ISLE Program

Spring 2013 Session I Activities

Welcome to the Spring 2013 Session I web page. During this part of the semester, students begin exploring Sri Lanka through its material and cultural history. The following photos are snapshots of their courses and field trips during the beginning of the semester. 

The students traveled to a traditional craft village, where they learned about Sri Lankan drum making techniques.


Above, the students learn how animal hides are stretched, and then used to make the drums.


Aleph, a music major at Bowdoin College, gets ready to try out one of the handmade drums.

students workshop

Above, the students visit a workshop that makes traditional bronze lamps and learn about the intricate process.

The students also visited a Buddhist Temple with Professors Rajapaksa and Jayaratne.

shoes off 

As is customary for Buddhist holy sites, the students and professors (above) removed their shoes before walking on the Temple grounds.


Professor Rajapaksa (above) introduces the students to the Gangarama Temple, a Buddhist Temple in the Kandy Hills.


Professor Jayaratne (above) explains moonstones to the students outside the Gangarama Temple.


The students and Faculty Director, Cricket Keating (above, center), admire the paintings inside the Gangarama Temple.


Dylan and Jessica smile as they take in the view of Kandy Lake from the surrounding hills.

After the field trips, the students had some time to visit the University of Peradeniya with their Sri Lankan learning partners. There, they toured the university grounds and played a friendly game of cricket.


Dylan Fisher proved a natural at the batting technique for cricket, as he readies for a ball from one of the learning partners.


Afterwards, the students (above) relaxed with cold Pepsis at the University.

As part of the Independent Study Seminar lectures, the students visited the home of Ashley and Bridget Halpe, two well-known Sri Lankan art collectors and champions of the arts.


The students listened as prominent Sri Lankan authors, Carl Muller and Jean Arasanayagam (above, standing), read selections from their works in the Halpe home. The selections focused on Sri Lankan culture and the role literature plays in Sri Lankan society.


Student, Ben Breger (above, left) takes notes as Ashley Halpe gives a tour of the many pieces of art on display in his home, many with broader cultural significance.

The students then traveled to Sri Lanka's capital city, Colombo, for the Perahera, an important celebration showing off the many forms of Sri Lankan art and performance, including Kandyan drumming and dancing that the students will begin classes in next week.

Colombo Lake

The students (above) posed for a photo in front of the lake in Colombo.

temple colombo

Students Dylan Fisher and Chrissy Hayes pose for a photo in front of the scenic temple on the lake in Colombo.

After a whirlwind of a start to their semesters in Sri Lanka, the students faced looming deadlines for final papers from their Session I courses.

ISLE Center Lawn

The students (above) worked on their papers in the serene ISLE Center gardens.