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Teaching Volunteer Program in Sri Lanka

Teaching Volunteer Program in Sri Lanka

Eager to be a volunteer Teacher in Sri Lanka? International Volunteer HQ’s Teaching project gives volunteers a great opportunity to help teach English in temples, monasteries, schools for people with disabilities, preschools and village homes in Kandy. Volunteers gain teaching experience while sharing their English expertise and skills with local students who would otherwise not be able to access language lessons.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from AU$613 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, meals, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Teach English to a variety of students in a wide range of community settings

  • Enjoy Sri Lanka’s spectacular and diverse geography

  • Stay in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Kandy

Key information

Improve access to quality education
Temples, monasteries and schools
Stay in a volunteer house
Volunteers aged 16+ and families
Fully hosted experience from AU$613 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 12 weeks
Introduction Week orientation available
Up to 5 hours volunteering per day

This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who speak fluent English are are passionate about sharing their skills and knowledge with students in Sri Lanka. You’ll be supervised by local staff so no teaching experience is required, but some relevant training like a TEFL course would be helpful.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Private language lessons are often the best way for Sri Lankans to learn English, however it can be an expensive endeavour that many cannot afford. By bringing your skills as a fluent English speaker you’re helping break down that barrier and providing better access to language learning opportunities for Sri Lankans.

As a Teaching volunteer you’ll be placed in a local village, where you will be running an after school class in the afternoon with students ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old. You may teach with another volunteer or by yourself and get creative with your lesson planning. There is an informal curriculum and past volunteers have examples that you can use to help plan your lessons. Volunteer duties will vary depending on your placement but generally include:

  • Teaching English classes
  • Lesson planning
  • Arranging educational activities
  • Tutoring students

In the morning you will do lesson planning or if you would like to volunteer more there may be capacity to help in the Childcare or teach Women.

During school holidays volunteers can expect to get involved in one of the following placements: teaching village children (during the day, rather than after school hours) teach English to monks or join the Women’s Education project.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4: Quality Education

More than half of all children and teens do not meet minimum proficiency standards in reading and mathematics. Quality education provides an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment and is key to preventing poverty, securing long-term employment and improving quality of life.

Why do Teaching volunteering in Kandy with IVHQ?

When you volunteer to teach English in Sri Lanka you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving access to language education for local communities
  • Helping students improve their English
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining teaching experience
  • Immersing yourself in Sri Lankan culture
  • Discovering Sri Lanka’s rich history

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • Volunteers aged 16-18 are required to provide IVHQ with parental consent in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team
  • All volunteers aged 13+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 13-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • To respect the local culture and customs in Sri Lanka, volunteers should be aware that they’re unable to have anything obstructing their face while at their volunteer placement.
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

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

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

JP
Joshua Paterson
23 Jan 2024

I gained appreciation, love and worth. I'd tell someone who is hesitate that, in time you will tell your future partner about the lasting impact the trip had on you then your children and then your grandchildren!

...
IF
Ingeborg Fetscher
18 Dec 2023

I had yet another marvellous experience, this is my 5th volunteer project with IVHQ. All I’d advise people who are new or hesitant to this kind of activity is, not to expect the convenience etc. You might enjoy in your home country, but rather embrace and learn from other/different cultures. Helping others comes back to you a thousand fold and is the most rewarding experience.

...
RW
Ravinder Wadhwa
01 Nov 2023

I want to tell all my friends and whoever has time to help others and see a new country. This is the best program with safe accommodation. I have already booked my 4th program for next year.

...
KJ
Kithmini Jayawardane
14 Jun 2023

The local team were extremely kind and supportive. They made sure I felt safe throughout my stay, and always messaged me in the evening as to how the volunteering went and if there was anything I needed. My favorite moment from the volunteer experience was teaching the kids how to say what their future jobs are in English. It made me so happy to hear that most of them were saying they wanted to be doctors and engineers. I will never forget this experience and am super keen to do it again next year. To know that you are providing such a big impact on these kids lives is absolutely amazing. The meals made were absolutely amazing. I enjoyed all the different types of curries.

...
PH
Paul Haiselden
27 Jan 2022

The local team staff were without question one of the kindest people I've ever met. A favourite moment was working with an absolutely lovely student to help her prepare for her exam, as well as getting to know the wonderful team in Sri Lanka.

...
MM
Meghan Mulvihill
11 Feb 2021

Before arriving in Sri Lanka, I felt fully prepared thanks to the information I was given through the info booklet, profiles of previous volunteers, and my Program Manager's detailed answers via email. Thank you for making this trip easy! I'm thrilled to say that I felt more than prepared for my first time volunteering abroad. The food is incredible in Sri Lanka, and the littlest effort can make such a difference when you're doing your projects. I did 1 week at the disabled orphanage, 3 weeks temple renovation and taught in Sigiriya. My favourite project was teaching, but the others were rewarding and fun, as well. It's very easy to switch your project if you want to, the local team do all they can so you will have the best experience!

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

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Volunteer Abroad in Sri Lanka with IVHQ

Location

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 spend 1 to 2 hours planning for their projects or leave home and travel to another placement
12:00 PM Lunch
2:00 PM Volunteers head to their placements.
9:00 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.

Weekends

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.

Meals

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$8 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.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
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 AU$613 Equivalent to AU$88/day
2 weeks AU$858 Equivalent to AU$61/day
3 weeks AU$1168 Equivalent to AU$56/day
4 weeks AU$1445 Equivalent to AU$52/day
5 weeks AU$1723 Equivalent to AU$49/day
6 weeks AU$2000 Equivalent to AU$48/day
8 weeks AU$2556 Equivalent to AU$46/day
10 weeks AU$3111 Equivalent to AU$44/day
12 weeks AU$3666 Equivalent to AU$44/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

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

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately AU$530) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in AUD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transport to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Sri Lanka generally find US$50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.

Free-time experiences & tours in Sri Lanka

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

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Private Room Upgrade
Private Room Upgrade

Upgrade to a private room and bathroom while volunteering in Sri Lanka.

From AU$145

Check what's required to visit Sri Lanka

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

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.

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How to get started

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