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Sri Lanka Medical Placement

Invaluable practical medical experience in a developing country

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Group Size: Max 20

Trip code: MEDSL

Duration: 2-12 weeks

Open to medical students & recent graduates
Experience in a variety of fields & specialities
Accommodation & meals included

If you’ve got a prior background in the medical field and would like to get some first-hand experience in a developing country, this is the trip for you! If you’re currently enrolled in, or have completed a medical degree, you can spend between 2 and 12 weeks (you decide how long), working in local medical institutions and staying in our beachside volunteer house in Southern Sri Lanka.

Trip highlights

  • Stay in our awesome volunteer house, near the dazzling sands of Unawatuna Beach
  • Get practical experience in a clinic setting and in a range of community projects
  • Gain real insight into the medical system of a developing country
  • Learn about tropical diseases under experienced doctors and nurses
  • Explore the beaches and colonial towns of the Galle region in your free time
  • Make new friends in the volunteer house
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What's included
  • Accommodation in our volunteer house
  • 3 freshly cooked meals a day
  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Medical project coordinator
  • Experienced local team
  • Detailed orientation and training programme
  • Health and safety training
  • Culture training
  • Project specific training
  • Orientation tour around Galle
  • Local transportation to and from the project
  • Experience working in various wards and units in a hospital / clinic setting
  • 24 hour emergency support
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Transport to units when participants have chosen to undertake additional volunteering
  • Optional activities
  • Meals from the hospital cafeteria when hospital shifts coincide with mealtimes
  • Extra snacks and drinks
  • Return airport transfer
Further trip information

Spend between 2 and 12 weeks working as an unpaid intern in a range of medical settings in Southern Sri Lanka.

You’ll get a really broad range of experience through primarily observation-based learning (interns with more advanced knowledge may be able to work directly with patients) across various units. Throughout your stay, you’ll be working closely with an experienced medical project coordinator, as well as doctors and nurses on the ground. You’ll make a real difference to the local community as well as having invaluable learning opportunities. Explore the beautiful surrounding area in your spare time, from golden beaches to atmospheric colonial towns, and come home with an upgraded CV, lots of new friends and memories that will last a lifetime. 

Please note: We have specific nursing volunteer programmes on offer as well. Get in touch with our travel advisers for more information.

Where will I be staying?

You’ll stay in our gorgeous volunteer house in the Galle area of southern Sri Lanka, just 100m from beautiful Unawatuna Beach and a short drive from the historic city of Galle. The house has a private garden, swimming pool and tons of communal space.

What does the average week look like?

The project runs all year round from Saturday to Saturday. Volunteer work is from Monday to Friday, and you’ll be working 4-7 hours per day (flexible). You’ll have the opportunity to work in a range of settings from public and private hospitals (including Teaching Hospital Karapitiya – the largest public hospital in Southern Sri Lanka), to the Government Ayurveda institute and some community projects. Weekends and evenings are yours to spend as you choose.

What kind of work will I get involved with on the project?

Your work in the hospital will be mostly observation based, although if you show more advanced knowledge or capability, you may have the opportunity for more hands-on work (at the hospital’s discretion). You’ll have daily contact with senior doctors, as well as doctors and nurses, participate in case discussions, learn about tropical diseases, and contribute to the day to day running of the facilities.

 You’ll have access to a broad range of wards, units and institutions including

  1. Paediatric Cardiology Unit –observing paediatric cardiac surgeries, handling patients in the clinic and helping to transfer patients between wards / units.
  2. General Surgical Ward / ETC Casualty Ward – observing live surgeries, transporting patients between units, preparing beds, helping with bed baths and wound dressings, checking patients’ vital signs and joining ward rounds.
  3. General Paediatric Ward –handling children during invasive procedures, helping mothers feed their children, cleaning babies and interacting with children.
  4. Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Centre – helping patients with daily physiotherapy and occupational therapy and supporting patients’ mental well-being
  5. Emergency Treatment Unit (ETU) –bed side teaching on emergency management, ward class and helping nursing staff during emergency managements.
  6. Ayurvedic Medicine – introduction to the traditional eastern medical practice.
  7. Paediatric Rehabilitation – socialising with children with disabilities, or major illnesses/injuries.
  8. Community Projects – working at local schools and community organisations.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work in a range of specialised units including (but not limited to) Vascular Surgery, Surgical Oncology Unit, Neurosurgery, Neonatal ICU and Dialysis Unit.

What kind of training is provided?

When you arrive, you’ll take part in a detailed training and orientation programme including health and safety, culture training, an area orientation tour and an overview of the Sri Lankan medical industry. You’ll be given ongoing guidance and support by our experienced medical project coordinator and the wider team.

