Organise your 2 week group medical trip to Sri Lanka today! Group leaders travel free and your 15 days in Sri Lanka will be fully structured, inclusive and led by our experienced team. Your base for your medical volunteer placements will be the coastal town of Ambalangoda. You will give back to the local community in a variety of settings including community outreach projects and government, private & village hospital settings. You will receive an orientation into life in Sri Lanka and an introduction into Buddhism before your medical placements begins. To compliment your volunteering, each evening we will run cultural activities such as a cultural dance show and a traditional cooking lesson.
After the first week of giving back to the Ambalangoda community, it will be time to explore the island for a few days in between your medical placements. Your adventure travel will begin with a visit to Galle Fort, continuing with stick fishing in Weligama and then onto Mirissa beach for some R&R. An elephant safari will follow at Udawalawe National Park as well as enjoying a unique baby elephant feed. You will also gain an insight into mental health in Sri Lanka as you spend the day in Colombo at the National Council for Mental Health placement. Everything is included in your 2 week Sri Lanka expedition from the airport transfers and meals to accommodation, medical donations, entrance fees and cultural activities.
SRI LANKA GROUP TRIP HIGHLIGHTS WITH PMGY
A FULLY STRUCTURED, MOST AFFORDABLE, SAFE & ALL INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE
A PERFECT BLEND OF VOLUNTEER, TRAVEL, ADVENTURE & CULTURAL IMMERSION
TRIP ITINERARY, ACTIVITIES & DURATION EASILY TAILORED TO YOUR NEEDS & WANTS
GAIN EXPOSURE INTO THE SL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN A VARIETY OF MEDICAL SETTINGS
PMGY WILL ENSURE A TRUE AUTHENTIC SRI LANKAN EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR GROUP
HOW IT WORKS
Plan My Gap Year has the expertise, experience and networks to make your Sri Lanka expedition accessible, safe and stress-free. We pride ourselves on safety management and we have risk assessment documentation for all our overseas trips including to Sri Lanka that outline how we ensure participants are kept safe while overseas.
Organising an overseas trip for your group involves lots of preparation. From flights and insurance to pre-trip training and that’s even before you’ve looked at organising the itinerary! So that’s where PMGY come in. We really do specialise in the group’s overseas expedition area providing exclusive group trips whilst accommodating large groups of students, on full board options. We guarantee to provide trusted and vetted medical project settings that provide great insight, exposure and learning opportunities for students. In addition, we will sandwich in some fantastic travel opportunities around Sri Lanka for students to enjoy on their rest days. We can organise:
FLIGHTS (PMGY ARE ATOL PROTECTED), TRAVEL INSURANCE & FULL VISA GUIDANCE
ALL-INCLUSIVE TAILORED VOLUNTEER AND/OR TRAVEL-BASED ITINERARIES
FULL PRE-DEPARTURE PREPARATION AND 24/7 INTERNATIONAL & IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT
As a social initiative, we are able to guarantee affordable prices without sacrificing the quality of our programs. We frequently have groups joining our programs as they are looking for a more affordable alternative to their existing provider. We can tailor a trip around your requirements and work with you to create your personalised group medical trip itinerary. So why not follow the PMGY ten-step journey below to making your bespoke group medical trip to Sri Lanka a reality!
TEN STEP JOURNEY & OUR SUPPORT ROLE
Step 1: Arrange a Call – Should this trip be the one for you, get in touch by email or call and one of our group expedition specialists can discuss and tailor your Sri Lanka medical trip. Alternatively, let us know the best way to reach out to you and we will do so at a time convenient to you.
Step 2: Meet & Greet – After initial contact has been made and ideas progressed, our group expedition specialist will travel to meet you and any of your colleagues in person. As a result, a face can then be put to the name, the Sri Lanka trip planning can be evolved and any initial questions can be answered.
Step 3: Information Session – Once the itinerary, duration and dates are in place for your trip to Sri Lanka, our group trip specialist will come and host an information session with all interested travellers and parties. We will convey all necessary content and information about the trip and hold a Q&A session after the presentation to ensure all attendees are as informed as possible before signing up.
