Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia which offers free healthcare to all its citizens, which is remarkable for this region. As such, the public sector here is very well developed and much larger than the private sector. Participants working in the public sector have access to a larger and wider network of medical professionals, range and volume of patients and exposures to a comprehensive set of wards and special units that cannot come close to being matched in the private sector. There is also a greater need for future doctors and nurses to assist in the public sector as the sheer volume of patients they get is overwhelming and from lower socio-economic classes, where the need for support is greater.
We, at Volunteering Solutions, place all medical and nursing students (those who have at least some university experience) at the public hospital (Karapitiya), where they get exposure to the widest range of patients and cases available in southern Sri Lanka, all under the watchful guidance of a professional and caring team of doctors and nurses. Pre-meds and beginner medical and nursing students are placed at a smaller private hospital (Galle), where they get broad observation-based exposure to various units in the hospital to enhance their knowledge and learning in the field.
This program caters to medical and nursing participants of all levels and provides a comprehensive insight into the medical system of Sri Lanka with immense learning opportunities. From beginners who have an interest (but no experience) in the field to advanced 5th-year students looking for specific specializations, we have all the bases covered.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project and must be flexible and open-minded towards working in a new and challenging environment. Medical volunteers must provide a clean criminal background check report, CV, Passport Copy as well as other documents and credentials pertaining to their qualifications prior to joining the program. Pre Med, Medical, Nursing students and CNA’s can join the program. All students must adhere to professional attire while at the hospitals.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
Pre-Medical & Nursing Programs (Level 1):
Level 1 participants get broad-based rotational exposure across various units, including:
- Surgery / Maternity
- General Medicine / Paediatrics
- Surgery Observation (general + orthopaedic)
Level 1 participants also have the opportunity to view live surgeries from time to time conducted by experienced doctors.
Medical & Nursing Students (Level 2):
In the public hospital, university students and experienced medical and nursing participants will have the opportunity to get exposure across a range of wards (subject to availability), such as:
- Medical ward
- Surgical ward
- Emergency Treatment Unit (ETU)
- Paediatric ward
- Maternity ward
- Psychiatric ward
- Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation (Maliban)
- Additionally, advanced medical students have the opportunity to work in a range of specialized units, including (but not limited to):
- Vascular surgery
- Paediatric cardiology
It is important to note that the experience in the hospital is mainly observation-based, where participants will get exposure to a wide range of cases and patient types. Some participants may get the opportunity to get more hands-on experience where they are allowed to interact directly with patients but that is entirely at the discretion of the medical and nursing staff based on their comfort level with the particular student.
Additionally, all medical and nursing participants (Level 1 & 2) are supported by our medical coordinator, an advanced medical student, who provides regular guidance and support) to further enhance learning and knowledge development.
Volunteer Work Schedule
Saturday: Arrival in Colombo airport - transfer to Galle included
Sunday: Orientation + neighbourhood familiarization tour. Orientation session will be conducted by the local coordinator, covering topic areas; such as safety, culture, language, places to visit, behaviour, food, and other suggestion over things to do in and around Galle.
Mon to Fri: Volunteer work placement at appropriate medical institution (schedules can be somewhat flexible by an hour or two either way, based on ground realities at the time)
• Breakfast - 06:30 to 8:30 am
• Working hours at the placement - 09:00 am to 12:00 noon (Beginner Students)
• Working hours at the placement - 09:00 am to 02:00 pm (Advanced Students)
• Lunch - 12:00-2:30 pm (Provided at the accommodation)
• Dinner - 6:30-7:30 pm onwards (Provided at the accommodation)
The same volunteer work schedule continues from the second week onwards
Weekends: Free to explore the city, all the nearby beaches and also travel around Sri Lanka. Bing a small island with a very good public transportation system (buses, trains), it is easy to take weekend trip to the mountains, tea plantations, rainforests, cultural sites, various beach towns, etc.
Note: Please note, the schedule may vary depending on the particular project the volunteer is participating in.
At Volunteering Solutions we ensure that all our international volunteers are provided the utmost comfort so that they can have a home away from home experience while working with us. We ensure that your stay, meals and other personal requirements are looked after well.
Volunteers are picked up from the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport Airport by a representative of the local coordinating team on the program start date during scheduled airport pickup hrs. Participants are also dropped off to the airport upon completion of the program during the scheduled airport drop hrs. For any participants requring the transfers at any other times, extra charges shall be applicable.
Volunteers joining the programs in Galle, Sri Lanka, will get to stay in the quaint Unawatuna neighborhood, overlooking the famous Unawatuna Beach and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. The volunteer house has 11 bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.Most of these rooms have ocean views! There's a private 40-foot outdoor swimming pool surrounded by tropical greenery. The house also has 3 kitchens as well as 3 living/common rooms (one each per floor), a prominent dining area, and a private outdoor garden with seating/lounging areas.
The office is located on the ground floor of the house near the main entrance – this is where the local team operate from every day. The house is located in a peaceful, nature-filled neighborhood adjacent to a small Buddhist temple (nestled away from the main tourist areas). To ensure the safety and security of the participants, there are CCTV cameras installed, and an in-house security guard for night-time surveillance. Hot water and high-speed Wi-Fi are there and you can opt for air-conditioning and laundry facilities at an additional charge.
