Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Sri Lanka from $300

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About

PMGY offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the lovely coastal town of Ambalangoda in Sri Lanka. Volunteers get involved in a wide-range of project work including English teaching, orphanage care, medical electives, psychology & mental health, turtle and elephant conservation and building projects.

Our programs in Ambalangoda run throughout the year. We have two start dates every month so you decide when you go and how long you go for.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 91 reviews
  • Impact 8.9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.6
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 76 - 90 of 91
María
7/10

Amazing experience in Sri Lanka

Spent 3 weeks in Sri Lanka and took part of the Community building project. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I want to thank Ashika and the whole team for everything!! Aside from project work I traveled on weekends and any times that project work was cancelled (e.g national holiday).
The coordinators in Sri Lanka were great and made the experience even better, they made the whole experience really easy. Hope I could go back!

Yes, I recommend this program
Anna
10/10

Medical programme, Sri Lanka

I had a great two weeks with pmgy in Sri Lanka. I was going the medical programme, it gave me the opportunity to learn about contemporary alternative medicines, do a blood pressure clinic and move around different wards in the hospital. I found the handbook really useful and made me feel less nervous and more prepared for my trip! I felt like I could ask anything to the pmgy team in Sri Lanka, they were lovely! The accommodation was good, and gave me the opportunity to meet/ live with lots of other volunteers on different projects!

Yes, I recommend this program
Helen
10/10

Sri Lanka Real Experience

I have recently returned from the Sri Lanka Real Experience and had an amazing time. The places we visited during the 2 weeks traveling were really interesting and exciting to see and many I would not have thought of going to if I organized the trip myself. For all the places visited the guides we had were really knowledgeable and the whole 2 weeks was well organized and run. The volunteering 2 weeks was the same, the in country coordinators were very helpful and would sort out any problems or queries that I had. They also helped to organize trips away for the weekends when we had time off. Before travelling the UK team was also very helpful and would answer any queries that I had about the trip and they were very quick at responding to any emails that I sent. I chose to travel with Plan My Gap Year after looking at many different companies, and I’m very glad I did! I selected them to travel with them instead of others due to the value for money and the flexibility in the trip; it allowed me to travel and volunteer, but also allowed me to do both teaching and elephant volunteering which I enjoyed. The volunteering was really good the children at the school were really appreciative of us being there and the elephant project was once in a lifetime with being that close to such an amazing creature. I would have no hesitation in travelling with the company again or recommending them to others.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Amie
10/10

Loved it!!!

I volunteered in Sri Lanka for two weeks in the beginning of July 2015. I had the best time ever and I wish I could have stayed for so much longer! I volunteered in the government orphanage and absolutely loved getting to know and working with all the amazing children. All the coordinators were so kind and helpful and made everyone feel so welcome. The weekend trip was also so much fun and meant we could see more of the beautiful country! I would recommend PMGY to anyone who wants to volunteer, travel, meet amazing people and have so much fun!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Alex
10/10

