1,050 USD + 249 USD REGISTRATION FEE
4 WEEKS (MONDAY TO SATURDAY)
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!
JOIN US IN 2021 – 7 JUN, 5 JUL, 19 JUL, 2 AUG, 6 SEP
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 OF ELLA 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, face-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 time 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 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, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura ruins. Next, you’ll explore the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya and experience spectacular views, walks and waterfalls in Ella. After that, spot leopards, elephants and a sloth bear on Safari 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.
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 Wildlife, Medical or Renovation & Community 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:
DOG RESCUE SHELTER
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.
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.
The “Bring Them Home” Dog Shelter aims to improve the wellbeing of street dogs in the local area. This vvolunteer work in Sri Lanka provides a safe home for vulnerable, sick and disabled dogs, with daily care, vaccinations, rehabilitation and rehoming.
On your gap year Sri Lanka experience, 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.
When you volunteer on the Sri Lanka dog rescue program, typical duties include:
• Cleaning, maintaining hygiene and upkeep in the project premises and bedding areas
• Preparing meals (for example cooking chicken, rice, fish) and feeding the dogs
• Playtime and socialisation with the dogs
• Walking and exercising on a daily basis
• Showering and washing the dogs
• Creating training and enrichment plans
• Assisting with medication
• Grooming and checking for ticks
• Creating and maintaining documentation for dog profiles (history, vaccinations etc) and site visits
• Caring for sick/disabled/injured dogs
• Animal welfare education
The dog rescue program runs from Monday-Friday from 9am-12pm. You’ll be transported to the project site by tuk-tuk.
The English teaching project offers an after-school education program within Community Village Schools, initiated and ran by PMGY since 2013. Our aim is to further their English language development, conversation skills and confidence by providing these free 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. Volunteers lead their own classes, usually working in pairs or groups during the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience. You could be teaching students from 6-18 years old, depending on the current project need. A local team member will be on hand to help on your gap year Sri Lanka experience.
The first two hours are spent teaching English with your group and the last hour is allocated for games and activities to incorporate fun learning with the children. 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.
The after-school education Sri Lanka volunteer program is available from 3pm-6pm each afternoon from Monday-Friday. Usually, it takes around 10 minutes by tuk-tuk.
Working in a hospital as a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka is a great opportunity to get close up clinical exposure and learn about health care systems in developing countries. You will witness a variety of cases, which offers a fantastic contrast to what you might find in your local hospital! PMGY’s medical volunteer program is a learning experience available for both medical students and school leavers on the gap year Sri Lanka experience looking to pursue a career in medicine.
Your placement timetable on the medical volunteer program will depend on your current study status. Those who are studying a health-related degree at university will be placed at a government hospital. High school leavers and applicants not from a health-related background will be placed at a private hospital.
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
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.
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 hospitals are 5-15 minutes away by tuk-tuk.
Hands-On Involvement – Your level of involvement at the medical volunteer projects is dictated by a range of factors. First of all your medical experience, but also the duration of program and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision. Ultimately, it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures.
Previous PMGY medical volunteer in Peru participants have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc. However, please note we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement regardless of medical experience or background.
Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying a medically related degree, then you should have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on. Such a decision ultimately lies with the medical staff.
RENOVATION & COMMUNITY
On your gap year Sri Lanka experience, you could be based at a wide range of community facilities in and around Ambalangoda. For example, you could be helping out at schools, government hospitals, children’s homes or Buddhist temples. These institutions often struggle to find the funding and manpower to undertake important development work.
Moreover, even for government schools and hospitals most of the allocated budget it stretched for the basic necessities. Resources such as books, medication and health supplies are often understocked, as well as being understaffed. As a result, renovation work is a very low priority and often overlooked in these establishments.
Meanwhile, Buddhism is the most practised religion in Sri Lanka, with over 70% of the population following this ancient philosophy. With a deep history preserved by Sinhalese kings, this religion retains its importance to the country, promoting Buddhist education and learning to this day. In each town and village, there is a Buddhist temple for followers to worship Lord Buddha and learn about his teachings. These temples require a lot of maintenance and upkeep from the local community.
Therefore, you can offer a helping hand as a renovation volunteer in Sri Lanka, whilst also learning about their fascinating culture. This could be building flower offering tables in the temple, renovating classrooms, or brightening up hospital wards. With your help, we can continue to support Ambalangoda’s community projects and you can do your bit to leave a lasting impression.
Each volunteer in Sri Lanka doesn’t need to have any previous construction or renovation experience, just bags of energy and the willingness to help. Volunteers don’t need to have any previous construction or renovation experience, just bags of energy and the willingness to help. Your Sri Lanka volunteer program will mainly be during the morning, so you will have the opportunity to teach English in the afternoon program if you wish.
The renovation project runs from Monday-Friday, usually starting from 9am-12pm. Your placement will probably be a 5-10 minute tuk-tuk journey away, depending on the current project and location.
SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION
Many species of turtles are under threat and at risk of becoming endangered, hence there is a great need for wildlife conservation efforts. This is due to many reasons, such as fishing, pollution, climate change and poaching. Therefore, on your gap year Sri Lanka experience you get the opportunity to join the turtle conservation volunteers and experience the efforts that are being made to counteract detrimental human activity.
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.
At the turtle sanctuary, 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. Consequently, you can get involved in helping out as part of the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, whilst learning about these wonderful creatures.
Your typical duties during this volunteer work in Sri Lanka will include:
• Preparing fresh food and assisting feeding
• Cleaning within the project premises and nearby beach area
• Taking care of the nesting area
• 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
• Painting and drawing for information and animal welfare education
• Releasing hatched baby turtles into the sea
The turtle project runs from Monday-Friday between 9am-12pm. You will get your project usually by tuk-tuk, which takes about 10 minutes.
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 120 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.
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 guesthouse in Negombo, a town just 10 miles from 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.
After lunch, you will head over to Sigiriya, known as ‘The Mount of Remembrance’. 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.
Finally, that evening we will take you to Polonnaruwa to spend the night. This ancient city is Sri Lanka’s splendid medieval capital, the next part of the Cultural Triangle.
Day 5 (Friday) Polonnaruwa - The Ancient City
How does cycling around one of the greatest ancient cities in history sound? You’ll be up early for 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) Anuradhapura - The Sacred City
It’s time to hit the road again as we travel to the sacred city of Anuradhapura and the temples within – one of the most important cities of its age.
You’ll be up early to explore this great place, a city that oversaw the golden age of Sinhalese culture. Certainly, the sheer scale and vast history of the place are overwhelming. As a result, you’ll get a real feel of what life must have been like during the early development of Sri Lanka.
Later on, we’ll head back to Kandy for the night, before heading to Sri Lanka’s central highlands.
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) Udawalawe - Elephant Safari
After breakfast, we will be making the 3 hour drive across to Udawalawe National Park for an afternoon safari. On the way, we will pass Rawana Waterfall, where we can stop for a chance to take in the beauty of one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka!
We will arrive in Udawalawe for lunchtime. After lunch, it’s now time for one of the highlights of the gap year Sri Lanka 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 –
7th June 2021
5th July 2021
19th July 2021
2nd August 2021
6th September 2021
6th June 2022
4th July 2022
18th July 2022
1st August 2022
5th September 2022
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 travel 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. Generally, the average age range of participants is 17-25.
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 17-25 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 not 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 1 USD deposit within 7 days of your application being successful. Consequently, you are only required to pay the deposit once we can guarantee you a place on the program. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. The only exception to this is for applications made 60 days or less in advance of the program start date. In these instances, the full balance must be paid within 7 days of being accepted in order to secure your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application. This usually takes 24-48 hours from the application being submitted.
Payments made in advance of the 60 day window 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 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use Real Sri Lanka 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 a whopping 75 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 120 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.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For gap year Sri Lanka experience participants looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
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 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. PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority. 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 participants 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 Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our participants 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 (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away, including the date you depart and return to your home country. Indeed, this will ensure that you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5 week policy, not a 4 week policy.
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 (also known as CRB or Police 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 CRB 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 US Criminal Checks. It costs 17.95 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, Skype, 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.
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.
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 a voucher-based Wi-Fi system 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.
PEOPLE PER ROOM
SINGLE SEX ROOMS
WESTERN BATHROOM FACILITIES
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.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay a deposit of 1 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 free of charge.
You’re only required to pay your deposit once we can guarantee you a place on the program. 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. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application and you must pay the relevant fee to confirm your spot within the next 7 days.
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 3% 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. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.
VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA REVIEWS
MEALS (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER)
AIRPORT PICK UP (9:30AM ONWARDS)
PRIVATE TRANSPORT ACROSS SRI LANKA
PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO/FROM PROJECT
CULTURAL DANCE SHOW IN KANDY
TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH
SIGIRYA ROCK & ITS ANCIENT CITY
POLONNARUWA BICYCLE TOUR
VISIT THE SACRED CITY ANURADHAPURA
TEA PLANTATION TOUR
LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK & 9 ARCH BRIDGE
UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK SAFARI
BABY ELEPHANT FEED
TRADITIONAL FISHING IN WALIGAMA
MIRISSA BEACH & GALLE FORT
24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT
24 HOUR EMERGENCY SUPPORT
DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR
EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT
LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS
100% FINANCIAL PROTECTION
REGULAR PROGRAM INSPECTION
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
FLIGHTS TO COLOMBO
RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFER
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK
TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME
OPTIONAL 45 USD PAYMENT
TREES PLANTED IN KENYA
DAYS OF SOLAR ACCESS IN INDIA
HOMELESS MEALS PROVIDED IN USA