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Volunteer Buddhist Monastery Sri Lanka

Are you fascinated by the Buddhist culture and dream of spending time in a monastery? Would you like to travel to Sri Lanka and teach English to Buddhist monks while you’re there? This program with IFRE lets you do just that.

Sri Lanka is an island south of India heavily steeped in the rich Buddhist culture. You will find countless monasteries and fascinating ancient temples from both the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. Spirituality seems to hang in the very air here, and Sri Lanka is just the destination for you if you are searching for travel with a deeper meaning.

A Pirivena is a monastic college, similar to a seminary, for the education of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. Piriven have been centers of education in Sri Lanka since ancient times. Often "lay people" (religious followers not holding religious positions) receive education at a Pirivena as well.

With globalization and other developments, there is a great need and desire for young monks to learn English. As there are no English teachers in the monasteries, you can teach English to volunteers who in turn will teach others, allowing them to spread their message more widely.

As a volunteer teaching English to monks in Sri Lanka, you will teach in a Buddhist temple school. The English language skills you teach these young monks will help them spread their message of peace, non-violence, and enlightenment to a world that needs these things now more than ever. You will also have the chance to immerse yourself in a monastery and learn all about the inspiring and powerful Buddhist teachings and traditions.

If you are seeking a spiritual experience in an exotic land while giving back and making a meaningful difference, contact IFRE today.

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Volunteer Responsibilities & Impact

While participating in this project to teach English to monks in Sri Lanka, you will be volunteering around 5 hours per day in the Piravena, or temple school. You will be teaching young monks from 8-21 years old.

In the project, you will have the opportunity to teach them conversational English, as well as other subjects that might be of benefit to them. You will have conversations with the young monks and interact and connect with them as you help improve their English.

Your time spent teaching English to these young Sri Lankan monks will contribute to the positive messages of Buddhism becoming more accessible to the outside world and inspiring your students to become global ambassadors for their spiritual beliefs and practices. By immersing yourself in a monastery, you will gain insight into the profound and sacred truths these monks devote their lives to.

The volunteering teaching English to Monks in Sri Lanka project is a great opportunity for volunteers to become intimate with age-old Buddhist rituals and traditions while interacting with young monks.

Skills and Qualifications:

Anyone can volunteer to teach English abroad to Buddhist monks. The only requirements for the program are that you have a decent grasp on the English language, and a desire to make a difference in the lives of your young students.

Since you will be volunteering in a monastery, you will need to observe the customs and maintain a high level of respect in this sacred space. No smoking or drinking is allowed, and you are expected to behave as a good role model for the children.

Your time in this project will be a fun and exciting time as you immerse yourself in life at a Buddhist monastery and learn about their faith, culture, traditions and way of life.

First Day: On your first day of teaching English to Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, you will be escorted to the temple you will be teaching at and introduced to the monks living there. You’ll have the rest of the day to familiarize yourself and prepare for your upcoming classes.

Weekdays: Your work teaching the young monks starts properly on the second day, and a typical workday looks like this:

7.00 to 7.30 AM: Start the day with a delicious breakfast together with your host family.

7.45 AM: Leave your host family’s home and head to the temple school for a rewarding day of teaching.

12.00 PM: Around noon you are given some time for a lunch break, which is a great chance to eat together with the monks and learn more about them and life at the temple.

3.00 PM: At this time your work is done for the day and you can return to your host family, go sightseeing or shopping or hang out with your fellow volunteers.

Volunteer Buddhist Monastery Sri Lanka: Dates and Fees

Program Dates

IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.

