Feedback from Sri Lanka
Below you can read what former EXIS volunteers in Sri Lanka says about their stays there.
I’v returned to Canada. I really enjoyed my stay in Sri Lanka! Volunteering and seeing the country was a great experience.
Thanks for everything!
– Sean, Canada
It was a very nice experience and thank you !
You gave me the opportunity to be volunteer. I will go again in other countries with you.
Michael and his family are very good people that help us and gave support all the time.
The orphanage: people are working with very small contributions but they do their best. Congratulations. Love is the way to help the kids grow, be safe and to change the destiny.
Thank you for this experience and i like to continue with your association.
– Patricia, Belgium
I had a fantastic time, which certainly wasn’t guarenteed considering it was the first time I had been out of England completely by myself. But it was an amazing experience, it built up my confidence hugely and the host family were lovely, particularly the daughter Dineshi who I built up a really strong bond with very quickly in the time I was there. It is definately the best way to see Sri Lanka; to stay in a Sri Lankan home, you see the country and the people through different eyes, and they were so welcoming and friendly and laid back I wouldnt have wanted to do it any differently.
The placements were rewarding but challenging at the same time. I loved teaching the evening class in Kahluella, I think because we were given the freedom to teach whatever we wanted and organise the lesson way we thought best; in fact whilst I was there the number of students jumped from about 4 or 5 to 20-25. I think it was because we started really organising the lessons- doing arts and crafts and games with them to help them learn english. The children were lovely as well, very well behaved and enthusiastic, even the parents would sit in and listen. We used to play hide and seek and games with them outside before and after the class which were lots of fun.
The orphanage in Kitulampitya I found a lot harder. To start with the style of disclipline was very different from most western styles and secondly the staff didn’t seem to be very welcoming of volunteers. I often felt as though I was a burden as opposed to being able to help. This was probably partly due to a language barrier; the workers mostly spoke very limited english, about as good as my Sinhala, and they had also had had bad experiences of volunteers in the past. The workers often didnt want us with the children as they would get very excited when they saw us as they knew we would play with them and pick them up. It meant we spent a lot of time hanging aound of helping with laundry and meant we didnt get to build up as close a bond with the orphans. But I would like to mention that I had a very good experience working in the Montessouri connected to the orphanage; the teacher was lovely and we got to help with lessons and playing outside with them.
Although I was glad I had the oppurtunity to see what a government run orphanage was like, my experience there wasnt exactly enjoyable so for the last week I asked if I could teach the monks at the Mahamodera temple just off Colombo Road. Here I was given a lot of freedom as well and I really enjoyed it. I would say it is quite tough work though, teaching for 2 hours straight, and so it’s good to come with a bit of preparation.
Galle is a wonderful place to spend a month. It is not as crowded as Colombo, but is enough of city to keep yourself occupied each day. The main attraction is really the Fort- stepping inside it is like stepping into another world and I have spent countless hours with other volunteers wandering around the streets, chatting to the shop owners and sipping tea in the Royal Dutch Cafe or Serendipity Arts Cafe.
I made some really great friends- both volunteers and just generally, people I taught, cafe owners, family friends and relatives. I definately wouldnt have gotten so close to people in Sri Lanka if I hadnt volunteered, it is nothing like simply having a holiday and I definately want to come back!
Please let me know if there’s more that you’d like to hear about or any other information and I’d be happy to tell you.
– Jasmine, England
Feedback on the Turtle Project Sri Lanka
I have now stayed at the Turtle project for a week and I am very satisfied with the way I have been treated here. The employees are really friendly and easy to be around. I have been a part of the work day and I really appreciate that we are allowed to help in every aspect of the work. I have been doing everything from releasing the turtles and cleaning the tanks and doing garden work around the project. So really I have been a part of the team, which is really nice and good.
It’s also good and quite fun to show tourists around and orientating them, although the project is set too much around the tourists. Lot of baby turtles were released with the tourists, which can be days after the turtles are ready to go to the ocean. This means that baby turtles that are only supposed to be here for a maximum 4 to 5 days. Some baby turtles die before they have been released to the ocean. I understand that the place rely on tourists entrance fees and donations. This seems to me that only tourists are the main focus and not the turtles. But I still really like what they are doing here, and feel that a lot is being done to make my stay as enjoyable as possible, something I really appreciate.
It’s also really nice that we live on the premises of the project, although it can get a bit boring when all of the staff leaves at night. But we managed to keep ourselves occupied. Its almost right on the beach which is really nice, and you wake up straight for work, which is also really great. The only bad thing about our accommodation is that one of our beds is really hard (it’s made of hay 0 other than that) the accommodation is very nice and good as well as food. I would recommend other people to come here if they are okay with staying like for two to three weeks because there are limited things to experience here beyond that time.
