Connect-123 Cape Town Internships

Provider: Connect-123

The Connect-123 internship program in Cape Town offers interns the opportunity to participate in a variety of internships in Cape Town. This is your chance to live and work in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town! Some popular internship fields in Cape Town include business and entrepreneurship, medical and health care, human rights and social work. Visit the Connect-123 website to find the internship program that fits you best!

Tailored placements! Connect-123 will arrange an internship that works with your specific background, skills and interests.

Extensive Network! The internship opportunities available to you in Cape Town are endless, this is your chance to work with top companies and organizations, and boost your resume with an international internship!

Service! Connect-123 makes the process of taking part in an international internship in Cape Town as easy as possible! You will be provided with pre-departure support, in-country support, as well as post internship support.

Flexibility! Connect-123 can provide you with an internship experience that works best for you, whether you're looking for a summer internship in Cape Town, or a longer one, Connect-123 can help you find an internship that works best for you.

Our program deposit is completely refundable! Most organizations require a non-refundable deposit, which they justify by pointing to the amount of work required to put together an internship or volunteer work placement. Connect-123's policy is different - our program fee deposit is 100% refundable up to two weeks after sending you an internship offer.

Program Info

  • South AfricaCape Town
Unpaid internship
Program Length: 
1-3 months
3-6 months
$500 - $2,000 (USD)
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Internship Types: 
Public Relations
Environmental Conservation
Wildlife Conservation
Sustainable Development
Human Rights
Animal Science
Social Work
Work Week: 
20-40 hours
Participants live independently
Online Application
Phone / Skype Interview

Program Reviews (17)

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  • Lauren Frank
    Age: 19-24
    San Diego, California
    University of San Diego
    Left My Heart in Cape Town

    My experience with Connect-123 in Cape Town was absolutely amazing and the best 3 months of my entire life. I was terrified going to South Africa by myself and not knowing anyone, but Connect-123 made the transition into life abroad extremely easy and helped me get acclimated into my everyday life in Cape Town. Connect-123 offered lots of awesome events throughout the program that allowed us to see the real culture of South Africa and got us out and about in the city.

    I've traveled quite a bit in other countries around the world and I have to say that other cities pale in comparison to Cape Town. Cape Town is my absolute favorite city in the entire world. The city is beautiful and sits nestled in the mountains and looks out to endless oceans. There is an endless list of fun activities to participate in while in South Africa. You can jump off the world's highest commercial bungee jump, shark cage dive, see exotic animals on a safari, go for incredible, breathtaking hikes and go surfing. It's the perfect place for anyone seeking an adventure.

    On top of all this Cape Town has a fascinating, empowering history, which you cannot escape while living in the country. In addition to all of this, the food is incredible! I'm not kidding when I say I ate the best meals of my life while in Cape Town. Those who say you need to travel to Italy to eat amazing food, obviously have not been to Cape Town. The city is filled with a vast variety of different restaurants and markets that are to die for! My roommates and I basically spent every weekend exploring the Old Biscuit Mill market.

    In terms of my work experience in Cape Town, Connect-123 set me up with the most amazing internship! I loved going to work every day and I felt I gained incredible hands-on experience. My internship was in the exact industry I want to pursue a career in, so it was seriously-spot on! Also, my co-workers in Cape Town basically became my family there. They were fully invested in making sure I was situated and enjoying my time in Cape Town and at work. At the end of my internship, I was offered the opportunity to continue writing for their global website once I headed back home. My internship in Cape Town will without a doubt help me professionally in my future.

    If you are debating whether or not to take advantage of an opportunity of going abroad, I can not stress enough how rewarding and life-changing an experience like this can be. No matter where you want to go, travel opens up many doors and helps you see the world in a different perspective. My experience in Cape Town has definitely opened my eyes and I'm already looking forward to my next adventure, wherever that may be! Take a leap of faith and I promise you, you won't regret it!

    How could this program be improved?

    While Connect-123 did an awesome job of putting on events, some events conflicted with times that most of us in the program worked. I would love to see more opportunities for all members of the program to get together and go out and explore! But I was extremely happy with my program overall! The more you are involved with the program, the more rewarding and happy you'll be with your experience there!

    On Top of the World - Looking out at the city of Cape Town and Table Mountain from the top of Lion's Head!
    Getting to pet a Cheetah on our Garden Route adventure!
    Our adventure to Knysna Elephant Park!
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  • Hugh Moore
    Age: 25-30
    Atlanta, GA
    University of Georgia
    Best Money You Can Spend On Yourself

    The Social Entrepreneurship program with Connect-123 was nothing of what I expected to say the least. The first thing I learned is that you can't guess what the experience is going to be like until you get out there and do it. Learning business in the class room is one thing, but getting into the real world and facing real challenges is another. Through the program's real life experiences coupled with the classroom training, I feel much more prepared to enter the business wold for myself than ever before. The guidance I received along the way gave me the confidence to take on business ventures without fearing being left out in the dark. If you have any interest in going into the business world, I would definitely recommend spending a semester in Cape Town to prepare yourself to face the challenges the world has to throw at you.

