Teaching English in Sri Lanka
With a civil war and the 2004 tsunami in its recent past, there are many ways to volunteer in Sri Lanka. Laiden with beaches and palm trees, this teardrop-shaped tropical gem offers extremely rewarding volunteer placements particularly for community development.
Our English teaching program in Sri Lanka is designed uplift the standards of English in poor communities, helping to bridge the gap of education between small town population and the urban population in the country. The education system in Sri Lanka is better than most developing countries, however local government schools where the poor study still have very few facilities, poor infrastructure and low quality education being delivered. Classroom sizes are too big and teachers too few.
Our education programs are based in local schools and care homes in the Galle area on the Southern Sri Lankan coastline. This region was affected by the Tsunami of 2004 quite badly and a lot of villagers especially children suffered from broken infrastructure and no schooling for a few months. We are dedicated to helping these poor, disadvantaged communities to get the education that they need in order to grow, develop and become independent. Through this we aim to empower young children and locals with essential life skills.
With English being an international business language, particularly in Sri Lanka where the tourism industry is huge, it’s important for children to learn English from a young age and our classes help to hone their skills whilst building their confidence. In the future we hope that this will help them to secure well paid English speaking jobs in Sri Lanka or any other neighbouring country.
Teaching English in Sri Lanka gives you the option of working in local government pre-primary and primary schools as well as local care homes. If you are placed in primary school you will be working with one or two classrooms and aiding local teachers with English teaching or IT skills .The aim of the project is to lay a good foundation for students and depending on the volunteer’s skill areas, activities tend to include: delivering lessons in basic computer skills, and teaching English at different levels. There will also be a component of producing lesson plans; preparing and evaluating tests and helping with clerical duties.
With pre-primary school you will be assisting with teaching basic alphabet, numeracy, art & creative activities. During school holidays, you will do similar activities in care homes and community centres. We will let you know where you will be teaching prior to arrival so you are prepared. Your teaching placement location will depend on the school holidays and community needs.
You will be volunteering Monday to Friday spread out between 08:00AM to 13:30PM for age groups from 6 years to 16 years. Local teachers or local staff will be there to support you however we do expect you to work independently or in pairs with another volunteer. Whilst the knowledge you impart will benefit the children on a practical level, most of our volunteers will agree that nothing is more beneficial than the love and attention that you give them.
If you love to work with children and you want to gain international work experience with hands on training, this volunteering project in Sri Lanka will add an edge to your CV, advance your career and broaden your horizons for personal growth and development. With ample free time on evenings and at weekends, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel and sightsee around Sri Lanka.
All The Details
Galle, Southern Province
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- Pre-departure guide – to prepare you for your trip
- Pick-up from Colombo Airport
- Accommodation in a guest house homestay (Twin Room)
- Experienced bilingual local staff team
- All Meals – traditional Sri Lankan Cuisine
- Location orientation – showing you the ATMs and amenities
- Project training with the local Program Manager
- 24 hour support in your location for emergencies
- Working and living like a true local in SriLanka and contributing to rewarding projects
- Donation to schools or projects
Whats Not Included in your program fee :
- Airport Drop
- Flights to the program destination
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal shopping and gratuities
- Local excursions
- Project materials that you personally need
- Project Travel Cost (budget £1 a day for this)
Local Team On Ground
Harsha Buddhadasa: Sri Lanka Program Manager
Harsha actively participates in social work and his desire to help communities guided him to establish volunteer projects for needy people in his lovely country.He has successfully coordinated more than 1500 international volunteer placements for social good and site seeing in Sri Lanka in the last couple of years.With Harsha’s in-depth knowledge about local issues in Sri Lanka and his love for meeting people, he is always more than happy to make you feel at home while making a difference and experiencing Sri Lanka as a whole.
Reaching Sri Lanka and other bits
- The nearest airport for this program is Colombo International Airport (CMB)
- If you wish to book flights to Sri Lanka fill in this form.
- Sri Lanka has E-Visas that you get on arrival.
- Travel Insurance is compulsory on this program. You can get in touch with our team if you need travel insurance organised.
- Vaccinations are important. We recommend you visit your local travel clinic to find out what vaccines you should take.
- We work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for travel to Sri Lanka. Goto www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo to find out how best to avoid trouble when abroad. Packed with essential travel advice and tips, the website also offers up-to-date country information.
- We understand it can be difficult to pay for your flights, program fees and other travel costs. Many fundraise for their journey. If you need ideas and a platform for fundraising ideas Click Here
- For support on any of the above email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers help out alongside locals from Monday to Friday. You will typically work a total of 15 hours per week. A working day will generally last between 4 and 6 hours, however, specific details of the placement schedule will be agreed upon during orientation.
It is extremely important to have a flexible attitude and fit in with the needs of your project. Please keep in mind that work hours may vary, but a typical pattern is likely to be:
7.00am Rise and have breakfast which will be provided at the volunteer centre, or with your host family.
8.00am Prepare to start at your placement. We suggest speaking with the local staff members each morning to plan for the day ahead.
A tea break and lunch break will be fitted in during the day, but often the timing of breaks will change based on the needs of the local staff and number of volunteers on hand.
1.00pm A volunteers day will often finish around this time, but flexibility is required. There are cases where you might finish a little earlier, and likewise a little later. It is important to fit in with the needs of your project and as with many things in developing countries you should be prepared for changes.
Located by the Southern coast of Sri Lanka, you will have easy access to beautiful bays and beaches for the perfect morning or post-work relaxation. This is the perfect place for surfing and diving too if you’re looking for some weekend activities. Just a few hours away from major cities such as Colombo, Galle and Kandy, you will also have the opportunity to travel further afield.
What Happens When I Arrive?
Living Arrangements for Volunteers in Sri Lanka:
Here at Volunteering Journeys, we encourage community living so we arrange safe and comfortable accommodation with shared rooms. Accommodation is provided in either home stays or a volunteer centre at each of the project locations. While home stays may be basic, and often don’t have internet connections each of the volunteer centres has the following amenities: Internet/wifi, mobile phone signal, hot water, rooms with fans (air conditioning may be available on request).
Meals are also provided and will be local Sri Lankan cuisine.A typical days meals could include: Breakfast, milk rice with sambol, rice and curry, bread, fruits, milk tea, fruit juice etc; Lunch is usually rice with three curries to choose from; and dinner is rice with curries, as well as rotis and hoppers (a kind of pancake made from fermented rice flour). Project transport will be arranged by our local teams for you.
If you need accommodation upgrades such as private rooms we can provide this if you let us know in advance. There may be an extra charge for this.
Health and Safety :
When you join our programs you can be assured we have carried out Risk Assessments to identify potential safety and health risks on projects and in the community. We share this information with you in our pre departure documents. Our local staff are well trained and we provide 24/7 emergency numbers to all participants. We require all participants to send us their DBS or police reference checks as part of our Child Protection Policy.
Volunteering Journeys Foundation:
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Volunteering Journey’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through supporting local charities, local organisations and community projects in the places that we work in. 100% of each donation goes directly to support our projects. Go to our Donation page if you want to support or fundraise for our Sri Lanka Program.
Volunteers Love Us!
‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand. I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks. Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’
‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’
‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’
“J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”
‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’
‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’
‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’
‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’
“Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”
‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’
‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’