Do something life-changing with your summer on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience. Discover the real Sri Lanka by spending two amazing weeks exploring and make a positive difference by volunteering with turtles, teaching and renovation projects. This experience is exclusive for 16 & 17 year olds, specifically designed to be safe, structured and most importantly full of adventure. You’re bound to make tonnes of new friends and learn about a fascinating culture in this hugely inspiring country.
JOIN US IN 2022 – 2ND JULY, 23RD JULY, 13TH AUGUST
VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA WITH TURTLES, TEACHING ENGLISH & CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
PRACTICE YOUR NEW SINHALESE PHRASES WITH THE LOCALS
VISIT THE GRAND COLONIAL BUILDINGS & UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE OF GALLE FORT
CHILL BY THE BEACH IN MIRISSA & EXPERIENCE STICK FISHING IN WELIGAMA
COUNT WILD ELEPHANTS ON SAFARI IN UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK
ENJOY BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF ELLA FROM LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK TO THE NINE ARCH BRIDGE
PICK TEA LEAVES & STEP BACK IN TIME IN ‘LITTLE ENGLAND’
MARVEL AT THE FAMOUS KANDYAN DANCING & THE ICONIC TEMPLE OF THE TOOTH RELIC
WIDELY CONSIDERED TO BE PMGY’S TOP OVERALL DESTINATION & BEST LOCAL TEAM
SUMMARY OF THE SRI LANKA VOLUNTEER & ADVENTURE EXPERIENCE
The Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, you will arrive into Sri Lanka on a set date, joining your group before volunteering and travelling across a 2 week period. This makes the trip ideal for anyone aged 16-17 who wishes to explore and engage in new experiences in the company of others.
Individuals on this experience trip have the unique chance to contribute to the local community of Ambalangoda. A portion of your time will be dedicated to getting stuck in with a group renovation project. This will allow you to put your skills and enthusiasm into practice to make a meaningful difference to local communities overseas. You’ll also get the chance to teach English to young children in local villages in a fun and inspiring way, plus learn about endangered turtles at our conservation centre. After that, you get to travel across some of Sri Lanka’s top sites with your new friends.
Across this action-packed 15 day itinerary, be prepared for breathtaking sites, friends for life and complete cultural immersion. The Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience is perfect for anyone looking to travel within a safe, structured and social environment on an Under 18’s Program.
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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 entire trip.
The trip’s group set-up makes the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 as a volunteer 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 on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience are spent enjoying the huge diversity of this island without having to spend lots of time in transit.
During your first week on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, you will be based in Ambalangoda. This town is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks.
On your travels, you’ll get to explore the UNESCO World Heritage site of Galle Fort, relax and bodyboard on Mirissa beach, plus spot leopards, elephants and a sloth bear on Safari in Udawalawe National Park! After that, you’ll experience spectacular views, walks and waterfalls in Ella, explore the tea plantations of Nuwara Eliya and learn about the rich history of Kandy at the famous Temple of the Tooth and cultural dance shows. Finally, the last stop with your group will be in Negombo before you say your farewells.
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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience so you’ll get the chance to learn so much about the country’s culture and history.
PMGY’s community and development work in Ambalangoda runs throughout the year. Over the course of your first week on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, you’ll have the opportunity to join not just one, but three of our Sri Lanka volunteer projects!
Each morning you’ll roll up your sleeves and get stuck into some painting and renovation work in the heart of the local community. This will either be in a temple, school or hospital, depending on where the need is at the time. This project will run from around 9am-12pm. After a spot of lunch and a well-earned rest, you’ll get the opportunity to work on our teaching and turtle conservation community projects, from around 3-6pm. Private transport will be arranged to get you all to and from your project.
The majority of the afternoons will focus on the English teaching projects at the village community schools, where we have established our own fun and engaging after-school programs. During your Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, you will also spend one afternoon at our turtle conservation project. Here you will have the chance to help with the daily tasks as well as learn about these majestic animals.
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 community development projects ensures that you’ll make a positive impact during your time on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience.
The one thing that every volunteer in Sri Lanka will never forget is the genuine friendliness and warmth shown by the locals. Similarly, just walking through the village you’ll be greeted with smiles and waves – it really does feel like a second home.
