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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Kandy, Sri Lanka
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: IFSA 
  • Restrictions: Pomona applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of instruction: English, Sinhala, Tamil Housing options: Homestay
Areas of study: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Art History, Asian Studies, Biology, Botany, Development Studies, Earth Science, Ecology, Education, Environmental Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, Geology, History, Human Rights, Independent/Directed Research, Literature, Marine Science, Minority Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Pre-Health, Pre-Law, Public Policy, Religious Studies, Sinhala, Social Justice, Social Policy, Social Sciences, Sociology, Tamil, Theatre, Urban Studies, Zoology Class standing: 1 - Second Semester Sophomore, 2 - Junior, 3 - First Semester Senior
Program type: Stand alone GPA: 2.0
Program Description:
Sri Lanka: Research
Geotag  Kandy, Sri Lanka

The second-largest city in Sri Lanka and capital city of the central province, Kandy is perfectly positioned to easily reach every part of the small island. Home to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, one of Buddhism’s most sacred shrines and a famous pilgrimage site, it is often called the cultural capital of the island. Kandy is a bustling market town supporting the tea producers in the surrounding regions, as well as the island’s arts and crafts vendors. The neighboring town of Peradeniya boasts Sri Lanka’s most prestigious university and a renowned botanical garden that showcases its lush tropical climate.

Choose a research topic that’s meaningful to you, then use it as a springboard to explore one of the world’s most biodiverse locations and distinctive cultures. Gaining hands-on experience with a community partner like Dilmah Conservation is just the start. With a family home stay, you’ll also make deep connections as you learn about the traditions of this distinctive rooted culture, from visiting temple to selecting a sari. 

The Study in Sri Lanka: Research Program provides an opportunity to become part of a rich legacy of student-scholars observing, engaging with, and learning from communities in Kandy and across this vibrant island. All students will complete a field-based research project, conducted intensively during the final month of the semester abroad. 

  • Directed Research
Developing skills in a foreign language can profoundly impact your life personally and professionally. Though language study (other than Essential Sinhala) is not required, students frequently report their language class as one of their favorites and the one they applied most outside the classroom. Because of the immersive research experience you will have, you are strongly encourage to enroll in a full language elective to prepare yourself to make the rich of this incredible opportunity and interact respectfully with the communities hosting you.
  • Essential Sinhala
  • Beginning Sinhala I 
  • Beginning Tamil I 
Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment.
  • Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management
  • Biodiversity in Sri Lanka 
  • Climate Change Impacts in Tropical Ecology
  • Ethnicity and Politics in Sri Lanka
  • Gender, Identity, and Culture
  • Global Food Systems
  • International Conflict and Peace Building
  • Living Religious Traditions in Sri Lanka
  • Primate Evolution
  • Sustainable Tourism
If research isn’t your priority, be sure to explore our sister program, IFSA Study in Sri Lanka

Program activities are designed to enhance your intercultural competence by developing your understanding of the local culture and people. Activities are optional, but they are included in your total program fee. They vary each term based on availability, but activities may include: 
  • City-as-Text
  • Hanthana Mountains Experience
  • Women’s Shelter Experience
  • Nilambe Buddhist Meditation Centre Experience
  • Kandyan Dance Experience
IFSA excursions are included in your total program fee and though these are optional, most students choose to participate. They vary each term based on availability, but excursions may include:
  • Matale Trip
  • Horton Plains Trip
  • Anuradhapura Trip
Learn About This Program
Scholarship & Financial Aid
IFSA Global Wayfinder
Choose your ideal program by customizing and personalizing your search filters. Using IFSA’s search tool, you can find programs by searching beyond location and area of study. 
Using CHART, you’ll be able to see which classes abroad fit easily into your academic plan. You can also see which classes your home institution has already approved to guarantee that your credits will align.
IFSA Website

Apply Online Today.
Our easy online application process is here for you! Simply log in to the IFSA Student Portal and answer questions about yourself to get started. If you get stuck or have questions, reach out to our IFSA team. We’re here to help.
  • Academic Support
  • Administrative Fees and Applications Fees
  • Airport Pickup
  • Activities and Excursions (including transportation and meals)
  • Guaranteed Housing
  • International Medical Insurance
  • Internet Access in Housing
  • Internship, Directed Research, and Volunteer Opportunities (on many programs)
  • Meals (on some programs)
  • Official Transcript with U.S. Credit Translation
  • On-site Orientation
  • On-site Staff Support (including in-person meetings and emergencies)
  • Pre-arrival Advising
  • Tuition

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The program is based at the University of Peradeniya, just outside of Kandy. Program courses are taught on campus, and students have access to the IFSA office (also on campus). Through the program's language courses, electives, and the Directed Research course, students examine the history, cultures, politics, environment, religions, and society of Sri Lanka in depth. Living with homestay families facilitates deeper immersion into Sri Lankan society and gives students an opportunity to form meaningful connections within the local community.

Pomona students are required to enroll in a semester long language course, either beginning Sinhala I and/or Beginning Tamil I. For their remaining courses, students enroll in the Directed Research course and elective courses developed specifically for IFSA program students. Total enrollment is 15-18 U.S. semester credits (3.75-4.5 Pomona credits). Through the electives and the Directed Research course, students have the opportunity to explore politics, history, sociology, anthropology, environmental studies, gender and identity, religion, conflict resolution, cultural heritage, and other subjects in the Sri Lankan context.

There is no CR/NC option on this program.

Language classes
Pomona students are required to take Beginning Sinhala I and/or Beginning Tamil I. Students planning to conduct Directed Research in Tamil-speaking areas may benefit from taking the Tamil language course. Students enrolling in the Tamil language course may wish to take the Essential Sinhala language course as well, which earns 1 U.S. semester credit (0.25 Pomona credits) and lasts the first two weeks of the program.

Students are placed individually in homestays around Kandy, with easy access to transportation, the IFSA office, and the university. Each student has their own bedroom with an attached private bathroom. There is a wide range of families, and students complete a housing form to be matched appropriately. Host families provide three meals per day.

Number of Students
The program typically enrolls 5-15 students.

Host Institutions
The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)
University of Peradeniya

Faculty Liaison
Arash Khazeni

Country Guide and Student Experiences
Read more about student experiences and information from IFSA about Sri Lanka

Travel Advisories

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline (Pacific Time) Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2025 09/08/2024 10/04/2024 01/20/2025 05/10/2025