April 2014 PMGY SRI LANKA

I have just returned to the UK having had the most amazing experience in Sri Lanka with PMGY. During my stay I took part in a medical programme, teaching in the Tsunami school and a few painting projects.
The medical project involved going to a Base Hospital and observing in various departments such as clinics, stores, and various wards including paediatric. Although our placement within the hospital was not hands on , observing was a great opportunity and a good learning experience for myself and my group which consisted of 8 paediatric student nurses and 1 student midwife. We could take a step back and observe everything that was happening, language was a bit of a barrier at times, but the majority of hospital staff tried their best to answer any questions that we had.
Teaching at the Tsunami school was challenging but good fun. The time at the Tsunami school was split between teaching and games. It was really good to get involved in what the children love which was playing cricket! I hadn’t played cricket for years so the children ended up teaching me how to play! All the children were always happy to see us, they always appreciated the time that we spent with them, which made us feel valued.
Painting projects- We painted the inside of the Tsunami school with help from a few of the children who could draw animals a lot better than us! Once we had finished painting the inside of the school it looked a lot better and brighter which has now created a fun environment for the children to learn in. We all felt like we had made a difference, which is what we went to Sri Lanka to do.
We also painted at a turtle hatchery, which is run by a local man whose life was tragically effected by the 2004 Tsunami. This was hard work due to the heat beaming down on us whilst we were painting but once we had finished we were all happy with the end result.
Transport to and from placement could not be faulted. Without fail transport was always on time whether it be Tuk Tuk’s or Ashika’s van. The Tuk Tuk drivers are all really friendly and reliable, if we wanted to stop off at a shop on the way to or from places this was never an issue.
In our spare time we played badminton, went to a hotel pool/ beach and went to Hikkaduwa quite a few times. Hikkaduwa was popular with our group because the beach is stunning, and there are various shops and restaurants. In the evening if we fancied a night out we ended up in Funky De Bar, where we drank cocktails, danced on tables, danced in the sea and on the beach.
Safety was never an issue. From Day 1 Ashika made us aware that our safety was his main priority. We had contact numbers that were available 24/7. We all ensured that we stayed alert and used our common sense when we were out and about. We all felt safe throughout our entire stay in Sri Lanka.
Accomodation: We stayed with Ashika and his family in Ambalangoda. We were made to feel welcome from day 1, by the end of our stay we felt like this was our second home. We all stayed upstairs which is where the volunteer bedrooms are. The rooms consisted of bunk beds, enabling 4/5 people to stay in each room. Although our rooms were upstairs we were welcome to sit downstairs whenever we wanted to. WIFI allowed us to stay in contact with family and friends back home, and kept our phone bills to a minimum whilst we were abroard!
Food- I am missing Tamari’s cooking already! Tamari makes everything that she cooks taste good! The food was a bit of a shock at first because a lot of it was spicy but it didn’t take long for us to get used to it!
Overall our stay was amazing, we are all so grateful to Ashika, Nalaka, Tamari, Ranji, Tharu and Seneli who all welcomed us into their home and made us feel part of their family. I want to say a massive thank you to the family on behalf of my group.
Everything they do is truly amazing, you have given us all experiences and memories that will last us a lifetime! I’m sure some of our group will be returning in the near future!

Yes, I recommend this program
Ian
10/10

Gap year in Sri Lanka

On the 20th of April, I arrived in Sri Lanka and was picked up by the assigned driver, Douglas. The communication between the local coordinator/ host was extremely good as he gave me an update as to when Douglas would arrive. The drive was about 3 hours depending on the traffic to the volunteer house, beautiful seaside city. The whole family I stayed with were all genuinely nice people and the volunteers were so welcoming, I definitely felt like I was able to join in very quickly with everyone. The food was always freshly prepared and it's generally of the local variety, personally I liked it very much and always went up for seconds, however I can only speak for myself.
I came to Sri Lanka for 2 weeks and thought originally that I was only going to be stuck with the medical programme, this was not the case and almost every day, I was able to choose the different things I would like to do. I still went to observe at the local hospital every morning, but swapped the afternoons around, from teaching the nurses English to helping out at orphanage and there are still more choices.
My time at the local hospital (Karapitiya hospital) was extremely beneficial, I was situated in the ETU (emergency treatment unit) and was also able to see diseases like dengue fever that are only prevalent in tropical regions such as Sri Lanka.
During the weekend I was there, I went to Yala National Park with 9 others and it was amazing. We got to see 2 leopards, an elephant and tons of other animals, it was definitely worth it.
I enjoyed every moment in Sri Lanka and hoped that I could have stayed longer, I am so glad I went with PMGY because I don't know if anyone else could have organised the same thing. If you are thinking whether you should choose this instead of another, really don’t, because I have looked on the internet and this is by far the most affordable and you definitely get your money’s worth.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ebru
10/10

An Unforgettable Experience!

