Organise your 2 week school trip to Sri Lanka today! Teachers travel free and your 15 days in Sri Lanka will be fully structured, inclusive and led by our experienced team. Your first week will have you based in the coastal town of Ambalangoda for the volunteering part of the trip and giving back to the local community. You will receive an orientation into life in Sri Lanka and an introduction into Buddhism before your volunteering begins. You will volunteer in the heart of the Ambalangoda community as you protect sea turtles, provide free English lessons for low-income village communities and roll up your sleeves on a renovation project. Each evening we will run cultural activities such as a cultural dance show and a traditional hands craft session.
After the first week of giving back to the Ambalangoda community, it will be time to explore the island further as the adventure travel begins in week two of your Sri Lanka expedition. Your adventure travel will begin with a visit to Galle Fort and then onto Mirissa beach for some R&R. An elephant safari will follow at Udawalawe National Park before you head to the hill country around Ella for some hiking, waterfalls, tea plantations and spectacular views. You will finish your 15 days in Sri Lanka exploring the cultural capital of Kandy. Everything is included in your 2 week Sri Lanka expedition from the airport transfers and meals to accommodation, entrance fees and cultural activities.
SRI LANKA SCHOOL TRIP HIGHLIGHTS WITH PMGY
A FULLY STRUCTURED, SAFE AND ALL INCLUSIVE EXPERIENCE
A PERFECT BLEND OF VOLUNTEER, TRAVEL, ADVENTURE & CULTURAL IMMERSION
TRIP ITINERARY, ACTIVITIES & DURATION EASILY TAILORED TO YOUR NEEDS & WANTS
THE BEST VALUE & MOST AFFORDABLE TRIP PROVIDER WITH NO SACRIFICIES IN QUALITY
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 school 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 school’s overseas expedition area providing exclusive group trips whilst accommodating large groups of students, on full board options, with great community project work and travel opportunities. 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 school trip itinerary. So why not follow the PMGY ten-step journey below to making your bespoke school 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 school expedition specialists can discuss and tailor your Sri Lanka school 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 school 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 school trip specialist will come and host an information session with all interested students and parents. 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 school 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 teacher 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 school 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 school trip begins in Sri Lanka, we will come to your school and do a final pre-departure session with staff, students and parents. This will ensure that everything is in place before your school 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 school’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 the students and staff 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 school 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 - AKELEY WOOD SCHOOL, UK
Who – Akeley Wood School from the United Kingdom. 13 students and 1 staff member from Akeley Wood travelled to Sri Lanka on a group trip expedition with PMGY.
What – A 17 day expedition to Sri Lanka in total. The first half of the trip focussed on renovation and teaching volunteering in Ambalangoda and the second half of the trip centred on adventure travel across Sri Lanka. PMGY arranged a renovation project for the group at Balapitiya Junior School situated in the local area of Ambalangoda. Such a project focussed on renovating and building a playground area to provide playtime and leisure opportunities outside of the classroom for the children. In addition, students of Akeley Wood gave their time and effort in the afternoons teaching English at an Amabalangoda village community project. Cultural activities were all arranged to keep the students entertained and learning in evenings. The adventure travel was a great way to see the highlights of the country in such a short space of time. It was action-packed and included a safari, Galle Fort World Heritage Site, some R&R at Mirissa beach, exploring the hill country and spending time in the cultural capital of Kandy.
Where – Akeley Wood experienced so much and a range of locations in their 17 days in Sri Lanka. Arriving into Colombo, the main segment of the trip was the community volunteer placements in the coastal town of Ambalangoda in the Galle District. This was the schools base for the first 9 days. Afterwards, the group moved onto to explore the majority of Southern Sri Lanka. Whether it was the beaches of Mirissa, the safari park of Yala, the hill country of Ella or the centralised Kandy, Akeley Wood experienced the breadth of Sri Lanka.
When – Akeley Wood joined PMGY on an overseas group expedition for 2 weeks in July 2018. The group had a fantastic experience on a trip that was organised on a relatively short time scale. Consequently, Akeley Wood look forward to returning on a PMGY trip in the future with a longer time scale for planning and trip preparation incorporated.
