START DATES

MONTHLY (JUNE-SEPTEMBER)

PRICED FROM

$1050 + $249 REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

4 WEEKS

MINIMUM AGE

17 YEARS OLD

REAL SRI LANKA EXPERIENCE

Do something life-changing with your summer discovering the real Sri Lanka. Spend four amazing weeks exploring and volunteering in this hugely inspiring country. Sri Lanka may be small but it has 2,000-plus years of culture, 8 (yes 8!) Unesco World Heritage Sites, endless beaches, lush rainforests, welcoming people, rolling surf, cheap prices, fun trains, famous tea, oodles of elephants, wonderful food and so, so much more.

 

The PMGY experience, to this largely undiscovered little island, will give you the chance to explore its length and breadth as well as make a positive difference volunteering at local projects. Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still uncrowded so now is the time to go!

HIGHLIGHTS

1. Practicing your useful Sinhalese phrases with the locals
2. Visit Galle Fort, founded in the 16th Century by the Portugese and now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
3. Wonder at the famous Kandyan dancing & the iconic Temple of the Tooth site
4. Stick fishing in Waligama
5. The Cultural Triangle – treasure trove of ancient ruins, rocks and wildlife
6. Counting elephants in Udawalawe National Park
7. Pick tea and step back in time in ‘Little England’
8. Chilling by the beach in Mirissa
9. Breathtaking views of Ella from Little Adam’s Peak to the Nine Arch Bridge
10. Volunteering in the coastal town of Ambalangoda

EXPLORING SRI LANKA

As exquisite as Sri Lanka may be it certainly has had its share of challenges, from years of war to tsunamis. However, the country has, and is still, moving forward quickly which puts Sri Lanka now firmly on many travellers itineraries. In fact it has been a favourite destination of PMGY volunteers for many years, almost like a best kept secret!

 

With travelling distances so short and sights to see aplenty it means your 4 weeks are spent enjoying the huge diversity of this island without having to spend lots of time in transit.

 

Your group will travel together by private minibus visiting some of the best destinations Sri Lanka has to offer, as well as some of the hidden gems most visitors never see! A PMGY coordinator will accompany you throughout your stay so you’ll get the chance to learn so much about the country’s culture and history.

VOLUNTEERING

PMGY’s development work in Ambalangoda runs throughout the year so you’ll hook up with existing PMGY volunteers. Over the course of the two weeks you’ll have the opportunity to join our English teaching projects working in local schools and community education projects.

 

Volunteering allows you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture, spending time in the community and learning about what life is like for the Sri Lankan people. Getting involved in our community development projects ensures that you’ll make a positive impact during your time with PMGY.

 

The one thing that every visitor to Sri Lanka will never forget is the genuine friendliness and warmth shown by the locals. Just walking through the village you’ll be greeted with smiles and waves – it really does feel like a second home.

 

The following projects are also available for you to take part in but please note they do require an additional fee:

 

Dog Shelter ($115)
Medical Experience ($150)
Renovation & Community ($75)
Turtle Conservation ($115)

 

You can choose which project you’d like to do during the online application process.

 

We encourage volunteer in Sri Lanka participants to prepare as much as possible for their teaching programme overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60-hour Online TEFL Course for just $150.

ITINERARY

Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (CMB) on the selected Monday start date.

 

Day 1 (Monday) Welcome to Sri Lanka

 

You will be collected at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo by PMGY’s local coordinator who will be waiting for you at arrivals holding a name sign.

 

We will transfer you to a guesthouse in Negombo – a town 10 miles from the airport to relax and meet fellow volunteers. Our local coordinator will provide you with an orientation outlining everything you need to know for the upcoming weeks including safety issues, useful phrases in Sinhalese and what you can expect from the tour. Depending on the time of arrivals, it is likely that the full introduction will be given on the Tuesday morning.

