Social Work Internships in Cape Town
Gain practical insights and experience in social work within townships around Cape Town. Intern with well-established and high profile non-profit organizations in various sectors, assisting with the challenging and demanding role of helping the most disadvantaged members of the South African community with a range of social issues.
- Learn about the issues faced by other members of society and how you can help to address them
- Make a difference to the lives of those in disadvantaged communities in Cape Town
- Enjoy spare time exploring the unique and eclectic city of Cape Town, and wider South Africa
Type of host organizations:
- Academic institutions
These Social Work Internships offer practical insights and experience in social work within townships around Cape Town. Intern with well-established and high profile non-profit organizations in various sectors, assisting with the challenging and demanding role of helping the most disadvantaged members of the South African community with a range of social issues.
This is an in-country internship, with accommodation provided. Click here to view remote Psychology & Social Work internships which you can undertake from home.
For those wanting to gain experience and insight into helping underprivileged communities, completing a Social Work internship in Cape Town is a hugely valuable learning experience. You’ll be assisting people who live with very little, gaining an understanding of how their situations affect their daily lives and how best to help them.
Social Work interns are placed with non-profits that work within disadvantaged communities focusing on issues such as childcare, at risk youth, poverty, conflict resolution, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, refugees, and gender issues. You’ll be assisting local professionals on a wide range of tasks, including delivering individual and group assistance, providing food, water and health products, organizing fundraisers and awareness campaigns and assisting people with disputes.
Due to the broad scope of the program, interns are matched to an appropriate placement according to an analysis of your skills, experience, educational background, and duration of stay. Interns wanting to gain experience in a particular field should include details in your application. Interns should come prepared to encounter the reality of what it means to be disadvantaged in South Africa. Many communities live in poverty, and this can be confronting for interns. You should be open-minded and willing to help, with the understanding that your role can make a huge difference to the lives of locals, and that the lessons you’ll learn will help to set you up for a rewarding career in social work.
In all cases, interns should expect that the first week of your 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 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. Placement preferences are considered but always subject to availability.
Social Work interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
Running fundraising and awareness campaigns
Organizing community education programs
Helping groups and individuals to address specific issues
Professional development opportunities:
Learn about contributing factors for those living in underprivileged communities
Develop your understanding in how best to assist those with specific issues
Gain experience engaging audiences in awareness and fundraising efforts
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
I have a new found confidence after dipping my toes into an internship within my field of Social Work, and receiving positive feedback for all my hard work! During my internship I was given the role of course facilitator. I guided and led activities that helped at-risk teens discover their self-worth, reflect on their upbringing, their values, and think about opportunities and choices. I researched a range of topics including self-esteem, anger management, and emotional intelligence, then facilitated educational programs around these to groups of children and teenagers from low-income areas in Cape Town. Many of the children in the programs had been exposed to gang violence, abuse, poverty and lack of healthcare, which affected how they expressed themselves and how they dealt with their emotions. My role was to introduce programs that help them to understand emotional intelligence and how to make good choices regarding peer pressure and gang involvement. During my internship I learnt how to communicate professionally and give feedback, which are important skills in the workplace. Working with people has its challenges, but when it is done right it is gratifying. Everyone will work with people in their life, no matter what career path they choose. I now feel more empowered to be successful in my field because of all the positive feedback I received during my placement, which has really boosted my confidence. From here I would like to continue building my resume and talking to new people, as well as getting to know other people I have known longer on a deeper level.
My internship in Cape Town was an unforgettable experience that I will cherish forever. Not only did I get to work alongside some of the most amazing people, but I also had the opportunity to explore a beautiful country with other interns who went from being strangers to my friends for life. The best decision I ever made was applying to Intern Abroad HQ and getting on that plane to South Africa. There are no words to describe how grateful I am for this experience. I miss it already!
To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.
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
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.
Program Fee (USD)
|$2,149 Equivalent to $76 /day
|$2,320 Equivalent to $66 /day
|$2,517 Equivalent to $59 /day
|$2,859 Equivalent to $51 /day
|$3,514 Equivalent to $50 /day
|$3,858 Equivalent to $45 /day
|$4,654 Equivalent to $41 /day
|$5,340 Equivalent to $38 /day
|$6,027 Equivalent to $35 /day
- Airport pick-up
- 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
- Return transportation to the airport at program conclusion
- 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.
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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.
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.
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
|Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)
|Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana
|South African Rand (ZAR)
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.
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