I spent two weeks in Sri Lanka during November and had a fantastic trip! Mine was a teaching placement. I taught in several places: The Tsunami Project and in two different Buddhist temples. In my first week, I taught young adult monks. They wanted to improve their speaking so we focused on conversational English. It was great because they taught me so much about their daily lives and about Buddhism in general and I told them about my life in England. In the second week, I went to another temple and taught small children training to be monks. Their age ranged from 6 to 14 years. They were shy at first but opened up a lot and were very enthusiastic to learn English. The Chief Monk will sometimes come and sit in class to observe them and was highly impressed by their progress in such short space of time! In each of the teaching placements, there was a relaxed atmosphere and the coordinators were there for you if you struggled to communicate to students so you were never left alone. I absolutely loved teaching all the kids and young adults. As a Volunteer, you really feel you have achieved something positive.
The Volunteer House where I stayed was basic, clean and a great place to get to know other Volunteers staying there, who had the same enthusiasm and goals as you did.
Apart from the volunteering projects, there was plenty of time to travel around Sri Lanka and Ashika, the main Coordinator and others were extremely helpful in organising trips for us. Nothing was too much trouble!
We had meals cooked for us twice a day, absolutely delicious. You can also find western food as well. All transport to and from the volunteering projects were sorted and costs covered so you never had to worry about how to get around.
Ashika, our main Coordinator was absolutely fantastic! There aren't enough words to describe what a wonderful guy he is! During my stay, he was extremely helpful. He was extremely sensitive to my needs and even at times when I didn't express my feelings, he could sense how I felt and always went the extra mile to help me. You only had to tell him once what you wanted or needed and it would be done. I once had a painful elbow and he immediately arranged an appointment to see the local and well respected doctor called Doctor 'Oneshot' (he is nicknamed Oneshot because he treats his patients so well that they don't need to see him a second time!) and I was taken well care of. Ashika is a true hero to his community and has a clear vision of how he wants to help his people and his community. He is well known and respected by the local people and whenever I or the other volunteers mentioned his name, people would immediately smile and help us. I really wish we had more people like him in this world!
This was my second volunteering trip with Plan My Gap Year (the first being the year before in Vietnam which was also a great experience). As a single female close to the age of 40, I highly recommend this company as they are trustworthy and keep in touch while you are out there doing your projects. I will definitely book with them again!

Yes, I recommend this program
Ella
10/10

SRI LANKA LOVE!

The best thing about PMGY In Sri Lanka was how relaxed and felxible it was! I thought i had just signed up for the turtle project but one morning i took part in the elephant project and most afternoons i helped at the school. I wanted to make the most of my stay and PMGY Sri Lanka helped me to do this!

The turtle project was my favourite experience. The work was really hands on and practical and unlike some volunteer projects you really feel like you are helping and making a difference! You can easily spend a whole day there cleaning tanks, talking to the turtles and medicating and feeding them. The local coodinator Saniru does a great job!

The food is also amazing. Its mostly all Sri Lankan style dishes and lots of curries. But its incredible. Just go for it and try everything its part of the experience! Its all cooked by the local lady who comes to cook 3 times a day for all the volunteers. She is so lovely to talk to and works so hard! I wish i could cook like her! (Go out for food if you want a dish from closer to home, pizza, pasta ect... although i enjoyed the homemade curries more!)

The local coordinators are so helpful (im glad PMGY support local employment) they are great to chat to and are always around to help with anything! Especially booking hotels for travelling at the weekends or booking tuk tuks (because they can obviously speak the local language which helps a lot) but also having Josh the english coodinator is very nice too! They all work so hard to help make sure you have the best time)

You live very closely with everyone in a very comfortable volunteer house (again better than i thought it would be)
Any problems will get sorted out so quickly so tell them as soon as there is one. Even in my short 2 week stay i have made friends i will never forget.

Minimum stay should be 3 weeks for the best experience. You will not want to go home! Thankyou!!!