 

Day 2 (Tuesday) Kandy & Cultural Dance Show

 

After some much needed rest, it’s time to begin your adventure. Today we will head of to Kandy, the spiritual capital of Kandy. We’ll check into the guesthouse and then head off to the well renowned Kandyan dancing and drumming show – Sri Lanka’s iconic performing art.

 

Day 3 (Wednesday) Kandy

 

Today we will check out some of Kandy’s iconic sites, which will include a visit to the world famous Temple of the Tooth and Bahirawa Kanda Temple.

 

Your evening is free. Our local coordinator will use their local knowledge to recommend an evening activity.

 

Day 4 (Thursday) Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa

 

Today is an action packed day. We will kick off the day by visiting a spice and herbal plantation. After lunch you will head over to Sigiriya known as ‘The Mount of Rememberance’. Sigiriya Rock Fortress contains the ancient city built on top of a 180 metre granite rock known as ‘Lion Rock’. You’ll get to climb the towering Lion Rock and explore the wonders of this former cultural capital complete with ancient graffiti and elaborate water gardens.

 

That evening we will take you to Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s splendid medieval capital where you will spend the night.

 

Day 5 (Friday) Polonnaruwa

 

How does cycling around one of the greatest ancient cities in history sound? Well, that’s what you’re doing today! You’ll be up early for a cycle tour around the ruins of Polonnaruwa – a royal complex scattered over an extensive area of woodland. Polonnaruwa holds some of Sri Lanka’s most important religious sites – known as the Quadrangle. You will then have lunch and a chance to relax before heading out for the afternoon activity.

 

In the afternoon, we will then go on a jeep safari around Parakrama Samudra, an exquisite artificial lake built by King Parakramabahu in 3rd century AD. We’ll end the day by watching the sunset over the lake and then make our way back to the guesthouse.

 

Day 6 (Saturday) Anuradhapura

 

It’s time to hit the road again that afternoon as we travel to the sacred city of Anuradhapura and the temples within – one of the most important cities of its age.

 

You’ll be up early to explore this great place – a city that oversaw the golden age of Sinhalese culture. The sheer scale and vast history of the place is overwhelming. You’ll get a real feel of what life must have been like during the early development of Sri Lanka.

 

Later on, we’ll head back to Kandy for the night, before heading Sri Lanka’s central highlands.

 

Day 7 (Sunday) Tea Plantations & Little England

 

It’s time to see a different side of Sri Lanka – the glorious southern hill country. The southern hill country is the highest, wildest and in many ways the most beautiful part of Sri Lanka.

 

Today, you’ll be heading off to Nuwara Eliya – located in the heart of Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya was established by British colonialists and is now often referred to as ‘Little England’. The town is surrounded by lush green hills and dotted with English country style houses and half-timbered bungalows. You’ll get the chance to take a tour of the tea plantations and even pick some tea yourself!

 

It’s now time to say goodbye to Little England as we head to Ella – a quaint village, which has become a favourite for backpackers over the years. On the way to Ella you will get to witness some of Sri Lanka’s most awe inspiring scenery which includes rolling hills and enchanting waterfalls.

 

You’ll have the evening to relax in Ella, have some dinner and enjoy the surrounding views!

 

Day 8 (Monday) Ella – Little Adam’s Peak & Nine Arch Bridge

 

After breakfast, we’ll take a trip to Little Adam’s Peak which is located just outside of Ella Town. Its a relatively pleasant and not so strenuous 45 minute hike up to the summit of Little Adam’s Peak and the stunning views are well worth it. Endless valleys of tea plantations and waterfalls. What a great way to start the day!

 

Our journey continues as we will stop at the famous Nine Arch Bridge. Based on the Demodara loop, it is a spectacular feat of engineering and construction spanning 91 metres. The beautiful nine arches make it a very picturesque spot especially as it is located in a dense jungle and agricultural setting. We will take a 20 minute walk off the beaten track down and around the bridges, with many picturesque views and photo opportunities along the way.

