My internship in Cape Town
"The Combination out of Public Relations and involvement in social projects seemed very exciting to me." Stefanie decided to do an internship after graduating. She fell instantly in love with South Africa when she was visiting it some years ago - hence her desired destination was found quickly. Off to Cape Town!
Dream: Cape Town
Graduating and off to new adventures… that was my personal goal, when I had my first look around on the Studentsgoabroad-Website after freshly having graduated. After receiving my A-levels I never took the chance to see the world as many of my classmates did. That was just about to change and if I could also gain some practical experience in the field I studied in: even better! There are many ways to go abroad. After researching many of them, the Studentsgoabroad-website hit my interest. Since I was looking for an internship which also would improve myself professionally I liked to read through several testimonials to get a better impression of what I was awaiting. Also I was taken care of right from the beginning, even when I hadn‘t binding registered yet they answered all of my questions and concerns rapidly and in detail. A reliable mediation agency was very important to me since I was planning to travel to a wonderful, but still dangerous country: South Africa! Especially with Cape Town I fell instantly in love when I was visiting it some years ago. Swiftly I received various options for internships and finally decided for a placement as a „Communications intern“ at a Non Profit Organization. The Combination out of Public Relations and involvement in social projects seemed very exciting to me. After a – for German relations – very relaxed Skype-interview with the HR-department I received a confirmation.
There was nothing in my way to make my dream of going to South Africa come true!
In February my 3-month adventure started. I entered the airplane with mixed feelings and probably a ton of butterflies in my belly. Still the anticipation for the unknown dominated my fear, of what would be awaiting me. Thinking back these were completely unfounded doubts! When I arrived at the airport a taxi driver was already awaiting me to get me to my room in a 3-room shared house right in the center of Cape Town. My room was nice and commodious, but also with 500,00 EUR/month a bit more expensive than I had expected. This price obviously depended on the central location of the flat for which I often was very thankful afterwards. Jana, the Studentsgoabroad-coordinator for interns and volunteers in South Africa visited me instantly in my new home to bring me a little Welcome-Package (the adapter just saved my life) as well as several flyers and information for events and activities. She answered all of my questions concerning the country and the people while strolling through my new neighborhood to show me, what the area had to offer. I found it to be a really nice gesture!
My first day and the Joy Walk
On my first day at work I was warmly welcomed. My colleagues invested a lot of time to introduce themselves and explain to me the company’s history. Together with another intern for the U.S. I started the afternoon with the boarding ritual for all the interns: the Joy Walk. The idea of the Joy Walk is to buy four things for 70 Rand (about 5 EUR) and give them away to strangers on the street. Very simple, but still I was really surprised how the chosen ones got really excited for receiving just a small gift. It made my first day a successful entry into the company’s culture. The company itself shared the same value, having the mission to share joy and making the world a better place.
My personal highlight: a 50‘s-party in an elderly home
In the following month I had the chance to experience a lot more moments like the Joy Walk. My personal highlight was a 50‘s-party in an elderly home, which I organized by myself. The location for the party was not just a regular retirement home, but appeared to be a last haven for elderly living on the street, who were already too weak to make it on the streets on their own. Many of them had to sit in a wheelchair or needed crutches to walk, but when they eventually heard the 50‘s Jives pealing through the sound system smiles appeared on their faces. They sat excited in their chairs starting to clap to the music and laugh while others who felt fit enough started dancing with us. They sang to the hits they knew from their past and enjoyed the conversations they had. After 3 hours we had to clean up and a lot of the guests came to us, explaining that this was one of the best afternoons they had in a long time. It certainly was a special day for me too which I will never forget.
My tasks: perfect combination of gaining practical experiences while having a good impact on the community
After those kind of events my task as a Communication intern was clear: Promotion! - which meant editing photos, adding logos and sharing them on social media platforms. Due to the organization‘s huge and also very active community one of my main responsibilities also was to respond to all the comments and messages. Furthermore I wrote reports for our blog on a regular basis which I uploaded on our website and later used for our newsletter. I drew up press releases which I distributed to all relevant contacts who worked for newspapers themselves. Consequently the internship – as expected – was the perfect combination of gaining practical experiences while having a good impact on the community.
Cape Town is diversity
Cape Town offers a lot of after hours activities. I was planning to try most of them but hardly managed to cover most of them. The so called „Rainbow-Stated“ lives up to that name: beside gigantic mountains you can find wonderful white beaches and if you rent a car to drive a few kilometers into the country, you are suddenly surrounded by the desert. No matter whether you love to hike or simply want to relax at the beach, in Cape Town there is something to do for everybody. Many people I met either came from places from all over the world or were the proud „Capetonias“ with roots from different countries. That‘s why there are a lot of foreign restaurant with many different flavors to find within the city center. Cape Town is diversity – through and through!
Besides all that wonderfulness of course they are some bad aspects as well
Although Apartheid has been over for more than 20 years, the differences between the rich and the poor are still huge. The color of your skin still plays an important role and also the crime rate is in relation to European standards really high. I thought about this a lot before I came here, especially whether the idea to travel here as a young girl would be such a smart idea. Eventually I am very happy, that I dared myself. Of course you need to watch out a lot more than at home – don‘t wear expensive watches or similar things and present them in public to everybody. Also you shouldn‘t walk home alone in the night. When you consider those „rules“ you should be on the safe side. Eventually you can find pickpockets in every single city, but that should never ever hold you back from fulfilling your dreams and see this magical place. To me South Africa is the most beautiful spot on Earth, which I can recommend without any doubts!