Sri Lanka Medical Experience
Even in the 21st century, healthcare comes at a premium in many parts of the world. Working in a hospital in Sri Lanka is a great opportunity to get close-up clinical exposure and to learn about a healthcare system in the developing world. You will witness a variety of cases, in striking contrast to what you might find in your local hospital! PMGY’s medical program in Sri Lanka is the perfect way to gain invaluable hospital work experience, while exploring the wonders that this amazing island has to offer!
PMGY’s Sri Lanka Medical Experience is an elective scheme for medical students, pre-medical students and recent graduates (age 17 and older) looking to pursue a career in medicine. Recent graduates and applicants from a non-health related background will be placed at a private hospital. Those who are enrolled in a medical or health-related degree program at university will be placed at a government hospital.
Private Hospital Placements
(for volunteers from a non-health related degree background)
You will volunteer in a private hospital in Ambalangoda and have the opportunity to volunteer in the following departments: Physiotherapy, Dental Surgery, Radiology (x-ray machine and computerised radiology), Laboratory, Phlebotomy, Inpatient Ward, Outpatient Ward
You will be paired with an English-speaking member of staff, and can choose to spend your time across several departments or just one or two. Our team makes every effort to meet your request for placement, but this cannot be guaranteed due to availability and other factors.
The private hospital provides a structured observational and informative approach to give participants a broad insight into a medical facility in Sri Lanka. Although you will gain invaluable medical insight and knowledge, in our experience, most volunteers become eager for some hands-on work. Since this role is purely observational, we recommend that applicants sign up for no more than 2 weeks on the medical program. While PMGY cannot offer you hands-on medical volunteering, we can welcome you to join our teaching and community projects.
Government Hospital Placements
(pre-health, pre-medical, nursing and medical degree candidates only)
PMGY partners with a government hospital located only a 15 minute journey from Ambalangoda. It is a medium-sized hospital with over 500 stations, with 20 doctors and 2 surgeons.
We offer placements in the following departments: Outpatient, Emergency Treatment Room, General Medicine, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Antenatal, Postnatal, Labour Room, Paediatrics. You can choose to spend your time across several departments or just one or two. Our team will do our best to match any specific requirements you have, but this cannot always be guaranteed due to extenuating circumstances.
You will be assigned to a specific staff member to mentor you. Since the staff is extremely busy, we ask our volunteers to be proactive, ask questions and be assertive in requesting additional guidance.
Your role at the government hospital is largely observational. You may be assigned some very basic hands-on involvement such as taking blood pressure and blood sugars, but this cannot be guaranteed and is at the sole discretion of the staff and performed under staff supervision. It is important to be mindful that any tasks you may be assigned are not above your comfort or qualification level.
We are delighted to sign off on any paperwork you may require, if you wish to use this program as part of your medical degree placement. Furthermore, if you work at the private hospital you will be provided with a medical certificate at the end of your placement.
Please note that the government hospital will not permit applicants who are NOT studying medicine or nursing at university. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule.
This program is not suitable for qualified medics and nurses. Such candidates are best suited to our medical programs in Ghana, India or Tanzania all of which offer a much more in-depth medical experience.
After arriving at the airport in Denpasar, we will transport you via tuk tuk or private car to your project (a service included in your Program Fee.)
The Volunteer House, your home away from home, is basic but comfortable and located just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town. Rooms are furnished with bunk beds, sleep up to 10 people per room (same-sex rooms only), and have air conditioning. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space to store clothes and accessories and their own mosquito net and bed linen. Bathrooms are shared. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem, considering it is hot and humid all year round in Sri Lanka!
The Volunteer house has a voucher based Wi-Fi system and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled. A member of our local team will also live at the house to ensure you have round the clock support and security. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables with Ashika in the safe located at his house.
Your housemates will be other PMGY volunteers from around the world and from other PMGY programs, adding to the richness of your experience. During your off time, Sri Lanka beckons! With your new friends, you can explore Sanur Beach and its sunrise views, Pura Blanjong Temple, and the Bali Museum, and that’s just for starters.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
Take a tour of the main Volunteer House here:
In general, those with little or no medical experience assume largely observational roles. If you are enrolled in a medical or health-related curriculum, you may have the opportunity for some basic hands-on involvement. For example, volunteers usually get the chance to check blood pressure and blood sugar levels at one of our local village campaigns in Ambalangoda. While previous PMGY volunteers have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc., we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement for participants regardless of their medical experience or background. The medical staff are accountable for you while you’re under their supervision, so it is completely up to them if you are permitted to perform hands-on procedures.
Additional Features – All participants in PMGY’s medical program, regardless of whether you are placed at the private or government hospital, will have the opportunity to participate in an Ayurveda Medicine Seminar. Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago. Its concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices. The earliest references to Ayurveda in Sri Lanka are associated with a great physician, Ravana, a king of Sri Lanka, dating back to the prehistoric times.
You will have the chance to attend a lecture conducted by a local Ayurvedic specialist. They will teach you all about the history of Ayurveda, its role within healthcare in Sri Lanka and how it is implemented to treat a variety of cases.
Ambalangoda, Sri Lanka
The cost listed below includes a registration fee of $193.00. The remainder or Program Fee is due 60 days prior to the start of your program.
- Accommodation (Volunteer House)
- Meals (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
- Airport Pick Up (24 Hours)
- In-country Orientation
- Private Transport To Project
- 24 Hour In-country Support
- 24 Hour UK-based Support
- Regular Program Inspection
- Certificate Of Completion
- Comprehensive Volunteer Handbook
- Live Pre-departure Webinars
- 100% Financial Protection
- Regular Program Inspection
- Certificate Of Completion
What’s Not Included
- Flights To Colombo ($600-$1200)
- Travel Insurance ($22.50 Per Week)
- Return Airport Transfer ($60)
- Visa ($35-150)
- Criminal Background Check (Varies)
Schedules Project Start Dates
For the majority of our programs you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Some of our programs have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the program before applying.
You should arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (airport code CMB) on the selected Saturday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.
Founded in 2011 by volunteers for volunteers, Plan My Gap Years works with local communities in the developing world towards long-term sustainable goals. We know there is no better way to travel and make a positive impact in the world.
Our structured programs create the perfect platform for you to see the world, meet like-minded people and engage in meaningful volunteer work. We have teams in the UK and in our host destinations who will support you 24/7 throughout your time with us. Furthermore, every project on our network is regularly risk-assessed by our UK team to ensure our setup is safe and that our volunteers are making a positive impact.
There is also a great social element to our programs. We put you in touch with all of your fellow volunteers via Facebook before you set off. Our projects receive volunteers from around the world throughout the year, so even if you’re travelling solo, you’re going to meet heaps of people along the way. Plus you’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel the country with your newfound travel buddies – it’s all part of the PMGY experience!
People like you volunteering with this organization (6)
I was on the fence about medical school, but volunteering at the government hospital near Ambalangoda changed everything. ...
Gaining hospital experience in Sri Lanka was so much more than I could ever have imagined. I made friends from ...
Just being on hand to help the compassionate doctors and nurses care for families in Ambalangoda was very fulfilling. ...
I am so grateful for the 6 weeks I spent volunteering at a private hospital in Ambalangoda and for having the opportunity ...