Bethan Froggatt-Thomas, from University of Edinburgh, joined our Start Up Entrepreneurship internship in Cape Town, South Africa, for 2 weeks. 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!
Prior to beginning my internship, I had no idea what to expect when I was planning to visit Cape Town. My decision to go there and intern abroad was almost purely based on looking at photos of sunsets on Table Mountain, on Google images. I was further motivated by an interest in educating myself further on the history of South Africa. Also, completing a business internship within the UK had made me more curious to see how different businesses operate within other countries.
Knowing that I would love the opportunity to intern abroad (if only for a short while) I decided that this internship opportunity would be the perfect time to combine my passions. I arranged an internship with Intern Abroad in the heart of Cape Town, for two-weeks at the end of January 2019. The short-term flexibility of the internship programs worked with my schedule and ensured I’d gain a taster of life in South Africa.
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 programme, 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 much better way to settle into my new home for the next two weeks.
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 staring in at me from 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 night).
My internship placement at 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 start-up 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!
From visiting the most unbelievable beaches like Clifton 4th beach and Camp’s Bay, to seeing the colourful houses in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, watching the latest releases in the Labia Movie Theatre on Orange Street, to exploring the Kirstenbosch National Park. If you can see the attraction listed within Lonely Planet’s guide to Cape Town, then you can rest assured that I visited it within my two-week internship! While I was a little worried that only having a mere two weeks for my experience wouldn’t be enough to see and do everything, the support from my Internship Coordinator (and Uber transport!) helped me to really make the most of every minute, from sunrise to sunset. I made sure that I ticked everything I’d hoped to visit off my list!
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 hectic weekend atmosphere. From there, we took an incredible road trip to Simon’s Town, to swim with the penguins at Boulder Beach. From there, we continued even further on, to the most southern point of Cape Town - 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 - like watching a baboon steal and then proceed to drink a full bottle of Gatorade from an unsuspecting tourist (please watch your food and drinks and don’t feed the wildlife!)
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 watched the sun set in Cape Town), all before heading to a pub to watch a six nations sports game. We finished our weekend day-out by viewing the city lights from the top of Signal Hill. It was an incredible day 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 the photos of them on my phone still leaves me in shock, that I was able to take in such beautiful sights. Having 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 of the Internships Coordinator in Cape Town, it would have just been so different otherwise, as recommending the best local eateries or the most beautiful picnic spots was a task he excelled at.
I wish that it would have 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 more Cape Town has to offer!
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 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:
Apply online first. The application process is non-obligatory and free.
After applying, you’ll receive more details on how to confirm your internship. All the internship fees can be reviewed online.
To confirm, you need to register first. Our registration fee of US$299 enables us to plan your specific internship and provide ongoing pre-departure support.
Once you’re registered, the countdown to your internship begins - we can help you book affordable flights for your internship and beyond!