    How could this program be improved?

    I would have liked my specific program to have more participants. It was great to have dozens of individuals from Connect-123 all living in the same place together, but I would have liked more people in my specific program.

    Sunset from the Connect-123 apartment building
    Lookout from Table Mountain
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  • Ruth Schorr
    Age: 19-24
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    University of North Carolina - Charlotte
    The Ultimate Abroad In Cape Town

    My time in Cape Town with Connect-123 was more than I could have ever asked for. With an easy transition to Cape Town Life, I found a new adventure everyday and it was wonderful having many other interns around to share the experience with. Whether it was hiking, shopping, going on evening outings there was never a shortage or things to do or people to do them with. Connect made it so easy and accessible for me to get comfortable by walking me to work on my first day, setting up evening activities, and being very available and responsive to any questions I had along the way. Overall my Cape Town and Connect-123 experience were both unforgettable and taught me so much about myself and about South Africa. From making friends to learning exactly what I want to do with my perfectly matched internship everything was perfect when it came to my time spent in Cape Town. I can't wait to make it back soon to the Mother City soon and thanks to Connect-123 for making me fall in love with it.

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  • Zahra Nealy
    Age: 25-30
    Glendale, California
    University of Southern California
    Best Time of My Life

    Connect 123 left a lasting impression on me, even four years later. I was able to grow professionally, personally and expand my world view, all while having fun at the same time. Gabby Kelly was our coordinator and she helped a lot with our transition.

    Connect 123 provide great programming for the students. I enjoyed going to Robben Island and learning about Nelson Mandela's history there. We also went to a game lounge where our truck got stuck in a sand ditch just a few yards away from a cheetah that killed an ostrich. It was never a dull moment!

    I interned with fashion designer Thulare Monareng to help promote her brand during the 2010 World Cup. I organized events, photo shoots, created communication/publicity plans and was able to learn so much about the South African fashion industry and culture. It inspired me so much that I wrote my graduate thesis on the topic.

    The most challenging, yet rewarding, aspect was meeting students from the Centre of Science and Technology (COSAT) in Khayelitsha. I worked with a student on "Democracy is..." a student journalism program. We walked through various parts of the township where I met many people who lived without running water, electricity and plumbing. I even met a 75-year-old woman who was stabbed while using one of the public restrooms in the township. Knowing that these students lived in these conditions, yet were able to attend such a prestigious school is a testament to their perseverance. It was an eye opening experience.

    Cape Town is a beautiful city filled with the nicest people I've ever met. I know that one day (hopefully soon!) I will return to the Mother City.

    How could this program be improved?

    The Perspectives building was great, but we did have an issue with a water leak in our flat. Other than that the programming was fantastic from what I can recall.

    Me and my roommate at Green Point Stadium for the Italy versus Uruguay World Cup match in 2010.
    Working an event for the fashion designer Thulare Monareng to promote her Tuli Tees World Cup t-shirts.
    Me and a student from COSAT in Khayelitsha working on "Democracy is" , a student journalism program.
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  • Leah
    Age: 25-30
    Omaha, Nebraska
    University of Kentucky
    Public Health in Cape Town

    I worked for the medical research council that was surveying over 12,000 babies and testing them for HIV. I was able to help with collection and instructing individuals on testing. Worked with wonderful people at the University of Western Cape who helped me throughout the way even after leaving Cape Town. My focus had been with HIV epidemiology and the internship fit perfectly. Connect 123 did wonders in trying to find the perfect opportunity for me. I was sad to leave the people I worked with, as well as the friends I made through Connect.

    How could this program be improved?

    Not much that the program could potentially do, but maybe work more with the internship leaders to make sure they are following through on everything they said they would.

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  • Katie Sumpter
    Age: 19-24
    Iowa City, Iowa United States
    University of Iowa
    I learned a ton about myself.

    My favorite part about my time in Cape town was going on a weekend road trip with 7 friends along the Garden Route. We got to go Bungee jumping on the highest bungee in the world, see the southern most tip of Afrcia, walk with monkeys and drive through some of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. This really solidified my need to travel and explore as much of the world as I can.

    The program I did was an internship in a government hospital. While I got to see a lot of cool things, there is definetly things that need improvement. A lot of the pre-planned events fell through, and we found ourselves with a lot of down time at the hospital, and we felt like we were in the way.

    I learned, that next time I travel, I need to check the weather first. My biggest mistake was not bringing enough warm clothes and too many pairs of shorts. South Africa has opposite seasons as the U.S. Another mistake I made was not listening when they told me not to carry around valuables if you can avoid it. One thing I was good at was always having a map, I was able to explore and find my way back. Also, take advantage of the bus system! Much safer than trains and not that expensive!

    This internship really opened my eyes to what health care looks like in poorer parts of the world. I learned I really want to be a part of helping those not as well off. Going abroad by myself helped me gain a lot of independence and self confidence. I definitely recommend trying some sort of abroad experience.

    How could this program be improved?

