If you are a grad or post-graduate student considering interning in Cape Town, this post is just for you. Whether you have already begun the process of applying for internships, or you have plans to intern in the city somewhere in the near future, firstly we’d like to say well done for choosing Cape Town as your destination.
The Mother City has become a popular intern destination, and for good reason too… across a variety of sectors ranging from development all the way to marketing, tourism, medicine, healthcare, science and the arts, Cape Town is home to many (many) businesses that offer opportunities to work and learn. These include private and government positions, across the city’s many areas.
If you have questions on what you can expect when applying (and being accepted) for an internship in Cape Town, keep reading to see if they are answered in our handy tips and advice below.
Some Useful Advice for Interning in Cape Town
Wondering what makes interning in this part of the world special? Keen to know how to get around and find your feet? Here are some if the most commonly asked questions (and some answers too):
* Which agency is best for finding intern opportunities?
This depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to the type of internship you plan to do, your field of study, the type of programmes offered, your preferred location and even costs. The best way to go about finding agencies is to ask fellow students who have been placed who they would recommend. You should also ask around on your social stream too – Twitter, Facebook and especially LinkedIn offer the chance to get some insight from other people in your extended circles. An internet search is also useful (if there are any bad reviews written on the agency, this is the best way to find them, too!). You could even ask your lecturers or dean for advice on choosing the best agency.
* Do programmes usually include options for accommodation and flights?
Programmes vary when it comes to services they offer – many good agencies will be able to assist with most aspects of travel arrangements however. Accommodation choices vary too, from dorm-style lodging to student rentals, short-term vacation rentals, month-by-month apartment rentals and shared accommodation. Always ask what the agency includes in their programme before you sign any contracts so that you have all the info you need upfront. This will make it a lot easier to plan and budget accordingly.
* What things are there to see and do in Cape Town?
There are loads and loads of great things to do in the city and its surrounds, with plenty to see as well. Check out our Why Cape Town section to see a full list of activities and attractions, and follow our blog for even more things to do. Making friends with fellow interns and co-workers at the company you are interning at is one of the best ways to discover the city. A local guide such as a co-worker or friends you make during your time in the city will give you a unique insight into the ‘off the beaten path’ attractions.
* What about public transport and getting around Cape Town?
Check out our posts on train travel, the MyCiti bus and Uber, Rikki and other taxis for a break-down on how those transport options work. If you are based in the City Bowl, getting around is very easy. You can even walk during the daytime if you’re up for a bit of exploring, but it’s better to stay on the safe side at night and take a cab, especially if you are travelling alone. Mini bus taxis are cheap, crazy and sometimes downright confusing – try taking a short ride with a co-worker who knows the area well though… it’s an unforgettable experience that is totally “South African”!
* What is the weather like there?
All in all, you can expect amazingly warm weather much of the year round. Based in the southern hemisphere, Cape Town has its winter during the middle part of the year, with the coldest (and wettest) weather happening around June and July. Summer is at the end of the year, which is also when schools and universities close for the year. The weather in summer is typically hot and dry – perfect for enjoying the large number of beaches to be found nearby. What makes the weather so perfect though is that it is never boring. In the midst of winter, it is normal to have glorious sunny days; in Summer, cool days offer much-needed refreshment.
Have you ever considered interning in Cape Town, or have you done an internship in this part of the world? We would love to hear about your experiences!