Step 4: Confirm Trip Numbers – Once the internal deadline for registrations has passed and the trip numbers are known, PMGY will arrange the invoice procedures for the overall group deposit payment to confirm the trip go ahead. For every 10 students, 1 group leader spot will be provided for free! We can also arrange and provide flights and insurance options for all travellers should this be applicable.
Step 5: PMGY Pre-departure Support – Throughout the build-up to your Sri Lanka group medical trip, we will be on hand to support you whatever way possible. Whether it be through creating your bespoke trip handbook, completing risk assessments, communicating safety management procedures or providing project preparation webinars, we will have all bases covered.
Step 6: Pre-departure Session – Around 2 months before your group trip begins in Sri Lanka, we will conduct a final pre-departure session with all travellers and relevant persons. This will ensure that everything is in place before your group head overseas and the content covered will align with this accordingly. We will also distribute PMGY T-shirts to all travellers at the session!
Step 7: Before You Go – In the days before your arrival into Sri Lanka, we will be in close and regular contact with you to make sure everything is in place for your trip. This will include a range of emails and phone calls ensuring your arrival procedures are all in place, dietary requirements & medical conditions are catered for and that our ground team in Sri Lanka are well prepared for your group’s arrival.
Step 8: Enjoy the Trip! – When on the trip, our ground team will become your day to day port of call. We will touch base with them daily to make sure your trip is running smoothly. If required, we will be available 24/7 from afar. We will check in with you across the trip to see how everything is going. We know you will be in safe hands with our trusted, experienced and vetted ground teams!
Step 9: Return Home – By the time our team have dropped you safely back at Colombo Airport, the travel blues may already be starting to kick in! We hope all travellers have had an unforgettable trip! Each trip participant will receive a certificate of completion. Furthermore, we will check in one final time with you in the days after your trip for feedback on your Sri Lanka experience.
Step 10: Future Planning – After a few weeks away from Sri Lanka and once the travel blues have well and truly settled in, it’s now time to be planning your next group medical trip with PMGY to create more magical memories! Whether it be back to Sri Lanka or to a new destination, PMGY will be on hand every step of the way again to facilitate your new adventure. Back to Step one we go!
CASE STUDY - EDGE HILL UNIVERSITY, UK
Who – Edge Hill University from the United Kingdom. 10 nursing students from Edge Hill travelled to Sri Lanka on a group nursing elective with PMGY.
What – A 21 day nursing elective to Sri Lanka in total. Hospital placements were the core of Edge Hill nursing students medical experience in Sri Lanka. Students would rotate their time across 4 different hospital settings in the Galle District area. Most of these were centralised within the Ambalangoda community and included a village, private and government hospital setting. Students specialised in the departments within each hospital that they had more interest in. Students also received group lectures and seminars on the Sri Lanka Ayurveda medicine system and learning about the traditional treatments that come with this. PMGY also arranged 2 weekend trips for the students to enjoy outside of the elective placement settings. As a result, students got to explore the island to the maximum as they enjoyed Yala safari, climbing Lion Rock, relaxing in Mirissa beach, walking the historic Galle Fort and exploring the cultural capital of Kandy.
Where – Edge Hill University students experienced so much and a range of locations in their 21 days in Sri Lanka. Arriving into Colombo, the main segment of the trip was the nursing volunteer hospital placements in the coastal town of Ambalangoda in the Galle District. This was the students base for the 3 week elective period. At the weekends, the group used the time to explore the majority of Southern Sri Lanka through PMGY’s weekend trips. Whether it was the beaches of Mirissa, the safari park of Yala, the hill country of Ella or the centralised Kandy, Edge Hill nursing students experienced the breadth of Sri Lanka.
When – Edge Hill University students from a range of medical disciplines regularly join PMGY’s medical programs on overseas electives each year. Expanding on this, 10 nursing students grouped together to enjoy a structured and tailor-made 3 week nursing elective inclusive of weekend trips with PMGY in the spring of 2018.
