Internship Testimonial

    NGO and Animal &Wildlife  Dual internship In Cape Town!

The support you guys gave me during my time here was more than I expected. I always felt I could call you guys if I needed anything at all which was amazing!

Ilayda Cakir (Turkey/UK)

NGO and Animal &Wildlife Dual Internship

Ilayda is a student from the UK. She attends York University and came for a 4 week internship in July 2017. Her internship consisted of two areas of focus: NGO and Animal & Wildlife. This is the transcription of Ilayda’s end of internship debriefing.

Amazing 4 weeks!

The internship Bridging Gaps found me was with the Underdog Project. The Underdog project facilities workshops for children from underprivileged schools and as well as teaching them life skills classes, they teach them how to look after and build a relationship with the rescue dogs that live at the the Domestic Animal Rescue Group shelter in Hout Bay. I’ve learned a lot about Animal Assisted Therapy, how communication is carried out and how much impact their project is making for the kids and the dogs! You will learn how to be patient and learn so much about social and emotional needs of at risk youth who live in the surrounding townships. I’ve met some incredible people and my experience was humbling, rewarding and something I will never forget.

Interning with Bridging Gaps was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had! From day one I felt safe and in good hands. My mentors were amazing and were always there for me 24/7. They arranged weekly social events for us to see more of Cape Town and they made sure we got the most from our travel. I would definitely recommend Bridging Gaps! You won’t regret it!

Full Interview with Ilayda

Ilayda’s Thoughts About Her Internship

What were your reasons for wanting to come to Cape Town to do an internship?

I studied South African politics in my first year of University and I wanted to see it with my own eyes. When I was looking for an internship in Cape Town Bridging Gaps was the only organisation who offered NGO internships. Because I want work in the future for an NGO, I thought it would be better to get the experience beforehand and your opportunities looked great for this.

How was your actual internship experience in Cape Town?

It was great- I worked for an amazing NGO! Anya my supervisor was really great and the kids that I met and worked with were amazing. The only thing that affected my internship was that it was school holidays in Cape Town and some of the children that the NGO work with don’t have any phones, so it is very difficult to communicate with them and arrange the workshops. The children come to the animal shelter to learn about training and taking care of dogs but they can’t come if they do not know when the workshop is happening.

This is actually something that I spoke to my supervisor about because I think it would be a great fundraising initiative to try and buy each of the children who the NGO work with, a small phone that they can be contacted on. This will make a huge difference with the organisation of the workshops because the biggest problem is communication

***This is going to be our next Bridging Gaps fundraising project***

Do you feel like you were given enough guidance during your internship?

Yes I had great support and guidance from Anya my supervisor. I have learnt a lot from her in terms of how to interact with the children and how to be patient with the animals from the shelter.

Overall do you feel that doing this international internship was a worthwhile experience which will help you achieve your career goals?

Definitely! Even just working with the children and the animals gave me such great experience. Being able to work with both of them at the same time taught me a lot. I also got to see what it is like to work for and be part of an NGO and this was great because it is what I want to do in the future.

Do you feel that you were given the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to your local host organisation?

Yes I think working with Jenna, the founder of the NGO, was great because I got to give ideas for what they can do in the future. One project I worked on was writing the content for their new fundraising page which I really enjoyed.

Ilayda’s Thoughts About Cape Town

What fears did you have before coming to Cape Town with Bridging Gaps?

My main fear was actually just doing the journey to Cape Town as it was my first time travelling alone. The fact that I knew you would be meeting me at the airport when I arrived helped me a lot though.

After spending some time in the city, what is your impression of Cape Town?

I love it! I like the fact people are always out and about doing things. There is so much to do in Cape Town. The mountains and the scenery really remind me of Turkey and the people are always so happy and friendly. It didn’t feel like a completely foreign place to be honest and it quickly felt like home. I never felt unsafe while I was here either.

Would you recommend Cape Town as a worthwhile/enjoyable place to visit?

Yes definitely! Of course! I want to come back in the summer and bring my family here too.

Ilayda’s Thoughts About Bridging Gaps’ Service

Did Bridging Gaps help you prepare for your trip sufficiently?

Yes! I think more than I actually expected- I felt completely prepared for the trip especially after speaking to Lucie on skype.

How was your experience of Bridging Gaps while you were on the ground in Cape Town?

The support you guys gave me during my time here was also more than I expected. I always felt I could call you guys if I needed anything at all which was amazing!

What was the best feature of the Bridging Gaps service?

I think having you both as mentors! You are both so friendly and really relatable. You have a great balance of being professional and being friendly at the same time. You have been professional at all the right times but also fun to spend time with especially on the weekly social events which I have loved!

Would you recommend pursing an internship in Cape Town with Bridging Gaps to other people?

Yes I would definitely! I will be telling my university friends about you definitely!

Do you think our programme fees are reasonable in terms of the service we provided?

Yes definitely because you arranged my whole trip for me including my accommodation, transport and social events. You definitely gave me more than I expected when I arrived in Cape Town in terms of support as well.

Why did you choose us over our competitors?

I think my first impression of Bridging Gaps was great because I had such a good chat to Lucie over skype. You actually listened to me and what I wanted to do for an internship and you answered every question I had. Some of the other companies I spoke to didn’t listen to me- they weren’t that helpful. You were so lovely when I spoke to you I immediately knew I wanted to go with Bridging Gaps and I am so glad I did!

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