 

We will then head back to Ella town for a spot of lunch. You will then have the rest of the afternoon before reconvening for dinner to explore Ella at your own leisure, with plenty of spots for shopping, a relaxing massage or relaxing walks across this quaint town.

 

Day 9 (Tuesday) Time for Safari

 

After breakfast, we will be making the 2.5 hour drive across to Udawalawe National Park for an afternoon safari. On the way we will pass Rawana Waterfall where we will stop for a chance to take in the beauty of one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka.

 

We will arrive in Udawalawe for lunch time. After lunch, it’s now time for one of the highlights of the trip as we head on a three hour afternoon safari into Udawalawe National Park.

 

The national park was specifically created to provide a sanctuary for the wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir. The reserve thus provides an important habitat for many Sri Lankan elephants with many attracted to the park because of the reservoir. With a herd of around 250 permanent resident elephants, the area is one of the most visited national parks in the whole country. Be sure to keep an eye out for many of the wild birds and reptiles that you will also encounter on the safari as well.

 

After an action packed afternoon we’ll settle in Udawalawe for the night with an exciting morning ahead to follow.

 

Day 10 (Wednesday) Baby Elephants & off to the Beach!

 

Be sure to be up nice and early for this mornings activity as it is not to be missed! At 9am, you will get the chance to see between 20 and 50 baby elephants at a nearby elephant orphanage to Udawalawe. This is the only place in the whole of Sri Lanka to see baby elephants feeding. Volunteers will spend an hour or so observing the morning feed of these wonderful animals.

 

Sadly it’s now time to leave Udawalawe, but don’t worry more excitement lies ahead as we make the 2.5 hour drive to Mirissa Beach where after lunch you will have the afternoon to acclimatise to the beach life!

 

Day 11-12 (Thursday-Friday) Mirissa

 

So far you would have experienced a lot in such a short period…it’s definitely time to use these couple days too kick back, relax and enjoy the much needed beach break in Mirissa. This location is regarded as one of the best stretches of coastline in the whole of the island!

 

Your time in Mirissa is your oyster over the next couple days! Whether you want to relax on the beach, get involved in water sports or explore the surrounding villages – Mirissa is a prime spot to be.

 

Day 13 (Saturday) Stick Fishing & Galle Fort

 

After some much needed rest, we’ll make our way to our volunteering base in Ambalangoda. However, first things first…it’s time to go stick fishing in Weligama. This is your chance to learn about (and even try out if you fancy it) the traditional Sri Lankan art of stick fishing!

 

We’ll then head to Galle, to visit Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site – a really enjoyable place to visit. As the day draws to an end we’ll drive up the coast to Ambalangoda in time for lunch to meet your fellow PMGY volunteers and learn about the projects we support.

 

For the rest of your stay you’ll be living at our Volunteer House in Ambalangoda.

 

Ambalangoda is a quaint oceanside town located on the South West coast of Sri Lanka. It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The traditional masks were originally designed to be worn by performers in kolam and other southern Sri Lankan dances, but are now mainly used as souvenirs. Many families hang a mask on their front door to warn off evil spirits.

 

The town has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals and shops. There is also a central bus and train station, which has good links to all the major destinations you are likely to go to. Plus, the beach is only a 5 minute tuk tuk ride from the Volunteer House!

 

Life in Ambalangoda is slow and laid back. The people are unbelievably friendly – you’ll receive smiles from the locals as you walk around town. If you’re looking for some places to go out in the evening then Hikkaduwa is only a 20 minute tuk tuk ride away (around $5 each way). This has a number of beachside bars and restaurants where you can hang out.

 

Day 14 (Sunday) Orientation in Ambalangoda

 

We’ll start the day with a full introduction into PMGY Sri Lanka’s volunteer projects, a tour of the local area and discussion about the plan for the next couple of weeks.

 

Our local team will teach you more about life in Sri Lanka, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your Ambalangoda orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community.

 

On the Sunday afternoon, our local coordinator will take you to see some of the famous sites around Ambalangoda, including the longest sleeping Buddha statue in Asia, an original blue moonstone mine and some famous Buddhist temples. You will also have the chance to head into Ambalangoda town centre.

