Gain medical experience in
a busy government
hospital

Shadow local professionals across multiple departments

Apply now
  • Duration
    1-12 Weeks
  • Minimum age
    17+
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From
    £200
  • Duration
    1-12 Weeks
  • Minimum age
    17+
  • Start dates
    1st & 3rd Saturday
  • From
    £200

Sri Lanka medical experience

Gain invaluable experience by assisting within a busy government hospital located on the shores of the South West coast in Sri Lanka. You will get up close clinical exposure and learn all about the health care in this developing country.

From observing and following the local staff, you will gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of the problems faced. You will get to witness a variety of cases and observe different medical practices that offer a fantastic contrast to what you find in your local hospital at home – such as dengue fever, snake bites and rabies to name but a few.

Whether you are taking your elective placement in Sri Lanka or are just wanting to gain some medical experience, this is a unique chance to experience a brand new health care system while exploring everything this amazing island has to offer.

This unique experience will open your eyes to the world of medicine in Sri Lanka and will provide you with vital international work experience that will set you apart from others.

Overview

Who is it for?
Medical students and volunteers with no experience
Departments avaialble
Out patient, emergency treatment room, general medicine, obstetrics, gynaecology, antenatal, postnatal, labour room, surgery and paediatrics.
Elective placements
Medical, midwifery, nursing, physiotherapy and pharmacy
Background to the medical programme

The Sri Lankan medicine system dates back thousands of years and has a rich history stemming from their extensive kingdoms. It is widely believed that the concept of a hospital was actually introduced by the Sri Lankans, with their kings demanding to have their own hospital homes built with their own practitioners.

The healthcare system in Sri Lankan is universal to all local citizens, offering both traditional Ayurvedic and modern healthcare for free across government hospitals - a similar system to what we experience in the United Kingdom. Many citizens in Sri Lanka will choose to follow Ayurvedic medicine practices for certain illnesses or accidents and western medicine for others. 

The ancient practice of Ayurveda is deeply rooted in the Sri Lankan medical system. It is known as being one of the oldest healing sciences around the world, originating in India over 3000 years ago. Using holistic and natural health practices, Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs.

The majority of hospitals do follow a more "western medicine" approach, using procedures and medications that are seen worldwide. As you spend time across the multiple medical settings, you will see that services are still fairly basic and outdated. Along with this, there are often long waiting lists with a very limited capacity, low staffing numbers and scarce resources. Despite this, Sri Lanka does have a higher life expectancy and lower infant death rate when compared to the neighbouring countries. 

Where will I be volunteering?

The current status of your studies will determine your placement timetable for your time in Sri Lanka. Generally, those who are currently studying a health related degree at university will be placed at one of the government hospitals and applicants from a non-health related background will be placed at the private hospital.

Balapitiya Base Government Hospital - You will spend most of your time volunteering within Balapitiya Base Hospital, just a short 15 minute drive from the volunteer accommodation. This government funded hospital is the leading and largest base hospital in the whole of the Southern Province and provides services to over one third of the population living in the Galle district (220,000+). The large hospital currently has over 500 stations, with 20 doctors, 5 surgeons and over 190 nurses. During an average month in 2017, the hospital had over 4,100 inpatients, just under 14,000 outpatients, carried out 852 surgeries and successfully delivered over 215 babies.

We can place participants in the following: Out Patient, Emergency Treatment Room, General Medicine, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Antenatal, Postnatal, Labour Room and Paediatrics. There are many other specialities on top of this that you can choose to spend your time across, whether that be in several departments or just a few. Our team will do our best to match any specific requirements you have, but this cannot always be guaranteed. We would recommend a mixed timetable in order to experience the different hospital settings.

Village Ayurveda Government Treatment Centre - All volunteers will get the exciting chance to learn more about the traditional Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) by spending one day at the special local clinic. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems (dating back over 3000 years) and promotes the use of herbal compounds, special diets and other unique health practices. During your time here, you will get to observe how patients are treated, learn all about it’s history, what it’s role is within the healthcare system in Sri Lanka and have the chance to ask any questions to the specialist.

