A volunteer helps his students with their classwork during his teaching work experience in Sri Lanka

Volunteer Teaching with Monks in Sri Lanka

Gain practical classroom experience and work with students to help improve their spoken English

At a glance

Projects Abroad has been awarded the South Asian Sustainable Development Leadership High Award for Volunteerism

  • Volunteer and help students improve their English skills.
  • Add practical classroom work experience to your CV.
  • You can also teach numeracy, music, IT, and a range of other subjects.
  • You'll work in a coastal town two hours from Colombo, where you'll stay with a host family.

Start Dates: 

Completely flexible dates

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks


16 or over

Is volunteer teaching in Sri Lanka right for me?

Do you enjoy working with children? Planning to pursue a teaching career? Want to help make a positive impact in the lives of others? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is the ideal volunteer project for you. It’s especially useful for students studying education or recent graduates looking for practical classroom experience.

You can work in a government school, IT centre, or teaching temple known as a Pirivena.  This is a great way to learn about traditional Sri Lankan culture while helping local people.

You don’t need previous experience or qualifications to join. To make sure you are fully prepared, you’ll receive a thorough induction upon arrival. We also run regular workshops for our teaching volunteers. This is a chance to share ideas for lesson activities and ask questions you might have about your project. Finally, you will receive materials and other resources that you can use for your lessons, such as activity books.

What will I do at my volunteer Teaching Placement in Sri Lanka?

On this Teaching Project, you can get involved in a range of different activities. These include:


  • Work as a teacher or teaching assistant in a school, IT centre, or teaching temple
  • Help students to improve their conversational English abilities
  • Assist with extracurricular activities where needed.

At your volunteer Teaching Placement in Sri Lanka, your work will focus on the following main areas:


Work as a teacher or teaching assistant in a school, IT centre, or teaching temple

You can either take on the role of teacher or teaching assistant. You can work with young monks at a local Pirivena (teaching temple). The children range in age from 9-18, although you’ll mainly work with those aged 10 - 14.

If you're not placed in a Pirivena, you can work in a disadvantaged government school, helping children with their English skills. Alternatively, you'll work in an IT centre, but you will still be teaching English.

Apart from the actual teaching, you will also help with marking and preparing lessons.


Help students to improve their conversational English abilities


As a volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka, the main focus of this project is to improve the conversational English abilities of local students. While many will have a basic understanding of the language, they have difficulties with speaking. You’ll work with them to improve their pronunciation and fluency in English so that they feel confident communicating.


Assist with extracurricular activities where needed


If you are interested, there may also be the opportunity to help out with extracurricular activities. These may include helping with music lessons or coaching football. If you have any special sport or cultural activities you’d like to focus on, let us know when you apply and we will see if this can be accommodated.

Where in Sri Lanka will I work?


Teaching work experience in Sri Lanka is in one of several towns situated within two hours of travel from Colombo. Our volunteers work with children in local schools and teaching temples, where you’ll teach English to young monks.


Sri Lanka has fairly extensive and affordable public transport, so you can take advantage of this and travel on the weekends. Nearby Colombo has much to offer tourists, including historic temples, markets, and restaurants. Or you can enjoy the natural wonders of Sri Lanka on a diving or trekking excursion.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Sri Lanka Arrival Procedures page.

A typical day on the Teaching Project in Sri Lanka

You’ll wake up in the home of your host family and enjoy a delicious Sri Lankan-style breakfast which will fuel you for the day ahead. In order to get to your placement you’ll travel by bus, rickshaw or your own two feet, if the school is situated nearby. A Projects Abroad staff member will accompany you on your first day to show you the way.

A typical day will start at 8 am, with lessons running for around two and a half hours.  Here you’ll mainly focus on conversational English lessons.

You’ll then spend roughly an hour preparing afternoon lessons, before taking a lunch break.

Afternoon lessons normally resume around 1.30 pm, where you’ll teach for another two hours.  The rest of the afternoon will be spent reviewing the day’s lessons and planning for the next morning!

Once you’re done for the day, you’re free to relax and explore. We run regular social events for our volunteers, which is a wonderful way to make new friends and get to know the local staff. You can find out more about the local way of life by spending the evening with your host family. Try out the nearby restaurants, spend some time on the beach, or check out the tourist sites and local landmarks.

A young monk receives help from a volunteer teaching English in Sri Lanka

What are the aims and impact of this project?

The main aim of this Teaching Project in Sri Lanka is to improve students’ conversational English abilities.


English is spoken fluently by around 10% of the Sri Lankan population and is used widely in the business world and for official communication. Knowledge of English is a great asset and can open many doors in terms of future employment. This is particularly important for the country’s growing tourism industry.


Many children understand basic English but have issues when it comes to speaking. While local teachers can teach grammar and spelling, an English speaker is a real help when it comes to pronunciation. This is where you come in. You’ll work with students to develop their spoken English skills so that they feel more confident expressing themselves in the language.


Our long-term goals for this project include:




  • Improve English
  • Improve classroom support
  • Improve support for those with learning disabilities
  • Improve the safety and cleanliness of the learning environment


Join us in providing educational support to children that will greatly improve their future opportunities.

Volunteering for professionals

This project is also perfect for qualified professionals. With your skills backing up our ongoing efforts, we can make an even bigger difference together. We'll match you to the placement where your skills are needed most.

This means you can share your training and and knowledge with others. You can work hand-in-hand with our partner organisations and local communities to support sustainable development.

If you have relevant skills or qualifications, read more about how you can make use of them with Projects Abroad.

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Sri Lanka. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Sri Lanka and have a truly unique experience.


We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.


Your programme fee includes three meals a day.


Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Sri Lanka is well-known for its diverse landscapes. From beaches to tropical jungles, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant country.

The buzzing Pettah Market is a must-see. You can chat to friendly vendors, buy handmade products, and enjoy the electric atmosphere around you. For cultural enrichment, you can spend an afternoon in the National Museum of Colombo. The Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple is also a highlight, with its vast collection of artefacts.

The town of Galle is a sea port with a strong Dutch heritage and plenty of old colonial buildings to explore. You can also venture inland to hike in the hills, swim in the cool waterfalls, and visit traditional hill towns.

Sri Lanka's national parks include safari parks where you can spot wildlife like leopards and elephants. Or spend an early morning bird-watching in one of the wetland sanctuaries. There are also rainforest reserves crammed full of tropical biodiversity.

You’ll be sharing this unique experience with many other volunteers. This means you can travel solo or spend your free time with the friends you make during your trip. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay €295, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Get discounted prices when you combine projects or destinations!

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