Other than that, we'll also be glad to provide single/double/family private room upgrades. The beach is just about 5 minutes walk from the stay and you can reach the Galle Fort in about 15 minutes.
A detailed program Orientation will be provided before you start your volunteering program.All volunteers on arrival get a welcome presentation including health and safety training, culture presentation, project specific presentation and area orientation tour. Our staff will also assist you with the lessons and planning the curriculum, as and when required. You will also have access to our in-house teaching library consisting of manuals, books, and various teaching materials to help with lesson planning and providing general guidance.
We provide 3 freshly cooked meals per day all week long (Monday to Sunday): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Fresh ingredients are purchased from local markets to prepare these meals. We have two lady chefs (a head chef and an assistant) from our community who come daily to cook fresh, homely and tasty local meals for the volunteers. We can cater to a range of special diets including vegan, gluten free, nut free and lactose-intolerant diets. If there are any other allergy or food requirements mentioned to us beforehand, we always do our best to accommodate those needs.
During Free Time
There is plenty to do during the freetime and weekends for the volunteers.The following activities are provided free of charge and included in your program fee:
- Evening Rooftop Yoga Session (weekly)
- Movie nights on large screen projector at the house (weekly)
- Bike tour across paddy fields and local villages (monthly)
- BBQ for volunteers and staff in the garden (monthly)
- Night Fishing for anyone into fishing (on demand)
The following are popular weekend (or even daily) activities which our volunteers love to do around the area (at an additional charge):
- Surfing lessons
- Elephant safari
- Whale watching (during season)
- Rainforest hiking
- Beach hopping
- Local cooking class
- Galle Walking Tour
- Local spice market visit
- Galle Fort visit
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $259 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- 24 hrs Assistance and support from Staff
- Comprehensive Pre- Departure Information
- Airport Transfers on Scheduled Days
- Dedicated volunteer housing with WiFi (shared rooms)
- Orientation and training on arrival
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner all days
- Guaranteed project placement
- Local transportation to projects in private AC van or tuk-tuk
- Experienced bilingual operations team on the ground
- Dedicated staff support from 6 am to 8 pm every day
- 24/7 local emergency support
- Weekly yoga class on a rooftop terrace
- Weekly movie nights on large screen projector
- Monthly bike tour around paddy fields and local villages
- Monthly special BBQ dinner
- Travel & Medical Insurance (Available at an extra cost)
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Visa Fee
- International Airfare
- Any personal expenses
- Additional Local Excursions and Trips
FAQ's Application and Program Details
As we have limited spots available in our programs and we serve on first come first basis, it is recommended that potential volunteers book their programs well in advance to get confirmed placements. You can book your slot by filling the application form online and pay the application fee of $250. You can pay your program fee later and also, in installments. However, the complete payment should be made 45 days prior to the starting of the program. If you are volunteering in a group, you can also fill a group application form.
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the Sri Lankan volunteer projects:
The minimum age requirement for the programs in Sri Lanka is 17 years.
Volunteers participating in the Medical Program should be at least 18-year-old.
Volunteers need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment. They should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
The participant must be in good health.
We encourage our participants to volunteer in a group. We take special care in providing you a placement and also customize your itinerary to make sure you get exactly what you are looking for. Also, we can design special group programs for groups of 5 or more. Our programs are designed to be safe, affordable and offer a great group volunteering experience to the volunteers.
In our experience of more than 12+ years, we have enabled and facilitated volunteer program placements for college groups, university groups, high school groups, group of families, group of couples as well as groups of colleagues.
A short orientation is given after arrival about the city and placements. The volunteers are also taken for a short tour of Colombo before they start with their program. However, the tour depends on the arrival time of your flight.
For our returning volunteers, $50 discount is provided for the application fee for their next VolSol program.
Flights and Visa
Volunteers can apply for ETA online and the approval of the same will be communicated via email.
Volunteers can be provided with the supporting documents if needed. More information will be provided once you enroll for the program.
There are frequent in-country flights from Colombo to Galle and Kegalle as well.
Health and Safety
Hepatitis A and B
You can consult your doctor once, before traveling to Sri Lanka.
Accommodation and Living
Volunteers involved in the Elephant Camp Project are given accommodation in the vicinity of the project location.
Three meals are provided in a day including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The food is tasty, hygienic and nutritious, suitable for all volunteers.
Breakfast usually comprises of Bread, Butter, Jam, Bun or Rolls, Eggs and Fruits like Banana & Pineapple & Tea. The lunch includes Sri Lankan style rice and curry and the dinner includes noodles, spaghetti, pasta, chapati, hoppers or String Hoppers with curry.
If you have special food requirements, please mention the same in your application form.
We encourage our volunteers to travel. We have designed various weekend tours which can be booked under the ‘Add-on Tours’ section in your ‘My Account’. Your in-country coordinator will also help you book and organize the tours once you are in Sri Lanka.
Connect with Past Volunteers
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer section on our website