Why – Akeley chose PMGY for their Sri Lanka overseas trip after positive recommendations and references had been received and strong endorsements had been given. Furthermore, the PMGY team were very committed to making the trip happen in the way Akeley Wood wanted it to. In this vein, Philip (a PMGY school trip specialist) travelled to the school on numerous occasions before any payments were made, to ensure that the itinerary provided could meet the aims and objectives that the Akeley Wood academic staff wanted to achieve through the Sri Lanka expedition. Most notably, that the renovation and building project had as much value as possible to the local community and that the adventure travel was tailored to the schools wants. This was all arranged without any trouble or extra costs. As a result, Akeley Wood felt very assured in arranging their Sri Lanka trip with PMGY from the moment the first initial contact was made.
How – Following a strong external endorsement and recommendation made on behalf of PMGY, Akeley Wood reached out to PMGY in the months before their trip to Sri Lanka was scheduled. This was around early springtime of 2018 with the school scheduled to head to Sri Lanka in the summer of 2018. PMGY were prompt, efficient and pro-active in communications with Akeley Wood and putting the wheels in motion to ensure that a 17 day expedition in Sri Lanka could be assembled together that would meet the trip objectives of the school. This included PMGY happily travelling to Akeley Wood for a range of face to face meetings and information sessions with the senior leadership team and interested parents and students at the school and then putting into action what Akeley Wood wished to achieve from the trip. Once the trip was confirmed, PMGY ensured they provided a structured pre-departure service throughout to make the process as hassle-free as possible for Akeley Wood. As a result, this transitioned into Akeley Wood getting everything they wanted from their time in Sri Lanka and having their trip expectations resoundingly met with PMGY.
Feedback – “From being put in touch with PMGY, we were very impressed in how organised, efficient and pro-active they were in putting together our school trip. They gave so much confidence and assurance that we could achieve what we wanted our students to achieve from the trip and they certainly did not disappoint on this. The school had a trip of a lifetime, were able to give so much back to the local community and experience so much of the travel and adventures that Sri Lanka has to offer. I cannot put into words just how amazing Ashika and his team were during our time in Sri Lanka. They constantly went above and beyond our expectations on a daily basis. Constructing a playground from scratch at the primary school was the highlight of our trip. In addition, enjoying traditional dance classes and spotting elephants on safari were experiences not to forget. None of this could have been envisaged, experienced or a reality for our students without the support, guidance and putting together of PMGY!”
VOLUNTEER PROJECT SUMMARIES
The core of the sample overseas school trip with PMGY to Sri Lanka will be centred around the volunteering schedule and making a positive impact in the local community. The core projects within the sample itinerary that students will be completing volunteer work in is renovation, teaching English and sea turtle conservation. It is important to note that we also have childcare and medical volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka. As a result, should you wish to tailor your volunteer schedule to include these aspects then this can easily be arranged. Consequently, the sample itinerary and volunteer options included within can be amended to a bespoke Sri Lanka expedition for your school.
English Teaching – PMGY’s English Teaching volunteer programme in Sri Lanka encourages students to develop a skill that will help them to achieve their future goals. Conversing with fluent, native English speakers greatly improves their language skills, essential for future employment. Sri Lanka’s education system is pretty impressive for a developing country of its size. Universal public education is available from the age of 6 to the age of 18. However, many government schools, particularly in rural areas, receive minimal government funding – especially considering the size of the communities they are expected to serve. The facilities at the schools are very basic, particularly the classrooms that get extremely cramped as average class sizes are around 40 to 60 children.
The ability to speak English is becoming of growing importance in Sri Lanka. The two main sources of income in Sri Lanka come from tourism and migrant workers going to the Middle East. Both occupations require the ability to speak English – the world’s global language. However, the level of English teaching in government schools is limited. Class sizes are large and the teachers’ English speaking skills are by no means perfect. It is only the middle and upper class children who can afford private English lessons.
Therefore it is no surprise that children from most low-income families speak little or no English. Our aim is to give the poorer children of Ambalangoda, the same opportunities as their more wealthy peers so they too have the chance to develop their ability to speak English.
The Community Village School Project is an after-school education programme initiated and ran by PMGY and is the main teaching project our volunteers take part in. We work in a number of villages across the Ambalangoda district where we provide free English lessons and education opportunities for children traditionally from lower-income families.