– Lau, Denmark
I am Nirosha who did volunteer work in Sri Lanka. This wasn’t my first time in Sri Lanka but it was my first time getting in touch with the people and learning about the culture there. I got picked up at my hotel and then we went to my host family who lived in Galle in south of Sri Lanka. They were all friendly to me and I felt really welcome. They made sure I had everything I needed and the Sri Lankan food was sometimes unbelievably amazing good. It was a great place to stay at.
The first week we had Sinhala course which was good at first but afterwards I realised the money we paid was a lot for so little. I thought it would be more like a serious course but it wasn’t quite what I expected and I think I speak for all who went for that course at same time as me.
After that course I started my work at Sambodhi and the school next to it. In the morning I was helping the teachers in classes which was really fun because I love children but there wasn’t much to do though. They could hardly speak any English so that was sort of a problem because I could neither teach nor speak with the people there, except for playing around with the kids a bit.
In the afternoon I hung out at Sambodi, which I really enjoyed ‘cause all the people asked for there was love. It was amazing to be a part of their smiles everyday.
One month passed by and finally I felt I needed to be able to communicate with people and I felt I needed more of a challenge. My coordinator Michael helped me out and right away, the next day, I started to teach the monks in Mahmodera temple. In beginning it was sort of confusing and their culture was very new to me.
It took a few days to get know the monks a bit and figuring out what the monks’ level was in English and other things. After a week I went to the temple every day with a smile on my face. Though it was sometimes hard to keep control and be a serious teacher; those monks filled me with laughter, joy and love.
They taught me a lot and it was sure a challenge that has given me so much.
I had the time of my life during my time in Sri Lanka. The biggest reason of my happy days in Sri Lanka are my newly found friends and they made my days so much brighter. They were the people who actually really taught me about the culture and Sinhala.
For me, except helping people, finding new friends for life was the best thing about this volunteer time. All the good times that I’ll never forget. All the memories that will always be close to my heart.
I think Sri Lanka is growing for every year and I wish all the people happiness!
My volunteer experience in Sri Lanka was an amazing adventure and challenge. Nothing could have adequately prepared me for the culture and lifestyle differences between 1st and 3rd world countries. Honestly, my initial response once I arrived in Sri Lanka was “What have I gotten myself into?”
However, after I recovered from the initial cultural shock, I was able to appreciate the warm hearts of those who made my stay in Sri Lanka an experience I will never forget.
During my volunteering I was attached to the “Sambodhi Orphanage “in Galle, the famous City of Dutch in Sri Lanka. There are 45 kids, disabled and adults ranging from 4 yrs old to 45 years living and being cared for at the home. My host family accepted me and made me feel a part of their wonderful family. They taught me the most about Sri Lankan culture, customs, religions and the Sinhalese language. Although the children and staff at the orphanage were absolutely amazing, I know I will never forget the kindness, laughter, love and happiness that I experienced at the orphanage. I will forever remember each and every child who opened their arms and heart to me. It was heartbreaking to leave the children, but I hope to return in the future.
I am grateful for every one who assisted me during my Sri Lanka experience. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
Wow! 10 weeks volunteer program Sri Lanka finally came to the end. It only seems like yesterday that we were groggily got off from our Singapore Airline flight and were warmly greeted by Paul, the coordinator and his son. While we were a bit apprehensive about out volunteer and home stay experience in Sri Lanka. Our hesitation was allayed by the generosity and kindness of Paul’s family and our working place over the period. There are seemingly hundreds of stories, anecdotes, and happening that took place-many more that we could possibly recount. In particular, our time spends with honorable priest, Lal and of course our unforgettable driver, Tuti will always be unforgettable.
We wish for further success that EXIS could deliver such as unforgettable program to future participants as two of us experienced here in Sri Lanka. We wish all the best.
I worked for four weeks at an orphanage in Galle in Nov 2003. Looking after 54 children aged just 5 days old to 7 years old. While frustrating at times and initially shocking, I had the most incredible, unforgettable experience of my life.
The snippets of Sinhala (Local Language) that I learned at Galle during one week language and cultural program before commencing work were invaluable, but it was most obvious that simple interaction and a smile transcended the language barrier and it was no longer an issue. Every day brought a new challenge, and a new test of patience, but with everything came the best rewards.
The welcome I received from the children and the staffs of the orphanage was the most beautiful experience of all. I feel as thought I have been allowed the privilege of knowing a part of Sri Lanka culture that is otherwise hidden away.