The Community Village School project is an after-school education program initiated by PMGY. 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 6-16 years old, depending on the current project need. A local team member will be on hand to help when you volunteer in Sri Lanka.
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.
RENOVATION & COMMUNITY
On the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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.
Therefore, you can offer a helping hand as a whole group on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, 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. Working outside with your fellow volunteers in the gorgeous Sri Lankan sunshine whilst making a tangible impact on the local community – sounds like the ultimate gap year Sri Lanka experience, doesn’t it!
Community Renovation Project Example – One Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience group have created a new playground area for the children at one of the village schools within Ambalangoda. This included renovating an entire area of abandoned land. After clearing the debris and weeds, they assisted with digging the base and creating the infrastructure for the new playground. This included replacing the broken, rusty equipment for new swings, slides and climbing frame.
The volunteers made the playground fun, safe and exciting, with colourful paintings and enough space for all the children to play. Next to the playground, a vegetable patch was planted to teach the students about the different plants and how to take care of them. This brought an educational and sustainable aspect to the new area. The children and staff have loved their new addition to the school, bringing a brighter and safer playtime to their day!
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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, you get the opportunity to 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.
• 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
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
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 family volunteering in Sri Lanka, who are looking for a little extra support, organised travel opportunities and want to get involved in some fantastic local initiatives in an exotic location.
Safety & Security – This particular trip is run very differently to all the other experiences offered with PMGY. With a younger age group, it is a more exclusive program and is escorted by team members from the UK and Sri Lanka at all times. The trip is run separately to our other programs and everyone stays in an exclusive accommodation site in Ambalangoda. We ensure the trip is run like a school-led experience ensuring that all participants are with our team 24/7. We do not allow participants to leave our network or team members throughout the duration of their stay.
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 120 USD.
Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (CMB) on the selected Saturday.
Day 1 (Saturday) 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience. The journey to Ambalangoda will take around 2 hours, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and get to know the rest of your group!
Day 2 (Sunday) Orientation
Your orientation will begin on Sunday for the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience. Our local team will teach you about life in Sri Lanka, the “do’s and don’ts”, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the volunteer projects we support in the community.
In the afternoon, your group leader 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 change money, buy a local phone or SIM Card and visit the supermarket.
Day 3-7 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering
We will start our project work on Monday morning of the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience. After a good breakfast at the volunteer accommodation, you will travel by private transport to the project site. The projects are located all in close proximity to Ambalangoda.
During the first week, you will be working on a painting and renovation program in Ambalangoda in the mornings. After a busy morning volunteering, it will be time to return to the volunteer accommodation ready for a well earned Sri Lankan lunch to top up your energy levels!
After lunch, volunteers will spend a little time preparing and then departing by private transport for their afternoon project. You will then spend four afternoons at our community village teaching project and one afternoon working at our turtle sanctuary to experience our wildlife conservation project.
Depending on the size of the overall Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience group, volunteers may be split into smaller groups for the afternoon volunteering to ensure there is not an overflow of people at the projects at a given time.
Painting & Renovation – This may be at a local school, temple or hospital depending on where the need is at the time. This will involve the whole group working together with the local tradesman.
This is a great project that allows you to get hands-on within the community. By the end of your time with us, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’ve contributed towards, whilst still making a difference in the afternoon projects as well.
Community Village School Teaching – The Community Village Teaching Project is an after-school education program initiated by PMGY. The first two hours are spent teaching English with your group and the last hour is allocated for fun games and activities to boost their confidence and conversational skills!
Volunteers lead their own classes, usually working in pairs or groups during the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience. 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.
Sea Turtle Conservation – The wildlife conservation program aims to provide daily care and rehabilitation for injured or disabled turtles with the long term goal to release back to the wild, as well as protecting turtle eggs that have been stolen by local poachers.
On the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, you will spend an afternoon next to the beach caring for the sea turtles that have been rescued and are now living in the project site. You’ll be helping out with daily tasks as well as learning more about the sea turtles in Sri Lanka.
Evening Activities – Each evening on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience will have scheduled cultural activities for you to get involved in. These are all included in your Program Fee. For example, you can get dressed up in a sari for the traditional dance event and henna night, enjoy a lecture from a Buddhist monk about Sri Lankan meditations and test your new friends at a games night!
