Accounting Students Gain Perspective in Sri Lanka

Published on: September 22, 2010

When are elephants, coconuts and Trishaws part of an accounting class at Lone Star College-CyFair? When it’s Shawn Miller’s Principles of Accounting II and it’s taught as the first Study Abroad program in Sri Lanka.

In this unique summer program, Miller gave eight students the opportunity to explore their business and accounting majors from a global perspective as they experienced a completely different culture some 9,000 miles from home.

Immersed in the Sri Lanka culture for two weeks, students traveled in Trishaws, which are a three-wheeled taxi service, drank coconut juice, tried new food and picked up a few words in a new language, said Miller. Students even learned how to buy groceries from a Sri Lanka market and made dinner the last night on the island. Among the cultural excursions were visits to the Elephant Orphanage, Lion’s Rock, the botanical gardens, the World Trade Center and Galle Beach.

Participating in LSC-CyFair’s first Study Abroad to SriLanka were: Ruwan DeSilva, Alex Flick, Lindsay Green, Zunaira Khalid, Carl Love, Xenia Rivera, Cynthia Tolliver and Morgan Ybanez.

One student, Ybanez,  mentioned seeing many people outside and children playing cricket in a field when describing her study abroad experience.

 “During the drive I couldn’t close my eyes because I was afraid I might miss something amazing,” she said. “Several things about visiting Sri Lanka changed my outlook on life, but also travelling and living closely with new people (who eventually grew into lifelong friends) caused me to learn a lot about myself….”

Miller said he had several other learning objectives for this four-credit course. In addition to using the accounting cycle to analyze financial statements, students would understand financial accounting for corporations, management accounting and uses to make internal decisions, managerial accounting from a global perspective and the unique aspects of accounting for a developing country.

Outside classroom study, this group participated in a Service Learning Project that helped automate a Sri Lanka salon’s accounting records.

“This project enabled an assessment of the students’ ability to utilize the concepts discussed in class in a real and tangible manner,” Miller said. “Students were able to create an access database and teach the owner how to use the application to figure out how much profit she made and track it.”

Having gained his own fresh perspective on accounting while in Sri Lanka, Miller is now integrating the study abroad experiences into his new International Accounting course this fall.

For information on LSC-CyFair’s accounting program, go to LoneStar.edu/accounting-dept-cyfair or contact Miller at 281.290.5206. For information on future Study Abroad opportunities, go to LoneStar.edu/study-abroad.