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Public Health Internships in Cape Town

Public Health Internships in Cape Town

Gain practical experience in the vast field of public health, helping multidisciplinary professionals to educate, prevent and support communities across Cape Town. On these Public Health internships, you’ll assist qualified healthcare professionals with projects that are ultimately intended to protect and improve the health of people and their communities. There is a broad range of placements available within this field, which may have different areas of focus and diverse perspectives. Come prepared for a culturally immersive experience which will expand your outlook on how careers in public health can come to life.

Internship Highlights:
  • Gain an understanding of how public health systems can work for progressing community well-being.
  • Learn about different challenges that public health entities work to address or solve.
  • Collaborate with professionals on projects and campaigns intended to promote healthy lifestyles, through the prevention of harm.
  • Enjoy spare time exploring the unique and eclectic city of Cape Town, and wider South Africa.
Type of host organizations:
  • Non-medical roles in clinics and hospitals
  • NGOs
  • Research Institutions
  • Environmental Health Organizations
  • Community Health Centers
Fully hosted experience from $2859
Includes accommodation
Typical schedule: Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm
Minimum duration 8 weeks, up to 24 weeks maximum
Go on safari & discover wildlife
Get job-ready with our Experiential Learning Curriculum
Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Public Health internships in Cape Town are suitable for students and recent graduates with relevant experience and/or studies related to health sciences, public health, nursing, nutrition, social work, education, 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

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. Click here to check out remote internships, which you can undertake from home.

South Africa’s healthcare system faces many serious challenges. These can be related to modern lifestyle behaviors, which negatively affect health, but challenges can also be linked to poverty and disparity within populations. Public health is a hugely important field that provides a range of prevention and intervention techniques for common issues among communities. Whether working to address obesity, smoking, drug abuse, addiction, domestic violence, malnutrition, disease, and more, there is no shortage of professional institutions working to support communities with better outcomes for wellness.

Public Health internships are considered to be non-medical. Supervision is unlikely to be provided by medical professionals, such as doctors. Internship placements may be provided through clinics or hospitals, but the internship role itself is non-medical. Otherwise, other placement opportunities can be offered by relevant NGOs, Research Institutions, Environmental Health Organizations, and Community Health Centers. Interns wanting to focus their placement in a specific field should include details in their application. Placement preferences are considered but always subject to availability. Interns should expect to be flexible with their schedule, as placements may have flexible hours.

In all cases, interns should expect that the first week of their experience will focus on settling in and gaining some introductory knowledge, as you will not “hit the ground running”. Rather, you should start with learning about the placement to gain an understanding of what you can build upon, develop, learn, and contribute. Ensure that you ask questions and provide feedback during the introductory period so that your supervisor understands how you’re progressing. This will help them to better understand important details, such as how quickly you learn, what you find challenging, what you find interesting, etc.

Understand and expect that individual internship experiences vary, as the specific placement that you’re assigned will depend on a review of your resume and your current level of studies and experience. Therefore, if you’re at a more introductory level, you should reasonably expect a more introductory internship. Likewise, if you’re interning for a shorter duration, you will have a different experience from someone who is interning for a longer duration.

Career Benefits

Public Health interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Assisting in delivering public health programs and campaigns.

  • Supporting educational public health classes in the community.

  • Contributing resources related to public health promotions and community education.

  • Assisting with administrative, funding, public relationships, and events activities.

Professional development opportunities:
  • Experience South Africa’s public health system in action.

  • Gain an understanding of preventive public health measures.

  • Build your understanding of complex challenges and diverse cultural perspectives within public health sectors.

  • Build essential communication skills for the delivery of public health initiatives.

  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.

