Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need a TEFL certificate or a similar qualification to teach at your school?
    • No. While teaching qualifications/experience would be advantageous, it is not a requirement to volunteer at SVS School for English.

  • What is the application process?
    • The simplest and quickest way is to apply online. Once we receive your C.V. and application, you’ll be asked to complete a small test online, to assess your English language and teaching ability. Afterwards, you will have a video interview with the Principal or Vice-Principal before a decision is made.

  • What are the teaching dates for the year?
    • Starting dates for the courses vary each year, but as a guide, term dates usually run as follows:
      Term 1: early January to early April
      Term 2: mid-April to end June
      Term 3: early July to end September
      Term 4: early October to mid-December

  • What times do classes run?
    • Classes run Monday to Friday from 8.30 AM to 10.30 AM, 11.00 AM to 1.00 PM, 3.30 PM to 5.30 PM and 6.00 PM to 8.00 PM. Volunteer teachers will teach 3 classes a day, e.g. 8.30 AM, 11 AM and 6 PM.

  • Can I choose which classes I teach?
    • No. You will be assigned the courses you teach (Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate) at your induction, during which you will also receive your class times. The teaching rota is decided by the Principal and Vice-Principal.

  • How many students will I teach?
    • Class sizes are kept small, to better facilitate interaction and communication between students and teachers. The maximum number of students per class is 24 to 26 students.

  • How old are the students I will teach?
    • Most students are aged 18 and over, although occasionally students as young as 16 enroll after finishing secondary school.

  • How much will I get paid?
    • As this is a volunteer placement, so you won’t receive a salary. You will, however, get free food and accommodation for the duration of your stay, as well as a monthly stipend for expenses. The cost of living in Sri Lanka is significantly lower than Europe and if you live a local lifestyle, you will be able to enjoy eating out and travelling.

  • Where will I live?
    • You’ll live in a large, modern house in Kotte, in the suburbs of Colombo. The house is located in a peaceful area, not far from the popular parliament grounds, and close to a stunning wetland and lakes. There are plenty of shops and restaurants within walking distance of the house and central Colombo is a 20 minute car journey away.

  • What are the transportation links like?
    • As a volunteer teacher, you will be reimbursed for any transport to and from the school. Trishaws, a.k.a. tuk-tuks, are one of the cheapest and fastest ways of getting around. A local transportation app called PickMe lets you choose between trishaws, minicabs or vans while Uber is another popular option. Buses can also be used, while trains are more suitable for longer journeys.

  • What’s the food like?
    • Be prepared for spicy goodness! Sri Lankan food uses a lot of different spices, including curry powder, cinnamon, chilli powder, turmeric… A typical meal consists of boiled rice with several different curried vegetables, each prepared differently, and a curried fish or meat dish. At the house, weekly menus vary and include Sri Lankan meals as well as Western dishes.

  • What’s the weather like in Sri Lanka?
    • Better bring some sunblock! It’s tropical beach weather. Sunny – and humid – a majority of the time, except for the monsoon season when heavy rains dominate. But there’s always a sunny beach somewhere on the island!

  • How much are flights to Sri Lanka?
    • Flights to Sri Lanka can be reasonable if booked well in advance. Once you’ve been accepted into our programme, we can offer guidance on flight booking options.

  • Will I need insurance?
    • Yes, it is recommended that you get travel insurance, which typically covers healthcare as well.

  • How much time off will I receive?
    • In addition to breaks between terms, volunteer teachers receive weekends and public holidays off – of which Sri Lanka has an abundance!

  • Do I need to bring any of my own funds? If so, how much will I need?
    • It’s entirely your choice, but we do recommend that you bring some extra funds. £500 for a 6-month stay should be enough to cover basic spending besides your stipend. If you plan to travel around the island or do a lot of shopping, however, then you’ll want to bring more.