Why – PMGY has a strong reputation of providing affordable, accessible and structured medical elective experiences for Edge Hill University students. This is not just limited to Sri Lanka, but expanding to PMGY’s medical and healthcare programs across Ghana, Tanzania, Bali, India, Peru and Ecuador. PMGY receive a strong word of mouth recommendation from past Edge Hill students who have completed overseas electives with PMGY. Having a good foundation with the University and realising that many previous students joining PMGY on overseas electives were nursing students, PMGY conducted market research with nursing students at Edge Hill to establish which destination they wanted to travel to and at what time of year. It quickly became apparent that Sri Lanka was the desired destination and the range of medical placement settings that could be included here was a big attraction. Therefore, PMGY created a tailored overseas nursing elective experience for Edge Hill students to join in 2018.
How – PMGY conducted an information session and recruitment process for a 3 week tailored Edge Hill nursing elective experience to Sri Lanka. The session was arranged on the back of strong market research that the trip would have serious interest and available for all 2nd year nursing students interested in an overseas elective. The session was well supported by the fact that PMGY had hosted many Edge Hill students overseas already. Flexible online registration processes and deadlines were given to students and once registered each student received extensive pre-departure support in the build-up to their trip. The result was 10 nursing students heading to Sri Lanka at the same time with PMGY for a bespoke 3 week nursing elective.
Feedback – “Myself and 9 other students had an unforgettable elective experience in the amazing country of Sri Lanka. From the moment we heard about the trip around campus, we were excited to learn as much information as possible. This opportunity swiftly came as we attended a very informative information session about the nursing elective opportunity in Sri Lanka which was held by a PMGY representative. After our questions were answered and initial worries eased, our journey to Sri Lanka began as we confirmed our place with the deposit payment on the 3 week nursing elective experience in Sri Lanka. We received so much support and assurance in the lead up to the trip. This allowed us to focus on our studies and academic work safely knowing that everything was well organised and structured. Once we arrived in Sri Lanka the experience was like no other. Each placement setting was interesting, with my favourite parts being learning about the traditional Ayurveda medicine system and spending time in the paediatrics department at the government hospital. There was so much to learn and see and we got to rotate in smaller groups across each of the hospitals to ensure we were not overloading each department/hospital and that we could gain as much insight and exposure as possible on each day. The nurses at each hospital were amazing to observe and learn from and always answered our questions with such positivity and details even if there was sometimes a little bit of a language barrier. Ashika (the coordinator of the program) always made sure we were safe, well-fed and continually learning about Sri Lankan culture as he arranged traditional dance classes, hands-craft sessions and meditation learnings for us. Not only this, we enjoyed 2 fantastic weekend trips to explore Sri Lanka that we would have struggled to arrange and fit in ourselves and were great value for money. In short, not only did we learn so much about the Sri Lankan healthcare system and how different this is to the NHS back home, but we developed great memories to bring back home with us whether that was making friends with the nurses, embracing the culture or travelling the country at weekends. ”
MEDICAL PLACEMENT SETTINGS
Background – The history of the Sri Lankan medicine system dates back thousands of years, with a rich history stemming from their extensive kingdoms. It is believed that the concept of hospitals around the world was actually introduced by the Sinhalese, thanks to their royalty. Kings were not only demanding to have their own hospital homes built but they were often practitioners of medicine themselves.
In addition, the ancient practice of Ayurveda is also deeply rooted in the Sri Lankan medical system. Known as one of the oldest healing sciences around the world, Ayurveda translates from Sanskrit as “The Science of Life”. Ayurvedic medicine originated in India over 3,000 years ago, focusing on the concept of balance in one’s life. This can be linked to mental health issues, diet, lifestyle, healthcare and more.
Using holistic and natural health practices, Ayurveda emphasises prevention and balance in order to attain balance within your physical, emotional and mental states. Ayurvedic system government hospitals and teachings are also widespread across Sri Lanka. Moreover, many citizens will choose to follow Ayurvedic medicine practices for certain illnesses or accidents and western medicine for others.
