Home » Volunteer Programs » Real Sri Lanka Experience

START DATES

MONTHLY (JUNE-SEPTEMBER)

PRICED FROM

1,155 USD + 249 USD REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

4 WEEKS (MONDAY TO SATURDAY)

MINIMUM AGE

17 YEARS OLD ON START DATE

REAL SRI LANKA EXPERIENCE

Have a life-changing summer discovering a whole new world on the gap year Sri Lanka experience. Spend four amazing weeks of adventures and volunteering in this hugely inspiring country. You can explore the wonders of the island, from cultural gems to paradise beaches. Meanwhile, making a positive difference in wildlife and community projects on the south coast. Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still uncrowded so now is the time to go!

 

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

  • JOIN US IN 2024 - 6TH MAY, 3RD JUNE, 1ST JULY, 15TH JULY, 5TH AUGUST, 2ND SEPTEMBER
  • MARVEL AT THE FAMOUS KANDYAN DANCING & THE ICONIC TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC
  • EXPLORE THE CULTURAL TRIANGLE – A TREASURE TROVE OF ANCIENT RUINS & WILDLIFE
  • PICK TEA LEAVES & STEP BACK IN TIME IN ‘LITTLE ENGLAND’
  • ENJOY BREATHTAKING VIEWS FROM LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK TO THE NINE ARCH BRIDGE
  • COUNT WILD ELEPHANTS ON SAFARI IN UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK
  • CHILL BY THE BEACH IN MIRISSA & EXPERIENCE STICK FISHING IN WELIGAMA
  • VISIT THE GRAND COLONIAL BUILDINGS & UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE OF GALLE FORT
  • VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA AMONGST THE BUSTLING COASTAL TOWN OF AMBALANGODA
  • PRACTICE YOUR NEW SINHALESE PHRASES WITH THE LOCALS

SUMMARY OF THE REAL SRI LANKA EXPERIENCE

The Real Sri Lanka Experience offers ambitious individuals the opportunity to join together and embark on a thrilling adventure across Sri Lanka. Our local team provides a structured, fast-paced and thrilling group itinerary across a number of amazing sites around the country. Your group will also dedicate time to volunteering projects to give back to local communities, developing and showcasing your skills. On the gap year Sri Lanka experience, you will arrive into Sri Lanka on a set date, joining your group before travelling and volunteering across a 4 week period. This makes the PMGY Experience trips ideal for anyone who wishes to explore and engage in new experiences in the company of others.

 

Individuals on this experience trip have the unique chance to explore the whole of this diverse island, from the ancient Cultural Triangle to the relaxing waves of Mirissa and the lush green scenery of the central hill-country. Your adventure will pan across the best sites in the entire country, before dedicating your time to meaningful volunteer projects on the south coast.

 

Across this 27 day itinerary, be prepared for breathtaking sites, friends for life and complete cultural immersion. The gap year Sri Lanka experience is perfect for anyone looking to travel within a safe, structured and social environment.

 

From one destination to the next, you won’t need to worry about a thing. All your in-country transport and accommodation will be arranged by our local teams on the gap year Sri Lanka experience. This helps to ensure that your experience abroad is as smooth as possible. Our team will arrange numerous activities for you to enjoy and engage in during your trip. For any spare time, our local experts will be able to help you discover the impressive range of activities you can get involved in during your trip to Sri Lanka. A portion of your time will also be dedicated to making a difference within a community in Sri Lanka. This will allow you to put your skills and enthusiasm into practice to make a meaningful difference to local communities overseas.

 

The trip’s group set-up makes the gap year Sri Lanka experience an exceptional social occasion. You have the chance to meet individuals from across the globe, forming friendships that will last a lifetime. You will stay together for your entire adventure, sharing moments and memories that will stay with you forever. You will also have the chance to immerse yourself with members of the local community, making your gap year programs in Sri Lanka even more special.

EXPLORING SRI LANKA

As exquisite as Sri Lanka might be, it’s certainly had its share of challenges, from years of war to overpowering tsunamis. However, the country has been moving forward quickly, which puts Sri Lanka now firmly on many travellers itineraries. In fact, it has been a favourite destination of PMGY volunteers and adventurous travel tours for many years, almost like a best-kept secret!

 

Sri Lanka may be small but it has more than 2,000 years of culture, 8 (yes 8!) Unesco World Heritage Sites, endless beaches, lush rainforests, welcoming people, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea, oodles of elephants, wonderful food and so, so much more. With travelling distances so short and sights to see aplenty, it means your first 2 weeks are spent enjoying the huge diversity of this island without having to spend lots of time in transit during your gap year Sri Lanka experience.

 

Firstly on your travels, you’ll get to learn about the rich history and kingdoms of the Cultural Triangle at the famous Temple of the Tooth, cultural dance show, Sigiriya Rock, and Polonnaruwa. Next, you'll explore the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya and experience spectacular views, walks and waterfalls in Ella. After that, spot elephants in Udawalawe National Park. Finally, a chance to relax and bodyboard on Mirissa beach plus explore the streets of Galle Fort!

 

During the last two weeks on the gap year Sri Lanka experience, you will be based in Ambalangoda with other volunteers on the Sri Lanka volunteer program. This town is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks.

 

Your group will travel together by private minibus visiting some of the best destinations Sri Lanka has to offer, as well as some of the hidden gems most visitors never see! A PMGY coordinator will accompany you throughout your gap year Sri Lanka experience, so you’ll get the chance to learn so much about the country’s culture and history.

VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT

PMGY’s volunteer work in Sri Lanka runs throughout the year, so you’ll be joining our development work in Ambalangoda alongside existing PMGY volunteers. Over the course of the final two weeks of your gap year Sri Lanka experience, you’ll have the opportunity to join our projects teaching English. You can also opt to join one of the Childcare, Wildlife or Medical projects.

 

Volunteer in Sri Lanka to truly immerse yourself in the local culture, spending time in the community and learning about what life is like for the Sri Lankan people. Getting involved in our local community development projects ensures that you’ll make a positive impact during your time on the gap year Sri Lanka experience.

 

The one thing that every volunteer in Sri Lanka will never forget is the genuine friendliness and warmth shown by the locals. Just walking through the village you’ll be greeted with smiles and waves – it really does feel like a second home on your gap year Sri Lanka experience.

 

You can choose which project you’d like to do during the online application process. The following projects are available for you to take part in, but please note some do require an additional fee:

 

CHILDCARE

A childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka can make a vital contribution to brighten up the daily lives of children from challenging backgrounds. From supporting educational development and encouraging a positive lifestyle, you can play a key role in making a positive impact on the local community. The projects we work with provide important early years education for these children. The more help and encouragement they can get from volunteers, the better and brighter their future.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE CHILDCARE PROGRAM

In Sri Lanka, children can attend preschools from 3-5 years old. However, many of the government run preschools can lack basic resources and be overcrowded with just one or two teachers to look after high numbers of young children. Subsequently, children can miss important building blocks in their early development years. For the reason that exposure to engaging stimulation from a young age plays a crucial role in preparing children for school and learning early socio-emotional skills.

 

The presence of a volunteer at a local preschool gives young children the unique opportunity to be exposed to the English Language from a young age. In turn, it builds their confidence and can be their foundation for learning English in the future. Something which can improve the opportunities and prospects for these children later on in life.

 

If you volunteer in Sri Lanka with children, you’ll find it is a highly rewarding experience and one that people from all backgrounds can get involved in. You can support these preschools to ensure the kids get a positive start to their education and development. Sharing your time, skills, and affection as a childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka will be of great support to the local preschool teachers. Finally, there are also a range of animal volunteering abroad projects in Sri Lanka you can support.