    The cost was too much for what it included. Be aware of what you are paying for. In this program, nothing extra was included with the fee. Transportation and food got expensive fast.

    Also, this program could use more scheduled events. I hated when I had downtime, luckily I was good at finding fun things to do.

    Tip of Lion's Head at sunise
    Highest Bungee bridge in the world
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  • Tanya
    Age: 19-24
    Toronto, Canada
    University of Toronto
    Cape Town was one of the greatest experiences of my life!

    Cape Town is a beautiful city with amazing people. I only stayed for a month, but I could've easily stayed for a few more months. The city is very walkable and easy to get around. In terms of safety, be careful when taking valuables out. Try not to flaunt your valuables, and at night, travel in a group and take a cab home. Food is inexpensive and fresh, and the apartment was furnished and cozy. My internship at the hospital was a great learning experience. I got to witness things I would never get the opportunity to in Canada. Making friends and attending social gatherings really contributed to my enjoyment in Cape Town. The night life is incredible and memories are made on every corner. On a side note, if you are staying during the winter, invest in a blanket and portable heater because it can get cold in the apartment. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking to gain some knowledge in their field of interest while making everlasting friends and memories.

    How could this program be improved?

    In terms of my placement, have the organization (in my case, the hospital) be a little more organized concerning what my schedule would be like.

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  • Jude A.
    Age: 19-24
    Boston, MA
    Northeastern University
    Clinical Psych. Internship

    Accurately putting my time in Cape Town into words is impossible, because however I describe my experience won't do it justice.
    Working at an addictions rehab center was amazing. I wasn't sure if clinical psychology was the right choice for me, so I wanted an experience where I could work with patients in a counseling setting. The four months I spent working at the rehab center not only assured me that counseling is something I want to pursue, but also steered me towards addictions counseling. At work, I often found myself in new and unfamiliar situations, but I was able to grow professionally and learn so much from these experiences.
    Moreover, I was in the most beautiful city in the world, and I got the chance to really live there, rather than experience it in a short few weeks as a tourist on vacation would have.
    This has been a life changing experience, and I would repeat it in a heartbeat. If you have the chance, go for it - it's an experience of a lifetime!

    How could this program be improved?

    Review finances - a bit on the expensive range in terms of program fees and housing.

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  • Reemg
    Age: 19-24
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Rhodes College
    Economic Development in Cape Town

    I am so grateful for the experience I had in Cape Town, South Africa with Connect-123. The time I spent there has absolutely changed the way I look at the world. Connect-123 made sure all the interns were getting the most out of their experiences, starting with making sure all the interns were in a placement with a host organization that would help them grow. Honestly, my favorite part my time abroad was working with my internship because it really complemented my interests and was tailored to my skills set. I spent my time in Cape Town working with a non-profit company with grant-writing and economic development proposals. I also was able to spend a fair amount of time doing field research collecting data in the townships which was extremely eye opening. At the beginning of my time in Cape Town, I thought I would become a Certified Public Accountant after graduation. However after my internship in Cape Town, I am so inspired to continue in the field of economic development that I was exposed to in South Africa.

    I continue to stay in contact with my coworkers and South African friends. I really feel that Connect-123 personalized my entire experience and made sure that I left the country with complete appreciation for the culture and so much that the country as to offer.

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  • Will
    Age: 19-24
    Oakland, CA
    Northeastern University
    My Internship

    I've been lucky enough to travel a great deal in my life, but can honestly say that Cape Town was the first destination abroad where I've ever felt like I never had to leave. It's an absolutely magical city, with fantastic weather, beautiful and friendly people, a wealth of things to do and one of the most fantastic settings that I've ever seen. I was there for six months, and rarely a day went by without going out into the city and exploring a new neighborhood or finding a cool bar or restaurant!

    Additionally, choosing to do an internship in Cape Town through Connect-123 rather than independently vastly opened up my experience of South Africa. First of all, the apartment complex that I lived in, Perspectives, was located smack in the middle of the city center, walking distance from the majority of the city's restaurants, bars, and tourist attractions. Any place I couldn't reach easily by walking was at most a 3-6 dollar cab ride away! Additionally, the group outings that Connect organized both made it extremely easy to make friends from practically the moment I set foot in the city and made visiting the various attractions outside of the city - Garden Route, Cape Point, wine tastings, etc - much easier to plan.

    Finally - and perhaps most importantly - the internship that Connect set me up with was absolutely FANTASTIC! I worked at a social enterprise whose mission was to plant trees in undergreened areas of southern Africa and to incite a more inclusive and popular environmental movement in the region. The organization regularly planted trees in Cape Town schools and organized activations to raise green awareness, such as free yoga on the Sea Point Promenade, giving away seedlings, and riding bikes to promote alternative transportation in a very car-dependent city. My role at the organization was as a social media and communications intern - I ran the Facebook, helped with events management, marketed to various media sources around the city, and performed a variety of other tasks that never failed to keep me busy. Additionally, I accompanied the organization to Livingstone, Zambia - home of Victoria Falls! - to plant 5000 trees in the country more plagued by deforestation than any other in southern Africa. Finally, one of my bosses was one of the most famous musicians in South Africa, so I regularly got to attend concerts for free and help out with selling merchandise and the like.