 

You’ll get the chance to chat meet some more of the PMGY Sri Lanka staff network across the day as well.

 

Day 15-26 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Begins!

 

Today is your first day of volunteering, one of our local coordinators will travel with you to the Monday is your first day of volunteering. You will be transported to and from our projects daily by our transport network from the Volunteer House. Our project coordinators will be on hand to meet you at the project and introduce you accordingly. Depending on your project you may get the chance to meet other PMGY volunteers along the way!

 

Depending on which project you choose to do on your online application will influence the daily timings you join us at the project.

 

Generally speaking our wildlife, renovation and medical experiences take place in the morning for 3-4 hours and our teaching and community programmes take place in the afternoon for 3 hours.

 

The final weekend in between your volunteering is free for you to explore how you wish too. If your dates match then there may also be the opportunity to join our Maldives chill out weekend trip if you wish too.

 

You’ll be in personal contact with our local coordinators every day across your two weeks volunteering with us so if you need anything we are there for you 24/7.

 

Day 27 (Saturday) Last Day

 

Unfortunately, your epic journey has come to an end. Saturday is your last day on the programme. It’s time to head home or onto your next far away destination.

 

If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Programme Fee. A taxi from the Volunteer House to the airport will cost around $75 (10,000 LKR). If fellow returning volunteers have flights at a similar time to yours you can choose too travel together and split this fee accordingly.

 

If you’d like to stay on with one of PMGY’s volunteer programmes in Sri Lanka then we can certainly arrange this for you.

 

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

CHOOSING A TRIP

What are the programme start dates?

The programme start dates are as follows –

 

1st June 2020
6th July 2020
20th July 2020
3rd August 2020
7th September 2020

What are the requirements to join?

In order to join the programme, you need to be at least 17 on the programme start date.

 

We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, nationalities and religions. You must be able to provide us with a clean criminal background check prior to your programme start date. We are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions.

 

Although you do not need to speak English as your first language, we do require all participants to have a good level of English in order to join the programme.

 

You should also be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.

What date should I arrive and leave?

You should arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (airport code CMB) on the selected Monday 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 programme ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

Are there any age restrictions?

In order to join the programme, you need to be at least 17 on the programme start date.

 

Generally, the average age range of volunteers is 17-22 but this is by no means definitive.

 

There is no upper age limit. However, we encourage anyone who is slightly older to contact us in the first instance and we can advise if there is a more appropriate programme/destination for you.

When should I apply for the programme?

For the majority of our programmes you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the programme – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period.

 

It is best that you apply sooner rather than later as some of our programmes only have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the programme before applying.

 

It is also possible to change your start dates once you have already applied and had your space confirmed. However, please note this does carry an administration charge of $60 and is subject to availability.

 

You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual programme; this will guide you through our Online Application process.

Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?

We accept volunteers from all over the world. The majority of our participants are from the UK, US, Canada & Australia. However, we have hosted volunteers from countries such as Nigeria, Bermuda & Peru in the past.

Can I go with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer at the same project (please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis).

 

Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our International Team undergo an extensive routine when establishing the in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.

 

The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verify them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our International Team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.

 

In emergency situations, we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.

 

When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our International Team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.

 

While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.

When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme, you need to pay the Registration Fee ($249). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 

You’re only required to pay your $249 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

Can I use PMGY’s programmes as part of a university of college placement?

It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.

 

While our team will do their best to complete any paperwork we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university or college. In the event that your university or college do not accept the paperwork submitted by PMGY then you will be unable to be refunded for your trip.

 

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us directly on hello@planmygapyear.com to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY volunteers joining our teaching programmes the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. If you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory course for teaching English abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is hugely convenient because it can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You’ve got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. An hour here and there certainly adds up over the course of the couple of months you have to complete it, so there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed you’ll not only have acquired some key skills for teaching English abroad but you’ll also gain an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules leading to a paid teaching position in the future.

