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Plan My Gap year - Sri Lanka

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Saved by Katie Clarke
on April 25, 2014 at 11:33:42 am


Partner institution: Plan My Gap year - Sri Lanka

Website: http://www.planmygapyear.co.uk/sri-lanka


Contributors (2014):

Connie Wooltorton

Bethany Farrow

Molly Steeds

Katie Clarke

Shauna Baxter

Laura Noonan

Hannah Orchard

Sarah Price

Hannah Leake




Contributors: for details on what is required in each section, please look at the Guidance Notes


Placement Information



Social life

Things to do, things not to do

Useful Contacts

Before you go

Placement Information

Whilst on placement there are lots of different work you can volunteer to take part in. From the Medical Program, Painting and Building work, working alongside the Orphanage Program and Teaching the Tsunami Children. They are all so worthwhile doing while you have your time in Sri Lanka as they are very rewarding projects. You are able to pick and choose which you would like to do and you are able to pick more than one in order to get a taste in every part of the volunteering program. Usually you work one project in a morning, go back home for lunch and go to another or the same program in the afternoon. The coordinators are very accepting in making sure you're happy in doing what your doing and if you have plans for one afternoon, they may let you have it off in order to go and do what you wish, such as going to the beach or going shopping. Your welcome to swap and change projects when you like, you have plenty of time in your stay to get the best out of each project you take part in.


This is a picture of me whilst enjoying my time with the Tsunami Teaching project, the children were amazing and it really gives you an reality check to how greatful and happy children they were and it makes you think about your childhood and how you were brought up with material things, these children and their families make the best out of what they have and thats really inspiring to me!






There are two houses you may be placed in, one is the main coordinator Ashika's family house where his family and himself are very welcoming in making you feel at home in their home. Ashika's mum and dad; Ranji & Tamari split between both houses in making sure everyone is alright. You can have the option to move if you have friends in the other house or if you prefer another house for the rest of your stay. The other house called 'Lion House' is only round the corner from the family home, about a 5 minute tuktuk ride from the home, it's a little bigger than the family home and has a roof in which you are able to go up on in your spare time to sunbathe if you wish. Each house can cater for around 10 volunteers in each, there is plenty of room for everyone. The price of the accommodation comes to around £10 a day and that is for your food and stay so its worth while staying there, getting breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the price. We had a few extra days once we finished the project in which we were planning on going to a hotel to relax for our last few days, however upon our stay we decided to stay with the family as we enjoyed it there that much so it just shows how welcoming and friendly they are which made us not want to leave!





We got picked up from the airport in a minibus sort of van, as they have to fit your suitcases in, and then they drive you to the home your placed in, this takes around 3 hours depending on which airport you arrive at. From Colombo airport where we were from took around 3 hours. Other than long journeys you will travel in a TukTuk, we really enjoyed travelling in these, however they only fit around 2-3 people in them so you may need a few if a lot of you are going somewhere! They are the main form of transport for families in Sri Lanka however there are also cars, motorbikes and bikes which people ride on the streets. Traffic is rather heavy in Ambalagoda, when we first arrived we were shocked as to how they drive and the amount of cars on the roads. You also have to be careful when crossing and walking alongside the roads, just to make sure you're not in the way and when crossing, not to hesitate and just go as there is no traffic lights for you to cross with however are some crossings which make it safer for you to cross on, other than that the roads are fine to walk on.



Social life

The social life in Ambalangoda is absolutely amazing! There are lots of places you can eat in, in town, if you fancy having dinner out one night you can get a TukTuk there and Ashika will tell you the best places to go and what to have in order to get the best taste of Sri Lankern food. However his mum Tamari cooks the best dinners! We ate out once which was nice but enjoyed staying at home and eating with the other volunteers. On a few nights we enjoyed going to a place called Hikkaduwa, where the beach is amazing and the night life there is also really good! we enjoyed going to a place called 'Funky De Bar' for a cocktail or two! We also had a few nights where we went to have dinner in a restaurant with the other volunteers and then onto the bar for a party on the beach. All of the locals are very welcoming and enjoy the parties too! The tuktuks take you there and wait for you until your ready to go home. Its better if there is a few of you going as Hikkaduwa is about 20 minutes away from Ambalagoda so a few tuktuks will be going to take you all there. When you go to placement to work you dont need to pay for the tuktuks however when you go do something for yourself, the tuktuk drivers need to be paid. When you get to where your going just ask them how much you owe them and they will tell you, usually around 300-400 rupees to Hikkaduwa but its still really cheap! There are lots of shops in Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa so there's always something to do, from shopping to going to the beach it's a really good experience!


Usually on a morning you would have fried egg and toast, with fruit and for lunch there was also a choice of either rice/noodles with usually three other dishes you could have with it. it would be placed in a bowl and you helped yourself to try what you wish. I'd advice you to have a go at everything, its always good to try something new, and some of the foods were actually really nice! While out in Hikkaduwa there are lots of nice places to eat also, a restaurant what made homemade chips and chicken strips definately meant we had to have lunch there which we really enjoyed! There was also homemade real beef burgers which were also really nice!





Things to do, things not to do

My advice is too look after your valuables, obviously don't leave anything valuable on show and to make sure you shut your doors and windows. We had a thunder and lightning storm one day and the other girls left their window open, luckily nothing too important was damaged however it could have been much worse! things not to do would be to be polite, locals may talk to you and want money so be careful when doing what your doing, be polite but just say no thank you and they should leave you alone. I'd also advise to buy a mobile phone out there, its so much cheaper and it make things easier when ringing Ashika or for a tuktuk, it doesnt cost very much and they will take you to get everything you need after you're induction, such as buying a phone and changing your money. Make sure you drink lots of water and eat some food, it's easy to lose your appetite out there because of the heat but id say to try at least eat abit each dinner time and take water out with you as its easy to get dehydrated and finally remember your insect spray and sun lotion!  



Useful Contacts

Ashika is always on the other end of the phone if you need him, if you have gone out for the day and need a tuktuk home, if you ring him he will send one out to pick you up.








MOBILE (94) 75 95 82005

                    75 21 37730 



Before you go

Before you go, check your flight details and let Phillip know of any changes, pack enough work clothes such as long over the knee trousers for when your working and visiting temples and sleeved tops to cover your chest and your shoulders. when your not working it is alright for you to wear what you like. Take enough spending money, i took £500 for 3 weeks and that was more than enough, although it is cheap out there i liked to buy lots of souvenirs for my journey so it is easy for it all to go, especially when going out for dinner and partying on the beach! 





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