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Medical Volunteer Program in Sri Lanka

Medical Volunteer Program in Sri Lanka

Improve access to quality healthcare
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Choose from 1-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Volunteers aged 18+
Volunteer house
Program fees
From AU$660 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Pre-medical, medical and nursing students who want to observe healthcare in an overseas setting. Because local regulations prevent volunteers from treating patients independently, this program is best suited to students rather than qualified professionals.

Project details

Inspired to be a Medical volunteer in Sri Lanka? International Volunteer HQ’s Medical project is a great opportunity for pre-med and medical students to learn and observe at a training hospital in Kandy. Volunteers shadow local staff in a wide range of departments and gain insight into many different clinical practices while the people of Sri Lanka get better access to affordable healthcare.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Training hospitals have huge benefits both for budding medical professionals and members of the community. They provide opportunities for students to see and experience healthcare first-hand, while locals have better access to affordable treatment.

Medical volunteers in Sri Lanka are placed in a training hospital in an observational capacity, shadowing local staff and providing assistance where necessary. Local regulations prevent volunteers from working alone, so you should not expect independent tasks.

Volunteers who are 3rd year students or qualified may be able to assist with rehabilitation exercises, checking blood pressure or preparing medical equipment, however this is decided by the doctors at the time.

Medical volunteers are required to provide the following once you’ve registered, no later than two weeks before your program start date:

Pre medical student

  • Need to provide a cover letter

Medical/ nursing Students

  • Need to provide a cover letter
  • Profile document (similar to a CV and we will provide you the document once have registered)
  • Confirmation letter from their university

Medical professionals

  • Need to provide a cover letter
  • Profile document (similar to a CV and we will provide you the document once have registered)

Prospective volunteers must apply for the medical project no later than two weeks before you wish to begin. If the above documents are not received by our local staff at least two weeks prior to your program start date, you cannot be guaranteed a Medical placement and should expect to work on another project.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

Why do Medical volunteering in Kandy with IVHQ?

As a medical volunteer in Sri Lanka you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Observing a wide range of procedures
  • Learning about clinical practice in a new setting
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining medical experience and knowledge
  • Immersing yourself in Sri Lankan culture
  • Discovering Sri Lanka’s rich history

Volunteer requirements

  • To join the Medical project in Sri Lanka volunteers need to be pre-med, medical students or professionals.
  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.
  • All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

Apply for free

Not sure which program to join?

Get personalized recommendations >

'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Josephine Vasanthan
04 Jun 2024

The Women's Education project in Sri Lanka needs volunteers. The organization & local people were very grateful to IVHQ. I gained knowledge about local Sri Lankan healthcare settings.

The program was rewarding and the local team were helpful to all volunteers when they needed support.

Stacey Rankin
07 Dec 2023

I fully enjoyed my volunteer experience and am planning to save for a return volunteer trip once I finish my studies. I believe I have learned and developed greatly but there is always more to learn while making a positive impact. I would definitely recommend IVHQ to others and I am happy I took this opportunity despite my initial hesitance.

Marihan Ahmed
29 Aug 2023

IVHQ were extremely helpful and useful with their pre-departure support. The local team in Sri Lanka were amazing and so helpful! Best team ever, literally. This really made me grow and learn a lot as a person. It is something I would really love to do over and over again. I was taught lots of things from my medical volunteering. I really got plenty of knowledge and I was extremely happy being over there. I really want to go back again and repeat this amazing experience and I would be happy to volunteer again with IVHQ and recommend it to everyone.

Waleed Habash
29 Aug 2023

I think the Sri Lanka program made me grow so much and mature as a person. The program helped me create new friends, build relationships with my roommates, and mostly step out of my comfort zone. I would highly recommend anyone to try it because it gives you a wonderful and full-filling experience.

Marios-Ioannis Tsourous
23 Aug 2022

The biggest impact my volunteering trip had on me was through engaging with a different culture. Take the leap of faith and you will be rewarded with life changing experiences.

Jakub Duben
06 May 2022

I spent two weeks at the Medical project in Kandy. From the first day I felt very welcomed at the volunteer house and immediately made friends with other volunteers. I loved the activities and trips after work. Everything was well arranged and organized. The local coordinator was so helpful with everything. I enjoyed talking to him and spending time with him. I felt at home there and I also loved the food. At the hospital, the staff at Gynaecology/Obstetrics were trying to explain and show me as much as possible. They all speak very good english, which made it pleasant and easy to communicate and cooperate. I've seen lots of examinations and surgeries. It was a valuable experience for me.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in Sri Lanka with IVHQ


Known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka is an island nation set off the south-east coast of India. Famous for its tea plantations, cinnamon exports and cricket rivalries, it also boasts a vast array of beaches, Buddhas and big beasts like elephants and whales.

While Sri Lanka is a well-developed country which has made great strides towards making sure its residents don’t live in extreme poverty, there are still many places outside of the main centres where people struggle to access good quality education, healthcare and earn a decent living to support themselves and their families. Volunteers can help in these areas by providing important support to local initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life for people in these disadvantaged areas.

Most of IVHQ’s Sri Lanka volunteer projects are based in the small, sacred city of Kandy.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Colombo anytime on the Saturday or Sunday before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) on Sunday. Your airport pick-up on this day is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

After you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Kandy. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Sunday night before your program orientation.

