Sri Lanka’s recorded history spans 3,000 years and is known for its natural beauty and historical sites. Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as “the finest island of its size in all the world.” Sri Lanka is home to a rich Buddhist culture, with 70% of the population practicing Buddhism. From the beaches, wildlife, religions, native dances and handicrafts, Sri Lanka has something to offer every traveler.


Sri Lanka has a variety of exciting volunteer opportunities. Animal lovers can spend a year observing and recording the habits of wild elephants or ensuring the welfare of endangered turtles. Those with an interest in Buddhism can volunteer to teach English in monasteries to the monks. Those interested in community development can find programs helping to rebuild communities and promoting education for women and children.


With an increased contribution to the GDP from tourism, English is becoming an increasingly vital skill for people in Sri Lanka. There are opportunities for teaching English in public schools and private international schools. Teaching salaries in Sri Lanka tend to be very low so it is best to research the cost of living where the school is located. You can learn more about teaching in Sri Lanka here.

Adventure Travel

Sri Lanka is a wonderful compact island with much to explore. Sri Lanka is home to many beautiful beaches and national parks. The diverse wildlife, dazzling waterfalls and fascinating botanical gardens make it a desirable place for nature lovers.


Internships in Sri Lanka may range from a few weeks to a year. Applying through an internship provider is probably the safest way to secure an internship in Sri Lanka. You can learn more interning programs and providers here.

Cost of Living

Living costs in Sri Lanka are relatively low. Prices will range depending on the region you are located in and the type of housing you are looking for. The cost for a one-bedroom apartment in the city will run about $300 dollars a month. However, the cost outside the city may only be $140 a month for a 1-bedroom apartment. You can learn more about Sri Lanka’s daily living cost at Numbeo.

Culture and Etiquette

Freedom of religion has been historically upheld in Sri Lanka’s history. Sri Lanka’s culture has been largely influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism. These major religious influences have greatly helped to shape the culture, politics and everyday life of Sri Lankans.

Sri Lankan citizens are known for being friendly and respectful. They pay close attention to social status and will address other with the proper title. Handshaking is the most common form of greeting, but women will often decline to shake hands with a male outside of the family. Sri Lankans are typically non-confrontational and will communicate in all politeness without directly saying “no.” It is important for travelers to listen and read between the lines to ensure no feelings are hurt.

In a business setting, building a relationship is a key element. Most Sri Lankan companies will use the first meeting to initially take the steps to form a relationship. Closing a business deal is made through creating good rapport and mutual respect between the parties.

Health and Safety

It is generally recommended to anyone traveling to Sri Lanka to obtain travel medical insurance for the duration of their trip. Common mosquito borne illnesses found in Sri Lanka include: mosquito-dengue fever, malaria and Japanese encephalitis. Vaccinations are available to help prevent malaria and Japanese encephalitis, but no vaccine exists for dengue fever.

Foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases occur from time to time in Sri Lanka. Drinking water that has been boiled is a safety measure that can be taken to help prevent illness or disease.

Contributed by Heidi Cruz

Gap Year Programs in Sri Lanka

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 programs
105 reviews
Plan My Gap Year
Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Sri Lanka from $270
Sri Lanka
9.5 •105 reviews

PMGY offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the lovely...

Volunteering Journeys
Travel and Volunteer Gap Break
Multiple Countries
10 •1 review

How about an alternative winter, spring or summer break that gives you...

Tru Experience Travel
Gap Year Volunteering with TRU Experience Travel
Multiple Countries
10 •8 reviews

Have you ever wanted to use your skills in less developed parts of the...

Ticket to Ride - Worldwide Surfing Adventures
Ticket to Ride: Surf & Yoga in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
8.5 •2 reviews

Expect a tropical surf experience complimented by surf-specific yoga...

The Leap
Sri Lanka | Caring for Children
Sri Lanka

Help us support Sri Lanka's youth in orphanages, kindergartens and...

Iko Poran Volunteer Abroad - IKPVA
Most Affordable Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

Iko Poran offers exciting, safe and affordable volunteer programs in 3...

Real Gap Experience
Real Gap Experience - Sri Lanka Elephant and Community Volunteers
Sri Lanka

Want to do something truly unforgettable? Head to Sri Lanka and get...

Gap Year Volunteering in Sri Lanka

Volunteering is a great way to experience Sri Lanka on your gap year
  • VESL
    Volunteer and Teach English in South East Asia
    Multiple Countries
    9.91 •11 reviews

    Looking for a great opportunity to develop your C.V whilst having the...

  • Tea Leaf Trust
    Volunteer with Tea Leaf Trust in Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    10 •5 reviews

    We are looking for enthusiastic individuals who are passionate about...

  • Give A Fig Volunteering
    Volunteer on the Island in the Indian Ocean that Holds a Continent
    Sri Lanka
    9.63 •8 reviews

    Join our year round education, and village development projects in Sri...

  • Volunteer Abroad GT
    Affordable Volunteer Abroad in Healthcare & Medical Programs from $159 per week
    Multiple Countries
    9.86 •7 reviews

    VAGT provides the most affordable medical & healthcare volunteer...

  • IFRE Volunteers Abroad
    The Most Affordable Volunteer in Sri Lanka from $155- 25K happy Volunteers Since 2006
    Sri Lanka
    8.73 •22 reviews

    Looking for a life-changing experience that will completely...

  • RCDP International Volunteer Program
    Volunteer in Sri Lanka - Lowest Fees & Happy Volunteers Since 1998
    Sri Lanka
    9.38 •8 reviews

    Join our very affordable program in a country with stunning landscapes...

  • 105 reviews
    Plan My Gap Year
    Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Sri Lanka from $270
    Sri Lanka
    9.5 •105 reviews

    PMGY offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the lovely...

  • Developing World Connections
    Developing World Connections - Volunteering in Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    10 •2 reviews

    The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 killed more than 40,000 Sri Lankans and...

  • The Elephant Freedom Project Sri Lanka
    The Elephant Freedom Project Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    10 •3 reviews

    NO ELEPHANT RIDING -NEVER. Hello! We, Ananda, Malie and our teenager...

What People Are Saying

So you’re probably on here right now as you’re feeling a bit skeptical about this whole thing, don’t worry I was the exact same. Checking the ins and outs to make sure this is all legit. It is and I...


PMGY Sri Lanka, was by far the best experience ever. I have done a programme with PMGY before and that inspired me to go on this one. I have taken part in other similar company programmes but PMGY do...

Everyone in the volunteer house will get the chance to experience this

I had never been abroad in life, I have only ever done family holidays in the UK. I suffered from really bad anxiety and I have also had a dream to go abroad and volunteer in Cambodia. I had to really...

Angkor Wat

Related Gap Year Articles