 

As well as a core module in the ‘Principles of Teaching English’ which covers ‘Understanding language’, ‘Key English grammar points’ and ‘How to teach grammar in the classroom’ you will have a choice of one of three specialist modules. The ‘Survival teaching’ module is perfect for volunteers covering ‘Teaching large classes’, ‘Teaching with limited resources’, ‘Learner-based training’ and ‘Cultural awareness’.

 

The cost of the course is $150. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programmes and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please call us or email us.

Can I fundraise for my trip?

With PMGY the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive for your time with us overseas. The fundamentals of this structure include food, accommodation, airport pickups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our programme costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing on quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Therefore, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip.

 

We recommend setting up an online fundraising page to allow friends and families to learn more about your trip and make donations. PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding.

 

This professional online fundraising service creates a personalised fundraising page for your PMGY trip, allowing you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

Can I raise money for the projects?

The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415) that has been set up to help provide financial aid and assistance to the projects and countries we work with on an ongoing basis.

 

The objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty of people living in the communities we support by providing or assisting in the provision of education, training, healthcare projects and all the necessary support designed to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient.

 

The ultimate aim of the PMGY Foundation is to enable donations to be directed towards specific hand-picked projects in countries most in need. The project donations are determined by the charities trustees during our annual overseas visits.

 

If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.

 

100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. Please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas.

How do I register for your online webinars?

On selected Tuesdays we hold our Pre-Departure Webinars. They are well worth attending, take only 45 minutes and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip.

 

There are three to choose from and it is well worth attending all of them:

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.

 

Programme Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching programmes.

 

Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.

 

The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the world. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones.

 

If any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

What about vaccinations and malaria tablets?

As we are not medical experts we cannot, unfortunately, tell you exactly what vaccinations you’ll need to obtain so it is vital you consult your local GP or travel clinic a few months before you intend to travel. Your local doctor/nurse will advise you as to what vaccinations and malaria prevention is needed for entry into your volunteer destination.

 

Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights?

You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you in arranging them. Through our close partnerships within the travel industry, we are able to offer flights at very competitive rates. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries; we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use.

 

For peace of mind, PMGY holds an ATOL License (11262) that allows us to offer flight-based packages that are financially protected by the Civil Aviation Authority in the unlikely event of our insolvency.

 

If you’d like to receive a flight quote from PMGY, you can submit an online enquiry by visiting the specific web-page of the programme you’re interested in joining, or by calling our office or dropping us an email.

 

When you apply for a PMGY programme we cannot guarantee your acceptance immediately. On receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the programme and to assess your suitability for the specific project.

 

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your programme has been confirmed by us in writing. Once your programme has been confirmed you’re then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.

Do you offer travel insurance?

It is mandatory that all PMGY volunteers hold travel insurance during the entirety of their time on our programme; this includes your travel to and from the host country. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong so you must adequately protect yourself.

 

PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy for our volunteers. The policy is specifically designed to ensure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 65 and covers you throughout any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

 

Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away for, including the date you depart and return to your home country, to ensure you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5-week policy, not a 4-week policy.

How do I obtain a background check?

To join any of our programmes you’ll need to provide us with a clean CRB or Police Check before you travel. We have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. We are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 

If you hold a current CRB or Police Check then we can accept this providing it is issued no more than 18 months prior to your programme start date. Please scan and email us a copy of this document. If you do not have a CRB or Police Check then we will outline how to obtain this in your Volunteer Handbook. The CRB or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your programme start date.

 

If you don’t have a valid CRB check (also known as DBS or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). 

 

This costs £25 and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook you receive once you are signed up for the programme.

 

For international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we DO NOT send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 

This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides. It is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you require any further information not covered in the Volunteer Handbook then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

All of our accommodation options involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our participants.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that affect project availability and project closures in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change that directly effects project availability and we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. This usually represents a unique experience for volunteers to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves and/or our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country to country. We ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. We will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack.