How can this program be improved?
none :)
Yes, I recommend this program
Laura
10/10

Take me back

Sri Lanka was without a doubt one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am 23 and have a full time job as well as a volunteer role in England and I needed something different.
I travelled to Sri Lanka for three weeks on my own not really knowing what to expect and I had the trip of a life time! I made some amazing friends and memories and I'm sitting here typing this wishing I could go back right now!
I worked on the elephant project which was so interesting - I came from waking up and walking my dog at home to waking up and walking a cheeky elephant every day!
Apart from working with raja the elephant, we had trips to temples, a boat trip where I held a monkey and a baby crocodile and refused to put my feet in with a LOT of fish, I had the chance to go to the turtle sanctuary and release turtles on the beach at night with everyone. Attempt to beat someone who thinks he is a champion at badminton (and fail miserably), swim in the sea for hours on end and relax on the beautiful sandy beaches (it's a paradise).
The weekends gave us the opportunity to go out and explore the amazing country and culture in groups. My first weekend saw 10 girls singing very loudly in a minivan on a trip to Kandy with woodcarving, sari wearing, tea factory visits, dance show, elephant riding and temple visits and my second weekend a trip to Marissa for whale watching and Yala for a safari and even a trip to Colombo in between.
A review can't even describe the amazing memories I have made. Advice to anyone considering going would be GO you won't regret it, I wish I had stayed for longer and got to do a hell of a lot more things.
Plan my gap year are a fabulous company to travel with and offer amazing experiences, the choices of projects and friendly atmosphere makes it the perfect trip to anyone travelling on their own or with friends from anywhere in the world no matter what age or range of travel experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
Lily
10/10

Incredible experience and wonderful hosting in Sri Lanka!

On arrival in Sri Lanka I found out that my baggage has been lost in transit and was very stressed as a result! But thankfully the in-country coordinater Ashika was there to greet me and sort everything out for me (I had my bag brought to me within 2 days) and I was immediately reassured that I was in great hands.
From then on, everything was wonderful. From Ashika's family who we stayed with to the other volunteers, to the food to the amazing kids at the Tsunami project where I taught English. Not to mention the beautiful beaches, temples and safari parks I was given the opportunity to explore!

I would honestly recommend this project to anyone, especially if you love learning about new cultures, religions and people. Although Ambalangoda is a small town, it is so cheap and easy to get to bigger places around and being in a small town really makes you feel like your in 'real' Sri Lanka. At the same time there's plenty of other English speaking volunteers to go for a drink with and loads of extracurricular activities get organised for example we had a great England VS Sri Lanka Cricket match!

Also, I had no teaching experience whatsoever and absolutely LOVED teaching the kids at the Tsunami project, they were so full of life and welcoming. It really was an unforgettable experience spending 4 weeks teaching them. I didn't want to leave Sri Lanka and really look forward to going back some day soon.

Plan My Gap Year are a fantastic organisation who unlike other companies, make sure the money you are paying to volunteer is used wisely and always ensure that you feel useful, safe and at ease. Go Sri Lanka!! :)

Yes, I recommend this program
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Dalsy
10/10

Sri Lanka 2012

I had such a good experience with Plan My Gap Year. This was my first time travelling alone, so obviously I had a lot of questions- they were always answered quickly by Philip, who is an email-replying superhuman and really easy to contact!

The project itself was amazing. I got to visit various different places, ranging from teaching English to teenage girls to giving swimming lessons to special needs students, all of which were very well-run and good fun. I spent most of my time at the orphanage (out of choice, the coordinator Janaka - the nicest man in the world by a mile - is happy for you to do pretty much whichever combinations you like) and found it to be incredibly worthwhile. The kids were so lovely and hugely affectionate, and it really felt like we were making a big difference just by going in to play with them.

We lived with Janaka at his house - the rooms are all nice, mostly you share with 2 or 3 others, and you have your own bathroom in each room. All the food is provided.

Sri Lanka itself is beautiful and such a fun place. There's a lot to see - I wish I'd had more time - all your weekends are free, work finishes by 5 if you want to go out for the evening, and we got a long lunch break for a bit of sunbathing.