    Overall, I had an absolutely magical time with Connect-123 and my internship in South Africa, and can't wait to return!

    How could this program be improved?

    I think that the relationship between some of the Connect staff and interns could be a bit formal at times - we're pretty much the same age, and perhaps the overall relationship could be a bit more relaxed, as fun as it was!

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  • sk1991
    Age: 19-24
    Monroe Township, New Jersey
    Rutgers University
    Cape Town 2013

    This is one of the best opportunities I could have ever asked for. My internship was a dream. It allowed me to do what I loved, reconnect with a part of my life that I had let go of, and immerse myself in the local culture. I felt like I lived there with traveling to and from work and walking around. I enjoyed the drinks nights with the interns because everyone has a different experience and it was great to see all of the different perspectives. The highlights of my trips were my internship, going to the a rugby match, and just hanging out in general. I cannot think of a single day in which I was unhappy. I had such an amazing time.

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  • Anon
    Age: 19-24
    Legal internship in Cape Town

    If you're reading this and considering doing an internship with Connect123 in Cape Town...definitely do it! I had an amazing and unforgettable experience in Cape Town, both from a personal and professional perspective.

    I worked at a human rights law firm that specialized in refugee law, constitutional issues, gender violence and land law to name a few areas. Tasks I helped with included client intake and interviews, research, drafting legal documents, negotiations with Government departments and the police, as well as attending court hearings. The team I worked with was supportive, fun and absolutely inspiring. I was given real work and responsibility from literally Day 1! Overall, the work experience I obtained was more than I had hoped for and completely relevant to my future aspirations.

    The team at Connect123 were amazing! Their help before and during my time in Cape Town allowed me to make the most of my internship opportunity. They offered a placement that suited my needs, organized logistics prior to my arrival, prepared great social events, provided support as well as an instant network of friends and activities to take part in.

    Cape Town is a beautiful city and I encourage everyone to visit. There are so many incredible things to do - hiking, beaches, safari and shark-cage diving just to name a few! I met some amazing, fun and incredible people and together we fully immersed ourselves in the beautiful culture and lifestyle of South Africa by trying something new almost everyday. You will not be bored while in Cape Town!

    I strongly recommend the Connect-123 program to anyone who would like to experience more than just an internship. I had an unforgettable international internship experience that opened doors for my professional future and also allowed me to personally grow as a person. As they say: "I came here to change Cape Town, but Cape Town changed me".

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  • Anonymous
    Age: 19-24
    My experience

    My time here in Cape Town was so life changing and incredible. I met so many great new friends and was able to explore such a beautiful and diverse city. On the flip side, you are so overcharged for rent (about $525 for a double!), and the program administration fee. What exactly is the $1495 going to? They help you find your internship which is nice, but you could easily walk two blocks and find several organizations who would love to have you help out and work for free. So essentially you are paying someone to apply for you, to work for free. That fee doesn't include the activities they set up, transportation, the wi-fi or the electricity. Electricity is expensive and to have good wi-fi you pay at least $35 a month. There is no gym upstairs (it is one working bike) and the apartment location is in a sketchy area as well. If you have the means to do so, find a cheaper living alternative and look for an organization yourself. Again, why pay $1495 for them to do it. When you go talk to them about internship problems, they tell you to stick it out because their relationship with the organizations are more important than your happiness and money that you paid to come here. The only good part is you live with other interns through the program...

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    Response from Connect-123
    It's great to hear that your time in Cape Town was so life changing and incredible. In response to your feedback, we agree with you: students who can arrange internships on their own and who would not benefit from advice or being part of a community upon arrival, will of course receive less value from an internship program. Regarding housing, all participants can opt to stay with other C123 program participants in our recommended housing, which is in a safe, centrally located building with 24-hour security, or they can opt for any other housing that suits their budget. While we believe we've developed the best housing model for safety and for being able to quickly make great new friends, arranging housing through us is not a requirement. Regarding changing internships, since you've posted anonymously, we're of course not certain regarding the full story, however we are certain of this: our mission is to create internship experiences that provide equal value for program participants and the organizations where they work. We care deeply for both our partner organizations in each of our destinations as well as for the screened students who we accept onto our programs. We develop individual internship programs for over 400 students each year, and based on the feedback that we receive from both students and local organizations, we're thrilled that we get it right most of the time. However, these are "real world" experiences and sometimes things don't go as planned. For example, we're less likely to find another internship for students who often missed work, did not show initiative or received extremely negative feedback from their host organizations. We of course look at each situation on a case by case basis. We're sorry that the internship experience did not meet your expectations and we wish you the best of luck in the future.
  • Tyler Hughes
    Age: 19-24
    Omaha, Nebraska
    University of Wyoming
    Business Development Internship-Cape Town

    I interned with a non-profit organization called Hoops 4 Hope and Soccer 4 Hope for three months in Cape Town. This experience was by far one of the most amazing things I have ever gone through. I worked with young children in the townships surrounding Cape Town providing them with basic life skills, while also providing them with opportunities to learn and play the great game of soccer. Some of my other day to day duties were organizing a 15-year celebration fundraising event for Soccer 4 Hope and also organizing soccer tournaments for the children in the townships.

