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Thinking about doing an internship in South Africa? Great idea! South Africa is a beautiful country with lots of different aspects. Every area has its own culture. Looking for a western modern place? Cape Town is the perfect choice! Looking for a more rural, African experience? Then Durban is the place to be! Other places such as Pretoria and Porth Elizabeth are also very popular. A huge advantage of South Africa is that almost everyone speaks English. When you have time to travel before or after your internship, try cage diving (diving with sharks), bungee jumping, safaris, hiking; everything is possible in Africa!
The three most popular industries in South Africa to do an internship in are charities, tourism and hotel management, and marketing.
Finding a suitable internship in a foreign country definitely takes some time. The best time to go to South Africa is between November and April. It is recommended to start searching for an internship four to six months before, so you have time to find a suitable place and to make all the arrangements such as accommodation, visa, vaccinations, etc. There are organizations that can help you find an internship and sometimes support you with finding accommodation. These agencies often charge quite a lot of money, but their services can be very useful. You can find these in every country on the internet or ask for information at your university or travel agency. The internet is always a good source for internships (even social media such as LinkedIn).
The prices for accommodation vary a lot. When you work for a charity, they often provide accommodation, sometimes for free. Working for a marketing company will obviously be in the city center where you will pay around $300 monthly rent for a room.
Transportation is also an aspect that depends on the job and the environment. In city centers you can use the local taxis which are around $0.50, but this can be unsafe in some areas. In some cities the bus can be an option, same goes for trains. Make sure you are aware of the situation when preparing your internship.
Because of the high number of unemployment, South Africa is very strict on volunteering projects. They want to make sure that no volunteer gets paid, so no jobs will be given to foreigners. If you apply for a visa or an extension, you should have proof that you don't get paid.
South Africa really is an amazing country where you can learn a lot about the field you will be working in and the African way of living. You will develop your English, gain job experience and learn how to work with people from different cultures. You will experience the kindness of people, their generosity and hospitality, their amazing love for sports and the importance of friends and family. They say that going to Africa may cause an African addiction or fever, simply because you can't get enough!
Esther Blaauwwiekel is from Holland, and did her online marketing and fundraising internship for her major International Business and Languages in Durban, South Africa. She worked for a charity and loved every single bit of it. She loved the people, the safari, the barbecues and the work that she had to do. It was really one of the best 5 months of her life and she can't wait to go back to see her 'African family'. You can read more about her travels in South Africa on her blog.
Do you think there is something missing in our guide to interning in South Africa? Contact us and let us know! We want to make sure our information is relevant and up to date.