Each student lives as a family member with a middle class host family in Kandy. ISLE students describe the relationship with their families as one of the most important learning experiences of the program. It lays the foundation for an in-depth understanding of Sri Lankan culture. In addition to providing meals, families encourage language learning and include the students in their religious and social activities. They make it possible for students to become actively involved in many aspects of Sri Lankan daily life. Frequent visits by relatives and friends add further diversity to students' family-life experiences.
Almost all of the host families are situated either in the hills of Dangolla (the quiet residential neighborhood in which the ISLE Program Study Center is located), or 15 to 20 minutes away by "3-wheeler taxis," again, not far from the Center.
Dangolla is contiguous to the sprawling University of Peradeniya campus (where many of ISLE's classes are conducted). Most students live within a 5 to 15-minute walk of the study center and within a 30 to 45 minute walk to the University of Peradeniya Faculty of Arts library and athletic facilities, which include a gymnasium, swimming pool, tennis courts, track, cricket grounds, and rugby and soccer fields. ISLE's classes are conducted at both the ISLE Study Center and at the Faculty of Arts complex at the University.
Students engage in coursework both in Kandy (at the ISLE Center and University of Peradeniya) and on extensive field trips, tours, and archeological site visits.
When not busy studying, students have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular field trips both within Kandy and to other parts of Sri Lanka. ISLE students may visit local orphanages, attend theater performances, visit art galleries, museums, tea plantations, temples, an elephant orphanage, a national park, and more. In addition to program-sponsored activities, students may also join their host families for cultural activities.
The famous Royal Botanical Garden in Peradeniya is also within walking distance of almost all homestay family residences. It is a peaceful and relaxing space amidst the jostle and hectic nature of public life in Sri Lanka. ISLE Students can use their University Student ID cards to obtain the discounted admission price for locals.
Depending on traffic patterns at different times of the day, the city of Kandy is a 10-30 minute 3-wheeler taxi ride away from Dangolla. It is also both easy and cheap to ride the public bus to Kandy from Dangolla. Kandy is the cultural, educational, business and shopping center of upcountry Sri Lanka. Internet is available at the University, in Kandy, or in a nearby shopping area. Items for daily needs can be purchased at road-side "kades" throughout Dangolla.