My Startup Internship in South Africa

Bethan from the University of Edinburgh joined our Start Up Entrepreneurship Internship in Cape Town, South Africa for 2 weeks. Here, she shares highlights from her experience, from ticking everything off her “to do” list to finding even more reasons to come back and explore Cape Town in the future!

I had no idea what to expect from my Entrepreneurship internship in Cape Town. My decision to go was based on looking at photos of Table Mountain, an interest in educating myself further on the history of South Africa and a curiosity to see how different businesses operate within other countries.

Knowing that I would love the experience of interning abroad (if only for a short while), I decided that this internship would be the perfect opportunity to combine my passions - plus the short-term flexibility of the program worked with my schedule and ensured I’d get a taste of life in South Africa.

View of Signal Hill in Cape Town, South Africa

Arriving in Cape Town and settling in

After an overnight flight, I stepped off the plane at 10 a.m. to a not-too-shabby 30 degrees hitting me right in the face – quite a change from the negative numbers I’d left behind in Scotland! Within just two hours, I’d arrived at and already left my accommodation to explore, having met fellow interns on the same program, led by our local Internships Coordinator, Elisha.

The remainder of my first day on the internship program was spent getting to know everyone, which wasn’t difficult, as they couldn’t have been more welcoming and talkative. Between visiting their favourite spots together and driving to the coast, to sit on a rock and watch the sun go down in South Africa, I really couldn’t have asked for a better way to settle into my new home for the next two weeks.

Interns at Table View in Cape Town

My Startup internship placement

I woke up bright and early the next day to begin work at my internship placement - a task that was made easier with the blazing sun and blue sky streaming through the window. Safe to say, it was quite different to waking up for a 9 a.m. lecture back home!

For my Start Up Entrepreneurship Internship with Intern Abroad HQ, I was placed via a customized process to intern with OBSRealty. To get there each morning, I only had to take a (not-so-strenuous) 10-minute walk down the road to the office. This location was relatively central, situated near the city center, the University of Cape Town, and about 10 minutes from the Cape Town International Airport as well. On the way to my internship placement, I passed cute cafes that I would later visit for lunches, street art vibrantly painted around every corner, and even the odd book shop for me to nip into on my way home from work (to find something to read at the beach that evening.

My internship placement, ObsRealty, is a local business, which specializes in residential and commercial sales and property management. The close-knit team at this internship placement included another intern and I. Each of the company’s staff members helped and demonstrated the day-to-day operations of their real estate business. I was driven to parts of Cape Town that I wouldn’t have visited otherwise, given the time constraints of my short stay. I had the opportunity to speak to local people, learning how the startup company had developed and grown throughout the area. Each day was full to the brim, but it certainly didn’t end once the workday was over!

Colourful Bo-Kaap houses in South Africa

Exploring South Africa

From visiting the most unbelievable beaches like Clifton 4th beach and Camp’s Bay, to seeing the colorful houses in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, watching the latest releases in the Labia Movie Theatre on Orange Street, to exploring the Kirstenbosch National Park. While I was a little worried that having two weeks wouldn’t be enough to see and do everything, the support from my Internship Coordinator (and Uber transport!) helped me really make the most of every minute, from sunrise to sunset. I made sure that I ticked everything I’d hoped to visit off of my list!

Interns on the Cape of Good Hope walk in South Africa

The most memorable day of my internship in Cape Town came on my first Saturday. A group of interns and myself joined the Internship Coordinator in Cape Town to visit the Old Biscuit Mill for brunch and to soak up the buzzing weekend atmosphere. From there, we took an incredible road trip to Simon’s Town to swim with the penguins at Boulder Beach. Then we continued even further on to the most southern point of Cape Town along the Cape of Good Hope - aptly named “Cape Point”. The fog on that particular day may have slightly affected how far down the coast we could see, but this area offered so much more.

Penguins at Boulder Beach in South Africa

Driving back up the coast, stopping at many incredible points along the way with Elisha as our tour guide, we got to visit a huge sea lion, see emus strolling along a beach, watch the sunset (which never failed to astound me, no matter how many times I saw the sun go down in Cape Town), all before heading to a pub to watch a six nations rugby game. We finished the day by watching the city lights from the top of Signal Hill. It was an incredible weekend to remember!

I couldn’t have chosen a better place to have done my internship or even just to have visited. Cape Town is a city with the most welcoming locals, an incredibly humbling history, and views so stunning that even flicking through photos on my phone still leaves me in shock that I was able to take in such beautiful sights.

Sports in South Africa

If you’re considering an internship abroad…

Having the support of the Intern Abroad HQ team every step of the way really did make my trip unforgettable and allowed me to have such a personal memorable experience. Without the support and recommendations from the Internships Coordinator in Cape Town, it would have just been so different, as recommending the best local eateries or the most beautiful picnic spots was a task he excelled at.

I wish it had been possible for me to remain on the internship in South Africa longer than two weeks, but now it just means that I’ll have to return in the future - either to reconnect with some of the people I was fortunate enough to meet, or to see what else Cape Town has to offer!

Stunning aerial view of Cape Town.

Looking for your own unforgettable internship? Internships in Cape Town are available year-round, with flexible dates for summer internships. Whether you’re looking for course credit or simply wishing to gain global experience and see the world, we can help find the right internship for you. Learn more through our Cape Town Q & A or explore Conservation internships in South Africa. If you’re ready to start planning, here are the next steps:

  1. Apply online first. The application process is non-obligatory and free.

  2. After applying, you’ll receive more details on how to confirm your internship. All the internship fees can be reviewed online.

  3. To confirm, you need to register first. Our deposit of US$499 enables us to plan your specific internship and provide ongoing pre-departure support.

  4. Once you’re registered, the countdown to your internship begins - we can help you book affordable flights for your internship and beyond!