Eligibility requirement: Applicants must be studying or having some experience of speech, occupational and physical therapy or nursing. Empathy and patience are highly regarded characteristics in this field

Associated career paths: Occupational Therapist, Athletic Trainer, Exercise Physiologist, Occupational Therapy Assistant / Aides, Physical Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Speech-Language Pathologist,Geriatric Fitness Specialist, Sports Medicine, Chiropractor, Osteopath, Disabled Carer, Nurse

Minimum duration: 4 weeks

Internship details

The role of an Occupational Therapy intern in Cape Town is to work alongside local professionals, who help those that are struggling to improve or regain skills and mobility. You’ll gain insight into the stigmas and obstacles faced by individuals within marginalized communities, help to increase independence and self-esteem, while contributing to reversing negative societal attitudes.

Typical internship placements for Occupational Therapy in Cape Town can include children’s hospitals, special education schools, or care facilities for those with disabilities. Occupational therapy centers provide a variety of medical and developmental diagnosis, which may cover traumatic brain injuries, trauma, oncology, burns, feeding disorders, autism, facial palsy, Down syndrome, and lymphedema.

Although daily tasks will vary widely, interns generally assist with the day-to-day care and rehabilitation of patients. This can include physical therapy or treatment, educational and vocational training, and counseling. Interns are always matched to a suitable placement, according to an analysis of their skills, experience, educational background, and duration of stay.

“I spent 6 weeks in Cape Town, South Africa doing an occupational therapy internship. I had the best 6 weeks of my life, and learned so much in such a short time. I was able to experience the incredibly welcoming culture of SA, gain valuable observation hours which will help me in the future, meet tons of awesome fellow interns and students, and experience many of the awesome activities and beauty of Cape Town and the surrounding area has to offer. I wish I could have spent so much more time here. Thank you to Intern Abroad HQ for answering all of my questions and making sure I was prepared and informed before my trip, as well as providing support during the trip if I ever needed it. To anyone who is thinking of doing an internship - don’t let fear hold you back! Take an open mind, be flexible and enjoy your experience abroad!” - Kaelyn Ratcliffe, USA

Intern review: John Agonoy - San Diego, USA

"Intern Abroad HQ is an amazing organization. Their team was phenomenal in providing as much information as possible when I was very sceptical and unsure. After all, one wanted to make sure they weren't being thrown into another continent without any support or idea! Dallas was very helpful in helping me prepare for my internship. Their online journal assignments were a great way for me to document and ponder my experiences as they happened and were very good at keeping tabs on me and my family when I had a medical emergency. This I cannot emphasize enough; they have your back from start to finish. My liaison-contact there, Elisha, is such an amazing guide and overall a chill dude to hang around with. For him, it is a matter of who he doesn't know him in Cape Town, which helped a lot when seeking the most beautiful locations and the best activities. The housing there is very college dorm-like. You may live with students, both from abroad or local, and the area of Obs (Observatory) is a unique and interesting community. One thing is for sure, there is always someone down to have fun with at the Freeland lodge. I am preparing to become an occupational therapist and chose this program to intern under. The Kaya branch of Akeso Clinics in Cape Town has a great team of psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers that had great methods in treating adolescents with mental health disorders and a whole variety of issues pertaining to being a troubled youth. I came to work every day caring for the patients and was privileged to see their progress as they worked out very difficult issues in a communal setting under professional guidance. Great people at Akeso - Kaya, they are very accommodating with interns and felt just like family. I cannot state enough how great my experience was. If anyone wanted to have a good experience interning in Cape Town I recommend coming with an open mind. Be accepting that things can be uncomfortable and different. Learn how to flourish with the idea that plans don't always go as they were intended and that the best moments can be spontaneous."

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Program fees

Internship Duration Program Fee (USD)
2 weeks $969
3 weeks $1107
4 weeks $1245
5 weeks $1383
6 weeks $1521
8 weeks $1797
10 weeks $2280
12 weeks $2556
16 weeks $3108
20 weeks $3660
24 weeks $4212
  • To convert these prices to your local currency visit the XE currency converter.
  • All Intern Abroad programs attract a Registration Fee of US$299 in addition to the Program Fee.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges. International wire transfer payments attract a minimum fee of US$75.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply

What extra costs will I have?

  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program.
  • Language lessons (optional)
  • Souvenirs + tourism/leisure activities during free time.
  • Personal spending money to cover basic expenses such as meals and public transportation. Interns generally find US$120 per week to be sufficient.

Registration fee

What it covers
  • Dedicated intern support
  • Personalized internship abroad plan
  • International internship reference
  • Experiential learning curriculum
  • Affordable internship fees
  • Flexible booking options

Program fee

What it covers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Internship placement
  • Learning support service
  • Accommodation
  • Meal package for first week

Keen to get started?

Taking the first step is easy! Our team is here to provide friendly assistance, from your initial research and planning phases, right through until your internship completion. To get started, submit an application. It is free to apply and takes just 5 minutes.