    Not only did I work for a great organization, but I met some amazing friends along the way. You get to live, travel, and explore with people from all around the world, what more could you ask for? Some of the things I did while I wasn't working included: bungie-jumping, shark cage diving, going on a safari, exploring the wine lands, climbing table mountain, kloofing, and going to some amazing bars/restaurants.

    This was truly an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to have the time of their life.

    How could this program be improved?

    I honestly wouldn't changed anything about the program. I thought it was very well organized and managed. The housing was great, the travel opportunities were awesome, and the company I was placed with was amazing.

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  • alovette
    Age: 19-24
    Michigan State University
    Communications Internship in Cape Town

    Connect-123 provided helpful and friendly guidance throughout my entire two and a half month experience. After a survey of my interests and professional goals, I was placed at small event planning and marketing agency. Helping to ease any nerves, the staff at Connect-123 made sure to accompany me on my first day of work. Each of the Connect-123 staff members shares a genuine concern for the well being of all program participants.

    In addition to advice, Connect-123 also organized social events and weekend trips for participants. These events and trips allow you to truly experience the city of Cape Town and its surrounding area. Cape Town and its residents will always hold a place in my heart. Not only did I gain professional experience, but I gained lifelong friends as well. I will always be thankful that Connect-123 allowed me to have the experience of a lifetime!

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Alumni Interviews

  • Male Headshot
    Meet Josh!

    Describe your favorite must-have food that you tried abroad.

    Josh: Magwinya is a must have South African delight. What's in it? Meat. If you need more detail, I'd guess liver. It was like a (insert favorite fast food dish) on a croissant. Some people called them fat cakes, and I called them lunch. It was cheap, local and a nice way to relate with people.

    I would walk down the same road in a township named Gugulethu most days for lunch in the basking heat of the African sun. Children would be riding their bikes past me and the line to eat grew from outside of the little hut that served everyone. In the same town that had the fat cakes was a restaurant named Mzoli's, which for any meat lover, is a paradise. The basic premise is as follows: 1. Go to the raw meat bar and choose from different cuts of sausage, lamb, beef. 2. Hang out in a giant block party-like atmosphere while it cooks. 3. Receive the incredibly cooked meat on a platter and chow down without utensils.

    Describe your program socially and academically.

    Josh: The social aspect of the program was a huge boon to my overall experience. I was paired with a random roommate who was also interning/studying in Cape Town. We could not have been more different, but to this day we remain good friends.

    There were events organized by Connect-123 - like a gathering at the local vineyard, volunteering in both natural and humanitarian settings, happy hours and a housing situation which led to all of us interacting on a daily basis. It was like a luxury dorm apartment with a gym on the roof and full amenities. I felt as if I always had an incredibly safe home to return to and it was close to grocery stores and local transportation.

    At Mzoli's where you realize utensils are overrated.

    Why did you decide to go abroad with your provider?

    Josh: I found Connect-123 online by typing something generic like "work abroad." I came to Connect-123 and saw that they paired applicants with jobs based on specific qualifications.

    As a Drexel Co-op, who needed prior approval, it was imperative that my school approved any job I chose through an independent search. I gave them qualifications based on my major and personal goals and they matched me with an internship.

    I could not have asked for a better job. I helped coach soccer and basketball during the evenings and implemented a short message system mechanism through another partner that helped the organization monitor the progress of the organization for potential and past donors. I worked hard, but it barely felt like work.

    Tell us about an experience you could not have had at home.

    Josh: I can't remember where I was headed, but I was lost. I stopped in to one of the local fast food restaurants and asked a man who was sweeping the floor for directions. He put his head down in a bashful manner and told me he did not know and that I should ask someone who was white.

    As cute as their teeth are sharp.

    These words will always haunt me. The indoctrination of the apartheid was so severe that over a decade after it's own collapse, some victims still believed in their own inferiority, despite its baseless nature. The apartheid was a shameful chapter in the era of South Africa and the world as a whole. To see the ripple effects of a devastating mental warfare on a class of people is a reminder to all that societal progress can sometimes lag laws. The South African constitution is one of the most progressive pieces of legislation ever written and still society struggles to adopt its code.

    South Africa is full of so much beauty - both physically and through its people. South Africa is a place to expand one's horizons, learn on a daily basis and help to make sure something like the apartheid never happens again.

  • cape of good hope
    Joud and her intern friends at the Cape of Good Hope!

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Jude: First, I got the chance to develop professionally through my internship. I wasn't sure if clinical psychology was something I wanted to pursue, but after this experience, I am confident that it is. I also got a lot of support from the staff at work, and they constantly encouraged me and reassured me that I was good at what I was doing.

