My adventure Cape Town


„Howzit“(=how is it?), my name is Dennis, I’m 19 years old and from December 2012 to June 2013 I’ve been to Cape Town – with the support of Studentsgoabroad. Just a few days before Christmas I arrived with a plan in my mind: first I wanted to do a 3-months-internship in the film industry and afterwards “something with animals”. I was offered an internship in a film company located in Muizenberg, a small suburb 40 minutes away from the centre of Cape Town right beside the sea.

My new home

The first weeks of my internship have been really calm and there wasn’t much to do as a lot of people are taking a holiday in December. Therefore I spent a lot of time at home which was a small backpacker called “Bailey’s surf shack” at that time. I’ve had the plan in my mind to first meet some new people and then look for a flat share. Finally I ended up living in the backpacker for 3 months as I’ve felt really comfortable there getting to know lots of people. If you live in Muizenberg you don’t want to miss surfing – so I was shown how it works and just a few weeks later I even bought my own surfboard.

The perfect wave

After 5 weeks I got to know the stage director of the movie “The perfect wave” who took me along to his studios at Cape Town where I could watch the professionals working. In February there were two more tasks coming along: creating a commercial for Nestle and TiffanyBreak. For two weeks we were preparing the 3 shooting days; I was struggling with Excel, Word and Power Point. My main tasks consisted of completing charts, juggling with different texts or creating maps – so actually nothing I was really interested in. I’m not made for sitting in front of my computer the whole day – I wanted to be right on the film set. But finally the day arrived where we realised the commercial in a big house in Noordhoek: 50 people, catering for everyone and all in all 40 hours of unpaid overtime. Finally I could see what I’ve been coming to Cape Town for. The second shot for TiffanyBreak just took one day but for me it was at least as interesting as our first one – I’ve had the possibility to be part of the film team!

My second internship

At the film set of Nestle I met a young producer who had just founded his own enterprise. We exchanged our numbers with the ulterior motive to maybe do another internship in his company afterwards. Just some weeks later I called him to ask for an internship – maybe even a paid one. One week later I was invited to a casual job interview and I ended up starting a second internship at the guy’s enterprise where I got paid some pocket money.

Between the two internships my girlfriend Yvonne came to visit me, so I took three weeks off for going on holiday. We enjoyed the wonderful beaches of Cape Town, the Garden Route – and just the awesome atmosphere of the “mother city”.

When I started my second internship I had to move as I didn’t want to have a daily 40-minutes-drive from Muizenberg to the centre of Cape Town. I managed to find a room in Observatory with the help of “gumtree.co.za” (the South-African version of ebay).

My second internship was super interesting as the four guys – just graduated from the film school – were really able to explain the real business to me. When they got any new tasks or commercials to produce they did everything on their own: the light, the cutting, the cameras, whatever! So it was really different from what I had seen in my first internship. My personal highlight was our production of the music video “We move on”. Within one day we ruined all the white walls of our studios!

In 20 days through "real" Africa            

In the beginning of May my second internship was over and I started my career as a translator for a tourism company. Within 20 days I could travel from Cape Town to Victoria Falls – for free.

My task consisted of translating everything the English-speaking tour guide said (and sometimes I had to support smaller activities like pitching up a tent or help with the cooking). I had this possibility as Studentsgoabroad is cooperating with the company who’s always looking for people to help translating (experience is not required).

Before I would go back to Germany I wanted to see “the real Africa” once again, escaping the Europe-like Cape Town – and so I did: we travelled to Namibia and Botswana, enjoyed the wide-ranged desert, the wild life in the national parks, the enormous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

The most important experience of my life!

All in all I can tell you that these 6 months in Cape Town have been the biggest and most important experience in my life so far and that I returned to Germany with another way of thinking. Along my way I’ve met people from all over the world, talked to people from various social classes and realized how I want to form my own life.I went to Cape Town with the objective of gaining some experience in making films to get sure that this sector would be the right thing to study. I managed to learn a lot about this sector as well as the daily things in life – and I definitely know I want to work in film industry.