Late August 2023-Suspended
GAIN FIELD EXPERIENCE IN A UNIQUE TROPICAL SETTING
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 deeply rooted culture, from visiting temple to selecting a sari.
No language requirement. And plenty of opportunities to see why Lonely Planet named this country its top spot to visit for 2019.
If research isn’t your priority, be sure to explore our sister program, IFSA Study in Sri Lanka.
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.
This course offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates to delve deeply into meaningful research of their own design. Topics that address current issues in Sri Lanka such as environmental conservation, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, communicable diseases, human rights, post-conflict reconciliation, women’s issues, and social equity are highly encouraged. The process of research and discovery will be supervised by a faculty guide, and other scholars from relevant fields will be available for consultation. Students must receive approval from the University of Peradeniya before embarking on their intensive fieldwork period during the final month of the semester. Upon completion, students present a formal research paper at a symposium. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
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 is taught intensively during the first two weeks of the semester for those students without a Sinhala language background. It has two focuses: to equip students with essential communication skills, key words, and phrases, to engage in basic conversations, as well as build their ability to read basic signs and request emergency assistance; and to promote students’ understanding of the local environment and culture in contemporary Sri Lanka and enhance their language skills in real world settings. (1 U.S. semester credit hour)
Language instruction in colloquial Sinhala, emphasizing functional use of the language in contexts that students can be expected to encounter in daily life. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Coming Fall 2024 - Beginning Tamil I
Fundamentals of conversational and written Tamil for beginning students. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment.
With over 250,000 archaeological sites, present-day Sri Lanka represents the collective and diverse traditions of art, architecture, literature, and religion that have been practiced by numerous groups. This course focuses on cultural heritage as the physically grounded and historically evolved patterns in the built environment, traditional practices, intangible concepts, and cultural landscapes. Students examine the development of cultural heritage management and its contemporary significance in Sri Lanka, while gaining experience with established documentation, assessment, and conservation practices of cultural heritage resources worldwide. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
The course focuses on one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots, how it evolved, and its relationships with sustainable development and conservation in a case study of Sri Lanka. Though field visits, students gain in-depth knowledge of Sri Lanka’s flora and fauna—from rice and orchids, to junglefowl and elephants—and assess first-hand the impact of habitat destruction, human population growth, climate change, and other factors affecting biodiversity. This course provides a foundation to inspire students to become informed decision-makers and contribute towards the conservation of the world’s biodiversity. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Coming Fall 2024 - Climate Change Impacts in Tropical Ecology
This course examines the consequences of the climate changes on the Island and covers the management of coastal dynamics and the risks. The course is interdisciplinary in nature and explores how physical geography, human geography, social sciences, public policy, engineering, and ecology are all fundamental to managing coastal climate change risks for ecosystems and society. also, it will explore the core concepts including risk, vulnerability, and adaptation to coastal climate change, drawing on real life examples from Sri Lanka and around the world. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Coming Fall 2024 - Ethnicity and Politics in Sri Lanka
This course provides an introduction to ethnicity and politics in Sri Lanka. The course begins with a conceptual discussion on ethnicity, identity politics, ethno-nationalism, and changing dynamics of ethnicity. The discussion topics include the impact of ethnicity on electoral politics, conflict, democracy, governance, development, and reconciliation. The aim of the course is to explore why and how ethnicity has emerged as an important factor in shaping social processes, political dynamics, and social conflict in contemporary Sri Lanka. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
There is no pre-conceived and ready-made category called “Sri Lankan women” into which all women in Sri Lanka fit. This class surveys the principal factors impacting the gendered identity and status of women in post-colonial, post-independence Sri Lanka. Students explore the production and reproduction of women from a cultural perspective, then examine the materiality of women’s lives as determined by prevailing legal, economic, and political structures. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Coming Fall 2024 - Global Food Systems
The dominant influence of food production on agricultural ecosystems means that ecosystems risk reaching tipping points beyond which they lose the ability to provide people with food and other vital services. It then offers a tool for integrating climate change and ecosystem service risks into decision making and a framework for reconciling food production and conservation goals. To meet food security and conservation goals we need to move from managing ecosystems for food at the expense of other ecosystem services to managing ecosystems for food plus other nature-based services. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This interdisciplinary course examines international conflict resolution, philosophies of peace, and post-accord peacebuilding, reviews the theories regarding the causes of international conflicts and peace, explores the approaches for enduring resolution to international conflicts, building peace, and the promotion of a global civil society. This course will address the conceptualization of peace and the implementation of peacebuilding projects by global, regional, national, and local actors, including the UN, development agencies and donors, INGOs, and local organizations in conflict-affected environments with a specific focus on Sri Lanka. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This course, taught by a team of faculty and local scholars, provides insights into the religious life of various ethnic communities in Sri Lanka: Sinhala Buddhists, Tamil Hindus, and Muslims. It will include an examination of different forms of worship at home and in religious shrines, healing rituals as well as rites of passage. The course also explores inter- and intra-religious tensions as well as common ritual practices that intersect religious boundaries. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Coming Fall 2024 - Primate Evolution
The course will concentrate on basic evolutionary mechanisms and theory of evolution by natural selection, concepts of fitness and adaptation, genetic and developmental bases of evolutionary change, modes of speciation, molecular evolution, principles of systematic biology etc. Also, use animal and plant examples to illustrate and clarify fundamental concepts in evolution. Knowledge of these and biogeographic changes are used to develop the ideas of species and speciation, to construct phylogenies, and to interpret the fossil record and patterns of extinction. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is a major user of biological resources. In addition to nature-based ecotourism, many aspects of tourism, through both marketing and in-person experience, are dependent on Sri Lanka’s natural environment. In this class, students build foundational knowledge of sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka and gain adequate knowledge in principles of environment conservation and management in protecting biodiversity, natural resources, and cultural heritage which in turn greatly benefit the sustainable tourism industry. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
Engage in individualized field research with faculty experts in Sri Lanka on a contemporary issue of interest. Regular meetings with faculty will assist in the formation and execution of research plans, and they will guide you on how to integrate academic research thoughtfully and critically with experiential learning. You will sharpen your written and oral communication skills through the development of articulate and comprehensive research that is respectful to the sensitivities of the local culture.
For more detailed information and examples of previous student placements, contact your IFSA Admissions Counselor. Previous students’ research has addressed topics such as:
Over thirty years we have cultivated relationships and networks with like-minded individuals and organizations across Sri Lanka, who generously collaborate in our students’ research endeavors and support their fieldwork at various locations around the island. Previous research locations outside Kandy have included Jaffna, Batticaloa, Colombo, Galle, Dambulla, and others. Example organizations include:
This program requires a visa for all students.
Start your application now by clicking the Apply Now button.
Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.
Activities and excursions are an important piece of your IFSA experience, designed to pull you into the fabric of the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. That said, at times, circumstances beyond our control — including local government regulations and health protocols — could impact our ability to hold these events as planned.
Know that we’ll make every effort to run the activities, trips, and excursions slated for your program. You’ll see detailed examples of previous outings offered during this program below. Keep in mind that the options could look different for your program, and that we cannot guarantee these activities, trips, and excursions.
Activities are optional, but they are included in your total program fee. They vary each term based on availability, but activities may include:
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:
Late August 2023-Suspended
Late January 2024
Late August 2023-Suspended
Late January 2024