 

CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Urban Council Preschools – Each childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka has the opportunity to support a network of preschools in Ambalangoda. Specifically, PMGY supports up to 8 preschools in the local community. The background of each preschool can vary. For instance, some preschools are without cost for children to attend and others can have administration fees for children to join. Regardless, the children attending the school are usually coming from challenging backgrounds and low income families.

 

You’ll be providing much-needed help to the local community and working parents, who otherwise would not be able to afford quality care for their young children. One example of a preschool that the local team fully funds and supports is Sun Rise Preschool & Day Care Centre. This is usually the project site where volunteers will lead holiday camps and activities during the school holiday periods.

 

These preschools enable a safe environment for children aged 1-4 years old to enjoy early years education and development. Subsequently, this allows parents to work and earn an income, generally in local cinnamon or garment factories, in order to provide for their families. At the preschool, the childcare volunteers will be supporting the preschool with basic education. In addition to assisting local teachers, volunteers will get creative by leading dance and exercise classes, teaching poems, distributing snacks, and helping with arts and craft activities.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL CHILDCARE DAY

Your main role as a childcare volunteer in Sri Lanka is to help encourage and care for these children, providing them with the opportunity to boost their confidence and to help maximise their potential. You will volunteer in Sri Lanka from Monday-Friday. The morning sessions at the preschool usually runs from 9am-11:30am. However, some preschools have slightly earlier start times and end times should you wish to extend your project commitments. The afternoon community education sessions are also available to support with additional community education projects. The placement locations take around 30 minutes to reach by tuk-tuk or private minibus.

 

Your time on the childcare volunteer abroad program is allocated for teaching the children English and enhancing early years educational development. You will get the opportunity to assist a local teacher in running preschool activities. Your role as a childcare volunteer is crucial to help maintain a safe environment and an engaging, educational session for the children. You will assist in delivering sessions on arts and crafts, singing and dancing, games and basic English teaching. This can help the children build key competencies and life skills at an early age through a creative medium.

 

We encourage participants on the Sri Lanka volunteer program to use engaging educational activities to hold the children’s attention, as well as inspire their learning. Be creative, use exciting ways to learn new vocabulary and introduce interesting topics in a fun way. You could use alphabet props in a matching game, create topical posters, or even find items in the preschool to create a counting activity. In addition, your volunteer work in Sri Lanka will involve some light housekeeping such as meal preparation and sanitary assistance to the young children at the preschool.

 

Working with this age group is not as structured as teaching older children. In other words, their language can be improved simply through play and interaction. As a result, just a few words or phrases will stand them in good stead for learning English in the future. Our local team are on hand to support you with any ideas or activities you wish to perform whilst you volunteer in Sri Lanka. If you volunteer with children in Sri Lanka, you’ll need to prepare activities for this accordingly.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WORKING WITH CHILDREN IN SRI LANKA

Return Airport Transfer – Your return airport transfer is not included in your Program Fee. Our local team can help arrange onward transfers to the airport or an alternative destination from the volunteer accommodation. Making specific arrangements once in Sri Lanka provides more flexibility as plans can often change and participants may be on similar flight plans. The costs depend on your method of transport and your final destination. This can often be split across multiple participants if you are travelling with someone else on the program. It is strongly advised not to travel by public transport or ridesharing apps back to the airport. Whilst this may be cheaper, it is far less convenient and comes with additional safety risks.

 

Top PMGY Destination – Sri Lanka is widely considered to be the best PMGY volunteer destination due to the superior local support, value for money and overall experience on offer in Ambalangoda. The local Sri Lankan team really go above-and-beyond to ensure each volunteer has the best possible experience and this is reflected in volunteer feedback. As a result, we believe this is the perfect destination for a first-time traveller who is looking for a little extra support, plenty of organised weekend trips and wants to get involved in some fantastic local initiatives in an exotic location.

 

Project Flexibility – As this volunteer project only runs during the morning period in Sri Lanka, there is an opportunity to get involved in the teaching projects in the afternoon. We do require a minimum commitment of 1 week on each project and you can make these arrangements once you are in Sri Lanka. There are no additional costs and we would always welcome any additional support across the community-based projects.

 

Resources – On the childcare project in Sri Lanka, resources can be very limited. Volunteers are recommended to bring materials to the project each day to maximise their productivity and day to day involvement. It is therefore important for volunteers to prepare well in advance to get the most out of their childcare volunteering experience in Sri Lanka.

 

Placement Settings – PMGY does not provide volunteer opportunities in orphanages in any of our locations. Research and studies have shown that visiting and volunteering in orphanages has the potential to generate an industry that separates children from their families. In turn, putting children at increased risk of neglect and abuse. Therefore, we do not support these institutions with our volunteer network.

 

Instead, we focus on offering alternative childcare volunteer opportunities whereby children come to and from the placement setting each day. In other words, our local teams collaborate with childcare projects which do not offer any form of residential care. These are safe, responsible, and vetted projects, where participants continue to provide valued assistance supporting local staff.

DOG RESCUE

Being a dog in Sri Lanka is a tough life. One of the first things you’ll notice as a Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteer is the vast number of strays wandering the beaches and streets. Lack of food, shelter and care can dramatically reduce the lifespan of a street dog, as well as the rising problem of rabies in Sri Lanka. Help protect and care for these wonderful canines and improve the animal-human relationship in the community.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE DOG RESCUE PROGRAM

The rising number of street dogs across Sri Lanka poses many risks and challenges, including poor treatment, terrible injuries, malnutrition, untreated diseases and the concern of human deaths caused by rabies. This fear leads to poor treatment of stray dogs and poor awareness of how the local community can help.

 

Rabies is a fatal disease which is transmitted by various animals, but in Sri Lanka, it is most prevalent amongst dogs. This viral infection is spread via the saliva of a rabid animal; hence it can be passed on through a bite or contact with an open wound. Unfortunately, rabies will continue to exist until there are further efforts to eliminate it. There are a large number of dog bite cases in Sri Lanka, which is a cause for concern for tourists and locals alike. In addition, this creates huge bills for Government hospitals treating the victims.

 

The Sri Lankan Government have recently adopted more humane methods to control the population and spread of rabies, focusing now on neutering and vaccinating stray dogs. As a result, there has been a significant drop in the number of human rabies deaths and incidents. Our mission is to continue these efforts in the local community with the help of volunteer work in Sri Lanka.

 

By offering vaccinations and neutering it helps to manage the population of stray dogs and reduce the risk of diseases, especially rabies. Many female strays produce multiple litters each year, many of which are dumped at temples or on the roadside. These puppies have a low chance of survival, as they are at high risk of contracting diseases, malnutrition or being involved in road traffic accidents. This is where our Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteers step in as the project aims to provide a safe refuge for abandoned dogs.

 

DOG RESCUE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLE

Bring Them Home Dog Shelter – This animal care volunteer program aims to improve the wellbeing of street dogs in the local area. This volunteer work in Sri Lanka provides a safe home for vulnerable, sick and disabled dogs, with daily care, vaccinations, rehabilitation and rehoming. As a Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteer, your extra pair of helping hands enables the project to provide enough care and love for all the canines. In addition, you can help in preventing rabies and improving the situation in the local community.

 

The team have an on-call rescue facility to transport dogs that have been found injured, disabled or abandoned. They will be brought back to the project so the team can conduct a general health check and provide assistance. At the dog shelter, each Sri Lanka animal volunteer can observe or assist the Vet with their check-ups, vaccinations, medical treatment or minor surgeries as and when required. As the project can receive unvaccinated dogs from the roadside and other unknown areas, it is important to follow the local coordinator advice before interacting with these dogs. For the reason that the local staff will need to isolate these unvaccinated dogs at the project in their first few days whilst they receive vaccinations. When it is safe to do so and the new dogs have been fully vaccinated, they will then integrate with the other dogs at the shelter.

