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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-Butler 
  • Restrictions: Pomona applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of instruction: English Housing options: Homestay
Areas of study: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art, Art History, Asian Studies, Biology, Botany, Earth Science, Ecology, Education, Environmental Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, Geology, History, Human Rights, Literature, Marine Science, Peace & Conflict Studies, Philosophy, Politics, Pre-Health, Pre-Law, Public Policy, Religious Studies, Social Sciences, Sociology, 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
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  • 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. ISLE Program courses are taught on campus, and students also have access to the program center in a residential neighborhood of Kandy. Through the program's core seminar, language classes, electives, and the independent study project (ISP), students examine the history, cultures, politics, environment, 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.

The program begins with Sri Lankan Studies. Students enroll in the Essential Sinhala language course, Beginning Sinhala I or Beginning Tamil I, the Directed Research course, and elective courses for a total of 15-18 U.S. semester credits (3.75-4.5 Pomona credits) (for prior academic years students must enroll in 16 credits to earn the required 4 Pomona credits). Through the electives and the Directed Research course, students have the opportunity to explores 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
All students are required to take Sinhala I during the core seminar phase. Students may continue to take Sinhala II during the elective course phase, and Tamil language is also offered as an elective. Students planning to conduct ISPs in Tamil-speaking areas may benefit from taking this course. 

Students are placed individually in homestays around Kandy. Typically, no more than two or three students are placed in the same neighborhood. There is a wide range of families, and students complete a housing form to be matched appropriately. Students also participate in a weekend stay with a local student in the residence halls on campus at the University of Peradeniya. 

Number of Students
The program typically enrolls 12-15 students.

Host Institutions
University of Peradeniya

Faculty Liaison
Arash Khazeni

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

Travel Advisories  

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline (Pacific Time) Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2024 09/17/2023 10/13/2023 TBA TBA