 

The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover your shoulders and thighs and for men to not take their shirts off. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with.

 

It’s a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions but please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take depends on where you travel to and how many travel activities you plan to undertake during your free time. If you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania, a scuba-diving course in Thailand or trekking in South Africa, then you should budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find $75-$150 per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time. All of our programmes have been designed so that you have weekends off. This gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures.

 

Furthermore, you’re going to meet so many new people during your time with PMGY that you’ll definitely meet some travel buddies along the way!

 

Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities within the relevant country either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. If you do plan to travel extensively please factor this into your flight itinerary, as we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering as you have made a commitment to the project.

ACCOMMODATION

All your accommodation is organised by PMGY. During the travelling part of your trip you will stay at guesthouses/hotels in the various places we will visit. You’ll share a room with fellow travellers. All rooms will be single sex, fanned and have western bathrooms.

 

When travelling, our team will do their best to arrange twin rooms or single beds (guaranteed to be in place for the first night), but from time to time some volunteers may be required to share double beds depending on availability. The guesthouses will be basic but clean, comfortable and have the amenities you need.

 

During the last two weeks of the Real Sri Lanka Experience within your volunteering experience you will stay in one of our Volunteer Houses in Ambalangoda. The accommodation is basic but comfortable. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers.

 

We will transport you via tuk tuk or private car to and from your project. This service is included in your Programme Fee.

 

The Volunteer House is located just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town. Each room has bunk beds, up to 10 people per room (same-sex rooms only). Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories as well as personal locker space to store your valuables.

 

Bathrooms are shared. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. The water is cold but this shouldn’t be a problem as Sri Lanka is hot and humid all year round! The 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. This ensures you have round the clock support and security.

 

During our busiest months you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our alternative Volunteer Houses.

MEALS

You will be served three meals per day across the whole four weeks of the real experience. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.

 

The first two weeks meals are mostly buffet format so volunteers can pick and choose what they want. When travelling, bottled water will be provided for each meal time. Water outside of meals times and any soft drinks are at own expense.

 

At the Volunteer House a weekly menu has been introduced that blends Sri Lanka cuisine with Western cuisine so you will know in advance what is on the menu for that day!

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.

FEES INVOLVED

DURATION

PROGRAMME FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

4 weeks
$1050
$249
$1299

* These fees apply to each individual application and are displayed in USD.

 

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme, you need to pay the Registration Fee ($249). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 

You’re only required to pay your $249 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme, unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

VOLUNTEER IN SRI LANKA REVIEWS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAMME FEE

  • ACCOMMODATION YES
  • MEALS (BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UP (09:30AM ONWARDS)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATION YES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT ACROSS SRI LANKA YES
  • PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO/FROM PROJECT YES
  • ENTRANCE FEESYES
  • CULTURAL DANCE SHOW IN KANDYYES
  • TEMPLE OF THE TOOTHYES
  • SIGIRYA ROCK & ITS ANCIENT CITYYES
  • POLONNARUWA BICYCLE TOURYES
  • VISIT THE SACRED CITY ANURADHAPURA YES
  • TEA PLANTATION TOUR YES
  • LITTLE ADAM’S PEAK & 9 ARCH BRIDGE YES
  • UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK SAFARI YES
  • BABY ELEPHANT FEEDYES
  • TRADITIONAL FISHING IN WALIGAMAYES
  • MIRISSA BEACH & GALLE FORT YES
  • PMGY T-SHIRTYES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORTYES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR US-BASED EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • UNLIMITED EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • COMPREHENSIVE VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAMME INSPECTION YES
  • INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • FLIGHTS TO COLOMBO ($600-$1200)NO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE ($25 PER WEEK)NO
  • RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFER ($70)NO
  • VISA ($0-$35)NO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK (VARIES)NO

 

UK: +44 800 321 3564

USA: 1-813-422-5109

hello@planmygapyear.com