71. John Stephen Connolly – Ireland

John Stephen Connolly I find it hard to describe my experience with Horizon Academy, Tantirimale because of all the different emotions I had. I have volunteered before in the Czech Republic and Poland, but this was my best experience so far. Before coming to Sri Lanka I would never have thought that I would leave with the feeling of having a Sri Lankan family to come back to visit after my wonderful experience with my family while volunteering.

We had planned to stay a week and by the end of the week we wanted to stay longer. From the first moment of meeting our host family I felt so welcomed and part of their family. Our family was great, they provided us with delicious meals, and we had so much fun with them. We played games together, learned about each other cultures and overall enjoyed each other’s company.  Sandali the little girl in the family was so clever and she always wanted to play and improve her English. I think she will continue to get better and better. We will miss our Sri Lankan family and I wish them all the best in the future.

During our time volunteering with Horizon we worked at the local school in the village in the morning and at the Horizon Academy in the afternoon. We started our classes at the local school around 10 a.m. and finished at lunch time. The classes at Horizon Academy were usually from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The children are great and are very nice to teach. They have lots of potential and they are very eager to improve their English, so I think they will continue to improve in the future. Sunanda the manager at Horizon was very welcoming and helped us with any problems we had. He helped us with our host family, gave us a ride to and from school and gave us information about the area.

The area is very beautiful and I think anyone who decides to come here will not regret their decision. We found the area very relaxing and a great place to experience the countryside of Sri Lanka. We had lots of free time to visit the local sites and the people in the area are so friendly and will always greet you with a big smile and a wave. Anuradhapura is not far away and takes about one hour on the local bus. The buses go fairly often during the day so you could visit there on your days off.

Sri Lanka is a great place to visit we really enjoyed Colombo and Anuradhapura before we started our volunteering with Horizon. I hope the rest of Sri Lanka will be as good.

I would like to thank Horizon for accepting me on this program and I wish them continued success in the future. I think the work they are doing is so important and if you are lucky enough to join them at some stage I think you will have a wonderful experience. I hope I can come back some day and do it all again.

John Stephen Connolly – Ireland (Volunteered in May 2017)

John Stephen Connolly
John Stephen Connolly with a student 
With Sandali and Annie
With Sandali and Annie