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.
- Programs start every Monday
- Affordable fees from $355 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
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 temples, monasteries, pre-schools, schools for people with disabilities and village homes, where you will usually take one class per day with students ranging in age from 5 to 50 years old. Volunteer duties will vary depending on your placement but generally include:
- Teaching under the supervision of local teachers
- Lesson planning
- Arranging educational activities
- Tutoring students
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
- 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
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Sri Lanka photo gallery
Recommended online TEFL course
We encourage volunteers on IVHQ’s Teaching and Childcare projects to come prepared by completing some relevant training, such as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course. Although formal teaching qualifications are not required on these projects as volunteers are supported by local staff, taking a TEFL course enables you to gain more from the experience. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.Get TEFL certified online
”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 L...anka, 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!” read more
Read reviews from Teaching volunteers in KandySee more reviews
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 centers 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 Saturday or Sunday. Your airport pick-up over the weekend 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 traveling 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.
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 socializing. 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, a boat ride on Kandy Lake, a Batik lesson and get a relaxing Ayurveda massage.
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
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.|
|3:00 PM||Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, prepare for the next day 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.
Our local team also offers some great travel packages for volunteers over the weekend and after their volunteer program finishes. They can help you arrange trips and have some special packages available for volunteers, including Trekking Week (a week of hiking some of Sri Lanka’s most famous treks and mountains), Beach Week (a week of activities on Sri Lanka’s coast) and Body and Mind Week (a week of yoga and Ayurvedic massage at a retreat in Sri Lanka). All of the above can be enquired about directly with our program staff after registering on the IVHQ Sri Lanka program. These packages cost approximately $430 for the week (including meals and accommodation) and can be paid for in Sri Lanka to our program staff.
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 12 other volunteers.
Homestay accommodation is also available in Kandy and is a popular option for couples or older volunteers. This option can be arranged with our local team according to availability and volunteers may either have their own room or share with one or two others of the same gender, depending on how many other volunteers have requested homestay accommodation. Alternatively, private rooms and matrimonial rooms can be arranged for an additional $35 per person, per week, subject to availability at the time.
Living is comfortable and all accommodation has electricity and running water. Bathrooms in the volunteer houses and homestays 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.
Families who wish to volunteer in Sri Lanka are required to stay in a homestay at an additional cost of US$35 per person, per week. If your family has more than four members, two rooms may be required to accommodate all family members.
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.
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. Authentic Sri Lankan meals are cooked by a local chef and most are prepared with an array of spices and coconut milk.
Bottled water is readily available in Sri Lanka and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for 2 liters per day. There are also water filters in the volunteer houses and homestays. 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.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|1 week||$355 Equivalent to $51/day|
|2 weeks||$507 Equivalent to $37/day|
|3 weeks||$699 Equivalent to $34/day|
|4 weeks||$871 Equivalent to $32/day|
|5 weeks||$1,043 Equivalent to $30/day|
|6 weeks||$1,215 Equivalent to $29/day|
|8 weeks||$1,559 Equivalent to $28/day|
|10 weeks||$1,903 Equivalent to $28/day|
|12 weeks||$2,247 Equivalent to $27/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteering
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of $299 in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
- 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$30-50 per week to be sufficient for expenses.
Check what's required to visit Sri Lanka
Check out the widget below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Sri Lanka, based on your country of residence.
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.
Protecting against COVID-19:
Volunteers tested for COVID-19 within 72 hours of travel
Health & safety information provided during orientation
Strict disinfecting standards for programs & accomodation
Greater physical distance between volunteers
Essential country information
|Capital||Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte|
|Languages||Sinhala and Tamil|
|Currency||Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR)|
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.