 

The shelter also tries to find new loving homes for the healthy vaccinated dogs with local families, with education about how to properly care for their new pet. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can help to produce and provide animal welfare education to the community. Consequently, this improves the understanding, attitude and treatment between humans and dogs. The aim is to introduce this on a community level and bring about long term change.

 

Please note some of these sessions on the animal care volunteer program run on an ad hoc basis. Therefore, if it is something you are interested in when you volunteer in Sri Lanka then please speak with our local staff who will make the appropriate arrangements.

 

Volunteers should expect at least 15 dogs or so at the shelter at one time. Volunteers will have direct involvement and enrichment activities with only the vaccinated dogs. It is important to note that many of the dogs are usually of a friendly nature having arrived to the shelter as puppies. However, this means the dogs can get very excitable and jump up to volunteers with some scratching. There can also be time where the dogs will play fight amongst themselves and volunteers should not risk their own safety getting involved with this. Subsequently, it is important for volunteers not to adopt a care free attitude at the project and listen to the guidance of our local team.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

Our Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteers spend their days assisting with daily tasks and care for the dogs living in the shelter. The project runs from Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm but can also take place in the afternoons. You’ll be transported to the Sri Lanka volunteer program by tuk-tuk. When you volunteer in Sri Lanka, typical duties on this wildlife volunteering abroad program include:

 

• Cleaning, maintaining hygiene and upkeep in the project premises and bedding areas
• Preparing meals and feeding the dogs
• Playtime and socialisation with the dogs
• Walking the dogs and exercising on a daily basis
• Showering and washing the dogs
• Recreational activities with the dogs at the beach
• Creating training and enrichment plans
• Assisting with medication and vaccinations for the dogs
• Grooming and checking for ticks
• Creating and maintaining documentation for dog profiles (history, vaccinations etc) and site visits
• Caring for sick/disabled/injured dogs

 

You will be assisting the local staff in these tasks each day. Any additional duties will be based on current need and availability. For instance, rescuing puppies in danger, pet adoption and community awareness. On an ad hoc basis, expect to support the team out in the Ambalangoda community providing food for stray dogs. You will usually feed at least 30 street dogs during each outreach session.

 

PMGY’s Sri Lanka dog rescue volunteer program is an incredible opportunity to do your bit to help protect and care for these lovely animals. You can make a positive impact whilst spending time in a country that will amaze you on so many levels.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WORKING WITH DOGS IN SRI LANKA

Top PMGY Destination – Sri Lanka is widely considered to be the best PMGY volunteer destination due to the superior local support, value for money and overall experience on offer in Ambalangoda. The local Sri Lankan team really go above-and-beyond to ensure each volunteer has the best possible experience and this is reflected in volunteer feedback. As a result, we believe this is the perfect destination for a first-time traveller who is looking for a little extra support, plenty of organised weekend trips and wants to get involved in some fantastic local initiatives in an exotic location.

 

Project Flexibility – As this volunteer project only runs during the morning period in Sri Lanka, there is an opportunity to get involved in the or teaching projects in the afternoon. We do require a minimum commitment of 1 week on each project and you can make these arrangements once you are in Sri Lanka. There are no additional costs and we would always welcome any additional support across the community-based projects.

 

Experience – If you are a veterinary student you may be able to assist in more tasks. Naturally, this will depend on your level of knowledge, experience and qualifications in this area. You may be able to help with the sick, injured or disabled dogs. Furthermore, there may be more opportunities in advanced veterinary care such as vaccinations or neutering procedures.

ENGLISH TEACHING

You can volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka to dramatically boost future opportunities available for young people. Having the ability to speak English is a valuable tool, especially for career prospects and achieving future goals. Above all, conversing with fluent English speakers can encourage students to develop this essential language skill. If you are enthusiastic and have lots of positive energy then this is the project for you!

 

BACKGROUND TO THE TEACHING PROGRAM

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. In particular, the classrooms 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 are 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.

 

The children attend local government schools during the mornings but often can’t afford the tuition needed to excel beyond the basics. In Sri Lanka, these additional tuition classes are key to excelling at school. In other words, the government education system is too basic to be able to provide enough time and provisions for students. Certainly, there is not enough time allocated to learn English. The teachers will have basic English themselves, often using “parrot style learning”. For instance, students only learn to repeat from a textbook, rather than understanding words in context. However, tuition classes involve a weekly fee that many of these families cannot afford.

 

Therefore it is no surprise that children from most low-income families speak little or no English. Our aim on the volunteer teaching English abroad project is to give the poorer children of Ambalangoda the same opportunities as their more wealthy peers. As a result, they too will have the chance to develop their ability to speak English and enhance their future career prospects. In addition, there is also a range of volunteering abroad with animals opportunities in Sri Lanka you can support.

 

TEACHING VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

A volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka will be based at one of the locations where we provide free English lessons. Most importantly, you’ll be helping in one of the local village communities, on our own after-school education program. In addition, you have the amazing opportunity to also teach English in Sri Lanka to young Buddhist monks.

 

Community Village School Projects – These English teaching projects provide an after-school education program, initiated and ran by PMGY since 2013. This is the main project for a volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka. We work in a number of villages across the Ambalangoda district, typically supporting children from lower income areas. Each volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka can help to provide free language lessons and education opportunities for these children.

 

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 within the village. On the English teaching program, each class is divided based on the student’s level of English. Class sizes usually vary from 4-15 children per class. You could be teaching students from 6-18 years old, depending on the current project need and availability. A local team member will be on hand to help when you volunteer in Sri Lanka.

 

Those who participate on medical or wildlife projects in the mornings are welcome to support our afternoon village school projects with no extra costs. Your project transport will be arranged for you and you can work alongside the teaching volunteers in Sri Lanka to help improve learning opportunities for the children. With more teaching volunteers at the project, more structure and planning can be done to achieve and track learning outcomes on a regular basis.

 

Temple Schools – Every volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka will also have the option to enrol in our Temple School project. This may be joined in addition to the standard afternoon community village school project. The temple schools run in the morning, where you will teach English to novice Buddhist monks.

 

Many of the Buddhist monks speak very little English and the temple schools often welcome poor children from the community to come and learn English too. There tend to be around 5-10 students in each class, generally between 6-18 years of age. The project typically runs for 1.5 hours each morning and allows volunteers to add to their afternoon project commitments. It is important to note that project participation at the temple schools is optional, but the afternoon school project is compulsory for all teaching participants. For the reason that this is the core teaching project and the temple school project sometimes runs on a more ad hoc basis.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL TEACHING DAY

Your main role as a volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka is to share your time, knowledge and skills to teach English to the local communities in Ambalangoda, boosting their confidence in conversational English and helping to maximise their potential.

 

The after-school education Sri Lanka volunteer program is available from 3pm-5.30pm each afternoon from Monday-Friday. Usually, you’ll get there by tuk-tuk or minibus, which takes around 10 minutes.

 

The first part of the project is spent teaching English and the last hour is allocated for games and activities. We encourage volunteers to make lessons as engaging and interactive as possible by being creative and proactive when preparing lessons. Use fun educational games like interactive word searches or Hangman, or a bit of class competition in Hot Seat or team quizzes. Games, songs, art, sport and music are all great tools. There are usually resources and syllabus guidance at the Volunteer House so you can plan activities before you go to project.

 

The presence of international volunteers gives the children an insight into different cultures; a global perspective they greatly benefit from. Use your creativity and knowledge to help these eager young minds reach their true potential.

 

Each volunteer in Sri Lanka will lead their own classes and have the freedom to create a lesson plan of their choice. There may be a topic or curriculum materials that you can follow if you need some inspiration. Your volunteer work in Sri Lanka may be in pairs or small groups per class, however, this is dependent on the current need and the number of volunteers at the time. We usually run three to six classes in each community, but again this will be dependent on the number of volunteers.