The children attend local government schools during the mornings. Our aim is to further their English language development by providing these free after-school English lessons in the afternoons. These projects will take place in a makeshift classroom or community centre. We encourage and support students to make lessons as engaging and interactive as possible by being creative and proactive when preparing lessons! The presence of volunteers gives the children an insight into different cultures; a global perspective they greatly benefit from.
The after-school education programme runs from 3pm to 6pm. The first two hours are spent teaching English and the last hour is allocated for games and activities. Students will lead their own classes, usually working in small groups. We usually run three to six classes in each community. Each class is divided based on the children’s level of English. The class sizes vary from 4 to 12 children per class. Moreover, PMGY will have a local coordinator at the project each day who is on hand to support volunteers with their efforts and can help with overcoming the language barrier.
Generally speaking, as long as students are proactive, enthusiastic and have lots of energy they can make great developments during their time at the project. Volunteers will need to plan and prepare activities in advance of each session to ensure the session can be engaging, fun and productive! Time and resources will be provided for students each day before going to the project to plan and prepare accordingly.
Renovation in the Local Community – Our Sri Lanka renovation program can be based at a wide range of community facilities in and around Ambalangoda. You could be helping out at schools, government hospitals, children’s homes or Buddhist temples. These institutions often struggle to find funding and labour support to undertake important development work.
During your first week, your school will be working at one of these community settings in Ambalangoda. The student group will be carrying out a painting & renovation programme at either a temple, school or hospital. This will involve working together in a large group along with local tradesman.
You do not need to have any previous construction or renovation experience, just bags of energy and the willingness to help. Your renovation volunteer program will mainly be during the morning, however, depending on the circumstances and weather conditions, timings may change around a little. The renovation aspect of the programme in Sri Lanka allows participants to provide a tangible impact within the volunteer experience as they make an important contribution within the local community. With your help, we can further support Ambalangoda’s community and you can do your bit to leave a lasting impression!
The exact project location for this will be decided closer to the time of the program where the need of a local project will be identified. Essentially, students will be placed at one local establishment that has expressed a great need for volunteers and request for help in renovation or restoration work. This will ensure the impact we are making on the renovation project will be valuable and needed. A coordinator will be at hand to help you with your tasks. As a renovation volunteer, you will spend your time helping out with the required tasks that the project desires. For example, you may be busy mixing paint, digging holes, painting fences, assisting builders, scrubbing walls, moving blocks, decorating a room, whatever is required for your local community. Your placement is likely to be outside, so make sure to bring plenty of suncream, a water bottle, and old clothes too!
This is a great project for that allows you to get hands-on within the community. By the end of your time with us, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’ve contributed towards, whilst still making a difference in the community afternoon projects as well.
Sea Turtle Conservation – You can protect and rehabilitate sea turtles whilst also helping at community development projects during your school expedition to Sri Lanka. Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for wildlife conservation efforts. Use your day volunteering with turtles to further raise awareness of plastic pollution, care for injured and disabled turtles and release freshly hatched babies back into the wild, safe from natural risks and local poachers.
There are five turtle species that can be found in Sri Lanka. These are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback. The Green turtle is the most commonly found species of turtle in Sri Lanka and will likely be the one you encounter the most on your turtle conservation project. The Loggerhead turtle is the rarest and thus hardest to spot in Sri Lanka and is more commonly found on the East Coast of America.
Fishing is one of the major industries in Ambalangoda and the location of the project is very close to the local fisheries port. Sea turtles are often found in fishing nets and many have lost limbs becoming disabled and are no longer able to survive in the wild. Many of these disabled turtles are found by local Sri Lankans who bring them to the project site for rehabilitation and care.
The program you will experience aims to provide daily care and rehabilitation for the disabled turtles with the long term goal to release back to the wild as well as protecting turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers. Participants will learn how to collect eggs, identify different kinds of turtles, how eggs hatch, how to treat turtles, how to send turtles back to the sea and so much more. This is really a day in the itinerary where you will learn a lot and make a tangible difference with your time.
Students will join the local staff at the project to get to grips with the daily tasks to what is expected of them. This will include tasks as part of a team as well as individual roles. Typical duties will include cleaning and refilling the turtle tanks, feeding the turtles, beach cleans, cleaning the turtle’s shells, creating education materials and releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea. This is truly an amazing day to be a part of on your school trip itinerary in Sri Lanka!