    Personally, I got the chance to grow so much, as I was living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I got the chance to meet so many new and interesting people who have changed my perspective on so many things. If I had the chance, I would go back in a heartbeat.

    What was the best place you visited outside of your intern abroad city?

    Jude: My friends and I went camping during one of the long weekends that we had. We chose a nice beachy area, that was about 2 hours outside the city. It was honestly one of the best weekends of my life; we had the opportunity to spend an entire weekend in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to, surrounded by mountains, trees, sand and the ocean, and it was nice to spend time to get to know people from all around the world. I would highly recommend a camping trip or an opportunity to explore nature - even if you're not an outdoors person (which I am definitely not!).

    Describe your program socially and academically.

    Jude: The internship that Connect 123 set me up with was amazing. I had the opportunity to work at an addictions rehab center for 4 months. I had never had clinical experience before, and it was my first time dealing with 'patients'.

    Although I was initially intimidated and overwhelmed, it quickly turned into one of the most useful experiences. I was constantly thrown in situations where I had to think on my feet and act quickly, which is unusual for an undergraduate student. Nonetheless, I learned so much from it, and I wish I had chosen to stay longer, as I feel like I could have learned new things every day.

    Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.

    Gone camping? Why not!

    Jude: Capetonians are the friendliest people in the world! Walking to and from the bus station everyday was proof; people would stop me on the street to greet me with their customary 'Morning morning', and would ask how I was doing, and actually expected an answer.

    Having lived in Boston and Amman, I was definitely not used to people taking time from their day to chitchat with people on the streets. Needless to say, it made my mornings, and put me in such a good mood for the rest of the day.

    If you could do-over one thing, what would it be?

    Jude: If I If had a do-over, I would definitely make sure I took advantage of all the time I had there. There were many times where my friends and I decided to stay back and hang out in our apartment, while we could have been exploring the city. Although I am generally happy with how I spent most of my time there, I think I would have liked to walk around the city more to explore some neighborhoods, or maybe leave the city to discover the suburbs and their surrounding areas.

  • Why did you decide to intern abroad with Connect-123 in Cape Town?

    Meet Mary!
    Meet Mary!

    Mary: I knew I wanted to go abroad, but really was unsure of the program and even where. I talked to advisors and other study abroad students from my school, but the most helpful part was going onto websites and reading the testimonials of people that had previously done the program. After researching Connect-123, I knew it was a reliable company that had a lot to offer.

    I actually originally intended to go to Dublin, Ireland on the Connect program, but as I continued to look at everything Cape Town had to offer, I really couldn't resist! I knew it was a different enough environment that I would be challenged in ways and would constantly be learning. Going to Cape Town was the perfect environment to study the socio-economic issues that I am interested in.

    What made this experience unique and special?

    Mary: Spending 2 months in Cape Town with Connect-123 was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. From getting greeted at the airport to attending the weekly events, I felt that Connect really made sure that I felt welcome and comfortable in the new city. The entire experience seemed personalized and the program coordinators made sure that all of the interns were getting the most out of the experience.

    A view of Table Bay!
    A view of Table Bay!

    My internship was above and beyond what I expected. I got to do really interesting things like writing grant proposals and researching partners and creating strategic visions for future projects. I also had the awesome opportunity of working with a research team that went out to the townships and interviewed entrepreneurs. This experience gave me a well-rounded understanding of economic and social issues in Cape Town. These conversations in the townships were some of the things that I valued most about my internship because it was so different than what I expected and I learned a lot every time. I also had the unbelievable experience of going on a business trip with my boss to Johannesburg for 5 days. While there, I was able to attend meetings with potential partners and at times, my boss even let me help lead the meetings! I felt so much more confident in my professional skills after this experience because my boss saw sought out every opportunity to teach me a new lesson.

    What was the highlight of this experience?

    Mary: Outside of the office, Cape Town was really a dream city. The apartment was in the middle of the city and within walking distance to so much good food and lots of activities. Every morning, I ate breakfast overlooking Table Mountain, which was a surreal experience every day. There were tons to do on weekends as well. Some of my favorite things to do were sand boarding in the dunes outside of Cape Town, hiking Table Mountain and Lion's Head and surfing in Muizenburg. Even though it was winter there, there was always SO much to do! Truly never a dull moment. I also took a long weekend with a group of my Connect-123 friends and went on the "Garden Route," a popular travel route for adventure seekers. On this trip, we went on a game drive, pet lions, rode ostriches and even did the world's highest bridge bungee jump! This trip was probably one of my favorite memories because it was so unique to the country.

    How has this impacted your future?

    Hiking on with a beautiful view in Cape Town!
    Hiking on with a beautiful view in Cape Town!

    Mary: At the beginning of my time in Cape Town, I thought I would become a Certified Public Accountant and work in a cubicle after graduation. However after my internship in Cape Town, I am so inspired to continue in the field of economic development that I was exposed to in South Africa. I am hoping to do work in public policy and economic research and I know my internship abroad will really set me apart from other applicants. I continue to stay in contact with my coworkers and South African friends who are helping me with opportunities post-graduation. The connections I made in South Africa are so important to me and my time abroad has absolutely changed the way I look at the world. Cape Town was a fascinating microcosm of the socio-economic issues that our world faces today. I am so thankful for my time in South Africa and the facilitation of my experience through Connect-123!