Ambalangoda Private Hospital - You will also have the opportunity to spend some time within a small private hospital located in the nearby fishing town of Ambalangoda. Although the hospital is much smaller and only contains an outpatient department, you will get much more one to one interaction with the doctor on duty. Here you will be able to see the more common everyday problems people face and learn what practices are used to help cure them.

What is my role?

Your role on the medical programme will be largely observational, however, you may be assigned some very basic hands-on involvement. This could include taking blood pressure and sugar levels, administering IV injections, dressing wounds, taking temperatures etc. and will be undertaken under the supervision of a medical professional. Although we cannot guarantee this and it is at the sole discretion of your local supervisor, feedback from past volunteers suggests most students get involved with basic activities as listed above.

During your time in Sri Lanka, you will discover new perspectives and cultural attitudes towards medicine, learn how to collaborate with people from a different culture and develop a range of new skills. You will gain hands on training, supervised by experienced English-speaking medical experts. This is your chance to vastly increase your own knowledge by being fully involved in the day-to-day activities of the hospital, observing the doctors and nurses and helping out in simple but practical ways.

You may encounter different scenarios that are not so common back at home, including dengue fever, rabies, snake bites and motorcycle accidents.

Our Sri Lanka medical experience welcomes people from all backgrounds. So if you have just left school and are looking for experience to boost your university application (pre-med) or are currently a university student organising an elective placement overseas - this is the perfect programme for you.

We are able to offer a more specific programme for medical, midwifery and nursing students looking to take part in an overseas elective. We are able to tailor the programme to provide you with a unique experience that will meet all of your requirements and maximise your time abroad. Our UK and local teams are able to complete any necessary paperwork for your university or other scheme.

At the government hospital, you will have the opportunity to be placed across several departments so that you can receive a broad overview (a full list can be found above). Our local team will do their best to match any specific requirements, but this cannot always be guaranteed. We recommend a mixed timetable in order to experience many different hospital settings. 

You will be assigned to a local supervisor within each department to mentor you throughout your time there. However, it is important to understand that the local staff are extremely busy and you should be proactive in asking questions and be assertive in requesting additional guidance where needed.

What will a typical day look like?

Your varied role and the ever-changing scenarios that come with a busy hospital will mean no two days are the same. You will generally be volunteering from Monday to Friday between 9am and 12pm, but depending on your course requirements this can be increased if required. Throughout your time in the hospital there may be major surgeries or labours occurring and you will have the chance to stay longer and observe. 

On the first Tuesday you will spend the day at the Village Ayurveda Government Treatment Centre to learn all about this local medicine practice.

Where will I be staying?

We cannot think of anywhere better to stay when volunteering in Sri Lanka! Our volunteer accommodation is just a stones throw away (10 second walk) from a quiet golden sand beach that is lined with palm trees – paradise! It’s the perfect place to come and relax each evening and witness some incredible sunsets. Not only this, but you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters that have an abundance of colourful fish swimming around the coral reef and you may even see a sea turtle swim by!

The touristy backpacker town of Hikkaduwa is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk ride away where you can visit many restaurants and bars that back right onto the beach. A favourite town amongst most volunteers, there are many supermarkets, quirky shops and water activities on offer – including surfing. The fishermen town of Ambalangoda is just another 10 minute tuk-tuk ride away in the other direction and offers a more local and traditional way of life. You can visit markets, devil mask museums and also see the largest laying down Buddha statue.

The accommodation is also conveniently located close to the historic town of Galle and well known beaches including Mirissa and Unawatuna.

Other things to consider

Level of involvement - Although your role at the hospitals is largely observational, the majority of volunteers are assigned basic hands-on tasks such as taking blood pressure and blood sugar levels, dressing wounds, administering IV injections, recording temperatures and more. Please note we cannot guarantee your level of involvement and this will be at the sole discretion of your supervisor in-country.

Government hospital placements - Please note, anyone who is not currently studying a health related degree at university, will not be able to be placed at the government hospital.  This medical programme is not suitable for trained or qualified professionals. This applies to all organisations and is imposed by the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka.

