwhile Amiya (below) enjoyed some sweet freshly squeezed guava juice.
Our fearless leaders, Professor Carbine (center), Sanjiva (left), and Sumasena (right) smile for a photo after a successful Northern Tour.
That wraps up Session I. Stay tuned for updates on Session II.