The healthcare system in Sri Lanka is universal to all local citizens, offering both traditional Ayurvedic and modern healthcare for free across government hospitals. Nowadays most hospitals in Sri Lanka do follow a more “western medicine” approach, using procedures and medications that are seen worldwide. Certainly, it may be perceived as very basic and outdated in some ways. On the other hand, there is a higher life expectancy and lower infant death rate than neighbouring countries in the region. Even so, there are often long waiting lists with a limitation of capacity, staff and resources. As a result, the number of private hospitals has risen to offer private healthcare services.
Working in a hospital as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka is a great opportunity to get close up clinical exposure and learn about health care systems in developing countries. You will witness a variety of cases, which offers a fantastic contrast to what you might find in your local hospital! Furthermore, you will experience different hospital settings within Sri Lanka whereby you can make observations and contrasts to how healthcare differs internally from each placement setting.
Ayurvedic Medicine – Students will participate in an Ayurveda medicine session before heading out to hospital placement settings. A local Ayurvedic specialist will teach you all about the history of Ayurveda, its role within healthcare in Sri Lanka and how it is implemented to treat a variety of cases.
Ayurvedic concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique natural health practices. The earliest references of Ayurvedic medicine in Sri Lanka are associated with a great physician; Ravana, a king of Sri Lanka dating back to prehistoric times.
Balapitiya Government Hospital – PMGY partner with a government hospital located just outside of central Ambalangoda. It is a medium-sized hospital with over 500 stations. There are 20 doctors and 2 surgeons at the hospital. Students will gain exposure to and can choose to specialise in any of the following departments in the government hospital: Out-Patient Unit, Emergency Treatment Room, General Medicine, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Antenatal, Postnatal, Labour Room, Paediatrics.
There is also an eye clinic that has been donated from the PMGY Sri Lanka team to the Balapitiya Hospital. Previously, people in the community would have to travel long journeys outside of Ambalangoda to receive free eye treatment and eye tests. Now through developing this eye clinic, the hospital can provide free, easily accessible eye care services to the local community. Students are welcome to spend time inside the eye clinic observing the daily processes that occur and asking as many questions as they wish.
Roseth Private Hospital – Students will also spend time learning about the Sri Lankan healthcare system within a small private hospital in Ambalangoda. Roseth hospital provides a structured observational and informative approach to give students a broad insight into a medical facility in Sri Lanka. The following departments are available in the private hospital for students to gain an insight into: Physiotherapy, Dental Surgery, Radiology (x-ray machine and computerised radiology), Laboratory, Phlebotomy, In-Patient Ward, Out-Patient Ward.
Polwatta Village Hospital – The smallest of the hospitals in the Ambalangoda district, students will use their day at the local village hospital to get involved with a local blood pressure clinic. Students will support the doctor running the clinic with the testing and administration process. The hospital also provides emergency and OPD clinics for the local village that students can witness.
National Council for Mental Health (NCMH) – Students will gain a small insight into another aspect of Sri Lanka’s healthcare system as they spend time at the National Council for Mental Health. This serves as a “half-way home” treatment centre to integrate those with mental illness back into society.
Located close to Colombo, the NCMH is very much a forward-thinking framework, which is all about rehabilitation for the patients and providing a wide range of occupational therapies. Moreover, the long term goal is for patients at the home to return back into mainstream society without relapsing. The setting is mostly home to adults and has a team of nurses to support the day to day running and support at the halfway home. Students can partake and observe their daily schedule of activities/consultations as well as asking questions to the director at NCMH to learn more around mental health in Sri Lanka.
Community Outreach – Students will spend time at the heart of our community village projects, providing basic care and health education to the village residents. Such opportunities for children who are from typically lower-income families are not common and will be very well received. We will set up a small camp where you can educate children about personal hygiene and health including brushing teach, healthy habits, creative games about hygiene, blood pressure check-ups and first aid training.