All in all my trip couldn't have been better and Plan My Gap Year were just fantastic. I'd love to volunteer again soon, and when I do it'll definitely be with them

Yes, I recommend this program
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Noémie
10/10

Amazing experience!

I have to say that my experience of being a volunteer in Sri Lanka has been wonderful on every aspects. I received even more support from then I could of asked for, both from the UK office and the Sri Lanka team. This program puts you in the heart of the Sri Lankan culture, but always providing secure local transport and doing everything they could to facilitate our experience in this new country. I loved how I was given the opportunity to add an afternoon project in addition to the sea turtle conservation project in the morning. I absolutly loved the teaching project and it gave me the opportunity to discover that I enjoy working with kids and would like to persue it in future volunteer projects. It was an extremely rewarding feeling to teach english to those students, that are so eager to learn. I would recommand this project to anyone who os looking to do rewarding work, on the community and personnal level, as well of having a fun and secure experience

Yes, I recommend this program
Olivia
10/10

Elephant experience Sri Lanka

From the moment I booked with pmgy they have given me a lot of support and information about the country and what to expect. Obviously you never take in fully the information until you are there experiencing it. Reading the handbook does basically tell you what to expect fully and it was pretty much the experience they told me about.
From landing at colombo airport to being dropped back there the co ordinators/drivers have been so helpful and polite.
The house I stayed in (new house) was basic yes,but I wasn't expecting 5* to begin with. The sisters was very helpful and always prepared beautiful meals (chip night is a winner). If I needed anything extra like an extra mattress or extra fan this was no trouble for them and the co ordinators sorted it.
I did the elephant experience for the 4 weeks I was there but did an extra few days volunteering with the turtles and also the teaching project. Every project I did was amazing. Being with elephants was a once in a lifetime experience. From feeding and washing them to scooping there poop it will be an experience I will never forget. The baby turtles were possibly one of the cutest things ever and the project they run at the sanctuary is an amazing experience. I was so happy that all the babies and disabled turtles were being looked after properly. I only had 1 day teaching but I could see how much this project was helping the children to learn English.
If I was to give any advice to people wanting to join a project on pmgy is go for it 100% and enjoy every munite you have there because it will be over in a flash. Also read the handbook it will tell you what to expect and what happens there.
My 4 weeks in Sri Lanka was one of the best experiences of my life and I couldn't thank the co ordinators, sisters, drivera and pmgy for that! I will definitely go back for sure!!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Orin
9/10

PMGY Real Sri Lanka Experience

I had a great time on this program.

The most memorable story I have is getting to the top of Little Adam's Peak. It's memorable for a number of reasons. Firstly, I struggled so much with climbing Lion's Rock that I had to abandon it very soon into the climb. It felt quite disappointed with myself. So being able to get to the top of Little Adam's Peak was a wonderful way to feel better about myself. And secondly because the views are simply so stunning from the summit. It was well worth the climb and hard work! In addition to that, there was a little Hindu temple perched along the mountain side and our climb was beautifully scored by the sounds of hymns and drums and symbols- it was. Truly surreal experience. Also dodging the odd cow on the mountain was another fun aspect of the climb!

How can this program be improved?
I would have really liked to visit a few local families in the villages we were going through in Polannaruwa. We bough sweets and stationary for the children but it would have been so much better if we could actually go into the villages and see their homes and how they lived their day to day lives and ask them about it.
Yes, I recommend this program
Dion
8/10

Amazing experience

I had a fantastic time taking part in the 'Real Experience' trip. Would definitely recommend for people who want to see more of Sri Lanka whilst volunteering. It was great value for money as all of our meals and accommodation were paid for. It was such a great opportunity, ideal for first time travellers. Would not recommend to people looking to go out and party, it is limited and the coordinaters come with you on week nights, which is understandable due to safety.

Yes, I recommend this program

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About Plan My Gap Year

Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK. We provide the worlds most affordable, need-driven and supportive short-term volunteer programmes across Africa, Asia & Latin America. Our...