Top destination - Sri Lanka is widely considered by our volunteers to be our best volunteer destination. The majority of our feedback suggests that this is due to the superior local support offered by Charith and our local team, the volunteer programmes making a real difference, value for money and accommodation location. With this in mind, we believe that Sri Lanka is the perfect destination for first-time travellers, under 18's and families with younger children.

Helping on multiple projects - Whilst in Sri Lanka, you will also have the opportunity to get involved with our teaching or childcare programme for no additional cost.

Weekends and free time - You will have every weekend off from volunteering and this is the perfect time to explore everything this beautiful island has to offer. You are more than welcome to simply relax around the accommodation and enjoy the nearby beaches, but most volunteers will use this time to travel and see the country. Further down this page you will come across many suggestions and ideas on where you could go. Alternatively, if you are looking to see as much of the country as possible during this time, travel with other volunteers and be accompanied by one of our local team members, then you may be interested in one or more of the organised weekend trips we run.

Ayomi

Ayomi, Karu, Mamu and the whole team were very accommodating, helpful when planning events for us to join in on and activities. They helped us to organise transport when going out for the day or going away for the weekend as some of us did, to explore Sri Lanka.

I Spent 4 weeks on the medic... Read More

Dylan MolyneuxNovember 2023

4 week medical placement- Sri Lanka

I did a 4 week medical placement from October to November. This placement was a requirement through my university. TMR organised all the placements and transport to and from which was great! And assigned us to a different area every week so we could experience as many areas as possible, they do s... Read More

Abigail DarlingtonNovember 2023

Medical Programme Sri Lanka

I spent 6 weeks in Sri Lanka on the medical programme for my medical school elective. Everything was very well organised and I felt well supported throughout the whole placement, as well as getting to experience the trip of a lifetime. Would recommend to anyone wanting to start travelling but wan... Read More

Morgan HowlandOctober 2023

The Mighty Roar - Sri Lanka…

I had the most amazing experience with The Mighty Roar in Sri Lanka! The staff go above and beyond for all of the volunteers and treat us all as a family. I was able to do the medical and childcare programmes, whilst also being able to help with the dog feeding and releasing the turtles during my... Read More

Sav Shewan October 2023

A great stay for meeting new people!

The staff here go above and beyond to cater for you at the mighty roar. I stayed here for 4 weeks and the beds are super comfy, they already have mosquito nets and they have lockers to store your things. The food is lovely and they cater to most dietary needs. There’s lots of fun activities to ... Read More

Heather LeeSeptember 2023

TMR-Great Experience

I had a lovely time in Sri Lanka and at TMR. Everyone has been very nice and accommodating. Hope to see you soon

Tom HawkinsSeptember 2023

An amazing four weeks in Sri Lanka

We spent four week in Sri Lanka for our medical placement and can only speak highly of our hosts Ayomi and her family.

They went above and beyond to make us comfortable and were so welcoming, making us feel a part of the family.

A special mention also to Taxi, who never failed to make... Read More

Jamie BinghamSeptember 2023

4 week stay

Very friendly people. Made it easy to adjust into Sri Lankan culture and were very helpful all round.

Sean RalphSeptember 2023

Volunteered on the medical placement in…

Volunteered on the medical placement in Sri Lanka and had a really enriching experience. The TMR group were really welcoming, organising fun activities weekly, really working hard to ensure safety and had a real homely feel to it! The placement days were brief but provided enough time to gain a g... Read More

Kanan SinghAugust 2023

7 weeks medical elective - Tanzania, Ghana + Sri Lanka

I spent 7 weeks total across Tanzania, Ghana + Sri Lanka on my medical elective + had the most incredible experience.

Tanzania - the staff were very helpful + friendly - arranging regular afternoon trips (waterfalls, Kilimanjaro hikes, hot springs), as well as being flexible with allowing m... Read More

Beth WilkinsonAugust 2023

The Mighty Roar Sri Lanka Medical Experience

The Mighty Roar staff were so friendly and welcoming, and organised many activities for us to see and experience what the entire country had to offer.

Seyi AAugust 2023

Medical elective experience

Such a good experience doing a medical elective here, the team were really helpful with everything especially Ayomi and Thaksi - two angels. They were really accommodating and facilitated many fun trips and any elective university requirements.

