Student Exchange programme – 2016

Imaan Mohammed and Thilakshi Mallawa-arachchi, Special Degree students of the Department of English, participated in the exchange programme with University of Malaysia, Sarawak in 2016, where they followed courses in Literature, Language, Film Studies and Cultural Studies.

Imaan and Thilakshi: “The Student Exchange Programme with UNIMAS provided us with the opportunity to interact with students from diverse backgrounds, communities, ethnicities and cultures, whom we would otherwise not have encountered. We were introduced to technologically advanced teaching and learning environments that proved to be an enriching experience that broadened our knowledge.

We relished the varieties of food and drink, and enjoyed the music, festivals, art, film and languages that we were exposed to by the local and international friends we made. Coming from the city, we were in awe of the biodiversity within the campus premises, from the lakes to the dense forests that encircled UNIMAS.

The challenges that came along with the newfound independence included navigating our way through language barriers, travelling around on foot, and consuming multiple cups of noodles – all of which contributed to making this a once-in- a-lifetime experience. We are grateful for this opportunity, which presented us with the possibility to advance our studies, encounter life-long friends and backpack our way across borders”

Praveen Tilakaratne, Stephanie Nicolle, Piumi Wijesundara and Saambavi Sivaji, Special Degree students of the Department of English, participated in the exchange programme with Justus Liebig University in their third year, in 2016.

Praveen: “On the 23rd of June, I skydived. As I jumped out of the plane, I saw the all of Giessen, Wetzlar, and Frankfurt in technicolour; I never knew such colours existed and the experience was so refreshing. The same can be said about the Study Abroad Semester. We saw so many new faces and places, experienced so many new things, and thanks to this wonderful opportunity given to us by the Department of English, I believe the bubble I lived in is now slightly bigger.”

Stephanie: “24 hours ago as the train departed from Gießen, my thoughts were immersed in an affective present of rhythms and images– a time lapse, an unwillingness to let go. Singing at the Eichendorffring kitchen with our flatmates to the tunes of the ukulele while drinking flavoured tea and eating fusion food, watching the sunset by the Baltic sea, overcoming fears at 13,000 feet … these are the moments, the faces I take with me and hope that someday, somewhere I’ll see them again across a crowded street. I came here with many uncertainties but this experience has shaped the way I see myself and the world at large. For this I am extremely humbled and grateful to God, the Department of English, my family, and everyone else without whom this would’ve been an impossibility.”

Piumi: ‘Time flew in Gießen. On my study abroad semester I’ve opened myself to many many experiences. It’s been a whirlwind of days meeting the best people, exploring, sightseeing, or sometimes just waiting patiently at Eichendorrffring for my next adventure and wondering how to bring it all back. The study abroad semester at JLU has certainly opened me out to a new part of the world and widened my scope of understanding through even the most mundane everyday activities. I’m thankful to the Department of English, University of Colombo for enabling this and can only recommend that incoming students too make their way towards making the study abroad semester part of  their undergrad experience.’ All our study buddies (particularly Toby, Martha, Eva, Sina, Caroline, Kim) have been extremely helpful during our stay; we are all very excited and looking forward to having Kim, Ludmila, and Anja over at Colombo next semester.

Saambavi: “As I look back at the passage we traveled together for four months, my eyes slowly begin to well up. Leaving Giessen and all the beautiful memories is a hard choice for me. One thing I realized during my stay in Eichendorffring is how much we are dependent on each other. The togetherness the four of us shared is irreplaceable. Despite being hailed from different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities we enveloped ourselves with one name: “exchange students from Sri Lanka”. In Eichendorffring we were called “a happy Sri Lankan family” always smiling and always together. We cooked together, laughed together and enjoyed every single moment together. I will cherish the beautiful moments and memories I gathered in Giessen throughout my life. I feel the exchange program has broadened my spectrum of life. I am indebted to the Department of English for granting me this once in a life time opportunity”.