Our Fees

Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured; we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

Volunteer Program Fees (US$)

Duration Buddhist Monastery Projects
  1 Week   $150
  2 Weeks   $240
  3 Weeks   $360
  4 Weeks   $480
  5 Weeks   $600
  6 Weeks   $720
  7 Weeks   $840
  8 Weeks   $960
  9 Weeks   $1080
  10 Weeks   $1,200
  11 Weeks   $1,320
  12 Weeks   $1,440

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day ( below 28 years) and $4.49/day ( above 28 years) »

Airport Pickup and Transfer to Galle (2 hours) $100/per person

Language and Culture $250

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation (host family)
  • Food (only breakfast and dinnery)
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

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Accommodation and Meal

While on Sri Lanka volunteer in monetary project you will stay with a safe and welcoming host family. They are experienced hosting foreign volunteers in Sri Lanka and are selected for their ability to provide a safe and comfortable environment as well as plenty of cultural immersion and exchange. You will share a bedroom equipped with comfy beds and modern bathroom facilities shared with volunteers of the same gender and receive three meals a day.

Read more about out host family accommodation in Sri Lanka.

Free Time and Weekend Exploration

When you join Sri lanka monastery project, you will have plenty of time while volunteering to travel and explore Sri Lanka. You will have time in the evenings during the week to discover Galle, while your weekends are wide open to go on longer trips throughout Sri Lanka and see all the greatest sights of the country.

Learn more about what to do with your free time in Sri Lanka

Safety and in Country Support

Your safety is of our utmost concern, and IFRE takes significant steps to ensure that your time spent volunteering is safe and comfortable. Our accommodation and facilities are routinely inspected and carefully vetted for safety, and your local coordinator is always on hand to help you with anything you need.

Read more about our safety procedures and network of in-country support coordinators.

Volunteer Buddhist Monastery Sri Lanka:FAQs

How many monks are there in the monastery?

There are about 50-150 monks in the monastery. However, there will be 10-12 Buddhist monks in your class.

Is there any type of support available for the volunteers?

Yes. You will always be supervised and supported by our in-country coordinator and field staff. However, there will be no one to actually assist you with the teaching, as you are solely responsible for handling the classes on their own.

How many hours a day do we work?

As a volunteer teaching English to Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka, you will work about 5 hours a day from Monday to Friday. You will have enough free time and weekends to explore Sri Lanka on your own.

You can travel outdoors, go sightseeing, cycling, shopping or simply relax in your room. You can also participate in any rituals or ceremonies going on in the monastery during your stay, further enhancing your immersion into the fascinating Buddhist culture.

Is the program available year-round? When will it close and for how long?

Yes, the teaching English to Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka project is available year-round. You can participate in our program from one week to 12 weeks. Generally, the placement process starts from 1st and 3rd Monday of each month.

Any important information you want to share about this project?

Volunteers teaching English to monks should know there will be highly disciplined lifestyle in the monastery. You must respect the rules and regulations of the monastery and behave accordingly. Outdoor games are not allowed, whereas indoor games are encouraged. Physical attachment with anyone is strongly prohibited and monks are not allowed to visit outside monastery without permission. You should return to the monastery in a timely manner. Also, smoking and drinking is completely forbidden inside the monastery.

What is the distance between my accommodations and the monastery? Will I need transportation?

The monastery where you will be teaching is located near your host family accommodations. You can travel on TukTuk to and from the project.

Do we get hands-on experience at this project?

Yes, this is a hands-on project and you will receive practical teaching experience during our Teach Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka Project. Most of your day will be spent inside the monastery where you will be assigned to teach English to Buddhist monks of ages between 8 to 21 years old. In the process, you will get deep insight intoBuddhism and gain hands-on teaching experience.

Other Volunteer Opportunities in Sri Lanka

If you’d like to volunteer in Sri Lanka but are not interested in Buddhism, there are many other IFRE projects you can enjoy. Such as:

Work in an orphanage

Teach English to disadvantaged kids

Work with elephants in Kegalle or Pinnawala

Provide healthcare and much more.

Contact IFRE today to find out what project works for you!

Monk Teaching Projects in Other Countries

Buddhist monks are in need of English teachers to help them spread their message in many different countries. Thus, IFRE arranges temple teaching projects in various places and you can see some of our most popular ones in the list below:

  • Nepal - Teaching Buddhist Monk
  • Nepal Himalayas - Teach English to Monks
  • Thailand (Ayutthaya) - Teaching Monk
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