Submit an application

Arrival and Orientation

Internships in Cape Town begin every Monday and interns may choose to spend a minimum of 2 weeks, up to a maximum of 24 weeks. (Exceptions to start date availability may occur when start dates are closed due to public holiday disruptions or if the program has already reached capacity). Less internship positions are available during late December and early January, due to the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee. The accommodation is covered from the Saturday night before the Monday start date. Interns are asked to arrive on the Saturday before their Monday start date, to allow sufficient time over the weekend to rest and become oriented before beginning on the Monday. The last night of accommodation that is covered by the Program Fee is the Friday night of the final week, leaving interns to depart on the Saturday morning. Extra nights of accommodation can be pre-arranged upon request and paid for separately.

All participants fly into the Cape Town International Airport (CPT), in order to receive their airport pick up and be transported to the accommodation by a pre-arranged driver. Upon arrival to the accommodation, interns are met by a local team member, who will greet them and assist with settling in. Note that all participants are advised not to book flights until they have first registered to confirm their internship placement.

Orientation typically takes place on the Sunday before the Monday start date. It covers important details for the internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, language lessons, cultural excursions, and more. Interns join their placement on the following day.

If you are planning to spend time in Cape Town prior to your internship and will not require an airport pick up, we can arrange an alternative pick up from another location within the central city.

Accommodation

Internship placements are spread throughout Cape Town’s main city center and surrounding suburbs. Accommodation is based in the Observatory district (known affectionately as “Obs”). The area is best known as a student neighbourhood (most of the students in the area attend the University of Cape Town) and there is great access to cafes, restaurants, and supermarkets that are within walking distance of the accommodation. Interns are accommodated in guest houses or at a hostel, all of which are close together, making it easy to connect with others and share social time. Living conditions are comfortable and interns can expect to share a room with another intern (of the same gender). Bathrooms are shared with a hot water shower and western toilets. WiFi is available and is also accessible at nearby cafes and restaurants. All accommodation provides cooking facilities.

Meals

It is important to note that internships in Cape Town do not include meals.

For the first week only, a meal service is provided while interns are getting settled in and welcomed. This includes a packed lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday of the first week. For this, let us know of any specific dietary requirements in advance, so that they may be accommodated.

After the first week of the internship, interns have the choice to either continue with this meal service (and pay directly to the local team in-country for it) or to take care of their own meals independently.

For interns who wish to take care of their own meals independently, it is convenient to do so. The accommodation is located within short walking distance to an affordable supermarket, as well as great cafes and restaurants. All accommodation also provides cooking facilities.

For interns who wish to take advantage of the catered meal service (of packed lunches and dinners throughout the week), it may be arranged directly in Cape Town. Typical lunches include juice, fruit, sandwiches, salads. Typical dinners include dishes such as stews, curries, vegetable pasta bake, rice, roasted vegetables, salads, and South African braai (BBQ).

Activities and tourism

On the weekend, interns have spare time to relax and explore. There’s something for everyone, with nightlife, café culture, music, festivals, food markets, wine tours, hiking, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the continent! Here are some of our top picks for activities around Cape Town:

  • Hiking around Table Mountain National Park, just ten minutes from central Cape Town, is a great option to keep fit and healthy and there are lots of trails to explore for any level of adventurer. Reach the top of Table mountain by foot, or take a return cable-car. Don’t forget to challenge yourself to summit Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head!

  • Shark cage diving is an exhilarating experience - if you’re feeling brave enough! Get eye-to-eye with a great white from the safety of a cage or observe from the comfort of the boat. Most dives cost around $130USD, but shop around and speak to others to ensure you get a fair price (based on the season).

  • The Neighbourgoods Market, located at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (close to the Observatory district) features over 100 specialty traders every Saturday, creating a weekly platform for local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, bakers and distributors, grocers, mongers, butchers, artisan producers, celebrated local chefs, and micro enterprises. Don’t miss it!

  • Kick back and relax over the weekend, with a slow-paced wine tour through some of Cape Town’s loveliest estates. Learn about the history of how wine was introduced to the area and sample a delicious selection.

  • General tours to Robben Island usually depart every day. With a rich 500 year, multi-layered history, the island is visited every year by thousands of people, who learn about important aspects of South Africa’s history.

  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), is located in a converted grain silo, overlooking the Atlantic on the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. The institution has 100 galleries spread over nine floors and the exhibitions focus exclusively on 21st-century work from Africa and the diaspora.

  • For history-buffs, take a wander through South Africa’s oldest building, the Castle of Good Hope. The magnificent building contains displays of historical and military paraphernalia, an art collection, a restaurant as well as a history of the castle itself.

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Country profile

Capital Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)
Population 55.91 million
Languages Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana
Currency South African Rand (ZAR)
Time zone UTC+02:00

Weather and climate: South Africa is generally temperate, however due to varied topography and oceanic influence, a great variety of climatic zones exist. This ranges from the extreme desert of the Namib (northwest South Africa), to the subtropical climate along the Mozambique border and the Indian Ocean (eastern South Africa). Winters in South Africa occur between June and August.

In Cape Town, the summers are warm, dry, and mostly clear; the winters are long, cool, wet, and partly cloudy. It is windy year round and common to see windsurfers enjoying the surf. Over the course of the year, the temperature in Cape Town typically varies from 48°F (9°C) to 76°F (24°C). The warm season in Cape Town usually ranges from December through March and the coldest months are June through September.