Kate EustaceJuly 2023

Sri Lanka Medical Elective- An Unforgettable Island Experience

I have loved doing my 4 week medical elective in Sri Lanka- it was the perfect mix of volunteering and getting to explore the beautiful island. The family we were living with were amazing and catered to our needs, including at times going out of their way to be accommodating. A special thank you ... Read More

Liza BuchynskaJuly 2023

Great medical elective experience

Ayomi and her family made us feel so incredibly welcomed and supported throughout our medical experience. Nothing was too much bother and they were always there to ask advice/help.

Lara TurnerJuly 2023

Where do I start.

Where do I start.. I would firstly like to thank the amazing team who welcomed and treated you like a family. I completed the medical volunteer program which was organised by the team. My 3 weeks in Sri Lanka have been magic and I made memories to last a life time.

Amanda TewJuly 2023

Wonderful Medical Elective in Sri Lanka

Such a great experience! I was there for three weeks for the medical programme. Ayomi and all the staff at TMR always went above and beyond to ensure we had the best experience possible. From organising extra activities like surfing and kayaking in the afternoon to coordinating cricket games with... Read More

Bebhinn TwomeyJuly 2023

Amazing time in Sri Lanka

Me and 2 friends came to Sri Lanka for 3 weeks on the medical experience and had the best time! The organisation of the entire trip was incredible. The team here in Sri Lanka were always at hand to help us with anything we needed, and always made sure we felt safe during our trip. They always had... Read More

Jess Birch-MachinJuly 2023

Medical Elective

I really enjoyed my three weeks on the medical elective in Sri Lanka. TMR ensured that we always had activities to look forward to such as cricket, surfing, soccer and kayaking. They also organised brilliant weekend trips to discover the country, which were very well organised with private buses ... Read More

Aoife ManganJuly 2023

Medical elective experience Sri Lanka

I did the medical elective experience in Sri Lanka, and I couldn’t possibly recommend this experience any more. Ayomi, Thaksi, Charith, and all of the people who run the accommodation are the kindest people who really go above and beyond to make the experience as enjoyable as possible - they co... Read More

Holly McNallyJuly 2023

Medical experience in Sri Lanka

I travelled to Sri Lanka for three weeks on a medical experience with the mighty roar. It has been an incredible experience and one I will not forget, I have made friends for life here and can take away more than just memories. Doing your volunteer duties is a massive part of of this experience, ... Read More

Molly BurgessJuly 2023

The most amazing time in TMR Sri Lanka

Myself & 2 friends came for 3 weeks to do the medical experience in Sri Lanka for our degree. The whole experience has been amazing, very well organised, down to the activities they put on and the weekend trips they offer. We went on a safari weekend trip whilst here which was an amazing expe... Read More

Rachael BlakesonJuly 2023

Sri Lanka medical experience

My time in Sri Lanka has been truly amazing the TMR team has been so helpful and any concerns were always addressed! I did the medical experience and would 100% recommend to others, it’s an experience I will never forget. The family at the accommodation are the nicest and most helpful people it... Read More

Caitlin Balow-LloydJuly 2023

Fun medical elective in Sri Lanka

I came with a group of friends for our medical elective and we had a great experience with TMR. The accommodation was comfortable and the homemade Sri Lankan food was very tasty. The staff were all so incredibly friendly and helpful with everything including organising activities for everyone whi... Read More

Isabel July 2023

I had a great experience

I had great experience. They communicate well and I have received loads of support! I wish I could stay longer - the nicest people and the family it’s absolutely lovely! Food was soooo good :)


Aida StepanovaiteJuly 2023

What an experience!

What. An. Experience.

I spent 8 weeks on my medical elective with TMR in Sri Lanka. All I can say is wow! Ayomi, Charith and the local team go above and beyond to look after you and make you feel at home. You are living on site with them, so you really feel like part of the family. The acco... Read More

Avni KantMay 2023

4 Week Nursing Elective in Sri Lanka

I spent 4 weeks in Sri Lanka on my nursing elective placement in January 2020 and WOW what a place!

