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This program is near Galle, a beautiful area in southern Sri Lanka that is surrounded by lush greenery and is in proximity to world-class beaches! Many of the nearby beaches are prime surfing spots, and others are more relaxing. There is even a turtle lagoon nearby. Galle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, complete with Dutch-colonial buildings, ancient religious buildings, museums and more. Galle is also quite trendy, and is home to cafes, specialty shops and boutique hotels.
This program is ideal for both non-medical students and medical students who are looking to specialize! Most of the volunteer work is observational and varies depending on the following placement.
Pre-Medical Placement: Designed for participants without formal medical education who want to explore the medical field. It provides a broad-based understanding of the medical sector through observation-based learning experiences. As a volunteer, you will gain exposure to various wards, units, and institutions, learning about the medical system in Sri Lanka and tropical diseases prevalent in the region. This placement aims to help determine if a medical career is a potential path for you.
Medical Internship: Targeted towards participants already pursuing or having completed formal medical studies. It offers a more specialized and hands-on experience in specific medical areas, allowing participants to engage in tasks specific to their level of knowledge and skill. As an intern, you will rotate through different hospital departments, observe surgeries, assist medical teams, and gain practical experience in their chosen medical field. The program focuses on further developing clinical skills and deepening understanding of specific areas of medicine.
Nursing Internship: Suitable for nursing students enrolled in or recently completed a nursing degree. The program provides rotations between various wards and units in public hospitals, focusing on practical nursing experience and engagement within the nursing field. As an intern, you will gain exposure to diverse patient care settings, medical specialties, and nursing practices.
Level of Involvement:
Pre-Medical Placement: Participants primarily engage in observation-based learning, gaining exposure to various medical settings. The level of engagement varies depending on factors, such as the participant’s background/skill set and rapport with local hospital staff. Some units may offer more hands-on work than others.
Medical Internship: Medical interns, with their formal medical background, have the opportunity for hands-on involvement based on their capabilities and rapport with the local hospital staff. The level of engagement varies across departments within the hospital. More advanced medical students may volunteer in specialized units such as vascular surgery, pediatric cardiology, oncology and neurosurgery.
Nursing Internship: Nursing interns actively take part in patient care activities, assist medical staff, and observe specialized procedures. The level of involvement is based on the intern’s capabilities and rapport with local nurses, allowing for hands-on experiences within their scope of nursing practice.
Volunteer work locations:
Depending on availability and your level of study, skill or interest, the following institutions and wards are available:
Teaching Hospital Karapitiya: The largest public hospital in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka and the third-largest hospital in the country. It has a capacity of approximately 2,000 beds, 54 wards, and several specialized units. Examples of wards include:
Government Ayurveda Institute: A hospital specializing in the traditional medicinal practice of Ayurveda.
Community Projects: Collaboration with local schools and community organizations. Activities include first aid training, promoting hygiene practices, assisting medical campaigns, engaging with special needs children, and socializing with older adults.
All the above institutions are conveniently within 30 minutes of the volunteer house, ensuring easy accessibility for program participants.
Please note that for public sector placements volunteers should apply at least three-four months in advance. The experience in the hospital is largely observation-based, with certain units offering more hands-on work than others. The level of involvement for each student depends on factors such as their background, skill set, relationship with the local hospital staff, and the specific department’s practices and policies.
Schedule: Volunteers will wake early, around 6:00-6:30 AM, enjoy breakfast and arrive at their placement by 8:00 AM. Volunteers work between three to five hours per day, Monday-Friday, with lunch on-site around noon. Evenings are free except on days with evening surgery observations. During the weekends and local holidays, the program does not run and volunteers can enjoy sight seeing activities.
Internet: Each volunteer may use up to 10 GB of Wi-Fi in the volunteer house during their stay.
Laundry: Laundry services are available for an additional fee. Additional data can be purchased at affordable rates.
Food: Three meals per day will be prepared by the in-house chefs, using local, fresh ingredients. Tropical fruit is available during every meal and there is a salad bar set up during most lunches and dinners. Vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, and lactose-free diets can be accommodated with advance notice. Tea, coffee and filtered water are available 24/7.
Requirements for pre-med volunteers
Additional requirements for medical interns:
Volunteers can enjoy weekly evening yoga session on the rooftop, night fishing trips, weekly movie nights, monthly bike tours and barbecues! Additional travel adventures are available for an additional fee, and we list a few recommendations below:
Adventure Tour (Highly Recommended):
Extend your stay in Sri Lanka by participating in a seven-day Adventure Tour! This adventure tour includes a game drive, visits to waterfalls, a long train ride, an overnight stay at a riverside eco lodge, visit to temples, a village walk, visit to a spice grove, a visit to Lion Rock, time in the local market and a trip to Negombo Beach!