A Projects Abroad intern is pictured watching over a doctor as part of their physiotherapy internship in Sri Lanka.

Physical Therapy Internship in Sri Lanka

Learn directly from physical therapists and gain work experience in beautiful Sri Lanka

At a glance

Projects Abroad has been awarded the South Asian Sustainable Development Leadership High Award for Volunteerism

  •  Work at local hospitals, where you’ll shadow physical therapists and learn how they assess 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.

Start Dates: 


See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


16 or over

Is a Physical Therapy Internship in Sri Lanka right for me?

Are you:


  • A pre-university student who’s thinking about a career in physical therapy and would like to see what it’s like?
  • A physical therapy student who would like to complement your studies with some practical experience?
  • A recent physical therapy graduate looking to build your resume?


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 physical therapy 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. Our start and end dates are flexible, so you can choose a time that suits you.

Doctors and nurses take a picture with wheelchair donated by Projects Abroad during an interns Physiotherapy internship in Sri Lanka.

What will I do at my Physical Therapy placement in Sri Lanka?

Depending on your experience and training, there are a number of different activities you can get involved in. At your Physical Therapy placement in Sri Lanka, you can:


  • Observe trained physical therapists at work in hospitals
  • Work with special-needs children to support their rehabilitation
  • Train local staff to modernize and improve their techniques
  • Learn about traditional Ayurveda medicine practices

Your work will focus on the following areas:


Observe trained physical therapists 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.


In this internship, you’ll find out how physical therapists assess and treat their patients. While hospital physical therapists 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 organizations. You can choose to work with children who have cerebral palsy or speech impairments. You’ll assist in their rehabilitation and use physical therapy sessions to improve their motor skills.


Train local staff to modernize and improve their techniques


If you’re a physical therapy graduate, you can assist with training local staff. This is a way for you to share what you have learned during your studies and training and help medical staff to improve their own techniques.


Qualified interns work at a home that 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 physical therapy 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 Physical Therapy 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 recognized 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 physical therapy 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 center but well served by bus routes.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Sri Lanka Arrival Procedures page.

A typical day on the Physical Therapy 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 8.30 am - 12.30 pm, and then from 2 pm - 4 pm, 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 7.30 am - 2 pm, Monday to Friday.


If you’ve chosen to intern at a hospital, then you will spend your time observing trained physical therapists at work. Government hospitals tend to be very busy. This means you’ll see a lot of different patients during the day. You’ll learn from physical therapists 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 physical therapy, 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 well-being. It’s also a great opportunity to get invaluable physical therapy work experience while in Sri Lanka.


At 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.

Projects Abroad Physiotherapy interns in Sri Lanka join other medical interns to learn about and practice CPR.

What are the aims and impact of this internship?

Our aim at the Physical Therapy 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 physical therapists 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 resume.


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 well-being 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 Physical Therapy Internship in Sri Lanka and gain international work experience while providing specialized care to children with disabilities.

Students doing a Physiotherapy internship in Sri Lanka with Projects Abroad collect data for patients' records.

Medical practicums

These programs are ideal for medical or healthcare science students looking for a practicum experience abroad. As a practicum student, learning comes to life as you observe doctors and participate in healthcare outreaches. You’ll get a first-hand insight into medical practices in developing countries and actively learn from professionals in the field. 

Contact us so we can help organize a specific practicum placement for you.

Management plans

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.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay a $295 deposit, which comes off the total program fees.

Please choose a Duration and Start Date to continue.

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