 

There will be 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. Please note the local staff will not be leading the class. It is also important not to constantly rely on the coordinators for translation when you are teaching English in Sri Lanka.

 

At the temple schools the classes run in the morning, usually at 8:30am-10am from Monday-Friday. The tuk-tuk journey takes about 5 minutes. The topics and activities here can be very similar to the after-school education program, with a focus on learning in a calm environment (minus any shouting or active games). In return for your contribution to the temple, you will find the monks are often keen to invite you to learn more about their religion and way of life.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER TEACHING CHILDREN IN SRI LANKA

Top PMGY Destination – Sri Lanka is widely considered to be the best PMGY volunteer destination due to the superior local support, value for money and overall experience on offer in Ambalangoda. The local Sri Lankan team really go above-and-beyond to ensure each volunteer has the best possible experience and this is reflected in volunteer feedback. As a result, we believe this is the perfect destination for a first-time traveller who is looking for a little extra support, plenty of organised weekend trips and wants to get involved in some fantastic local initiatives in an exotic location.

 

Experience – For the English teaching program, teaching experience is not essential as the mere presence of a native English speaker is invaluable. As long as you are creative, determined and resourceful you can have a constructive impact on the development of the children’s education.

 

TEFL Course – We encourage volunteers to prepare as much as possible for their English teaching program overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60 hour Online TEFL Course. The cost of this course is only 150 USD.

 

Resources – On the teach English in Sri Lanka project, resources can be very limited. Volunteers are recommended to bring materials to the project each day to maximise their productivity and day to day involvement. It is therefore important for volunteers to prepare well in advance to get the most out of their teaching English project experience.

MEDICAL

As a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka you can gain valuable medical experience in a new culture, an opportunity not to be missed in this gorgeous part of the world! If you are looking for a learning experience or would like to pursue a career in the medical field, then this program is the ideal way to give you an insight into the Sri Lankan healthcare system.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE MEDICAL PROGRAM

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. The 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, as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, 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 on the Sri Lanka volunteer program 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! PMGY’s medical volunteer program is a learning experience available for both medical students and school leavers looking to pursue a career in medicine. Join as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka for the perfect way to gain invaluable hospital work experience whilst exploring the wonders that this amazing island has to offer.

 

MEDICAL VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Your placement timetable on the medical volunteer abroad program will depend on your current status of study. Those who are studying a health-related degree at university can enjoy placements at both private and government hospitals. This is on the assumption we receive the required paperwork in the correct format from you at least 3 weeks before your program start date. High school leavers and applicants from a non-health related background will be placed at a private hospital only. Nevertheless, still enjoying clinic and workshop based options and an insight into Ayurvedic medicine which all medical volunteers in Sri Lanka enjoy.

 

Roseth Private Hospital – You might volunteer in Sri Lanka within a small private hospital in Ambalangoda. The private hospital provides a structured observational and informative approach to give participants a broad insight into a medical facility in Sri Lanka.

 

The following departments are available in the private hospital: Physiotherapy, Dental Surgery, Radiology (x-ray machine and computerised radiology), Laboratory, Phlebotomy, In-Patient Ward, Out-Patient Ward

 

Balapitiya Government Base Hospital – PMGY partner with a government hospital located only a 15 minute journey from Ambalangoda. It is a medium-sized hospital with over 500 stations. There are 20 doctors and 2 surgeons at the hospital. We can place participants at the following departments in the government hospital: Out-Patient Unit, Emergency Treatment Room, General Medicine, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Antenatal, Postnatal, Labour Room, Paediatrics

 

Please note that the government hospital will not permit applicants who are not studying medicine, nursing or healthcare at university. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule as dictated by the Health Ministry of Sri Lanka.

 

Government Village Hospital – As a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, you may also be able to get involved at a local blood pressure clinic. This is based at a smaller village government hospital whereby the clinic runs on a more ad hoc basis and service users receive free blood pressure checks.

 

Sri Lankan Ayurvedic Medicine – Every medical volunteer in Sri Lanka will have the opportunity to participate in an Ayurveda medicine lecture, regardless of whether you are placed at the private or government hospital. 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.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

Your main role is to learn and experience the Sri Lankan healthcare system, procedures and culture, observing how this may differ to the experience you have at home. In addition, you may encounter different scenarios as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, such as dengue fever, snake bites and motorcycle accidents.

 

The medical project takes place for around 3 hours a day from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm, depending on the current opportunities available. For instance, each medical volunteer in Sri Lanka may have the chance to stay longer if there is a major surgery or labour whilst you are allocated to that ward. The option is available to join the project in the afternoon. However, please note the doctors will only be present in the wards during the morning. The hospitals are 5-15 minutes away by tuk-tuk.

 

Roseth Private Hospital – Your time will be allocated across the hospital departments at the private hospital. Our team will do our best to match any specific requirements you have, but this cannot always be guaranteed depending on the circumstances.

 

Your role is purely observational as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, so you should not expect any hands-on involvement. Depending on your interests, you will be placed within different departments and you will be attached to an English-speaking member of staff. Please note there may still be a communication barrier and the staff will do their best to translate when they can.

 

As the role is purely observational, we recommend that applicants sign up for no more than 2 weeks as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka. In our experience, whilst you will gain invaluable medical insight and knowledge at the private hospital, after a while, most people are eager for some hands-on volunteer work in Sri Lanka. Whilst PMGY cannot offer you hands-on work as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, we can welcome you on to our community projects teaching English.

 

Our local team will go through the options with you during your in-country orientation. You can join one of these projects in the afternoon and attend the private hospital in the morning – it is completely up to you. Furthermore, if you’d like to join us for longer than 2 weeks, it is absolutely fine for you to sign up for 2 weeks as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka and then go on to do another project for the remainder of your stay.

 

Balapitiya Government Base Hospital – You can choose to spend your time across several departments or just a few. Our team will do our best to match any specific requirements you have, but this cannot always be guaranteed depending on the circumstances, We would recommend a mixed timetable in order to experience the different hospital settings.

 

Whilst you will be assigned a member of staff within the department to mentor each medical volunteer in Sri Lanka, it is important to understand that the local staff are extremely busy. Therefore, you should be proactive, ask questions and be assertive in requesting additional guidance should you require it. Please note there may still be a communication barrier and the staff will do their best to translate when they can.

 

Government Village Hospital – During your time with us on the Sri Lanka volunteer program, volunteers will usually get the chance to support at our village clinic campaign helping the local doctor by checking blood pressure and blood sugar levels of the people of Ambalangoda.

 

Regardless of the hospital setting, medical volunteers in Sri Lanka should expect an observational role only. The experience is designed in an internship style whereby participants will enjoy an observational and learning exchange program at the hospital. Language and communication barriers with local healthcare professionals can exist and exposure in some settings can be limited compared to other medical volunteer projects.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A MEDICAL VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA

Top PMGY Destination – Sri Lanka is widely considered to be the best PMGY volunteer destination due to the superior local support, value for money and overall experience on offer in Ambalangoda. The local Sri Lankan team really go above-and-beyond to ensure each volunteer has the best possible experience and this is reflected in volunteer feedback. As a result, we believe this is the perfect destination for a first-time traveller who is looking for a little extra support, plenty of organised weekend trips and wants to get involved in some fantastic local initiatives in an exotic location.

 

Project Flexibility – As this volunteer project only runs during the morning period in Sri Lanka, there is an opportunity to get involved in the teaching projects in the afternoon. We do require a minimum commitment of 1 week on each project and you can make these arrangements once you are in Sri Lanka. There are no additional costs and we would always welcome any additional support across the community-based projects.

