Horton Plains. By Hannah Durham '13. View this photo and more on the ISLE Student Tumblr

Program Structure 

The ISLE semester consists of three distinct sessions, in which students take both required and elective courses, and undertake a final Independent Study Project. The program is structured to support a gradual immersion in which students gain academic and cultural competencies and prepare for the independent study project. 

"The program was very supportive in developing a personal but guided understanding of Sri Lanka. I think there was always an effort by the program to drive the students towards learning." -Fall '13 student

Session I: Students begin with an intensive Sinhala language course, in which they gain the conversational skills necessary for real-life situations. The language study is complemented by the Sri Lankan Studies Seminar (SLSS), a series of field-based lectures that offer glimpes into a variety of topics and regions. Students travel to the Cultural Triangle, Jaffna, and the Eastern Province during the first session of the SLSS. 

Session II: Students enroll in two elective courses at the University of Peradeniya in Session II. Four elective courses, including an elective language class will be offered during Session II. Students can choose to audit or even enroll in a third course. These courses include readings and homework assignments, field trips, and final papers or exams. The Sri Lankan Studies Seminar continues throughout the session. Students will travels to Nuwara Eliya, Kataragama, and Galle for SLSS lectures in Session II. Alongside electives and the SLSS, students may engage in extracurricular activities or volunteer opportunities. This is also the planning period for the independent study project. 

Session III: Students spend four weeks conducting their independent study projects in the field site(s) of their choosing. Upon returning to Kandy, students compose IS papers and present their research in a seminar at the University of Peradeniya.

"The Independent Study was one of the most interesting academic endeavors of my life." -Fall '13 student