My 6 week stay in South Africa

"My first time in Cape Town would certainly not be my last time!" - Sina just came back from her 6-week stay in South Africa and is really glad that she had the opportunity to go there. Here you can read more about Sina's experiences, her work and the life in Cape Town.

My journey into the unknown

When I was on my way to South Africa, I knew that the next 5 and a half weeks would be an exciting time - but I did not expect what a wonderful adventure and great people will await me there. As I have not been to Africa before, I did not know anybody there. Therefore I was so thankful, that my advisor Jana arranged everything concerning my volunteer work and accommodation in advance.

My Organization and Tasks

The feeling of uncertainty, worries and loneliness, which I had during my long flight to South Africa, flew away immediately, as a colleague from my future employer and his family waited for me at the airport and welcomed me very warm hearted. In general, I noticed that mostly all Africans are very hospitable and helpful. I did my volunteer work in the area of marketing of two organisations. One of the companies runs a hostel and offers many different adventure packages for example parachuting, shark diving, safari tours, etc. The other one is a non-profit organisation, which builds up schools and hospitals in the townships in Africa, protects endangered animal species and coordinates voluntary work in Africa. My tasks have been all-round and ranged from the design of the new brochure, to updates on the web page, writing a Facebook travel diary and communicating with business partners. Furthermore, I had the possibility to assist at the reception of the hostel and get an insight behind the scenes. I quickly realized how the way of working is different from that in Europe. In the beginning, it was unfamiliar and difficult for me, that I only get rough tasks to do. But in the course of time, I have learnt that I can ask my colleagues if I need anything. During my whole time in South Africa, nobody was annoyed about me, if I had any questions. On my last day in Cape Town, my own designed brochure was finished and printed. I was so proud.

Leisure activities in Cape Town

After work, there were so many possibilities to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather close to my accommodation: A 5 minutes walk away was a wonderful beach with a view to the Tafelberg and my room was only 10 minutes away from the Bayside-Shopping Mall. It was also easy to get to the inner city of Cape Town cheap and safely with MYCITY-Buses or the app UBER. Thanks to a city tour on my first weekend I got a good overview about what to do in the city center: Eat ice cream and drive with the big wheel on the idyllic waterfront, to enjoy a breathtaking view from the top of the Tafelberg or admire jewelry- and food product markets. On my weekends I did many excursions: A safari in the Aquila Game Reserve, parachuting, visiting penguins at the Boulders Beach, go surfing, visiting the oldest vineyard in South Africa, the Cape of Good Hope or Table Mountain National Park.

My personal conclusion...

Overall I can say, that I experienced amazing things, found new friends from all over the world and got an insight in a totally different kind of working. It was an experience, which I would not like to miss. I would love to do work abroad at any time again and I am so thankful, that Studentsgoabroad accompanied me on my application process and my stay. They took care of me at any time and I knew I can ask them questions and contact them if I would have any problems. On the day of my arrival, even Jana, the coordinator in Cape Town, came to me and welcomed me with a backpack of brochures, a SIM-card and an adapter. Many thanks for everything! My first time in Cape Town would certainly not be my last time and I am already looking forward to my next trip.

...and that was the feedback we got from the organisation:

Sina showed above average results of her work and commitment. She was extremely thorough and did each task, she was assigned exceptionally and in record time. We really enjoyed having her with us and soon felt the benefit of her efforts. In her time she was successfully:

  • Uploaded and updated our website and all packages
  • Created and designed a brand new brochure, which was printed and taken to a conference in Serbia as marketing material
  • Created and designed a flyer for our new tours
  • Various other tasks in her department
  • Obtained 36 ½ out of 50 on our Pop quiz given on Friday to all the staff (impressive!)

Sina was a great example of what great qualities we seek in an intern. It was such a pleasure to have her with us. She was open to meeting new people and experiencing different cultures that were with us, so she really made the most of her time here. It was sad to see her go but we know she will be a great asset to whoever she does work for next.