Thank you to Lal for all the supports – the Language program was especially useful in allowing me time to adjust to, and immense myself in, the Sri Lankan lifestyle before I commenced work.
A once in a life Time (though I hope not) experience I will never forget.
Hello. I am Natalie from France presently in one of the most beautiful countries in the world that is Sri Lanka known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Since the arrival at the airport it was a great experience traveling with nice green colors all over up to the destination. I was traveling in the evening when all the offices were closed for business and the people on the roads were very colorful and cheerful always with smiles on their faces.
I arrived at the host family late in the night and that night was my first ever out of my country and the host family with their daughter and son were very happy to meet me and they gave me all what I required. It was amazing to see people with smiles and happy even though just after the Tsunami which had almost taken away all what their forefathers had collected for them in just one horrific day but every thing are good at the moment and I had the chance to go with the host family to see very beautiful temples in the south and also the wild sanctuary where we saw elephants leopards reptiles monkeys and many kinds of birds.
We also visited the elephant orphanage and saw the ancient cities of the kings. My stay at the host family helped me to go to city any time I wanted and also I occasionally went to the beach for a swim and surfing which is very common and the beaches here are hot and once you get into the water it is very difficult to come out.
Therefore if any one in the world wants to join in this program I would recommend you to do so. I feel the money you spent is rewarding event though after the tsunami which has destroyed certain areas in the country all is good and excellent.
am Louise, volunteer in Sri Lanka. I arrived on the 4 June and I got picked up at the Airport and there was at correct time to pick me up and later I arrived at my host family. They are very open, nice, wonderful and warm family. From the day I arrived they treated me very well with various varieties of food and the food is very delicious and I really like the Sri Lankan food, especially what Michael’s wife cooks. I am now very much used to that food and I still like to if I can eat that food everyday, and also I was given a good Sri Lankan Desert everyday after meals and also with tea she used to give something to eat like cake, biscuits and every time we are full. So its very hard to say how good the family is. I and Sarah also one day cooked ourselves our own cooking and served the host family.
The language an culture program also was very good and I was taught Sinhala for a week and I like it would be at least for two weeks because there is lot to learn, but now I am used for some words and I have learn even from the place I teach English. During the weekend and after my work is finished we ( My partner volunteer ) goes to the town, which is very near walking distance and its great to walk because we can observe many things which belongs to Sri Lankan culture, specially how the ladies are dressed and how nice they are.
Michael’s wife use to take us to the vegetable and fruit market and it’s so nice to see that here you get everything fresh. Even on weekends Michael and family, we all together goes for a picnic, Went to visit the Zoo and recently we went to the Jungle beach which looks very nice and it’s so nice to go through a small jungle and we really enjoyed the jungle beach. We two and Michael’s family went to cinema and we saw a Sri Lankan movie name (Anjalika) first time in my life and we really enjoyed that film which was very good to see and some times Michael’ daughters helped us to translate the film and we too also understood little.
During my teaching to young Buddhist monks in the temple I teach with another volunteer name (Sarah Schwartz) and it’s very good to be taught by two volunteers there. I teach for about 15 young Buddhist monks and I really like so much and I am very happy and very proud to start this project. Since this project is new the pupils are on very different levels. it is very. Very exciting and challenging and very great to see them improving there English knowledge. Actually it’s a great pleasure to me by teaching young Buddhist monks English and also they teach us some Sinhala too and I too get knowledge of Sinhala from them.
From the 10 Th July to 13 Th July we went on a trip as scheduled in our Language an cultural program lasting four days. we went to Sigiriya, kandy, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Dabulla golden cave temple. Sigiriya we climbed that unbelievable place ( Rock ) where one of the ancient Sri Lankan kings were living and its very hard to believe how they have built Tanks, Palace and other things on that huge rock and everything has been done manually without any machines used and also lot of tourists were climbing that rock was great fun.
At Kandy we visited the Dalada tooth relic temple and also we had the chance to see a live Cultural Dance which we all were attracted and it’s so beautiful. We were able to see the elephant orphanage and we got a chance to feed the elephants also and we spent lot of time looking them taking bath. Michael (RCDP Coordinator) took us to see a Spice garden on our way back and also on our way back Michael treated us very well with good accommodation and food and also with Sri Lankan fruits. So at last I would say that I am very happy with program and specially of getting a chance to teach English for young Buddhist monks and I would like to request to go ahead with this program and I would like to request some happy volunteers to join this program which is valuable and so good.
Finally, project work is another great fun.