Olivia's Experience at our Volunteer Teaching in Sri Lanka Project
By Gap 360
Last updated: 21st June 2016
We hear from past customer Olivia on her month volunteering at our Teaching in Sri Lanka project. From the booking process to advice for future travellers, this is what she had to say…
What made you decide to travel with Gap 360?
They were a company with offices local to me, which made booking the trip so much easier.
Why did you choose the Volunteer Teaching project in Sri Lanka?
I wanted to pick a project where I felt I could really make a difference, and volunteering for childcare projects seemed to be the way to do that.
How did you find the booking process?
The process itself was pretty painless and the staff at Gap 360 made sure everything was in place before we left.
Did you have any pre-travel nerves? How did you overcome these?
It was my first big trip away from home, which I think is a nerve-racking thing for most people but as soon as I got settled into my accommodation and managed to make it through a week without any disasters, I forgot about any worries I’d had.
Do you have any tips on packing your rucksack for future travellers?!
I think the ‘less is more’ is definitely the best approach. As well as making your bag lighter to carry around it also leaves more room for any souvenirs you bring back home.
Volunteer Teaching in Sri Lanka
How was the accommodation and food?
The accommodation itself is practical, don’t go expecting a five-star experience but saying that the accommodation is spacious with en-suite bathrooms and plenty of living areas to socialise with other volunteers. The food is traditional Sri Lankan meals, so expect vegetable curries, rice, noodles, naan and daal. Although the food is good, rice and curry can get a bit much after a while but there are supermarkets really close by and a kitchen and fridge for you to store more western snacks.
How were the project staff?
The project staff were amazing and really made the trip. All very enthusiastic and incredibly helpful, especially when it comes to communicating with the local staff at the projects and the volunteers.
Describe your daily routine whilst at the project
The morning would start with waking up around 7, to allow time to shower, have breakfast and organise everything we need for the day ahead, and be ready to leave at 8. Most of the projects work on the same timetable, volunteering from 9-11, then a two hour lunch break until 1, before resuming volunteering for another 2 hours. Obviously this varies depending on what project you’re doing. Dinner is served between 6.30 and 7.30, coinciding with the time that the Wi-Fi is turned on. So that leaves plenty of time once your project has finished to explore the city or to simply just relax with other volunteers at the house. There is an 8pm curfew, although if you have a particular reason that requires you staying out later, if you talk to the staff at the house they can arrange a curfew extension.
What kinds of activities did you do at the weekends?
There is a variety of stuff you can do at the weekend. I went with a group of other volunteers to climb Sigiriya Rock, go to an elephant orphanage, the botanical gardens and to a water park.
What is your best memory of your time on the project?
Working in the babies’ orphanage was by far the best thing I’ve ever done and I will never forget being there.
Any advice for future customers going to this programme?
I would say pack wisely, take clothes for any possible weather, although generally hot most of the time, Sri Lanka has a tendency to start pouring with rain in a split second. The city itself is a lot more touristy than it is made out to be so don’t hesitate to pack shorts and short sleeved tops, in addition to the trousers and long sleeved tops needed for the volunteer projects.