I chose to go with The Mighty Roar as they are so reasonably priced in comparison to other companies as well as the company as a whole being a family run business. Prior to flying out, Chris ... Read More

Katie SmithFebruary 2023

Medical Placement in Sri Lanka

Did the medical placement in Sri Lanka which counted towards hours for my nursing degree and it was incredible! 100% recommend.

Heather LockyearFebruary 2023

Medical Volunteer

I took part in the medical volunteer program in Sri Lanka during August 2022. Althoug there were difficulties in the country with political and financial issues, none of this impacted on our training and safety.

We all had the most amazing experiences of hospital and clinic work. Meeting so... Read More

Deborah WolfendaleOctober 2022

Amazing

Amazing and good!

Ross O'BrienAugust 2022

Sri Lanka Medical Experience

My 4 weeks in Sri Lanka was such an amazing experience. The family are such welcoming and lovely people that ensure everyone’s safety at all times. Ayomi, Hector, Chuti, Mamo and Sudha thank you so much, best experience of my life.

Sri Lanka is such a beautiful country with so much to see... Read More

Renda SaitJuly 2022

An Amazing Time In Sri Lanka

Had an amazing time in Sri Lanka!! Ayomi and her family made me feel at home!! All the staff are lovely, the area is great and the food was amazing !!

Charlotte GibbsJuly 2022

An Amazing Time In Sri Lanka

I had an amazing time in Sri Lanka thanks to Ayomi and her family, and the local team. At every point in my stay I felt safe and well looked after. Food provided was always good, and the accommodation was clean, with hot water and air conditioning. 

Tuk tuks were available and often or... Read More

Sofia Ashworth-Endicott July 2022

Helpful and Supportive

The mighty roar have been extremely helpful throughout my whole trip, and thanks to them I felt safe and supported the whole time I was there. Booking was very easy and the way their website is set up is very easy to navigate. I would definitely book another trip with them.

Fiona AndrewMay 2022

Medical Elective

Me and 4 of my friends did our medical elective placement in Sri Lanka with TMR and had a great time! Unfortunately due to the pandemic some of our placements were a bit different to what we expected but nevertheless we had a wonderful time. Chutti, Mammu and Hector make sure everyone staying wit... Read More

Louise Munro-JamesApril 2022

Sri Lanka Medical Programme

I did the Sri Lanka medical programme for 4 weeks! It was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made! The family we stayed with were very accommodating and lovely to be with. Would recommend to anyone !

Sophie NelsonMarch 2020

Sri Lanka Medical Experience

Sadly, I am back in England after 4 AMAZING weeks in Sri Lanka with Charith & his wonderful family.

As a student nurse, I was given the fantastic opportunity to volunteer in Balapitiya Hospital (a local government hospital in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka). Over the course of volun... Read More

Sian AliciaJanuary 2020

Medical Experience

I have shortly returned home after staying in Karu’s guest house for 4 weeks. The purpose of my journey to Sri Lanka was to complete an NPE placement organised through my university and to volunteer within their local government hospital as a student nurse. 

Our first day of voluntee... Read More

Courtney ParkinsonDecember 2019

Sri Lanka Medical Experience

I volunteered with TMR for 2 weeks in August in Sri Lanka and couldn't recommend them enough! We had the trip of a lifetime and couldn't have felt more welcome by Charith and his family! Any healthcare students considering an oversees elective placement then i wouldn't hesitate at all! Reasonable... Read More

Zoe RyallSeptember 2019

The most amazing experience! 4 weeks medical program

Had the best time in Sri Lanka. The whole family out there really want you to have the best time and are so funny and lovely (even if they don’t speak much English). The accommodation is fab with nice air conditioned rooms, really comfy beds and the beach across the road is just amazing. I was ... Read More

Katie AyresSeptember 2019

Thank you!

