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Where to live when you’re an intern in Cape Town

Liezl Hesketh in Renters 

Internships in South Africa - Cape Town

Cape Town. City of lights, wind, mountain and an eclectic mix of people from all races and tongues. For centuries the Mother City has drawn people to the southern tip of Africa. Today it is still a stepping stone for international interns who wish to gain invaluable work and life experience.

According to GoAbroad.com there are countless internship programmes available, for both local and international candidates, in South Africa. Whether you’re interested in studying, working or volunteering, South Africa, and especially Cape Town, offers you the opportunity to get involved with social issues, expand your knowledge on health problems such as HIV/AIDS and tackle educational and youth development dilemmas, to name but a few.

Named World Design Capital for 2014, design internship opportunities are also plentiful. Additionally, interns interested in tourism or the wine industry will find a natural fit in this cosmopolitan city.

Finding the right internship programme to South Africa

Why do it?

Whether you’re 21 or 51, internship and volunteer programmes enable you to broaden your horizons. Whether your goal is to make new friends, build an international network of professionals or just to gain experience – an internship will be an enriching and life changing adventure.

Where to look

Various websites such as CapeIntern.com and 4exchange-southafrica.com provide information on internship programmes and are a great resource for travellers and students alike. According to ex-intern Chanel Bevis, the best way to find the right internship programme is to research blogs and reach out to experts on Twitter. Here are a few to get you started:

• Careerealism (@CAREEREALISM)
• Brazen Careerist (@BrazenCareerist)
• BI Careers(@BI_Careers)
• YouTern (@YouTern)
• After College (@AfterCollege)
• Lauren Berger – ie. The Intern Queen (@InternQueen)
• Career Builder (@CareerBuilder)

You’ve got the internship of your dreams. Now what?

Traveling to another country is a very exciting prospect. However, consider the following to ensure that your visit to South Africa is the best it can be:

Visa requirements

Visit your local travel agency or South African Consulate to find out what type of Visa you would need in order to work in South Africa. Each country has different fees and rules and since it can take a while for the Visa to be issued it is a good idea to start as soon as possible with the application process.

Where to stay

Finding accommodation in Cape Town shouldn’t be a problem. The city is a well-known holiday destination and various forms of housing is available. Whether you’re a student who requires student accommodation or a young professional looking for an apartment of your own, be sure to book accommodation in advance to avoid being stranded at the airport and paying exorbitant fees for an overnight stay at a hotel or guest house. There are a number of communes dedicated to international students and interns, especially those coming from France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Getting around

If you’ve joined an internship programme through an organisation, find out if someone will meet you at the airport or not. There are several car rental agencies situated at Cape Town International Airport, but should you prefer to make use of public transport, such as a mini taxi or bus, be 100% sure where you need to go and which routes will take you there. Uber has also recently launched in South Africa and is available throughout Cape Town.

Making friends

Making new friends is a big part of being an intern. South Africans are known for their hospitality and friendly nature. Cape Town with its easy-going atmosphere is the perfect place to meet new people. However, there are a few safety tips to consider:

• Don’t give your contact details or address to someone you’ve just met
• Memorise the contact number of a colleague or friend
• Don’t walk alone after dark, especially in neighbourhoods that you’re not familiar with
• Don’t accept rides from strangers
• Always try to go out in a group

Being an intern in South Africa will probably be one of the best experiences of your life. With a little planning and preparation you can truly enjoy every moment! Register a renter profile on TheRoomLink.co.za and we’ll notify you via email when accommodation in Cape Town becomes available!