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Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

Living in Sri Lanka

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 10, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Sri Lanka. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Sri Lanka?

Live in Sri Lanka? Answer this Question

"Healthcare is free for everyone. Every city and town has a state run hospital/s which has super qualified doctors and treatments and medicine for free of charge. But sometimes line are long. You also have the option to go for a private hospital or clinic which is paid. Insurance usually covers all general treatments and can be claimed. Insurance providers are many in Sri Lanka - with Ceylinco Life, AIA and Janashakti been just a few. Each has different tiers of insurance depending on your budget. You can go as low as you want or as high. ," explained one expat living in Sri Lanka.

"We have had no experiences with regard to the use of our health insurance as either the cost was too low to even bother with it or it was pre-existing and was not going to be covered so was out of pocket. Yes, we have Cigna Global Health Insurance as to be a foreign resident in Sri Lanka it is required to have health insurance coverage. It has been vague if the insurance will cover Nawaloka, Negombo Branch but their map showing most hospitals for us to go to are in Colombo (27 miles distance). I can't get an answer from Nawaloka Hospital, Negombo Branch either if they would accept Cigna here locally. I did pick Cigna Global as most of the other insurance outfits seemed kind of dicey and it was the best of the lot. ," said another expat in living in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

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What do expats in Sri Lanka appreciate most about the local culture?

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"It is clean, people are more educated amongst south Asian people, nature is beautiful, weather is nice, great fruits and sea food," said another person in Colombo .

"Friendliness of people and their willingness to help you at every turn. I was working in London and Latvia before and I was depressed then due to the fact that I did not find genuine people around me," remarked another expat in Colombo.

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in Sri Lanka? Answer this Question

"Everything is so slow. People are very proud and stubborn at times. They smile a lot, but the smile doesn't always feel sincere. There is a lack of problem solving orientation. Prices are quite high for some items and especially for foreigners. Old cars are being driven and they are very polluting," said another expat in Colombo .

What are the schools in Sri Lanka like?

Live in Sri Lanka? Answer this Question

"I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND LEEDS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, AS IT PROMOTES EDUCATION BALANCED WITH GOOD EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES. IT HAS A GREAT REPUTATION FOR STUDENT DISCIPLINE IN THE SCHOOL TOO," added another expat with kids at Leeds International School in Panadura.

"This school seems to give all students some sense of local culture and the society, compared to many international schools in the country. We have done a good survey of all schools in this area before we get our ones enrolled. We were not very impressed with many other schools as they send students mad with unnecessarily heavy work load. They seem to have the understanding that more work will enable to make better products, which is a myth. But I know some local parents appreciate that approach, which is sad from the child's perspective," commented one expat when asked about Leeds International School in Panadura.

"OSC is getting smaller. Some of our friends have enrolled their children in other international schools, while others have left the country over security issues. It's a very fluid situation. Kidnappings by police, or people imitating the police, are on the increase, along with bombings and attacks in Colombo. It is sad to see the civil war destroying the country," remarked another expat living in Colombo with children attending Overseas School of Colombo.

"Look round all the iternational schools in Colombo-we did and decided that OSC was by far the best," said another expat in Colombo with children at OSC.

"The headmaster of the school is quite charming, at least on the surface. The school appears to be in decline. Some of the classes seem to have lost half their students in recent years. One should also consider the security situation in Sri Lanka before bringing children. Check with your High Com or Embassey. This year the airport was bombed and closed to all international travel for a time. Conditions are getting worse, so do your research before arriving," remarked another parent with kids at The Overseas School of Colombo in Colombo.

"This is a very special school. The Principal is FANTASTIC. She runs a very tight ship but is also fair and ready to listen to parents and she really listens. The faclty is incredible they are ALL excellent teachers and my child feels completely safe and respected. My wife and I feel the same way. It is a remarkable place to learn," explained one expat living in Negombo, Sri Lanka.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Sri Lanka GuideSri Lanka Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Forum Sri Lanka Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Sri Lanka on our Sri Lanka forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Sri Lanka Index Sri Lanka Index
An index of all of our site's Sri Lanka information.

Contribute to Sri Lanka Network Contribute
Help others in Sri Lanka by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Sri Lanka.

Expat Healthcare Advice in Sri LankaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Sri Lanka

Expats in Sri Lanka offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Sri Lanka.

Real Estate in Sri LankaReal Estate in Sri Lanka

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Sri Lanka.

5-Tips-For-Living-In-Sri-Lanka5 Tips For Living In Sri Lanka

Expats in Sri Lanka live in a country just south of India that is regularly reported by expats as being a clean and hospitable place to create a life abroad.

Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Sri Lanka GuideSri Lanka Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Forum Sri Lanka Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Sri Lanka on our Sri Lanka forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Sri Lanka Index Sri Lanka Index
An index of all of our site's Sri Lanka information.

Contribute to Sri Lanka Network Contribute
Help others in Sri Lanka by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Sri Lanka.

Expat Healthcare Advice in Sri LankaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Sri Lanka

Expats in Sri Lanka offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Sri Lanka.

Real Estate in Sri LankaReal Estate in Sri Lanka

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Sri Lanka.

5-Tips-For-Living-In-Sri-Lanka5 Tips For Living In Sri Lanka

Expats in Sri Lanka live in a country just south of India that is regularly reported by expats as being a clean and hospitable place to create a life abroad.

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