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How to Choose an Internship Provider: 5 Steps

6 min read
· Posted on
November 20, 2020
by Yvonne Jooste

So, you have weighed up the pros and cons and have decided to find an internship placement abroad. Choosing the right internship can strengthen your resume, allow you to acquire essential skills, build your network, and provide you with a meaningful personal experience.

The process of choosing the right internship provider, however, can be daunting and involves many questions. Where should I do an internship? What to ask before doing an internship? How do I find an internship program? How long should my internship be?

A good internship provider will go a long way in assisting you with some of these questions and can help secure an internship that best fit your professional academic and personal needs.

In order to help you along in your journey, we’ve set out 5 things to consider when choosing an internship provider.

(Before we get going… If you’re still unsure of whether to do an internship or not, have a look at our reasons on why to invest in an internship abroad.)

The Country

Once you’re certain about the benefits of completing an internship, you have to decide on your international internship destination. There are many important factors to consider in this regard. It becomes important to do your own research and ask the right questions from a provider. The best providers are located within the internship country, are familiar with its customs, culture and way of life, and importantly, can advise you on safety, currency, affordability, the cost of living, climate and necessary travel and work permits, visas and documentation.

At Bridging Gaps, we operate and provide internship opportunities in Cape Town, South Africa. This beautiful and vibrant city has much to offer. If you are considering the African content, have a look at why Cape Town might be the ideal internship destination for you.

Sunsets overlooking Table Mountain - Bridging Gaps
Bridging Gaps Photography

Placement Field and Professional Opportunities

The industry or field of placement that you choose should align with your academic preferences and your ultimate career goals. Some internships may require a specific educational background, and you should, therefore, also consider what you qualify for.

A provider should also be able to guide you on what to expect from a specific internship and explain how it can help you develop skills and professional experience.

Research which providers are renowned for the specific field of expertise you are seeking and ask questions around their relationships with specific companies in that industry or field. At Bridging Gaps, for example, we specialise in a number of internship opportunities that we’ve established through our long history of work with companies and related industry.  

Bridging Gaps Photography

Personal Placement and Individual Care

Your internship provider should pay attention to your needs and goals in a personal, individualised way. They should prioritise a holistic approach to well-being and success through all the stages of the process – pre-departure, the actual program and post-return.

A one-on-one interview or conversation about your highly specific goals and preferences is imperative. You should expect guided cultural and organisational exposure. In other words, your provider should help you navigate the new culture and help you to integrate and adjust to your host country and organisation.

It is important that you understand the specific provider’s operating methods and process. Have a look at our process and philosophy. We follow a holistic approach by having regular feedback sessions, weekly social events, orientation and first-day work accompaniment.

As an internship participant, you should feel secure, healthy and supported by your provider. One of the most significant questions that you should put to a provider is to what extent they are available and accessible. A responsible provider will make someone available to you from the beginning.

Embarking on an internship abroad can be an overwhelming experience. You should, therefore, take time to consider your options. This will help you feel excited about your trip and the experiences to come, instead of feeling worried or unsure of what to expect.

Reviews and Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials from people who have done internships can be an extremely useful tool in your search for a provider. You can also consider informative articles or posts on the topic.

At Bridging Gaps we use feedback from our interns/volunteers in order to continuously better our service. We provide future interns/volunteers with internship stories and testimonials so that they may make an informed decision.

However, we also encourage candidates to visit independent sites and platforms. In this way, they can obtain an unbiased view and be sure to make the best choice for their desired experience and outcome.

biomedical engineering internship cape town brittany lemke testimonial banner

Cultural Activities and Opportunities

Your personal wish list of internship criteria should also involve choosing an internship program that can provide you with a meaningful opportunity for personal growth. This is one of the most important factors when considering how to choose an internship.

Apart from finding reasons for why doing an internship is important, be sure to research which provider and city offers additional benefits and activities to participants. Cultural activities and cross-cultural explorations can broaden your horizons.

Immersing yourself in a new culture and learning to appreciate the history, traditions and customs of the people of your host country can turn your internship into a profound and memorable personal experience.

Further, many people might turn down unpaid internships or volunteer work. However, being involved in local conservation, social engagement and education, allows you to build a set of skills that few others will be able to compete with. These skills can become building blocks for your career and what is more, you can make a difference.

Bridging Gaps Interns - Safari
Bridging Gaps Photography

Visit Bridging Gaps

Start your internship provider journey by having a look at our homepage. We offer a variety of internship opportunities in exciting and established fields in the lively and historically significant city of Cape Town.

Even if you decide that we are not for you, we can at least help set the standard of what you should expect from an internship provider.

What should you do next?

Easy - there's only one thing for it - download this free 37-page PDF guide we wrote just for you. It'll give you an overview of everything you need to know and do to have a rewarding and unforgettable learning experience abroad.

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