Internship Testimonial

    Journalism  Internship In Cape Town!

As my mentors you guys have gone above and beyond time and time again! You have been so helpful throughout my time in Cape Town. When I go back to the UK if anyone is thinking of doing an internship abroad I will certainly say go with Bridging Gaps!

Ruth Ilott (UK)

Journalism Internship

Ruth is a student from the UK. She attends The University of East Anglia and came for a 4 week internship in July 2017. Ruth completed a journalism internship at one of Cape Town’s most popular newspapers. This is the transcription of Ruth’s end of internship debriefing.

Journalism Internship

Working for the Cape Argus has been a rewarding experience. I have had the opportunity to get fully stuck into what a journalist’s daily work life is really like. It has broadened my communication skills through my job being required to contact a variety of people and it has helped developed my interview skills. Through writing stories for the paper, I have gained a knowledge and understanding of how the Cape Town and South African community feel about certain issues within their society, and how there are certain people’s voices and stories out there that need to be told. I will take what I have learnt here back to the UK and it has given me the confidence to try and find future placements and opportunities in media outlets back home or elsewhere abroad.

My experience with Bridging Gaps has been fantastic. My supervisors, Lucie and Julian, very much care about their interns’ well-being and their experiences in Cape Town. They have been brilliant with making this experience a comfortable and enjoyable one through all their help and advice. They really do go above and beyond for you! They are very organised with providing you information about the city, your internship, accommodation etc. to make your stay a pleasant one. The social events that they have organised have been brilliant and I have met some lovely people on my internship in the group, my workplace and accommodation. Cape Town is such an interesting and awesome city to work in and explore. I would highly recommend Bridging Gaps to anyone planning to do an internship here.!

Full Interview with Ruth

Ruth’s Thoughts About Her Internship

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

I had never been to South Africa before and I have always heard good things about Cape Town from family who have been here. I was planning on doing an internship anyway and I wanted to go somewhere different really, outside of the UK. I am also very interested in learning about new places and new cultures so Cape Town, South Africa was a great option for me!

What type of internship experience were you initially looking for?

I wanted to gain some basic journalism experience.  I was really hoping and expecting to just shadow reporters and experience different departments in a newspaper publishing house.

How did your actual internship experience in Cape Town compare to this?

My actual internship experience was very hands on and pretty much on my first day they got me writing a report! At first I found it quite daunting because I had not had any previous journalism experience other than writing for my university paper. I think I just learnt really quickly though and all the reporters I was working with were really helpful and gave me advice on how to structure my stories. As time went on I quickly got used to writing reports and it showed me how quickly you can learn and develop skills when you are in a real world working environment. I never wanted an internship where I was just sitting around potentially getting bored, so the fact that I had so much to do in terms of writing stories, gathering information and doing interviews, was amazing!

Do you feel like you were given adequate responsibilities during your internship?

Yes definitely! At first the editor of the newspaper gave me press releases to work from but then as I became more confident, I was given the opportunity to write about what I am passionate about. I love art and culture so I got to do reports on art exhibitions going on in Cape Town, as well as an NGO that some of my friends here are starting. I was so pleased I was given the chance to write about topics I am interested in.

Do you feel that the internship challenged and developed your journalism skills?

Yes definitely- my internship really taught me what to expect from the trade. I found it to be quite a high pressure job in terms of trying to get relevant and reliable information from people. When you call people to do an interview they are sometimes very unwilling to speak to the media and because I am quite a reserved person, I found it challenging to persevere and push them. It was a challenge of the job that I gained a really useful insight into. Also, doing the internship really made me realise what kind of news I want to report on in my future career.

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

Oh yes for sure! As I said it definitely taught me the skills of the trade and what it essentially means to be a journalist. At the newspaper they were very much interested in social stories and finding out people’s views from the poorer communities, which I found really insightful and very important. I think that is what the news is about- not finding voices from the top, but finding voices from all sorts of different people.

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

Yes! I had all of my stories published in the newspaper! 9 of them in total and I have kept klippings of all of them which I am really pleased about.

Ruth’s Thoughts About Cape Town

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

Well I had heard from some people that South Africa isn’t the safest of places to visit. I try and go to every new place I visit with an open mind, but I was conscious of safety. I feel that if you just use your common sense here though you are absolutely fine- I have run into no problems at all. I never felt threatened being on my own in the city and the only major precaution I took was making sure I was always in a group of people when I went out in the evenings- I feel that this is the same in any big city though.

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

It is a really buzzing city! There is so much to do here- hiking, wine tasting and seeing amazing wildlife. I have never been to a city where you wake up and you’ve got the buzz of the city around you but then you have the huge mountain over shadowing you and it is just stunning! The scenery here is extraordinary I can’t even describe it! Everyone here is so friendly and courteous too. I have loved it!

Ruth’s Thoughts About Bridging Gaps’ Service

Did Bridging Gaps help you prepare for your trip sufficiently?

Yes I felt very prepared before leaving home and when I arrived and you did the orientation with me, you told me about everything and showed me how everything works here so I was very comfortable. You guys were very on point!

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

As my mentors you guys have gone above and beyond time and time again! You have been so so helpful throughout my time in Cape Town. When I go back to the UK if anyone is thinking of doing an internship abroad I will certainly say go with Bridging Gaps! You really have been so fantastic and you have really made my stay here so comfortable. I am just really pleased I came with you guys!

What was the best feature of the Bridging Gaps service?

I loved the weekend social events- I really enjoyed the activities and meeting other people. I also think the internships you offer are fantastic. You offer such a variety and hearing about the other intern’s experiences was really cool. I was very impressed with the broad range of different opportunities you offer!

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

Yes I will definitely recommend doing an internship with you guys because it is such a valuable experience!

Is there anything you feel that we could improve on?

I can’t think of anything at all! You guys have been completely spot on with everything you have done!

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