    What is one piece of advice you would offer to someone considering interning in Cape Town?

    Mary: I would say do it. No matter the discipline, Cape Town offers the environment of challenging constructs that are taught in the classroom. I can think of countless examples of when my textbook learning was brought to life through conversations with my coworkers and the entrepreneurs in the townships. So many people I met were open to new ears and eyes and so welcoming. Cape Town is also a really fun place to be in your 20s. There is a great night life and so many outdoor activities that constantly left me exhausted in the best way possible. The office environment is extremely casual and laid back, and though this can be frustrating at times, it allows for a lot of flexibility in project management. I found my time in Cape Town to be extremely rewarding and I will never regret this experience because it has already opened so many doors.

  • Why did you decide to intern abroad with Connect-123 in Cape Town?

    Sangeeta with an elephant
    Meeting elephants in South Africa

    Sangeeta: I am interested in human rights and international law - especially refugee law. These are big areas of concern and interest in South Africa, with UNHCR stating that at the end of 2011, South Africa continued to be the country with the highest annual number of asylum applications. This shows the extent of the issue in South Africa and made Cape Town the perfect place to get some international work experience in my area of interest.

    Cape Town is also a beautiful city with tons of fun tings to do! It is important for me to be able to have fun in a city after a hard day at work and not to be bored on the weekends. Cape Town provided this with amazing beaches, hiking trails, outdoor activities, sporting events, festivals, nightlife and culture...there was something happening every week!

    Connect-123 offered a great package in Cape Town, which provided me with an instant network of friends and social events as well as logistical support. This made integrating into a different country much easier and allowed me to make the most of my internship experience.

    Snowboarding in Cape Town
    Snowboarding is another way Sangeeta unwound from her internship

    What made this internship experience unique and special?

    Sangeeta: This internship was unique because it had everything! Usually when I go overseas, one aspect will be great but another will be disappointing. This was not the case for South Africa - the work was amazing, the people were wonderful and the country is just beautiful. I enjoyed going into work everyday. I was working in the area I was passionate about and the team I worked with was supportive, fun and absolutely inspiring. The knowledge and skills I gained were more than I expected. The people I met, both at work and outside, were fun and always up for exploring South Africa and trying new things. I definitely did not get enough sleep while living in Cape Town! South Africa is an amazing country and there are so many incredible things to do - hiking, beaches, safari and shark-cage diving just to name a few! My friends and I fully immersed ourselves in the beautiful culture and lifestyle of South Africa by trying something new almost everyday and we were never bored.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Sangeeta: Professionally, my experience provided me with relevant knowledge as well as practical hands-on experience. I worked in areas such as refugee law, land reform and gender violence. Tasks I was required to complete included client intake and interviews, research, drafting legal documents, undertaking negotiations with Government departments and the police, as well as attending court hearings. I believe that obtaining such practical experience from Day 1 in an area of interest was invaluable and really set me up in my field.

    Personally, being overseas for two months in a new country took me out of my comfort zone...but in a good way! I became more independent and confident as I had to do everything myself. I also became more culturally aware and conscious of the diversity that exists in life by making friends across the globe as well as with locals. There is something amazing about learning about another culture (from their legal system and history to the food they eat) and being able to experience it!

    What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering interning abroad in Cape Town?

    Sangeeta: I strongly recommend interning in Cape Town! However, realistically, it may not be for everyone. I would say that there are a few factors to consider before interning in Cape Town:

    Sangeeta on an ostrich
    Sangeeta rides an ostrich at an ostrich farm.
    • Are you a flexible person who adapts well to different cultures or do you enjoy being in your comfort zone? The culture in Cape Town is very different to what we often experience in the Western world. If you are someone who cannot adapt easily to new environments perhaps look more into the South African culture and whether you could handle living as a local there.
    • Are you an outdoors person? Cape Town is known for its outdoor lifestyle and most of the activities revolve around being outdoors (hiking, beaches etc). However, this is not to say that you will not enjoy Cape Town if you are not an outdoors person.
    • Should you intern through a program or individually? Interning through a program provides many advantages such as logistical support, social events and an instant network which is great when in a new country. However, interns in their late twenties might find themselves feeling 'left out', as these programs tend to attract a younger crowd (not always so please check!)

    I believe that everyone can find a situation that suits them in Cape Town and have an amazing time there. For example, even if you cannot adapt easily to new cultures, there are places to stay in Cape Town that are similar to those in Western societies. For example, if you are not an outdoors person, there are plenty of festivals, museums and restaurants to make sure you are busy every week. The above factors are aimed more to identify potential problems so that they can be mitigated and allow you to have an amazing internship experience!

Staff Interviews

  • What makes interning in Cape Town a unique experience for participants?