South Africa photo gallery

What recent interns said about their experience

AM
Aaron Menz
August 2018

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 and experience the beauty of South Africa during the rest of the day/weekends. My accommodations were a one minute walk from town, which allowed me to maximize everyday enjoyment in the city. It was convenient living near the grocery store, coffee shops, the local bar/pub, clothing stores, and restaurants. I followed all safety procedures and did not experience unfortunate events. The assurance of safety allowed me to enjoy activities in the city, such as hiking table mountain, shopping at the water front, watch the sunset with friends, wine tasting, swimming at camps bay, and dancing on Long Street. I also met a lot of other international students and local students that accompanied me during my activities. My new friends made every event unforgettable and left unique memories. I also went on adventures that I have never done at my home country such as shark diving, go on a safari, pet a cheetah, bungee jumping off the world’s tallest bungee jump bridge, tandem paragliding, and kayaking. It’s amazing how much I was able to accomplish while working an 8-4 job. This was truly an experience of a life time.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Our commitment to providing safe internship experiences

Academic credit available for all internships

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing an internship abroad or remote internship program with Intern Abroad HQ.

Learn about course credit

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$499 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$499 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
8 weeks $2,859 Equivalent to $51 /day
10 weeks $3,514 Equivalent to $50 /day
12 weeks $3,858 Equivalent to $45 /day
16 weeks $4,654 Equivalent to $41 /day
20 weeks $5,340 Equivalent to $38 /day
24 weeks $6,027 Equivalent to $35 /day
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Program orientation
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
  • In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
  • Sourcing and securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • Coaching from your supervisor
  • Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
  • Academic credit facilitation
  • International reference letter
  • Certificate of Internship Completion
  • All meals
  • All in-country transportation
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Personal spending money for snacks, drinks, public transport, laundry, and leisure activities during your free time.
  • A deposit of $499 (approximately 499) is required to secure your internship
  • Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.

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). Fewer 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.

Check what’s required to visit South Africa

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Accommodation and WiFi

Internship placements are spread throughout Cape Town’s main city center and surrounding suburbs. Accommodation arrangements will be confirmed, once your internship placement has also been assigned. In most cases, accommodation will be situated in the upmarket suburb of Newlands, enjoyed for its leafy surroundings, access to hiking trails, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and proximity to the beaches of Muizenberg and the CBD. Alternatively, accommodations may also be situated within the Observatory district, known for its student-friendly atmosphere and convenient proximity to the University of Cape Town.

Interns are accommodated within shared lodging, making it easy to connect with fellow program participants. Interns can expect to share a room with another intern (of the same gender). Bathrooms are also 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.

It is important to note that an accommodation bond is requested at check-in. The cost of the bond is US$150, so you must budget for this. However, this bond is fully refundable to you, upon your departure, provided that inspection has been completed to confirm that you have not caused damage to the property or a need for extensive deep cleaning.

Transportation is not provided for in-country commutes between the accommodation and internship placements, so all interns must budget for this independently. The maximum travel time is typically no more than 60 minutes each way (depending on traffic congestion in the city). In all cases, internship placements will be assigned in consideration of commute logistics and opportunities to ride-share with other interns, where possible.

For convenience and safety, local coordinators can arrange a dedicated shuttle service for ongoing placement commutes (Monday through Friday). The cost for this service ranges from approx. US$150 - US$250 a month, per person, depending on the location of your placement. (On a daily basis, this could be equated to approx. US$6-9 per day). If you want to organize this service, please communicate with coordinators when your placement details are being arranged in advance.

Alternatively, for the use of Uber, it is possible to spend US$10-US$20 per day on rides, depending on where you’re going. Please budget for this, especially if you intend to use this transportation method a lot during weekends and free time.

Meals

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

You can readily drink the tap water throughout the city. However, it is advised to bring your own water supply when traveling to and interning in the townships.

You should aim to budget approximately US$100 per week for food. If you like to go out frequently (rather than going to the grocery store to prepare some of your own meals) then you need to budget up to US$150 per week, at least (this budget can vary depending on personal spending habits). Note that, when you go to a restaurants, there is a cultural expectation to tip at least 10%.

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.

Essential country information

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.