 

Internship Style Experience – Participants joining the Sri Lanka medical experience should be aware that the project does not allow for much hands-on involvement regardless of the level of medical study. The experience is designed in an internship style whereby participants will enjoy an observational and learning exchange program with the local healthcare professionals at the hospital. In turn, developing a deeper insight into the Sri Lankan healthcare system and broadening the perspective and interests of the medical volunteer. For those expecting more hands-on opportunities, you are better to explore other destinations.

 

Government Hospital Opportunities – Those who are studying a health-related degree at university can enjoy placements at both private and government hospitals. This is on the assumption we receive the required paperwork from you in the correct format at least 3 weeks before your program start date. High school leavers and applicants from a non-health related background will be placed at a private hospital only. Nevertheless, still enjoying clinic and workshop based options and an insight into Ayurvedic medicine which all medical volunteers in Sri Lanka enjoy.

 

Trained Professionals – Please note this program is not suitable for trained professionals who are looking to practise overseas. This opportunity is only suitable for students or people looking to go into the medical or nursing field and wish to learn about a healthcare system overseas.

 

Group Medical Trips – PMGY provide affordable group trips to Sri Lanka for academic institutions and societies from around the world. From only 799 GBP per person (group leaders travel free), our 15 day trip to Sri Lanka is fully structured, inclusive and led by our experienced team. Organising an overseas trip for large groups 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.

 

Unforeseen Circumstances – As Sri Lanka is a developing country their healthcare facilities reflect this. Participants on the medical program are advised to note that from time to time unexpected factors outside of PMGY’s control can limit project and schedule availability. This can be commonly associated with the hospital setting of the placement where doctors can strike at late notice or the consultants can be absent from the hospital when expected with no advanced notice. In such situations, PMGY will do their best to arrange alternative volunteer work in Sri Lanka, though this will likely be outside of the hospital setting for that day and might be another form of the community programs we operate.

SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION

You can protect and rehabilitate sea turtles whilst also helping at community development projects as a Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer. Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for wildlife conservation efforts. 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.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE TURTLE CONSERVATION PROGRAM

In Sri Lanka, there are five species of turtles that are commonly encountered. These are the Green Turtle, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Olive Ridley and Leatherback. The Green turtle is the most common turtle species and will likely be the one you come across the most if you volunteer in Sri Lanka. The Loggerhead turtle is the rarest and thus hardest to spot in Sri Lanka. They are more commonly found on the East Coast of America.

 

The Hawksbill (renowned for its beautiful shell), Olive Ridley (smallest of the sea turtles) and Leatherback (largest of the 5 species) are harder to spot for different reasons. Sadly they are critically endangered and sit on the brink of extinction. This is mainly because they have been heavily hunted and fell victim to other human activity as well.

 

For instance, fishing is one of the major industries in Ambalangoda. The location of the volunteer work in Sri Lanka 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 fishermen who bring them to the project site for rehabilitation and care.

 

Most importantly, each environmental choice we make every day as a human has an impact on all marine life. Millions of microplastics, straws and bottles are found in the sea and beaches across the globe. Plastic pollution is becoming a huge problem worldwide and our Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteers aim to fight the battle against this environmental catastrophe.

 

Volunteering with turtles in Sri Lanka on our wildlife conservation program is an incredible opportunity to do your bit to care for these incredible creatures, whilst spending time in a country that will amaze you on so many levels.

 

TURTLE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Ambalangoda Turtle Conservation Sanctuary – Each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will be based at a turtle sanctuary in Ambalangoda. Here, the Sri Lanka volunteer program aims to provide daily care and rehabilitation for the disabled turtles. They have a long term goal to release the healthy turtles back to the wild, as well as protecting turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers.

 

Beginning from the orientation, volunteers will learn a great deal about turtle conservation. For instance, how to nest eggs, identify different kinds of turtles, how eggs hatch, how to treat turtles, the differences between the species, how to send turtles back into the sea and so much more. In short, this is a project where you will learn a lot and be able to make a tangible difference with your time.

 

Beach Cleans – As female turtles will only lay their eggs on beaches that are safe environments to them, it is crucial the area is maintained in order to encourage them to nest. Consequently, every Sri Lanka animal volunteer will get involved in cleaning the local beaches for litter and dangerous debris.

 

Climate change, waste and plastic pollution is increasing at an alarming rate across the world and we want to continue raising awareness and promote conservation through our wildlife volunteer program.

 

This is an important core task that volunteers will engage with in the Sri Lanka turtle conservation program. As part of the teams efforts to support coastal conservation, they aim to collect 200 kilograms of rubbish from the beaches each day. Subsequently, volunteers are the driving force in achieving such goals.

 

Turtle Hatchery & Baby Turtle Release – Volunteers will help to nest, monitor and care for turtle eggs that have been brought to the turtle hatchery. Usually, these are removed from an unsafe area where they may be at risk from human activity. This often includes outside tourist hotels but also if they can be stolen by local poachers.

 

Across Asia, there is an ancient myth that eating turtle eggs and meat will increase your life span. As a result, turtle eggs are sold illegally on the black market. The hatchery provides a safe environment for the turtles to be nested and monitored for conservation. They follow the National Wildlife Department guidelines and release the babies back into the wild with the help each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

Every PMGY Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will spend their days next to the beach caring for the sea turtles that have been rescued and are now living in the project site. Additionally, undertaking many beach cleans in the local area to keep beaches safe and clean for the turtles and their nests. Your volunteer abroad program will run from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm. However, beach clean days can be shorter sessions when working without shade in increased levels of heat and humidity. You will get to your project setting each morning by tuk-tuk or minibus, which takes about 15 minutes. Your typical duties as a volunteer in Sri Lanka will include:

 

• Preparing fresh food and assisting feeding on a daily basis
• Cleaning within the project premises and nearby beach area
• Taking care of the nesting area
• Regular beach cleans and beach patrols
• Cleaning and refilling the turtle tanks
• Assisting with medication
• Cleaning the turtles’ shells
• Counting and burying turtle eggs safely
• Designing education boards around the sanctuary
• Participating in marine conservation information sessions
• Releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea

 

Each Sri Lanka turtle conservation volunteer will join with the local staff at the project to get to grips with the daily tasks and what is expected of them. This will include tasks as part of a team as well as individual roles. As a participant on our wildlife volunteering abroad project, you can do your bit to help tackle the global issue of plastic pollution by cleaning the beaches where many turtles lay eggs in the south. Although this may be one of the more mundane aspects of the program, its importance cannot be underestimated. The volunteer’s efforts are recognised positively by the Wildlife Department. It is not uncommon that after one beach clean we have collected up to 20 bags of litter!

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING WITH TURTLES IN SRI LANKA

Project Flexibility – As this volunteer project only runs during the morning period in Sri Lanka, there is an opportunity to get involved in the teaching projects in the afternoon. We do require a minimum commitment of 1 week on each project and you can make these arrangements once you are in Sri Lanka. There are no additional costs and we would always welcome any additional support across the community-based projects.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

Itinerary Schedule - The itineraries for our PMGY experience trips are subject to change, as a result of unforeseen circumstances. We will always do our best to notify participants of changes in advance of the program start date. However, activities day to day during time in-country also remain subject to unanticipated changes.

 

Top PMGY Destination - Sri Lanka is widely considered to be the best PMGY volunteer destination due to the superior local support, value for money and overall experience on offer in Ambalangoda. The local Sri Lankan team really go above-and-beyond to ensure each volunteer has the best possible experience and this is reflected in volunteer feedback. As a result, we believe this is the perfect destination for a first-time traveller who is looking for a little extra support, plenty of organised weekend trips and wants to get involved in some fantastic local initiatives in an exotic location.

 

TEFL Course - We encourage volunteers to prepare as much as possible for their teaching program overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60 hour Online TEFL Course. The cost of this course is only 150 USD.

