Eligibility requirement: Suitable for participants who are pursuing higher education in a relevant field. For example, an undergraduate degree (or currently enrolled) in Public Health, Health Sciences, etc.

Language requirements: This internship is conducted in English.

Associated career paths: Epidemiologist, Community Health Worker, Environmental Specialist, Health Educator, Medical & Health Services Manager, Health Specialties Teacher, Healthcare Social Worker, Mental Health & Substance Abuse Social Worker, Mental Health Counselor, Natural Sciences Manager

Minimum duration: 8 weeks

Internship details

Gain practical experience in the vast field of public health, helping to educate, prevent and treat local communities across Cape Town. On these Public Health internships, you’ll assist qualified healthcare professionals on rich educational placements including diverse health projects and community medical clinics.

This is an in-country internship, with accommodation provided.

South Africa’s healthcare system faces many serious challenges, which include issues related to obesity, smoking, drug abuse, diabetes, high rates of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Public health is a hugely important field that provides a range of prevention and intervention techniques for common issues among communities.

As an intern in the public health sector, you’ll assist public health advisers in hospitals and clinics, or those working with school education groups. You’ll shadow and observe qualified medical professionals in consultations with patients, and gain experience promoting healthy lifestyles to community groups. These classes can include general health practices, as well as specific fields such as exercise, mental health, nutrition, sexual health, COVID-19 prevention, and more.

There are also opportunities to carry out public health policy-related activities. Interns should expect to be flexible with their schedule, as placements may have flexible hours.

Public Health internships encapsulate a broad scope of opportunities, and internships are customized so that you’ll be contributing to a placement that focuses on an area well suited to your interests and education. Interns wanting to focus their placement in a specific field should include details in your application. Requests are accommodated wherever possible, though are subject to availability.

During your weekends, you can visit the District Six Museum, Robben Island, and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. These excellent sites can provide more understanding of South Africa’s history, to deepen the immersive and educational experience of your internship. There are also beautiful scenic attractions that you won’t want to miss - whether hiking Table Mountain, Signal Hill or Lion’s Head for panoramic views of the city, relaxing on the beaches, or meandering along the Garden Route to visit wineries, you’ll find that there is never a dull moment. If you don’t want to visit Africa without planning a safari, let us know! Our team in Cape Town will help you arrange an ethical, responsible and unforgettable tour.

This internship is conducted in English.

Check out Aaron’s experience on his Public Health internships in Cape Town.

Public Health interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Shadowing patient consultations
  • Developing and running public health programs
  • Running educational public health classes in the community
Professional development opportunities:
  • Experience South Africa’s public health system in action
  • Gain an understanding of preventive public health measures
  • Build your understanding of effective public health measures
  • Build communication skills delivering engaging public health workshops
  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.
Typical schedule:
  • Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm
Internship highlights:
  • Gain a first hand understanding of how a public health system works for people in the community
  • Contribute to the delivery of public health in a specific field that’s relevant to your skills and interests
  • Enjoy spare time exploring the unique and eclectic city of Cape Town, and wider South Africa
Types of host organizations:
  • Public health clinics
  • Hospitals

Keen to get started?

Taking the first step is easy! It is free to apply and takes just 5 minutes.

Submit an application

Program fees

It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$449 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$449 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Internship Duration Program Fee (USD)
2 weeks 2 weeks $1,418
3 weeks 3 weeks $1,556
4 weeks 4 weeks $1,694
5 weeks 5 weeks $1,832
6 weeks 6 weeks $1,970
8 weeks 8 weeks $2,246
10 weeks 10 weeks $2,729
12 weeks 12 weeks $3,005
16 weeks 16 weeks $3,557
20 weeks 20 weeks $4,109
24 weeks 24 weeks $4,661
  • To convert these prices to your local currency visit the XE currency converter.
  • 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 apply

Program fee for abroad internships

What it covers
  • Securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • International reference letter
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Internship placement
  • Experiential Learning Curriculum
  • Accommodation
  • Meal package for first week

Intern review: Aaron Menz

"My two month public health internship in Cape Town, South Africa was unique, adventurous, and unforgettable. I made a significant impact in the health field at my internship location during the day an..." read more

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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.

Photo gallery

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.