Volunteer Teaching Sri Lanka
Help underprivileged Sri Lankan children learn English
Book now for £49
Group Size: Avg 5-20
Trip code: AAPS
Duration: 2 weeks or more
Work as a volunteer teacher in stunning southern Sri Lanka. This fantastic volunteer programme sees you teaching English to underprivileged children aged 6 – 15 in local primary schools as well as spending a day a week working with young Buddhist monks. You’ll use a mixture of practical and theoretical strategies to help your students do everything from writing simple sentences accurately to refining pronunciation - it’s a truly meaningful way of improving the life prospects of local people in rural Sri Lanka. You’ll have plenty of free time to chill out on beautiful beaches, and explore historic Galle, or meet the wild elephants in Pinnawella. It’s the perfect mix of travel and volunteering!
- Make a real difference in the lives of children by helping them learn English
- Build your CV by working in local schools and community projects four days a week
- Spend one day a week working with young Buddhist monks
- Stay in our awesome volunteer house overlooking Unawatuna Beach
- Enjoy weekly included activities from yoga sessions and guided bike tours to temple visits
- See wild elephants and explore beautiful beaches and historic towns during your time off
In rural Sri Lanka, the level of education available to children is often far from optimal, with a lack of qualified teachers (especially those with English language skills), and limited resources. This programme helps underprivileged children aged 6 – 15 by offering them the opportunity to learn English at a higher level than they are able to through the school system. It’s an amazing way to influence educational, and life outcomes for these students.
You’ll work with local schools and community projects four days a week and with young Buddhist monks one day a week. The children’s ages and ability levels vary but they are generally between the ages of 6 and 15. Class sizes range from 10 – 30.
You’ll volunteer from Monday to Friday each week. Classes are held in the mornings or afternoons for 2 – 3 hours a day, and you’ll be lesson planning for 4 – 5 hours a week.
The emphasis is on teaching English (reading, speaking, listening, and writing).
On arrival you’ll receive a detailed orientation programme including health and safety training, culture training and an area orientation tour around Galle.
You’ll take part in basic teacher training before the project begins and the experienced local team will be on hand to support you throughout your entire stay. You’ll also have access to our in-house teaching library to help with ideas for session planning. Local transportation to and from the project is included every day.
Free Time Activities
Your weekends are free to chill out or explore. You will be staying in the southern area of Sri Lanka between the beach town of Unawatuna and Galle. There’s loads to do around here including day trips to Kandy, seeing elephants in Pinnawela, exploring Yala National Park and the famous rock fortress of Sigiriya. You’ll also have the chance to take part in a number of included weekly activities such as yoga classes, movie nights, bike tours, Sri Lankan BBQ dinners and visits to a local Buddhist temple.
Download the trip notes for more information
If you are looking to work with younger children, please see our Sri Lanka Pre-School Volunteers programme.
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Most expensive: £1,036 December, 2023
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 at a shared volunteer house is included for the duration of your stay. The accommodation is in southern Sri Lanka in the Unawatuna district of Galle. The volunteer house overlooks Unawatuna beach and turquoise waters of the Indian ocean. The beach is a 5 minute walk away and the historic city of Galle is just a 15 minute drive.
There are 11 ensuite bedrooms with a maximum of 6 per room, although most rooms are are only 4. Rooms are single sex, but private room upgrades are available at extra cost. The house is split over 4 floors and has 3 kitchens, 3 common areas, a dining area, private outdoor garden and swimming pool. The house is covered by CCTV and is located in a safe and quiet residential neighbourhood. The house has hot water and wifi included. Airconditioning and laundry facilities are available at an extra charge payable locally.
Home-cooked meals will be provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner and will be a mix of Sri Lanka food and western food Typical dishes include:
- Red rice and sambol
- Bread and fruits
- Rice and curry
- Fresh salads
Please let a travel advisor know if you have any dietary requirements, as most can be easily catered for with local ingredients.
There is also a local supermarket within 15 minutes walking distance where volunteers can purchase drinks and western snacks as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants in Galle town.
Please note: During busy seasons (and for all travellers for the remainder of 2023) your accommodation will be in a secondary house located less than 100m from the main house. The secondary house has excellent facilities and is right on the beach front! Rooms are triple share with other volunteers of the same sex. You will be able to use facilities at both houses and will always be grouped with other volunteers.
This is an open-aged trip for those over the age of 18, suitable for travellers who wish to make a difference as a volunteer. Experience is beneficial but not essential.
This programme is suited to passionate, creative, caring and confident people who wish to make a difference and have a rewarding travel experience. You should have a flexible, mature attitude and be open to cultural difference. This is a cultural not a party trip, so you should be willing and happy to entertain yourself in your free time.
This programme does not require you to have any prior experience or qualifications (although any you have is beneficial); you’ll receive advice in orientation upon arrival and are provided with guidelines and the daily support of a volunteer co-ordinator at each of the projects.
All tourists visiting Sri Lanka can apply for a 180-day visa through the Sri Lanka Electronic Travel Authority website. The fee for this is 50 USD. You can also obtain an on-arrival visa in Colombo Airport at a cost of 60 USD, but this visa will only be for 30 days. If you are planning to stay in Sri Lanka for longer than 30 days, we recommend that you apply for your visa in advance, so you don't have to extend your visa with the Immigration Department during your stay.
On this particular programme, as you’ll be working with children, you’ll need to undergo an enhanced DBS previously known as CRB, or Criminal Record Bureau check and will need to have a clean criminal record.
DBS checks may list past convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and if applicable will show whether or not you have been barred from working with certain vulnerable groups. Non-conviction information such as fixed penalties may also be included.
There is an additional cost for the DBS check, please speak to your travel advisor at the time of booking. The DBS process is in 3 stages:
- Once we receive your booking payment, you will then be sent an online application link for the DBS check, which you will need to complete.
- Once you have completed the application, the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) will need verification of your identity - to do this you will need to take 3 original documents to your nearest crown post office and use their DBS and ID verification service. This costs approximately £9 and is payable directly to the Post Office.
- Once the post office verification is done it usually takes up to 6 weeks for your DBS to be processed, and your DBS will be sent to you directly in the post.