 

Weekends - Your project work in Sri Lanka runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Sri Lanka Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run the Maldives Chill Out Trip with opportunities running every month.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (CMB) on the selected Monday start date.

 

Day 1 (Monday) Welcome to Sri Lanka

Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign for everyone on the gap year Sri Lanka experience.

 

We will transfer you to a nearby hotel close to the airport. After that, you can relax, catch up with jet lag and meet fellow travellers on the PMGY Sri Lanka Intro Experience and Real Sri Lanka Experience.

 

Our local coordinator will provide you with an orientation outlining everything you need to know for the upcoming weeks on your gap year Sri Lanka experience. For example, safety issues, useful phrases in Sinhalese and what you can expect from the tour. Depending on the time of arrivals, it is likely that the full introduction will be given on Tuesday morning.

Day 2-3 (Tuesday-Wednesday) Kandy - Temples & Cultural Dance Show

Over the next couple days, we will check out some of Kandy’s iconic sites, which will include a visit to the bustling Temple of the Tooth and Bahirawa Kanda Temple for a beautiful hill-top view of the city.

 

Located in the centre of the island, Kandy is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. The city is surrounded by green hills and full of cultural and historical significance. It is also the southern tip of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. The city is world-famous as a pilgrimage site to the Temple of the Tooth, where the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is found. The picturesque central lake on the other side of town offers a more relaxed feel than the busy town centre.

 

You’ll get to explore Kandy’s renowned cultural dance shows on your gap year Sri Lanka experience, as well as a visit to the ancient Temple of the Tooth. Kandy is also a great place to do some shopping and pick up some souvenirs along the way, with a vibrant mix of local markets, high street stores and a wide range of wood carving factories to choose from.

 

You have free time to relax with the group and do some souvenir shopping during your 2 days in Kandy. Our local coordinator will use their local knowledge to recommend things to do.

Day 4 (Thursday) Sigiriya - Lions Rock & Spice Plantation

Next is an action-packed day! We will kick off the day by visiting a spice and herbal plantation on your gap year Sri Lanka experience. Here, you will learn about how a wide range of plants grow in Sri Lanka and how they are used for medicine across the world.

 

We will then head over to Sigiriya, known as ‘The Mount of Remembrance’. We will enjoy a village safari day in Sigiriya as you enjoy a local boat trip on a lake, a traditional cooking session and a typical Sri Lankan lunch. Sigiriya Rock Fortress contains the ancient city, built on top of a 180-metre granite rock known as ‘Lion Rock’. You’ll get to climb to the top of the towering Lion Rock and explore the wonders of this former cultural capital, complete with ancient graffiti and elaborately crafted water gardens. Be prepared for jaw-dropping panoramic views that last for days when you reach the top.

Day 5 (Friday) Polonnaruwa - The Ancient City

We will travel from Sigiriya to Polonnaruwa early in the morning. This ancient city is Sri Lanka’s splendid medieval capital, the next part of the Cultural Triangle. You’ll get to enjoy an amazing tour cycling around the ruins of Polonnaruwa – a royal complex of palaces and Buddhist temples, scattered over an extensive area of woodland. Polonnaruwa holds some of Sri Lanka’s most important religious sites – known as the Quadrangle. You will then have lunch and a chance to relax before heading out for the afternoon activity.

 

In the afternoon, we will go on a jeep safari through jungle villages to Parakrama Samudra, an exquisite artificial lake built by King Parakramabahu in the 3rd Century AD. Here, you’ll get to witness rural Sri Lankan life living within the jungle villages. We’ll end the day by watching the sunset over the lake before making our way back to the guesthouse.

Day 6 (Saturday) Polonnaruwa - Rest & Relaxation

Today is a chance to recharge the batteries after a busy start to your Sri Lanka experience! Enjoy some free time at the hotel and relaxing by the swimming pool. After lunch, we’ll make the 4 hour drive back to Kandy with some scenic stops across Sri Lanka’s central highlands along the way.

Day 7 (Sunday) Tea Plantations & Little England

It’s time to see a different side of the country on your gap year Sri Lanka experience – the glorious southern hill country. The hill country is the highest, wildest and in many ways the most beautiful part of Sri Lanka.

 

Today, you’ll be heading off to Nuwara Eliya – located in the heart of Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya was established by British colonialists and is now often referred to as ‘Little England’. The town is surrounded by lush green hills and dotted with English country-style houses and half-timbered bungalows.

 

Next, you’ll visit a Sri Lankan tea factory where you’ll get the chance to take a tour of the tea plantations. Your group will learn about the process and different types of tea, including how they grow and ferment it. You can even try some freshly picked tea yourself!

 

It’s now time to say goodbye to Little England as we head to Ella – a quaint village, which has become a favourite for backpackers over the years. On the way to Ella, you will get to witness some of Sri Lanka’s most awe-inspiring scenery, including rolling hills and enchanting waterfalls.

 

You’ll have the evening to relax in Ella, have some dinner and enjoy the surrounding views!

Day 8 (Monday) Ella - Little Adam's Peak & Nine Arch Bridge

After breakfast, we’ll take a trip to Little Adam’s Peak which is located just outside of Ella Town. It’s a relatively pleasant and not-so-strenuous 45 minute hike up to the summit of Little Adam’s Peak. The stunning views are well worth it – endless green valleys of tea plantations and waterfalls. What a great way to start the day!

 

Our journey continues on the gap year Sri Lanka experience as we stop off at the famous Nine Arch Bridge. Based on the Demodara loop, it is a spectacular feat of engineering and construction spanning 91 metres. The beautiful nine arches make it a very picturesque spot, especially as it is located in a dense jungle and agricultural setting. We will take a 20 minute walk off the beaten track down and around the bridges, with many picturesque views and photo opportunities along the way.

 

Next, we’ll head back to Ella town for a spot of lunch. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon free to explore Ella at your own leisure before joining for dinner. There’s plenty of spots for shopping, a relaxing massage or tranquil walks across this charming town.

Day 9 (Tuesday) Ella Rock & Elephant Safari

We will be up nice and early as we embark on a sunrise hike to Ella Rock. Be prepared for breathaking view all around you as you make your way to the famous cliff located high above Ella town. From the top of the rock, enjoy panoramic views of the maginificant hillsides surrounding Ella. Unmatched scenery and the most breathtaking views across the hills of the country await you!

 

After having breakfast, we will make our way to Ravana Falls. This is you chance to witness more of Sri Lanka’s awe inspiring scenery. This 3-tier cascading waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Sri Lanka to visit. Another chance for you to take in some majestic views and enjoy the soothing sounds and awesome sights of Sri Lanka.

 

We will then be making the 3 hour drive across to Udawalawe National Park for an afternoon safari. We will arrive in Udawalawe for lunchtime. After lunch, it’s now time for one of the highlights of the Sri Lanka Intro Experience as we head on a 3 hour afternoon safari into Udawalawe National Park.

 

The national park was specifically created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir. The reserve thus provides an important habitat for many Sri Lankan elephants, crocodiles and amazing leopards, with many attracted to the park because of the reservoir.

 

With a herd of around 250 permanent resident elephants, the area is one of the most visited national parks in the whole country. Be sure to keep an eye out for many of the wild birds, sloth bears and reptiles that you can also encounter on the safari as well.

 

After an action-packed afternoon, we’ll settle in Udawalawe for the night with an exciting morning ahead to follow!

Day 10 (Wednesday) Baby Elephants & off to the Beach!

Be sure to be up nice and early for this mornings activity as it is not to be missed! At 9am, you will get the chance to see between 20-50 baby elephants at a nearby elephant orphanage to Udawalawe. This is the only place in the whole of Sri Lanka to see baby elephants feeding. Volunteers will spend an hour or so observing the morning feed of these wonderful animals.