I did the medical programme, it was a great experience and TMR made an effort to accommodate our needs on placement because as a group of student midwives we wanted to be placed on maternity wards. The Sri Lankan people were the loveliest people I’ve ever met and couldn’t do enough for you, i... Read More

Ella MarshSeptember 2019

Amazing 3 weeks in Sri Lanka

I spent 3 weeks during August in Sri Lanka doing the medical programme. It was a very eye opening experience and was great to see how healthcare in other countries is carried out! As well as this I was able to help at the teaching project for an afternoon and also got involved with the turtle pro... Read More

Phoebe MeadowcroftSeptember 2019

The best experience in Sri Lanka

  • January 2024
In April, I went to Sri Lanka on the 2 week Travel and Volunteer experience and had the BEST time! The experience was the perfect idea as it meant I could take part in a meaningful project while still getting to explore the beautiful country of Sri Lanka on my holiday from work. It was my first time travelling completely by myself and the team, both in the UK and in Sri Lanka, made it really easy for me. If you're in any doubt of going on a trip with TMR, this is your sign to do it! I'm so grateful to the whole team who gave me this incredible experience.

Katharine's story

Two amazing weeks in Sri Lanka and I loved every moment

  • June 2023
I spent two amazing weeks in Sri Lanka and I loved every moment. During my time I was able to fully immerse in the incredible culture of the country and the local team made you feel welcome and were all there for any queries you had. I’m very grateful and thankful to TMR for making this experience unforgettable.

Olivia's story

Volunteering in Sri Lanka at 17 years old

  • April 2023
In April I spent two weeks volunteering in the turtle conservation program in Sri Lanka. At only 17 I was terrified to travel so far on my own, but it ended up being some of the best few weeks of my life! Sri Lanka as a country is incredible - the people are so friendly, the lifestyle is very relaxed and the food is amazing! The mighty roar team in Sri Lanka could not have been more welcoming, anything we needed help organising would be sorted straight away. This experience was a trip of a lifetime for me and hopefully I will go back one day!

Holly 's story

Our life changing family trip to Sri Lanka

  • December 2022
After some health issues at the beginning of the year we decided to do something incredible in the summer with the kids and I’m so grateful we found The Mighty Roar! I have three children aged 13, 10 and 7 and this trip has been life changing to say the least.

Sarah's story

Sea turtles & childcare in Sri Lanka

  • October 2022
I volunteered in Sri Lanka for four weeks, split between the sea turtle and childcare programmes. Everything was really well organised and I had the most enjoyable time and met some amazing people along the way.

Freddie's story

Teaching in Sri Lanka

  • March 2022
Volunteering in Sri Lanka is a must do for everyone! I was a teacher there for 4 weeks, where I was able to plan and teach the sweetest kids from the local village, meet many other amazing volunteers and bond with the whole local team. If you're looking for an experience like no other, then head to Sri Lanka!

Malachy's story

Creating memories in Sri Lanka

  • January 2022
I spent 12 weeks in Sri Lanka with The Mighty Roar and I honestly enjoyed every second of it! My time in Sri Lanka was way more than just volunteering. I made some amazing friendships, travelled around the whole island and learnt so much.

Emma's story

Volunteering in Sri Lanka with my partner

  • April 2019
Our visit to Sri Lanka on the Sea Turtle program was nothing but incredible (other than a little hot and sweaty). Our 3 weeks was amazing from day one, with a massive warm welcome from everyone.

Catherine's story

Conserving sea turtles in Sri Lanka

  • April 2019
There is no better feeling in the world than watching a hundred or so baby turtle hatchlings scrambling along the shoreline to the sea, the determination and drive to reach the ocean, it never gets old.

Martin's story

Teaching and turtles in Sri Lanka

  • January 2019
I went to Sri Lanka in January 2019 to volunteer on the sea turtle program, but was also able to help teach English. I had a huge sense of fulfillment from both projects in completely different ways.

Esther's story

Volunteering with my family in Sri Lanka

  • August 2018
My family and I chose to volunteer in Sri Lanka last August for 3 weeks. We wanted to introduce the children to volunteering so that we could all help give something back to a local community.

Sue's story

Sea turtle conservation in Sri Lanka

  • July 2018
My daughter and I volunteered with sea turtles last August and we would 100% recommend The Mighty Roar; we have even looked at doing another project in the next year.

Jennie's story