Sri Lanka is a small teardrop shaped island in the Indian Ocean, located just to the south of the Indian subcontinent. It has a wealth of natural beauty, a fabulous climate and some of the friendliest people on earth, making it an ideal location for a career break abroad.
For those wanting to volunteer in Asia, Sri Lanka offers a little slice of paradise in the aquatic blue of the Indian Ocean. The main geographical feature of the island is an area of hill country a little south of the centre of the island, where heights can exceed 2,500 metres. This elevated area is bordered by broad plains and the whole island is surrounded by palm fringed beaches where the sea temperature rarely falls below 27 °C. For those travelling to teach in Sri Lanka, a visit to the beach is highly recommended! The ethnic jigsaw of the nation means that volunteers teaching in Sri Lanka will come across many different religious beliefs and a couple of different languages while staying on this small island. Approximately 74% of the population are Sinhalese and speak Sinhala. Within this ethnic group the predominant religion is Buddhism.
The second largest group, the Tamils, constitute around 18% of the population, with a high concentration in the north of the island. They are Hindu and speak Tamil, meaning that this is the major language found in the north of the island. Approximately 7% of the population are Muslims with Tamil as the mother tongue. The presence of Christianity is also growing and there are a number of smaller ethnic groups such as the Wanniyala-aetto who were the original inhabitants of the island. While this ethnic diversity can make communication problematic, career break volunteers will find Sri Lankans to be warm and welcoming people, and local communities really appreciate the support that our voluntary projects provide.
MondoChallenge supports volunteer teaching projects in various rural Buddhist temples in the beautiful hill region of Kandy. These temples act as both places of worship and as community centres. In Kandy we work in five temples where volunteers wanting to teach English in Sri Lanka can work in pre-schools and primary education.
There are also opportunities to assist in adult education classes, which can involve many of the monks. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can also help out at rural primary schools and at a Buddhist orphanage. Many of these organisations suffer from a severe lack of resources and teaching English in Sri Lanka on your career break can help to alleviate these problems.
A volunteer project in Sri Lanka places you at the heart of an island teeming with wonderful places to visit. Below is a list of suggested tourist sites for your career break in Sri Lanka.
Although the current political troubles are generally isolated in certain areas of the country, volunteers travelling to teach in Sri Lanka are advised to you keep an eye on the news, (or on the Foreign Office website www.fco.gov.uk), for any new developments.
The extreme northern and eastern coastal parts of the island are considered unsafe so we strongly recommend that you do not travel to these regions if you have time off from your volunteer work.
In contrast, Kandy, Hikkaduwa and the areas where our volunteer projects are located are considered very safe. Volunteers teaching in Sri Lanka will find that their host families, project supervisors and Nithila will do all that they can to help, so do please listen to any advice that they give you.
More generally, as a volunteer in Asia, you should show consideration for respectful codes of dress and it is important not to forget that successful integration into your host community is in many ways dependent on your readiness to respect local cultural values. Career break volunteers need not compromise their own beliefs, but rather adhere to a few basic principles, which will avoid causing unintended embarrassment and offence, while volunteering in Sri Lanka.
You can also use the menu at the top left of this page to navigate projects in this country.
Requirements: Prior teaching experience is not essential, but an interest in Buddhism would...
Requirements: Volunteers should be at least 18 years old, and be prepared to immerse themse...