At a glance
- Work at local hospitals, where you’ll shadow physiotherapists and learn how they asses and treat their patients.
- Depending on your experience, you may also have the chance to help with the treatment of special-needs children.
- There is also the option to learn about traditional Ayurveda medicine, one of the world’s oldest healing systems.
16 or over
Is a Physiotherapy internship in Sri Lanka right for me?
- A pre-university student who’s thinking about a career in physiotherapy and would like to see what it’s like?
- A physiotherapy student who would like to complement your studies with some practical experience?
- A recent physiotherapy graduate looking to build your CV?
If you said yes to any of these, then this is the ideal internship for you.
Your role at the hospital will be purely observational. However, you will be able to view a wide range of conditions, and ask questions about different treatments and procedures.
If you have physiotherapy training or qualifications, then you will have the opportunity for hands-on work. This will involve helping with the rehabilitation of children who have cerebral palsy or speech impairments.
We have a Projects Abroad medical supervisor who is there to ensure that your internship runs smoothly. You will also have a staff member who will oversee your work at each of our partner placements.
This internship is available year-round, from a minimum of two weeks. Our start and end dates are flexible, so you can choose a time that suits you.
What will I do at my Physiotherapy placement in Sri Lanka?
Depending on your experience and training, there are a number of different activities you can get involved in. At your physiotherapy placement in Sri Lanka, you can:
- Observe trained physiotherapists at work in hospitals
- Work with special-needs children to support their rehabilitation
- Train local staff to modernise and improve their techniques
- Learn about traditional Ayurveda medicine practices
Your work will focus on the following areas:
Observe trained physiotherapists at work in hospitals
You’ll encounter a wide range of different conditions while interning at a local hospital. These include elderly people, stroke victims, and those who’ve suffered some kind of injury.
On this internship, you’ll find out how physiotherapists assess and treat their patients. While hospital physiotherapists are often very busy, they will take the time to explain what they are doing wherever possible. You can show your willingness to learn by asking questions, and make the most of your time observing trained medical staff.
Work with special-needs children to support their rehabilitation
If you have qualifications or training, you can work at one of our partner organisations. You can choose to work with children who have cerebral palsy or speech impairments. You’ll assist in their rehabilitation and use physiotherapy sessions to improve their motor skills.
Train local staff to modernise and improve their techniques
If you’re a physiotherapy graduate, you can assist with training local staff. This is a way for you to share what you have learnt during your studies and training and help medical staff to improve their own techniques.
Qualified interns work at a home which cares for children and young adults with severe physical and mental abilities. Through training sessions, you’ll equip staff with updated information. Children will then receive treatment that better reflects the latest developments in the physiotherapy field.
Learn about traditional Ayurveda medicine practices
There is also the option to learn about traditional Ayurveda medicine practices. You need to specifically let us know if you’d like to choose this option, as it is not offered as part of our standard Physiotherapy Project.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest healing systems. Treatments include herbal medicine, acupuncture, and special diets, to name but a few. Ayurvedic medicine is recognised by the Sri Lankan government, and there are special hospitals dedicated to the practice. You’ll be able to intern here, and gain insight into this unique method of healing.
Where in Sri Lanka will I work?
You’ll work in a number of different towns in Sri Lanka, depending on which placement you choose. The country has an extensive and affordable public transport network. This means it’s easy for you to get around and explore during your leisure time. There’s so much to discover in this beautiful island nation, whether you enjoy culture, history, or nature.
Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka, and the former capital. Several of our physiotherapy placements are based here. One of the options is the second-largest teaching hospital in the country, located in the south of the city. Our special-needs placements are also located in the surrounding Colombo suburbs.
Panadura is a large town situated around 27 km from Colombo. Here you will intern at a busy district hospital, situated in the centre of the town. Alternatively, you may be placed at a base hospital in a nearby town, 18km away.
Galle is a major city, found in the southwest of Sri Lanka. It is situated around 120 km from Colombo. You will intern at a major teaching hospital. It is located outside of the city centre, but well served by bus routes.
A typical day on the Physiotherapy internship
On any given day, you’ll wake up and share breakfast at the home of your host family. After, you’ll travel to your work placement via bus, rickshaw or your own two feet, if it’s close by. On your first day, our staff will accompany you to show you the way.
For those who are placed in a hospital, a typical work day will run from 8.30am - 12.30pm, and then from 2pm - 4pm, Monday to Friday. These hours may vary, however. If you’re working at our partner placements for children with special needs, working hours are from 7.30am - 2pm, Monday to Friday.
If you’ve chosen to intern at a hospital, then you will spend your time observing trained physiotherapists at work. The government hospitals tend to be very busy. This means you’ll see a lot of different patients during the day. You’ll learn from physiotherapists as they assess, diagnose, and treat a variety of different conditions.
For those of you working at our partner placements for children with special needs, you’ll spend time with those who have cerebral palsy or speech difficulties. Your role is to provide physiotherapy, support, and general interaction, which form a vital part of their rehabilitation. This is an excellent way to put your knowledge into practice while helping to improve children’s overall abilities and wellbeing. It’s also a great opportunity to get invaluable physiotherapy work experience while in Sri Lanka.
At the the end of your working day, it’s time to sit back and relax. Sample delicious local cuisine, sharing dinner with your host family. Why not spend time with your fellow interns as you explore the city? You can also mingle with Projects Abroad staff and make new friends at our regular socials. Sri Lanka has plenty to offer in terms of adventure sports, geographical wonders, and cultural heritage. We encourage you to take the time to discover these.
What are the aims and impact of this internship?
Our aim at the Physiotherapy Project in Sri Lanka is to encourage cross-cultural exchange and share medical knowledge.
Many of the interns who join us are looking for additional experience in the medical field. Learn from skilled local physiotherapists and other care staff, who are eager to share their knowledge with you. Overall, this internship will be invaluable for your future career in the field, and will help to build your CV.
Depending on your experience, you will also work to help children with physical disabilities. While healthcare in Sri Lanka is free for all citizens, it can be limited or inconsistent. This means that people who need rehabilitation don’t always receive it. As an intern, you’ll work to improve children’s physical abilities and overall wellbeing through targeted treatments.
We’ve outlined four core goals for our medical placements in Sri Lanka:
- Improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups
- Improve hygiene standards
- Promote awareness of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- Reduce the number of cases of Dengue fever
Join us on a Physiotherapy internship in Sri Lanka and gain international work experience while providing specialised care to children with disabilities.
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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