An Elective in the Tropics                                                                                                             An Elective amidst Sri Lankan Hospitality and Rich Culture                                                                                                 Get a Taste of Learning in the Second Oldest Medical School in South Asia                                                                         Work in One of the Largest Hospitals in the World

General Information


The Medical Faculty is located in the heart of the city of Colombo on Kynsey Road in Borella (Colombo 8). It is just a five minute walk to Punchi-Borella town on Baseline Road or to Town Hall at Union Place and about a ten minute walk to Borella main junction. All these are busy streets with shops, super-markets, eating places and other basic amenities.

The National Hospital of Sri Lanka is just across Kynsey Road, the De Soysa Hospital for Women is adjoining the Faculty and the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children is a five minute walk from the Faculty.
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There are many options for accommodation within Borella, Punchi Borella, Maradana (Colombo 10), Cinnamon Gardens (Colombo 7), Kollupitiya (Colombo 3) and Elvitigala Mawatha (Colombo 5), depending on your budget and requirements.

You may wish to stay in a youth hostel such as the YWCA, rent rooms at a guest house or use accommodation facilities offered by state institutes. In addition, there are many apartments available for short term lets in Colombo for a higher sum which you would be able to find on the internet.

There are several places that the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo recommends in terms of safety, but we accept no responsibility for the quality of services provided.
Check Accommodation


There is an efficient bus service along Baseline Road and Union Place operating from 5.00 am till about 10.30 pm on both week days and weekends. In addition, there are taxi services operating throughout the day. Some Taxis will pick you up/drop on prior appointment made by phone. You may also obtain the services of budget three-wheelers/metered taxis for a cheaper rate.


Street crime is the exception rather than the norm but you should be careful of your belongings at all times, and exercise caution at all times. Check the security status


The HSBC and Citibank both have branches in close proximity to the Medical Faculty. There are many other local banks such as Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank, People’s Bank and Bank of Ceylon with ATM facilities in close proximity to the Faculty.


For local and international calls, there are phone booths available within hospital and Faculty premises.
The Faculty has a designated Wi-Fi zone for students but does not provide laptops. You are therefore advised to bring your own laptop. Depending on the availability, it may be possible to borrow a dongle for internet connection from the Electives Unit for the duration of your visit.

There are mobile telephone agents from whom you could purchase local SIM cards for your phone. Please note that you need to pay a refundable deposit if you are purchasing a dongle. You could also purchase pre-paid top up cards for your phone and dongle.


Food outlets are in abundance in and around the Faculty and hospital area. Lunch (usually rice and curry) is available as take-away food. Snacks such as short-eats are available throughout the day. There are several super-markets around for purchasing bread, fruits, milk and dairy products, processed food, pre-cooked and ready-to-eat food products and snacks. Fruits such as banana, papaw and mangoes could be purchased from the market and way-side boutiques.
There are food courts in some of the super markets and well known take away food outlets /restaurants in and around the Faculty. The Faculty and hospital have their own canteens. Tea and fizzy drinks are served in all canteens.

You are discouraged from eating cooked food from vendors selling on the streets.
Pipe-borne water is usually not consumed for drinking purposes. It is advisable to consume bottled water.

Health and insurance

The state runs a free health service. However, non-nationals are not entitled to free healthcare in government hospitals.

In an emergency, the Professorial Units will assist you with the required care free of charge.
However, if you wish to utilize services of NHSL or any other state or private hospital, you will be required to make a payment. It is therefore advisable to be protected by a medical insurance during your stay in Sri Lanka.

If you become unwell during your elective period, you should inform the Electives Unit so that you could receive assistance in obtaining medical care.
Dengue fever is prevalent in Sri Lanka. You should take precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites with adequate use of repellants at all times.
Traveller’s diarrhoea is another medical condition that you may face, which is easily circumvented by eating only from places with adequate food hygiene and safety standards.

Dress code

You will be required to dress appropriately in a manner befitting a medical undergraduate, especially during hospital ward/clinic work. You are expected to wear the white coat and shoes/sandals during clinical work.
Please note that clothing is relatively cheap in Sri Lanka and readily available should you wish to purchase cotton clothing while here. If you require further information, please feel free to contact the Electives Unit.

Rules of conduct

As are many other South Asian cities, Colombo is a melting pot of the old and the new – with conservative views and liberalism co-existing in mutual understanding. The rules of conduct / etiquette are more or less the same to those considered appropriate in medical schools elsewhere in the world.
You should always treat the staff and patients with courtesy at all times, and be aware that some of them may not be proficient in English.