With rugged mountains and rolling hills, the Kingdom of Eswatini, also commonly referred to as Swaziland, is a tiny landlocked country in southern Africa. Swaziland is a nation continually developing with industries like healthcare and business gaining momentum throughout the country. This growth and development makes Swaziland a unique location to seek out an internship.
Although small, Swaziland welcomes many visitors each year looking to explore its nature reserves and wildlife like lions and elephants. The capital city, Mbabane, is a small but booming hub from which to access the rest of the country.
Swaziland is not without its challenges, as poverty and HIV/AIDS affect both urban and rural populations. With local and global-based organizations on the ground filling resource gaps in key sectors, interns in Swaziland can play an important role in a number of struggling and emerging industries.
Swaziland is a traditional African nation that is no stranger to hard work. Much of the country focuses on agriculture, but internship opportunities are available in a number of different sectors.
With dependency shifting away from traditional industries, Swaziland allows for interesting opportunities to pursue an internship in business. Particularly, the increase in technology infrastructure is making way for openings in finance, accounting, economics, and even start-up companies.
Photography + Videography internships
Swaziland is known for its diverse landscapes and beautiful culture. With an abundance of volunteer work happening in projects across the country, there are internships available in videography and photography. Interns can assist on the ground as they help to document an organization's efforts and impacts for future usage in marketing and as promotional materials.
Health outcomes in Swaziland are known to be among Africa's lowest measured. With the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the world, healthcare teams in Swaziland work tirelessly to both treat and prevent communicable diseases. Diseases, such as tuberculosis, are perpetuated by impoverished rural conditions and lack of resources. Community health interns can help to fill gaps in healthcare roles.
Planning Your Internship
Planning an internship in Swaziland will take quite a bit of planning and preparation to make sure that the experience goes as smoothly as possible.
Best Time to Get an Internship in Swaziland
Internships occur year-round in Swaziland. Some internships revolve around the agricultural/harvesting season which, depending on the crop, occur in the latter half of the year from June through to December. January is the hottest and wettest month and may be wise to avoid as weather conditions can be less than ideal.
Housing in Swaziland varies between relatively modern apartments in urban areas and traditional dwellings in the rural parts of the country. Rent for a studio apartment in an affluent area can be 50% cheaper than many major US cities, comparatively. Given the rise of the tourism industry, many hotels exist in Mbabane and can be used for longer stays, if necessary.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Swaziland, particularly in Mbabane, is cheaper than in the United States. Food is generally cheaper but this varies based on whether the product is local or imported. Toiletries, other personal care items, and going out are also very affordable, as is public transportation. Wifi, however, can be much more expensive given the reduced capacity of telecommunication infrastructure.
In general, US, UK, and EU passports do not require a visa for short term entry as a tourist. However, it is unclear whether interns can conduct work on a tourist visa. Neighboring countries in the region forbid internships or business-related activities to be conducted on a tourist visa. Those looking to do an internship in Swaziland will need to contact an embassy or consulate in their home country for further information.
The Swazi people have a work ethic predominantly shaped by a history of agriculture and manufacturing work. Work culture is, therefore, industrious in urban and especially the rural regions. Industries are traditionally male-dominated but women do hold higher positions as civil servants.
Health & Safety
Before traveling to Swaziland for any internship, it is very important to consider your health and safety while abroad. Traveling to the developing world is not without its physical and mental challenges. Be sure that your vaccinations are up-to-date.
It’s a good idea to purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance for the duration of your internship. In addition, you should visit a travel doctor to discuss how to be preventative against common health issues in the country. The quality of healthcare in Swaziland is reduced which makes preventative measures before you depart that much more important.
Swaziland is generally a safe country for foreigners. That said, pick-pocketing and theft targeting affluent neighborhoods do occur in urban areas. Always consult and inform your host when venturing out, especially at night.