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ISLE Program

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Since 1982

Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education (ISLE) is a faculty-run program in partnership with the University of Peradeniya. The ISLE Consortium colleges are Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Carleton, Gustavus Adolphus, Holy Cross, and Swarthmore Colleges.

ISLE is an approved program at Amherst College, Bard College, Colgate University, Cornell University, Olin College of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, and Whittier College. Students from any institution are welcome to apply. Please email isle@bowdoin.edu for specific information or click here to apply.

Mahintale Fall 2013

Contact us!

Click Here to Request More Information

Email: isle@bowdoin.edu

Phone: (207) 725-3894

The ISLE Experience

The ISLE Program experience blends cultural immersion and academics in order to give students the tools to understand Sri Lanka from a well-rounded perspective. Students take elective courses with esteemed faculty at the University of Peradeniya, as they simultaneously learn to navigate Sri Lankan society through their homestay families, university student mentors, and Sri Lanka Studies Seminar. The intensive Sinhala language course (and optional Tamil tutoring) allows students to break the language barrier and immerse deeper into the culture. 

The culmination of the ISLE semester is the Independent Study project. Students work with professors and administrators to plan the project then spend 4 weeks conducting research in their respective sites and regions. Check out past students' projects! 

What makes ISLE special?


Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Read firsthand accounts from ISLE students on tumblr.

Check out an student blog!

Kimberly Kolor (University of Pennsylvania '15)


Tea Plantation, Newara Eliya Region

Kirinda Temple, South Coast
Orphanage Visit, Aruppola
Host Family Tea, ISLE Center
Children at a Drumming VillageH

Visiting with monks
Mini World's End, Knuckles Mountain Range



15% of ISLE Alumni have received Fulbright Awards for research or English Language teaching through the Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission!

Many ISLE alumni are scholars who are now teaching in universities and colleges across the country.  Our alumni are professors at a variety of institutions including:

  • Central Connecticut State University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Cornell University
  • Drew University
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Iliff Theological Seminary
  • Kalamazoo College
  • Ohio State University
  • Olin College
  • School for Oriental and African Studies (London)
  • University of Otago (New Zealand)
  • Whittier College

Apply Now for Spring 2015! 

Click here to begin the first part of the application. Due by October 7th, 2014.


Here is what past students have said about their experiences on the ISLE Program:

"[ISLE] is no ordinary program; it provides an immense opportunity for growth"

"I felt that I have matured as a student and as a citizen of the world. I have not felt this much motivation and effort towards my work in years and I do not want that element to fade away in years to come." 

"The independent study really helped me gain confidence in myself and my ability to carry out academic work outside the classroom."

"Living with a Sri Lankan family in a homestay certainly altered my perspective on the world."

"The Independent Study was altogether a great experience--one of the most interesting academic endeavors of my life." 

Learn more from former ISLE students in these Youtube videos!

The ISLE Program, as a non-profit Incorporation in the USA, complies with applicable provisions of federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, admission, or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability.