Isobel Madigan

An Exploration of Home in Sri Lanka

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I think a University should provide an atmosphere where everybody can strive to achieve the most that they can by challenging themselves, and being challenged, to set their bar as high as they can. The University Honors Program helped me do this from my very first semester and set the tone for all of my years at UNH.

University Honors Program faculty expect more, but go the extra mile because it’s about learning and growing and making connections—and not answering multiple choice tests. Advisors in the honors office helped me take advantage of many wonderful opportunities at UNH. As an anthropology major, I am fascinated by other cultures and wanted to undertake fieldwork in another country.They helped steer toward a International Research Opportunities Program grant that enabled me to spend summerin Sri Lanka studying how people live in a rural village, specifically how they use their homes. The radically different way people in Sri Lanka live is impossible to fathom unless you go there. It was an experience that will forever change the way I view the United States and the kind of luxuries we take for granted!

The experience provided firsthand experience for writing my senior thesis—but it was only the beginning. Completing my honors thesis enabled me to take everything I did my four years at UNH and put it together. I used cultural theory classes to provide context for my thesis. I had to deal with ethnography and how you present your findings. And I had learned to become a better writer. I can’t describe how important it is to be able to connect all of the things you learn during your college years. But this is exactly what participating in the University Honors Program allowed me to do.