 

Sadly it’s now time to leave Udawalawe, but don’t worry more excitement lies ahead on your gap year Sri Lanka experience. There’s a 3 hour drive to Mirissa, where you will have the afternoon to acclimatise to beach life!

Day 11-12 (Thursday-Friday) Mirissa

So far you would have experienced a lot in such a short period… it’s definitely time to use these couple days to kick back, relax and enjoy the much-needed beach break in Mirissa. This location is regarded as one of the best stretches of coastline in the whole of the island!

 

Your time in Mirissa is your oyster over the next couple of days! Mirissa has a number of water activities you can do to keep you entertained, such as bodyboarding, snorkelling and whale watching. Otherwise, you may wish to simply put your feet up and relax!

Day 13 (Saturday) Stick Fishing & Galle Fort

After some much-needed rest, we’ll make our way to the base of our volunteer programs in Ambalangoda. However, first things first… it’s time to go stick fishing in Weligama. This is your chance to learn about the traditional Sri Lankan art of stick fishing! If you’d like to try it out yourself, be prepared to get splashed!

 

It’s now time to head to Galle, a favourite amongst many travellers in Sri Lanka. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort was originally built in the 16th Century by the Portuguese, then extensively modified by the Dutch a century later. There’s a winding maze of streets with Colonial-era architecture mixing old and new between the ancient Fort walls. You will spend time walking across the Fort, taking in the beautiful scenery and spotting turtles in the ocean beyond.

 

As the day draws to an end we’ll drive up the coast to Ambalangoda in time for lunch to meet your fellow PMGY volunteers and learn about the projects we support.

 

For the rest of your gap year Sri Lanka experience, you’ll be living at our Volunteer House in Ambalangoda, an oceanside town located on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka. Ambalangoda is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The traditional masks were originally designed to be worn by performers in kolam and other southern Sri Lankan dances, but are now mainly used as souvenirs. Many families hang a mask on their front door to ward off evil spirits.

 

The town has all the amenities you should require such as banks, hospitals and shops. There is also a central bus and train station, which has good links to all the major destinations you are likely to go to. Plus, the beach is only a 5 minute tuk-tuk ride from the Volunteer House!

 

Life in Ambalangoda is slow and laid back. The local people are unbelievably friendly – you’ll receive smiles from the locals as you walk around town. If you’re looking for some places to go out in the evening then Hikkaduwa is only a 20 minute tuk-tuk ride away. This has a number of beachside restaurants and shops where you can hang out.

Day 14 (Sunday) Orientation in Ambalangoda

We’ll start the day with a full introduction into PMGY Sri Lanka volunteer programs, a tour of the local area and discussion about the plan for the next couple of weeks. You’ll get the chance to chat meet some more of the PMGY Sri Lanka staff network across the day as well.

 

Our local team will teach you more about life in Sri Lanka, the “do’s and don’ts”, the local culture and religion. Your Ambalangoda orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the volunteer projects we support in the community.

 

On Sunday afternoon, our local coordinator will take you to see some of the famous sites around Ambalangoda, including the longest sleeping Buddha statue in southern Asia and an original blue moonstone mine. You will also have the chance to head into Ambalangoda town centre to stock up at the supermarket!

Day 15-26 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Begins!

Today is your first day of volunteering on the gap year Sri Lanka experience! You will be transported to and from our projects daily by our transport network from the Volunteer House. Our project coordinators will be on hand to meet you at the project and introduce you accordingly. You may get the chance to meet other PMGY volunteers along the way too!

 

Depending on which project you chose in your online application will influence the daily timings you join us at the project. Generally speaking our wildlife conservation, renovation and medical experiences take place in the morning for 3-4 hours and our teaching and community programs take place in the afternoon for 3 hours.

 

The final weekend in between your volunteering experiences is free for you to explore how you wish to. If your dates match then there may also be the opportunity to join our Maldives Chill Out weekend trip!

 

You’ll be in personal contact with our local coordinators every day across your two weeks volunteering with us, so if you need anything we are there for you 24/7.

Day 27 (Saturday) Last Day

Unfortunately, your epic journey has come to an end! Saturday is your last day on the Real Sri Lanka Experience, so it’s time to say goodbye and head home or onto your next faraway destination.

 

If you are heading home after your gap year Sri Lanka experience then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee as some people will arrange their own onward travel. If fellow returning volunteers have flights at a similar time to yours you can choose to travel together and split this fee accordingly.

 

Alternatively, if you’d like to stay on with one of PMGY’s volunteer opportunities in Sri Lanka then we can certainly arrange this for you! Speak to one of our team members about your options.

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

CHOOSING AN EXPERIENCE TRIP

What are the program start dates for the Real Sri Lanka Experience?

The program start dates for the gap year Sri Lanka experience are as follows –

 

6th May 2024
3rd June 2024
1st July 2024
15th July 2024
5th August 2024
2nd September 2024

 

5th May 2025
26th May 2025
23rd June 2025
7th July 2025
21st July 2025
4th August 2025
1st September 2025

Can people from outside of the UK or USA join PMGY?

Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers and travel lovers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries participants have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.

Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?

The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.

 

Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time in Sri Lanka. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our participants really appreciate.

 

Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.

What are the requirements to join the trip in Sri Lanka?

PMGY welcomes gap year Sri Lanka experience participants of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 17 years old and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak Sinhalese or Tamil. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in Sri Lanka will go a long way.

 

All Real Sri Lanka Experience participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of joining us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.

 

Travelling and volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.

What date should I arrive and leave the Real Sri Lanka Experience?

For your trip to Sri Lanka, you should book your flights to Colombo Bandaranaike Airport in Colombo on the selected Monday start date after 9:30am. The airport code is CMB. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

 

The program ends on the Saturday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.

Are there any age restrictions to be a participant in Sri Lanka?

In order to join the gap year Sri Lanka experience, you need to be at least 17 on the program start date. Typically in Sri Lanka we find 80% of PMGY volunteers are aged between 17-22 years old.

 

There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome participants of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 17-22 age range.

When should I apply to join the Real Sri Lanka Experience?

For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.

 

Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.

Can I join the program abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and if relevant, volunteer at the same project. However, please note the majority of our accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.

 

Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our participants work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, participant safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our participants are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.

 

The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international travellers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist participants 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.

 

When you join the Real Sri Lanka Experience, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international participants to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.

 

When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

Although we cannot guarantee your experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.

When do I pay for my experience program? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to confirm your place on the gap year Sri Lanka experience, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated based on availability and will incur a fee. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.

 

Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards or via bank transfer. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

Can I use experience as part of a university or college placement?

It is certainly possible to use the gap year Sri Lanka experience as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that the gap year Sri Lanka experience will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.

 

First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after participants have confirmed their place on the gap year Sri Lanka experience. Additionally, project staff in Sri Lanka can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.

 

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY volunteers teaching English in Sri Lanka, the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. However, if you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory online TEFL course for English language teaching abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is obviously hugely convenient. The course can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You have got 180 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. Obviously, an hour here and there certainly adds up. Therefore there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed, you’ll not only have acquired key skills for teaching English abroad but also an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules in the future. There are 5 modules to this 60 hour course, covering aspects including ‘The Roles of the Teacher’ and ‘Lesson Planning’.

 

The cost of the course is 150 USD. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programs and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please contact us.

Can I fundraise for my gap year Sri Lanka experience trip?

With PMGY, the money our participants pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Sri Lanka program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY participants decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that participants on the gap year Sri Lanka experience set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.

 

PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for participants to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

How do I register for your online webinars?

Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide participants in Sri Lanka with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.

 

For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.

 

For individuals on the gap year Sri Lanka experience who have already confirmed their place on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.

 

Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.

 

Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.

Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my trip?