Real customer reviews
Sri Lanka Facebook Group Discussion

👋🏼 hey!! Just looking for anyone that’s doing the Sri Lanka Intro 11th January 2023 🗺 ✈️

Hey all 🙂 I'm heading to Sri Lanka in January for the turtle conservation project for 3 weeks, any one else in here going around that time? Give me a shout if so!

Is there anyone here travelling by themselves ? X

Booking options

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Call us on: 01892 527392
Email us at: [email protected]
Return Flights from £783

Cheapest flights between London and Colombo for the next 6 months

Cheapest: £783 January, 2023
Most expensive: £1,901 December, 2022
Arrival information

Arrive at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport on day 1 of your stay. 

There will be 2 shared airport transfers every Saturday (one in the morning plus one in the afternoon/evening) as follows:

A morning transfer will cover flights arriving between 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Our driver will arrive at the airport by 6:00am and will meet all participants who arrive between 6-10am and then collectively take the group to the volunteer house in Galle after the last person has arrived within this range. Those arriving earlier than 6am will have to wait in the arrivals area of the airport where they can sit in the air-conditioned lounge, get a local SIM card organized and even have some refreshments at the onsite food court/bakery if they choose. Our driver will also provide every participant with a complimentary bottle of drinking water.

Afternoon/Evening Transfer will cover flights arriving between 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM. The same conditions will apply as the morning transfer described above, except for the change of time.

If your flight arrives after 6:30pm or on any other day which is not a Saturday, a private transfer can be arranged for USD 100 or you can make your own arrangements.

Departure transfers are not included, but can be arranged as above for additional cost if required. Alternatively, you can book this locally once in country.

Accommodation & meals


Accommodation is in a shared volunteer house for the duration of the programme, The house is in southern Sri Lanka in the Galle area. You’ll be just 100m from Unawatuna Beach, looking out over the sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean, with the colonial town of Galle just 15 minutes away.

There are 11 en-suite bedrooms, each of which sleeps a maximum of 6 people (but most rooms only accommodate 4) and are single sex. If you’d like a private room however, upgrades may be available at an extra cost. Speak to your travel adviser for more information.

The house is split across 4 floors and is airy and spacious. It features 3 kitchens, 3 common areas and a dining area. Outside there’s a leafy private garden and swimming pool. Hot water and Wi-Fi are included but there’s an additional fee for air conditioning and laundry facilities. You’re based in a safe, residential area but the house also has CCTV and a night security guard for extra peace of mind.

Please note that during busy seasons you may be housed in a secondary volunteer house located a 10 minute tuk tuk drive from the main house. The house holds up to 14 people and free transport to and from both houses is provided for volunteers. All volunteers will be able to use facilities at both houses. 


While you’re staying on the project, you’ll be provided with 3 freshly cooked meals every day. Hospital hours may sometimes coincide with mealtimes (usually with lunch) and on those occasions, you’ll have to purchase your own meals at the hospital cafeteria. However, food here is very affordable.

Food provided on the project is a mix of Sri Lankan and Western. Typical dishes include red rice and sambol, bread and fruits, rice and curry, rotis, pasta, fresh salads, wraps and soups.

Let us know in advance if you have any dietary requirements and we will be happy to adapt your meals to suit. 

Minimum age & eligibility

You’ll need to be a minimum of 18 years old to join this trip. You’ll also need to be currently enrolled in, or have recently completed, a medical degree from a recognised university and to be able to supply the following documents:

  1. Current CV
  2. Motivation statement or letter of intent, describing your personal background and your reason for wanting to join this internship
  3. University reference letter
  4. Enhanced DBS police record check (we can assist you with this)
  5. Copy of your passport

Another important requirement for entry to the programme is an open mind. Medical standards in a country like Sri Lanka differ greatly from what you may have experienced at home, and you’ll need to be ready to take that on board, be respectful to local staff, and eager to learn.

If you have not yet started a medical degree, then you can apply for our Sri Lanka Pre-Medical Internship instead!

All visitors who are permitted to travel to Sri Lanka will need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to enter the country.  Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry to Sri Lanka.

Please note: Visa, passport and entry restrictions can be subject to change. Always check foreign travel advice before your trip. 

Covid safety

This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:

Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.

Proof of vaccination or negative covid test
For the safety of all travellers, at the start of some trips you may be required to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated (14 days after your second dose) and/or show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the tour start date in order to join the programme.

Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.

Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.

Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.

Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.

Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.

24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.

It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.