Area Studies and Culture

Summer ~ Semester ~ Academic Year

Based in the city of Colombo, the Lexia program introduces students to the language, history, politics, economics, arts, and culture of Sri Lanka. Coursework, language training, excursions, and independent projects help students to understand the local culture and confront issues facing this country. The program strongly supports interaction and dialogue between Lexia participants and Sri Lankan faculty. To this end, local faculty are involved with the program from the very beginning, giving the participants immediate and direct access to the culture. Intensive language training at the beginning is provided, thereby helping students develop the skills and confidence to live and study in Sri Lanka. Prior knowledge of languages spoken in Sri Lanka is not expected. Social and academic encounters with Sri Lankans in addition to organized field trips contribute to a greater understanding of the country.

Instructors & Institutions

Lexia in Sri Lanka is affiliated with both the University of Colombo and the University of Moratuwa located just south of the city of Colombo.

One of the recognized strengths of Lexia programs is the strong supporting faculty and staff. The Lexia Resident Director provides students with necessary information about living and learning in Sri Lanka. The faculty of the Lexia program consists primarily of professors from the University and the Resident Director.


Students on the Lexia program in Sri Lanka live in off-campus dorms for visiting students and

professionals located near the university. Whether in single, double or triple rooms, students

share modest but clean, safe and well-maintained accommodations.


Integrated into the academic program are several one or two-day excursions. Excursions will change semester to semester and will be tailored to current group interests. Some common and popular short trips include: interacting with elephants and other Sri Lankan wildlife at the Uda Walawe National Park; exploring archeological sites in the central plains of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya; witnessing the effects of colonialism on the southern city of Galle; touring tea plantations in Nuwara Eliya; learning about environmental topics while biking through the botanical gardens to Lake Kandy; theorizing conflict resolution in Jaffna; discussing the history of Buddhism at the Aukana Buddha in Anuradhapura, and the influence of Hinduism at one of the most stunning natural harbors in the world in Trincomalee. A longer excursion outside of Sri Lanka will take place during the program. Examples of possible locations include India, Thailand, and Indonesia. All excursions are covered by the program fee and are subject to change, dependent on weather, accommodation and local conditions.

Dates & Deadlines

Fall Semester: September 9 - December 16, 2016

Spring Semester: February 2 - May 11, 2017

Summer: June 23 - August 4, 2017



The typical course load is four courses per semester. Students who successfully complete Lexia’s program requirements are able to earn the equivalent of one full semester or academic year of college/university level credit, pending approval from their home institution.

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the credit transfer policies at his/her home institution and department, including advising appointments, paperwork and pre-departure or re-entry activities. We strongly suggest that students contact their study abroad or other appropriate office early in the planning stage to ensure that they complete all requirements.


Language Courses

Conversational Sinhala I (2 semester credits)

Conversational Sinhala II (optional)

Linguistic Anthropology of Sri Lanka (2 semester credits)

In lieu of the typical Lexia language intensive program, this language segment will include detailed historical and cultural context of the two official languages of Sri Lanka: Sinhala and Tamil. Student will delve into the study of how these two languages have shaped social identity and created a cultural divide in Sri Lanka.

Since participation in the local culture is a central objective of the Lexia program, acquiring language skills is an essential goal. Becoming fluent in Sinhala and Tamil is not expected, however, conversational competence in the more popular language of Sinhala will provide students with the mobility to accomplish personal and academic objectives.

Formal classroom instruction takes place 2-4 hours daily, supplemented by discussions, films, cultural excursions and field exercises.


Seminar I: Area Studies of Sri Lankan History and Culture

Area Studies of Sri Lankan History and Culture (4 semester credits)

The foundation of Sri Lanka can be dated back using ancient Buddhist texts to nearly 30,000 years ago. A country that ancient is rich in history and culture, but requires a significant amount of context to appreciate the current landscape. The Lexia in Sri Lanka program provides students with the necessary background information to understand the modern-day South Asian country.

This course offers an overview of Sri Lankan history and culture through the use of art, film, literature, lectures, and excursions. Historical topics are covered chronologically leading all the way up to modern day-to-day life in Sri Lanka.

Classes include required readings, written and oral exams, and a final paper. A detailed syllabus of the coursework will be provided during orientation and tailored to the specific interests of students.


Seminar II: Elective Track

Elective Course (4 semester credits)

The second section of the Lexia in Sri Lanka program is organized by small group seminars on a specific subject area. Students will choose one of 3-5 tracks based on their interests and desired research topic. This section of the semester will be run by experts in their field who will later become the students’ mentors and advisors for the field research portion of the program. The format will vary depending on the topics chosen, instructor availability, and number of students.

However, small-group lectures and discussions, excursions, readings, and fieldwork are all to be expected. Below are some examples of specific popular tracks from past programs:

  • Religion, Culture, and History of Buddhism
  • Politics and Peace
  • Nutrition and Ayurvedic Studies
  • Economics


Seminar III: Independent Research Project

Research Methods Course (2 semester credits)

Independent Research Project (2 semester credits)

The final major component of a Lexia Semester abroad is the independent research project.  Throughout the second seminar students will be thinking about what they would like to turn their individual attention to for the most hands-on few weeks of the program. With the help of the instructor in the second seminar, they will come up with a research question and devote their time working to complete a final project. Students will meet regularly in small groups to share progress and offer each other feedback on the direction of their work.

Instructors will put students in contact with local experts in the field of their interest. Additional mini-courses will be provided on research methods and any other skills needed for the final project--dependent on the subject. The final project can take the form of a research paper, photo journal, short film, or anything else approved by the instructor. All students from all tracks will convene in the final days for final presentations and peer-evaluations.


Semester: $16,950
Tuition: $12,600
Housing: $3,350

Academic Year: $28,950
Tuition: $22,250
Housing: $6,700

Summer: $6,950
Tuition: $4,750
Housing: $1,200


Program Fees Include:

  • On-Site Orientation (2-4 days)
  • All Tuition and Fees
  • All Scheduled Program Excursions
  • Housing Costs
  • Services of Lexia Resident Director and Program Staff
  • Comprehensive Medical Insurance Policy
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • Official Transcript


Not included in the Program Fee are the following estimated expenses based on past students' experiences during the semester-long program:

  • Airfare Ranges from $900–$1,400
  • Meals not Covered $1,750
  • Books & Supplies $230
  • Personal Expenses $1,380

Estimated Total Additional Expenses: $4,210 – $4,560

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