- Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, Sri Lanka
- Program Type:
- Study Abroad
- Degree Level:
- Academic Year, Fall Semester, Spring Semester
- Program Description:
The ISLE Program is a 15-week cultural immersion program that is both experiential and academically rigorous. Students live with host families while they study Sinhala and take elective courses taught by faculty from the University of Peradeniya. Guided by a Faculty Resident Director and Program Assistant, the students travel to different regions of the country and enjoy field trips and lectures on topics ranging from women's rights to social relations on the tea estate. In the final four weeks of the semester, each student pursues an independent field study on a topic and site of his or her choosing.
Homestay experience- Each student is placed with a middle class Sri Lankan family. Within the homestay, students hone Sinhala language skills, enjoy Sri Lankan foods and customs, and accompany family members to religious and cultural events. University Learning Partners- From the beginning of the program, ISLE students are connected to Sri Lankan university students. These students are not only friends and language partners, but they also help to acclimate students to the Kandy area and culture. Conversational Sinhala Class- Instructors focus on basic grammar structures and vocabulary in order to prepare students to converse with Sri Lankans. Sri Lankan Studies Seminar- a series of field-based lectures presented by university faculty. The seminar aims to provide a well-rounded understanding of the country and includes a variety of subjects and field sites. Independent Field Study- Students propose, plan, and conduct a research project of their choosing. With the help of ISLE staff, each student relocates to a new region of the country to conduct his or her original research. Many ISLE alumni have been selected as Fulbright recipients and traveled back to Sri Lanka, post-college, to continue their research.
The ISLE Program is the only program of its kind in Sri Lanka. While there are many programs throughout India and other parts of South Asia, no other study abroad programs exist on the island. ISLE provides its students with the tools and support necessary to abandon American culture and immerse themselves into a new culture. Students live with host families and are paired with university learning partners, who act as mentors in the cultural immersion process. This experience, along with intensive language study and the independent field study, affords students the ability to feel like a local by the end of the semester. ISLE students are well-respected by the Fulbright commission. Many ISLE alumni are chosen as Fulbright recipients to return to Sri Lanka and continue their research or teach English. In 2013, five ISLE alumni won Fulbright grants. ISLE alum are also often accepted into the country's most prestigious graduate schools including Harvard Divinity School and University of Chicago. Many go onto become professors and a few ISLE alum have even returned to the ISLE Program as Faculty Resident Directors!
- Setting Description:
- ISLE is located Kandy, Sri Lanka, nearby to the prestigious University of Peradeniya. Kandy is the second-largest city on the island and is the centre of traditional arts and Sinhalese culture. Although the national language and religion are Sinhala and Buddhism, respectively, Sri Lanka is a very diverse island. It is home to Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, and Muslims, and residents speak Tamil, Sinhala, and English. Sri Lanka is a small island (about the size of West Virginia), but it's geography is just as diverse as its people. This beautiful island is one of the most popular vacation spots for foreigners due to its tropical climate, breathtaking beaches, and exotic flora and fauna.
- The comprehensive fee for the ISLE Program is $20,000. This fee covers the Sri Lanka visa fee, tuition, room, board, and study and research costs for the entire duration of the program. Program travel in Sri Lanka, textbooks, and expenses involving seasonal illnesses, are also covered. Students who receive financial aid in the United States can apply this aid to study on ISLE.
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