Summer in Sri Lanka

July 5, 2018 | Hailey, Specialization in International Development and Globalization with an Additional Minor in Business Management, Uniterra + WUSC in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka, Marketing and Communications Officer with Kelani Valley Plantations

I have been thinking a lot about how to summarize my living, working and travelling experiences in Sri Lanka thus far. I thought about it on the train from Nuwara Eliya to Kandy and I thought about it on the beach in Trincomalee, but I decided to take a few moments in my “home town” of Nuwara Eliya to write about it.

I will start by asking a question: what are some things you think of when you think about Sri Lanka? If you asked me this question 2 month ago I would have said beaches, tea plantations and temples. Although there is an abundance of all the above, my understanding and appreciation for this beautiful country has grown immensely in the past 2 months. I am particularly enthralled with the immense nature and wildlife of the country; there are so many different species of flowers and animals which seem to inhabit every part of the island.

Additionally, the people in Sri Lanka are incredibly welcoming and hospitable, and the culture is unbelievably rich. Between the 4 prominent religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity) it seems that there is always some sort of festival or celebration happening. Most notably, the monthly public holiday called Poya which occurs when there is a full moon.

To me, the most amazing thing about Sri Lanka is the diverse landscape and climate. In about 4 hours you can drive from the Oceanside capital city of Colombo to Nuwara Eliya in Hill Country. At an altitude of about 1,868m, Nuwara Eliya is located in the misty mountains of Central Province. The terrain is picturesque; endless acres of tea trails that are bordered by lush jungle. It is also the coldest region in Sri Lanka; the temperature difference between Nuwara Eliya and neighbouring towns can be very dramatic. Before arriving in Nuwara Eliya I knew that it was the start of monsoon season, but I was very unprepared for the constant heavy rain, blustering wind and frequent power outages. According to locals, the monsoon season starts a little earlier every year (thank-you climate change), and this year it was particularly severe. Dealing with weather extremities was rather challenging throughout the first month and a half of my internship, however the days seem to be getting sunnier which leaves me hopefully that monsoon season is almost over.

The vast differences in landscape and climate also means a large variety of activities that can be done in different parts of the country, so it is no surprise that Sri Lanka is becoming a popular tourist destination. Some attractions include surfing, snorkeling, diving, whale watching, kite-surfing, hiking, touring tea plantations, golfing and safari excursions.

In Nuwara Eliya, I am working as a Marketing and Communications officer with Kelani Valley Plantations; a partner organization to Uniterra + WUSC Sri Lanka. Before arriving, I had no idea what type of work I would be doing, nor did I have any preconceptions of the work environment that I would be emerged in for three months. I am stationed at Tea Train, which is a small café located on Edinburgh Estate (one of the many Kelani Valley estates). Aside from redesigning menus, managing the restaurants social media pages and updating the Trip Advisor profile, I also get to work on business proposals for upcoming ventures which will further Kelani Valleys position in the hospitality/tourism industry.

Soon I will be starting a new project that I am pretty excited about: I will be sorting through 5 years of photographs in order to showcase the social work that Kelani Valley Plantations has done to improve the community. I will select photos then write captions in order to create posters which are to be displayed at Tea Train.

The end of my internship is quickly approaching, and although I am sad that I will not see the final product of the business proposals which I have been working on, I am looking forward to coming home to Canada. That being said, I will be back to visit this alluring island, and Nuwara Eliya will definitely be on my itinerary. I am hopefully curious to seeing how my work will be expanded upon in the future.

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