At a glance
- You’ll learn how to diagnose and treat dental diseases and conditions by observing procedures by qualified dentists.
- Get practical experience by taking part in monthly medical outreaches in disadvantaged communities. Under supervision you’ll complete basic health checks.
- You will work in the towns of Panadura or Horana, and experience all that daily life has to offer in Sri Lanka with your local host family.
16 or over
Is a Dental internship in Sri Lanka right for me?
Are you planning on a career in dentistry? Maybe you’re a current student or recent graduate? If so, this internship is ideal for you.
You’ll gain invaluable dentistry work experience in Sri Lanka, as you learn directly from experienced dentists. We encourage you to ask questions and take notes to get as much out of your experience as possible. It will also help grow your CV, and give you excellent points to to talk about in applications or interviews.
Your role in the hospital dental unit is mostly observational. This means that you can join us and learn without having previous experience or training. However, you do need to be at least 18 years old. More hands-on work is available at the discretion of local staff, and is dependent on your level of training or studies.
During your time abroad, you will have the help of our Projects Abroad medical supervisor. Their role is to ensure your internship runs smoothly. You will also have a dentist at your placement who will oversee your time at the hospital.
However, all Dentistry interns will have the chance to do practical work at our regular medical outreaches. These outreaches help people in disadvantaged communities, where there is no access to healthcare services.
This internship is available year-round, but you need to stay for a minimum of four weeks. However, our start and end dates are flexible, so you can choose a time that suits you.
What will I do at my Dentistry placement in Sri Lanka?
At the hospital where you work, you’ll learn about many different aspects of dental practice. Some of the activities you will get involved in include:
- Observe professional staff at work in a dental unit
- Assist where needed on a range of different tasks
- Take part in regular community outreaches
- Learn new skills at medical workshops
Observe professional staff at work in a dental unit
Your main role on this internship is to shadow experienced dental staff at work in a hospital dental unit. You will learn more about specific dental procedures and general oral healthcare. You’ll also witness a range of different procedures. We encourage you to ask questions and show your willingness to learn. Staff here are happy to share their knowledge with you.
Assist where needed on a range of different tasks
You may also have the chance to assist with a range of different tasks during your shift at the hospital. However, this is dependent on your level of training and experience. Tasks may include providing information to patients about oral hygiene, conducting patient screenings, or assisting with patient care. You may also be needed to prepare the area for dental work, or get materials ready for a procedure.
Take part in regular community outreaches
Together with other medical interns, you will be able to take part in regular community outreaches. These provide basic medical care to disadvantaged people who would otherwise not have access to treatment. On these outreaches you will help to take vital signs such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels. You will also help to dispense medication under the supervision of a doctor.
These outreaches may also take the form of educational visits to schools. Here you will raise awareness about good dental practice for healthy teeth and gums.
Learn new skills at medical workshops
Projects Abroad also run regular workshops for all our medical interns. A local doctor will provide you with basic training so that you are able to take part in the community outreaches. They will also teach you about conditions that are prominent in the area, and share information about diagnoses and treatment. It’s a chance to ask questions and build your knowledge.
Where in Sri Lanka will I work?
You will be working either in the towns Panadura or Horana. Both are located quite near to the bustling former capital, Colombo. Sri Lanka has an extensive and affordable public transport network, which means that you can easily travel around on the weekends to explore the sights.
Panadura is a coastal town located around 40 km south of Colombo. It’s a large town, with beautiful beaches that are popular with visitors and locals alike. There is an ancient Buddhist temple, over 200 years old, which is worth a visit while you’re here.
You’ll be interning in the dental department of a government hospital.
Horana is a town situated around 40 km away from Colombo. While Horana is a small town, it still has many of the modern amenities that you might need. These include grocery stores, banks, and restaurants.
You will be working in the dental unit of a local hospital.
A typical day on the Dentistry Internship
After you’ve had breakfast in the morning, you will travel to your work placement via bus or rickshaw. If it’s close enough, you can even walk. On your first day, Projects Abroad staff will accompany you to show you the way.
A typical day on this internship runs from 9am - 12pm and 2.30pm - 4pm, Monday to Friday. Your hours may vary. If you live close enough to your host family, you can go home for lunch. Otherwise, you can bring a packed lunch with you.
You will spend your time observing staff in the dental unit at a local hospital. This is a great way to experience a day in the life of a dentist and all that it entails.
From screening patients to minor surgical procedures, you will witness a wide range of different activities. Dental staff may need to you assist from time to time, whether you’re sorting case files or preparing materials for a procedure.
On certain days you will break away from your regular schedule to take part in community outreaches. This is a great opportunity to experience medical work in a different setting. On these outreaches, you’ll work under the supervision of a local doctor to check vital signs and dispense medication.
Once you’re done for the day, it’s time to enjoy all that Sri Lanka has to offer. You can spend time getting to know your host family over a delicious dinner, or explore the surroundings. We run regular social events for our interns and volunteers, which is a great way to make new friends from around the world.
What are the aims and impact of this Dentistry internship?
The aim of this project is to provide interns with an educational experience that builds their practical knowledge and prepares them for their future career.
Many of the people who sign up for our healthcare internships are students or recent graduates looking to learn and gain real-world experience. We facilitate this cross-cultural exchange by matching interns with medical organisations in developing countries. You’ll learn from qualified and experienced dentists, who are eager to help you develop.
Another one of our goals in Sri Lanka is to improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups of people. While the government provides healthcare to all citizens, it has limited capacity and can be inconsistent. To address this, we run regular medical outreaches which serve around 150 - 500 patients at a time. This is critical work, as these people would otherwise not have access to medical care. Working with fellow medical interns, you’ll conduct basic health checks and distribute food and medicine.
We also work towards these goals in Sri Lanka:
- Promote awareness of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- Improve hygiene standards
- Reduce the number of cases of Dengue fever
Join us on a dental internship in Sri Lanka that incorporates both observational and practical work, for a well-rounded experience that will boost your CV.
Medical electives for students
This project is also perfect for university medical and healthcare elective students. The real-world insight and knowledge you gain will help shape you as a future medical professional. You will also learn to work with different people and get a broader perspective of global healthcare systems and issues. This benefits your career for years to come. We can organise a placement that meets all of your university's requirements.
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.
Meet the team in Sri Lanka
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