It is possible that as a gap year Sri Lanka experience participant, you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your trip to Sri Lanka. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your program destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights to Sri Lanka?

When you apply to join a trip with PMGY, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place on the gap year Sri Lanka experience has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

Do you offer travel insurance?

Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We have partnered up with the insurance company battleface to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel. You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

How do I obtain a background check?

To join the gap year Sri Lanka experience, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the participants we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 

If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.

 

If you don’t have a valid DBS check, then you will need to apply for one. UK participants need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place on the gap year Sri Lanka experience.

 

For Real Sri Lanka experience participants from the US, you can apply for a background check through Sentry Link. It costs 19.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.

 

For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All participants in Sri Lanka will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 

This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare for your gap year Sri Lanka experience. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

All of our accommodation options on the Sri Lanka program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our participants on the [gap year Sri Lanka experience.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed on the gap year Sri Lanka experience. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.

Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our participants to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide participants in Sri Lanka with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.

What is the dress code on the Real Sri Lanka experience?

Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our participants adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Sri Lanka.

 

The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our participants, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.

 

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible if your program includes a volunteer placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take with you on the gap year Sri Lanka experience can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?

Your gap year Sri Lanka experience trip involves travelling across Sri Lanka with your group. You will follow a set itinerary across your time on the trip. This means that there is no opportunity to take part in any independent travel across the trip dates, apart from the one weekend between volunteering.

 

Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates either side of your trip. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to explore.

ACCOMMODATION

Travelling

 

All your accommodation is organised by PMGY on the Real Sri Lanka Experience. During the travelling part of your trip, you will stay at guesthouses or hotels sharing a room with fellow travellers. All rooms will be single-sex, fanned and have western bathrooms.

 

When travelling, our team will do their best to arrange twin rooms or single beds (guaranteed to be in place for the first night of your gap year Sri Lanka experience). However, from time to time some volunteers may be required to share double beds depending on availability. The guesthouses will be basic but clean, comfortable and have the amenities you need.

 

Volunteer House

 

During the last two weeks of your gap year Sri Lanka experience, you will stay in one of our Volunteer Houses in Ambalangoda. The Volunteer House is located just outside of central Ambalangoda on the south coast, in a peaceful part of town. It is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk journey into the main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!

 

The accommodation is basic but comfortable and clean, fitting up to 10 people per room in single-sex bedrooms with bunk beds. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories as well as a personal locker to store your valuables. However, volunteers are still encouraged to only bring essential items during their gap year Sri Lanka experience.

 

The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem if you volunteer in Sri Lanka, as the climate is hot and humid all year round!

 

The house has free Wi-Fi available and a communal area for international volunteers to relax, hang out with new friends or prepare lesson plans if you are teaching English. There is also a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled. A member of our local team will also live at the house. This ensures you have round the clock support and security during your Sri Lanka volunteer program.

 

We will transport you via tuk-tuk or private car to and from your volunteer work in Sri Lanka, which is usually between 5-30 minutes away from the house. This service is included in your Program Fee.

 

During our busiest months you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our alternative Volunteer Houses.

MEALS

You will be served three meals per day across the whole four weeks of the gap year Sri Lanka experience. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.

 

During the first two weeks of travelling, meals are mostly buffet format so volunteers can pick and choose what they want. When travelling, bottled water will be provided for each mealtime. Water outside of mealtimes and any soft drinks are at your own expense throughout the gap year Sri Lanka experience.

 

At the Volunteer House, a weekly menu has been introduced that blends Sri Lanka cuisine with Western cuisine so you will know in advance what is on the menu for that day!

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed. This means that there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.

COSTS INVOLVED

DURATION

PROGRAM FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

4 weeks
1,155 USD
249 USD
1,404 USD

* These fees apply to each individual application.

 

In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated for an admin fee of 60 USD. Please note any changes will be subject to availability.

 

If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

 
 

OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 45 USD

PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Sri Lanka works as follows -

 

🇰🇪 Kenya - 51 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Sri Lanka and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.

 

🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.

 

🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.

 

This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date.

VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA REVIEWS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAM FEE

  • ACCOMMODATION YES
  • MEALS (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UP (9:30AM ONWARDS)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATION YES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT ACROSS SRI LANKA YES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO/FROM PROJECT YES
  • ENTRANCE FEESYES
  • CULTURAL DANCE SHOW IN KANDYYES
  • TEMPLE OF THE TOOTHYES
  • SIGIRYA ROCK & ITS ANCIENT CITYYES
  • POLONNARUWA BICYCLE TOURYES
  • SIGIRYA VILLAGE DAY EXPERIENCE YES
  • TEA PLANTATION TOUR YES
  • LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK & 9 ARCH BRIDGE YES
  • ELLA ROCK YES
  • UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK SAFARI YES
  • BABY ELEPHANT FEEDYES
  • TRADITIONAL FISHING IN WALIGAMAYES
  • MIRISSA BEACH & GALLE FORT YES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORTYES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAM INSPECTION YES
  • CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • FLIGHTS TO COLOMBONO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCENO
  • RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFERNO
  • VISANO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKNO

TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME

OPTIONAL 45 USD PAYMENT

  • TREES PLANTED IN KENYA51
  • DAYS OF SOLAR ACCESS IN INDIA80
  • HOMELESS MEALS PROVIDED IN USA1.25KG

PMGY SRI LANKA FACEBOOK GROUP

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

Hiii is anyone doing the real sri lanka experience starting on 1st of July xx🌟 ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

1 CommentComment on Facebook

Hi! Yes, I am! Looking forward to meeting you!

Hi!! I was wondering if anyone will be doing the childcare project from the 17th Aug - 7th Sep? I'm also doing the Maldives trip from the 22nd Aug - 25th Aug. ... See MoreSee Less

2 weeks ago

1 CommentComment on Facebook

Hiii! I will do the project and the trip too? Maybe we could start a groupchat with everyone who is doing the project than?

Hi, is anyone else doing the Real Sri Lanka Experience starting July 15th 2024? ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

4 CommentsComment on Facebook

Hi, yes I am!

hi mate, we have a groupchat on snapchat for people going in july - including the real sri lanka experience. if you wanna join just add my snap, harry_tawlks

Hi yes I am!!

Let's make a group chat

Hey! I’m doing the dog rescue project 6th July - 27th July. If anyone is going at the same time or there is a group chat let me know! 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less

4 days ago

1 CommentComment on Facebook

hi there is a July gc on snapchat, if you want me to add you my snaps harry_tawlks 😃


 

POV: you wake up for sunrise and are rewarded by this fantastic view😍🌞✨

#pmgysrilanka #planmygapyear #pmgy #volunteer #sunrise #sunrisehike #gapyear #travel
Have a look at this great volunteer experience ❤️🫶🏽 As a volunteer there are so many aspects to get involved with! 

#planmygapyear #pmgy #pmgysrilanka #travel #volunteer
🇱🇰 Weekend trips in Sri Lanka!😍 This is our country hill and safari weekend trip. A full packed weekend with some of Sri Lanka’s best highlights and must see. Check it out! 

@planmygapyear #pmgysrilanka #pmgy #pmgytravel #gapyear #travel #gapyearlife #gapyeartravel #travelling #volunteer #volunteering #goabroad #travelwithpurpose #srilanka #safari #markets
✨🇲🇻The Maldives is on the bucket list for a reason ✨📸

Make sure you join us to this beautiful paradise! Snorkel with sharks 🦈 and tropical fish 🐠 🤿 Enjoy the gorgeous beach and a true Maldivian sunset 🌅 

@planmygapyear #pmgy #pmgysrilanka #Maldives #travel #explore #snorkel
Don’t miss out on these Maldives highlights! This is a full itinerary of activities our volunteers do when heading over the to incredible Maldives😍🇲🇻