If you are travelling in Sri Lanka prior to your volunteer program, you can meet the local team at the airport in Colombo on the Sunday before your program begins, or make your own way directly to the local team’s office in Kandy.

Orientation is run by the local team in Kandy, beginning on the Monday morning of your start date. Volunteers can choose to join a One-day Orientation or Introduction Week Orientation.

One-day Orientation:

This provides you with all the key information you need, plus the chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising. It includes an introduction to Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan customs, rules and expectations, safety in Sri Lanka, travel opportunities in Sri Lanka, an introduction to your volunteer project and placement, Kandy city tour, cultural show and basic Sinhala language lessons.

Introduction Week Orientation:

This is a fantastic way to start your volunteer experience in Sri Lanka and gives you the time to dive deeper into the culture and activities. It will include everything on the One-Day Orientation as well as visits to a Buddhist monastery, a spice garden and the famous Temple of the Tooth. You’ll also get to take a Sri Lankan cooking class, and Batik lesson.

If you wish to participate in the Introduction Week, you can indicate this on your application form when you apply for the program or let your Program Manager know at least two weeks before you begin the program.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays - A typical volunteer day is as follows:

6:00 - 7:30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
7:45 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.
12:00 PM Lunch
1:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers can stay longer depending on what help is needed at the time or are free to travel home or do some shopping and sightseeing.
9:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.


During the weekends, volunteers are free to relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Kandy and Sri Lanka. Kandy itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has an exciting selection of things to see and do. You can visit a number of beautiful and ornate temples including the Temple of the Tooth - an important shrine housing a canine tooth said to belong to the Buddha; wander in the grand and impressive Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya; tour a tea plantation and factory; sample the tasty and widely-regarded local cuisine; or take a walk up to the biggest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka and be rewarded with fantastic panoramic views of the city. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to destinations, such as Colombo, Galle or even Southern India.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers in Kandy are accommodated in a volunteer house. Bedrooms have bunk beds and you can expect to share a room with four to nine other volunteers of the same gender.

Living is comfortable and the accommodation has electricity, fans, running water. Bathrooms in the volunteer houses are all western style with a toilet, basin and a warm shower. Bedding is provided and includes a pillow with pillow case and top and bottom sheets. You will need to bring a towel, toiletries including hand soap and toilet paper, and a mosquito net if you wish to sleep with one.

The volunteer house has a safe member staying in the house at night and there is an 8:00pm curfew on weeknights and 12:00pm on weekends at the volunteer accommodation, please be considerate and reduce noise.

To access the internet during your program, we recommend bringing an unlocked mobile phone and purchasing a local SIM card when you arrive in Sri Lanka, as WiFi is not available in the volunteer accommodation.

Private rooms can be arranged for an additional $90 per person, per week, subject to availability at the time.

Please note that families with younger children are required to book a private room for their time on the program.


Volunteers on the Sri Lanka program are provided with three meals a day during the week and brunch and dinner during the weekend. Breakfast includes toast, eggs, fruit, tea, coffee and milk. Sri Lankan foods served for lunch and dinner include roti bread, dhal, curries, vegetables and salads. Meat is rarely eaten except on festive occasions.

Bottled water is readily available in Sri Lanka and volunteers should budget approximately AU$7 per week for 2 litres per day. There are also water filters in the volunteer houses. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can discuss this with you. However, you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. The local team will do their best to see that you are well taken care of, but as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible. If you wish to supplement some of your meals with home comforts, there are basic kitchen facilities available to use.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately AU$511) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $425 Equivalent to $61/day
2 weeks $622 Equivalent to $44/day
3 weeks $859 Equivalent to $41/day
4 weeks $1,076 Equivalent to $38/day
5 weeks $1,293 Equivalent to $37/day
6 weeks $1,510 Equivalent to $36/day
8 weeks $1,944 Equivalent to $35/day
10 weeks $2,378 Equivalent to $34/day
12 weeks $2,812 Equivalent to $33/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$511) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Sri Lanka generally find US$50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Return to the airport when your program finishes
  • Transport to and from your volunteer placement each day
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Free-time experiences & tours in Kandy

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Kandy! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Kandy program.

Lion's Rock Fortress and Safari - 1 night/2days
Lion's Rock Fortress and Safari - 1 night/2days

Embark on an unforgettable weekend getaway to Sigiriya, where ancient history and breathtaking nature await.

Trekking Week
Trekking Week

Discover the best of Sri Lanka on this week-long tour. Enjoy the diverse flora and fauna, take in stunning hilltop views, and ride the world’s most scenic train. Climb Lion’s Rock to explore the ancient kingdom’s ruins from 500 AD.


Check what's required to visit Sri Lanka

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte
Population 21.8 million
Languages Sinhala and Tamil
Currency Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)
Time zone UTC+05:30

Weather and climate

The climate is tropical and warm, due to the moderating effects of ocean winds. Mean temperature ranges from 17°C (62.6°F) in the central highlands, where frost may occur for several days in the winter, to a maximum of 33 °C (91.4°F) in other low-altitude areas.

Apply to check if you're eligible!

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How to get started

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Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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