Day 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday) Galle Fort & Mirissa
After a full week volunteering on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience and giving back to the community in Ambalangoda, it’s now time to spend the second week exploring as your group tours around what this amazing country has to offer! Private transport is used throughout the second week of travelling, with a member of the local team on hand to co-ordinate the remaining part of the trip as your group leader.
It’s now time to head south to Galle for the morning, a favourite amongst many travellers in Sri Lanka. The drive to Galle will take around one hour as we begin our adventure around the south of the island!
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.
After that, it’s then time to continue the travels onto the coastal town of Weligama, which is famous for its stick fishing. 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!
Now the time has finally arrived for a free couple days in Mirissa to relax by the beach after what has been a jam-packed itinerary so far. 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 10 (Monday) Udawalawe - Elephant Safari
On Monday morning we will be up early as we make our way to Udawalawe National Park. We will arrive in Udawalawe for lunch and also the baby elephants lunchtime feeding!
At midday, 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 afternoon feed of these wonderful animals.
After the baby elephant feeding, it’s now time for one of the highlights of the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience as we head on an 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 day in Udawalawe, we will make the drive to the hill country town of Ella. Here, you will have some time to relax after dinner.
Day 11 (Tuesday) Ella - Little Adam's Peak & Nine Arch Bridge
The next stop on your Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience is the quaint village of Ella, which has become a favourite for backpackers over the years. You’ll soon find that the surrounding landscapes are beautiful, with lush greenery and rolling hills all around.
After breakfast, we’ll take a trip to Little Adam’s Peak, 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 as we stop off at the famous Nine Arch Bridge. Based on the Demodara train 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. You may get the chance to see one of the old blue carriage trains chug past too!
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 12-13 (Wednesday-Thursday) Nuwara Eliya & Kandy
We’ll be up early on the Wednesday morning as we make our way to Nuwara Eliya. On the way, you will get to witness some of Sri Lanka’s most awe-inspiring scenery, including rolling hills and enchanting waterfalls.
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, we’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, make sure you’ve got your camera ready!
After that, we’ll make a stop at Ramboda Waterfalls for lunch, so you can enjoy the soothing sounds and take in the awesome sights. In the afternoon we will move onto Kandy, which will be our home on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience for the next couple of nights.
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 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, 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.
Day 14 (Friday) Negombo
Today the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience group will travel back to Negombo, a town close to the airport. On the way, you will visit a spice and herbal plantation, learning about how different plants grow and are used for medicine. One last chance to soak up some final bits of Sri Lankan culture! The group will stay in a hotel near the airport for the final night and we will have our farewell dinner together to celebrate an amazing trip.
Day 15 (Saturday) Last Day
Unfortunately, your epic journey has come to an end! Saturday is your last day on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, so it’s time to say goodbye and head home or onto your next far-away destination.
Your return airport transfer is included in the fees. One of our drivers will transfer you back to the airport in order to catch your flight home.
* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
What are the program start dates for the experience?
The program start dates for the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience trip are as follows –
2nd July 2022
23rd July 2022
13th August 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience participants of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. You must be 16 or 17 years olf on the program start date. 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 experience?
For your trip to Sri Lanka, you should book your flights to Colombo Bandaranaike Airport in Colombo on the selected Saturday start date. 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience, you must be 16 or 17 years old on the program start date.
When should I apply to join the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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/sister/boyfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can request that you stay in the same accommodation. 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 with 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event 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 free of charge.
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. 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.
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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience?
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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Endsleigh 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 (excluding the US and Canada). 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience.
For Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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.
All your accommodation is organised by PMGY on your Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience. The Volunteer House is located just outside of central Ambalangoda on the south coast, in a peaceful part of town. Ambalangoda has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals and supermarkets.
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, their own mosquito net (if required) 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 Sri Lanka volunteer program.
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 for 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 & Adventure Experience.
We will transport you via tuk-tuk or bus to and from your volunteer work in Sri Lanka, which is usually between 5-20 minutes away from the house. This service is included in your Program Fee.
During the travelling part of your Sri Lanka intro experience, 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 on the Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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 our busiest months you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our alternative Volunteer Houses.
You will be served three meals per day across the whole of your Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure 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.
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!
During the travelling part in the second week, 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 Sri Lanka Volunteer & Adventure Experience.
* 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 apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event 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 free of charge.
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 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.