    Jackie Palmer - Connect-123 Cape Town Program Coordinator
    Meet Jackie Palmer

    Jackie: Interning in Cape Town is a unique experience as it exposes students and graduates alike to a city filled with diversity and is truly a melting pot of cultures! Interning in Cape Town will allow you to interact with people of all nationalities and from all over Africa exposing one to a number of languages and a multitude of cultures all coexisting in this beautiful city. South Africa is not called the "Rainbow Nation" for no good reason. While South Africa has 11 official languages, down in the Western Cape you would mostly hear English, Xhosa and Afrikaans but not to worry, English is the language of Business, so you will have no problem communicating in a work setting or in everyday life.

    Due to South Africa's history of inequality there are a vast number of internship opportunities in the field of human rights, education, social work and human rights law not to mention a range of social entrepreneurship, economic development and e-commerce start up organizations offering placements in the field of marketing and business strategy. Connect-123 also offers a wide range of medical and public health internship opportunities, giving students otherwise incomparable experience in the field of healthcare in a developing country!

    What can you tell us about the workplace culture in Cape Town?

    Jackie: The workplace culture is much more laid back than one would be used to in for example the United States. You will need to adapt to what is called "Africa Time" i.e. meetings rarely start when they are supposed to and take place in a much more informal social setting over a cup of coffee. These often start off discussing social topics and slowly move toward the topic up for discussion.

    Tasks and responsibilities may have less formal deadlines and when awaiting tasks, feedback or pieces of work you will need to watch out for the use of South African slang like "Just now" and "Now now" which in fact does not mean right now but rather anytime in the foreseeable future, more likely later today or tomorrow. However, that being said the work culture and environment will differ depending on the field that you are working in e.g. nonprofit vs business as well as the specific company.

    Working hours are generally quite flexible and dress code more likely to be casual. Most days start off with a social chat and end with a drink after work and everyone is expected to take turns to make coffee!

    Cape Town interns taking surfing lessons at Muizenberg Beach
    Cape Town interns taking surfing lessons at Muizenberg Beach

    Do interns need prior work experience in order to apply for this internship? How does Connect-123 ensure a rich professional experience during this internship?

    Jackie: No previous work experience is required, however it is beneficial. Students will be matched according to their education, interest, knowledge, experience and personality. We advise students on resume preparation for attaining certain placements prior to arrival and run workshops on communicating the value of their Cape Town experience during their time in Cape Town. We also offer individual assistance on resume writing and interview preparation. We provide continual guidance and have a feedback session half way through the interns time to discuss the placement and learning process. Prior to an intern departing, we hold a take off talk to discuss how the opportunity has added to their global and cultural awareness. Taking part in an international internship allows students to network with other like-minded students around the world and we provide a platform for all alumni to stay connected.

    What are some extra-curricular activities participants enjoy while interning in Cape Town?

    Jackie: This is where the Mother City really shines...with the sea, mountains, wine farms, safaris, night life and much much more right on your doorstep you will never be at loss for activities or adventure! We organize a range of trips and discounts from service providers whether it be climbing Table Mountain for panoramic views of Cape Town, sky diving, shark cage diving, surfing, paragliding, bungee jumping, bridge swinging, swimming with penguins, traveling to the Southern most point of Africa or visiting Mandela's cell on Robben Island, there is an endless list of things to do!

    Trips and activities could also include enjoying a braai 'aka' barbecue at Mzoli's, a local hot spot for enjoying local music and South African meat, learning a foreign language or going on a township tour to learn about different areas, cultures and the history of Cape Town. While in Cape Town many interns make the time to explore the beautiful Franschhoek and Stellenbosch valleys with endless wine farms, hikes and quaint towns. Lastly the highlights include popping over to Zambia to see the majestic Victoria Falls, or spending a few nights in Kruger Park viewing the Big Five! A trip up the East coast (The Garden Route) is not to be missed where you can bungee jump from the 3rd highest point in the world, see endless elephants in Ado Elephant park, learn to surf in Jefferey's Bay and experience the breath taking Tsitsikamma forest!.

    What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering interning in Cape Town?

    Jackie: If you are looking for a diverse experience Cape Town is the place to be. Cape Town will offer you an opportunity to learn and grow, not only on an internship, cultural and global level but has offered many interns an eye opening experience on a personal level. Cape Town is a combination of the developed and developing world and there are still many people living below the breadline and for this reason has humbled many and inspired others with its possibility for change and opportunity! You will need to be flexible, open minded and display a level of patience for the everyday workings of the city and its people.

    Anything else you would like to share?

    Jackie: If you have a passion for people, culture, diversity, beauty and travel then you cannot go wrong with an internship experience in Cape Town. One last thing...Cape Town is known to have 4 seasons in one day! So come prepared for rain, wind and a whole lot of sunshine:-)

About the provider

Connect-123 develops and administers internship programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cape Town, South Africa; Shanghai, China; Dublin, Ireland; and Barcelona, Spain. In all countries, internship opportunities are hosted by local companies, non-profit organizations, schools, research institutes and health care clinics. In South Africa, study abroad programs are offered through the University of Cape Town.