There are many reasons why an international internship is worth taking on. Having the experience of working abroad can help set you apart from the rest of the competition. Immersing yourself in the culture, language and traditions of a different country can open up your eyes to new possibilities and give you a new perspective.
Interning in another country can develop your communication skills, language proficiency, and demonstrate your ability to integrate into a working environment. It also gives you the opportunity to build a network of colleagues and mentors.
(Need more reasons? Check out this helpful Wiki article).
For many of our interns, completing a programme in Cape Town has set them on a career path they wouldn’t have been able to pursue otherwise.
Below, we set out some of the ways in which an internship in Cape Town can get you to where you want to go!
An internship can help you decide what passion you want to pursue.
Having to make a decision regarding your career path can be daunting, to say the least. Although you might have an idea of a career or have narrowed down a few possibilities, the notion of making a decision with life-long consequences can get the best of anybody.
These pressures, coupled with the expectations of one’s family, friends, school and community can leave some feeling directionless and confused.
This is where an internship can make ALL the difference.
It allows you to experience a specific field or environment first. One of our interns, Frankie Stratford (check out her testimonial here) has completed two internships in Cape Town with Bridging Gaps!!
Frankie first assisted at Aquila Game Reserve for 6 weeks, completing an Animal and Wildlife and Environmental Science internship. After finishing her first internship, Frankie returned home to the UK for a few months before deciding she wasn’t quite finished with Cape Town! We found Frankie a second internship working with a local environmental education trust where she helped with wildlife research, monitoring, and general conservation. Frankie’s experiences led her to decide to study Biology at Bristol University. She had the following to say after completing her second trip: “These months have shown me completely new career paths in the biological field that I would never have been able to experience in the UK. I have a far better understanding of what I will be able to do with my degree and the experience gave me a much deeper knowledge of conservation and scientific research in general”.
Frankie’s experience helped her realise her passion for animal care and conservation and thereby allowed her to confidently and assuredly make the decision to study Biology.
An internship can demonstrate your capabilities and readiness for postgraduate study.
The decision to pursue postgraduate study depends on a variety of factors. Students often have to weigh up the benefits of specialised knowledge against early entry into the workforce. The cost, time and sacrifices involved lead many to postpone, or ultimately not pursue, a postgraduate qualification.
For those that do choose to complete a postgraduate qualification, admittance into a specific programme is not guaranteed. The application process can be hard and, depending on the school or university, extremely competitive.
This is where an internship can demonstrate your capabilities and work ethic to a university or tertiary institution. One of our previous interns, Meera Govind, had recently graduated and wanted to gain experience in a Human Rights NGO. She loved her internship in Cape Town so much that the initial 6 weeks that she planned, turned into 7 months! But more importantly, her experience allowed her to complete her master’s application. She used her experience to showcase her capabilities and skills through reference letters, recommendations and field experience to potential universities. Have a look at what she has to say here.
Meera’s internship in Cape Town not only provided her with hands-on practical experience, but also allowed her to develop a theoretical framework and deeper knowledge for the purposes of postgraduate study and specialisation.
An internship can open up possibilities you never even considered.
We have seen many interns discover possible career paths and choices that they never even thought of. An internship can ignite passions that you never knew you had or disclose career opportunities that you thought weren’t possible. Many young interns feel that they only have a couple of options. An internship is one of the best and quickest ways in which you can expand, explore and discover potential journeys.
Case in point is one of our previous interns and possibly one of the most surprising internship journeys that we have encountered. Harriet Mallaby travelled to Cape Town at the end of 2018. Although she loved her business internship, her time in Cape Town made her realise that there are other options than going to university close to home. Harriet ended up applying for a cadetship programme to ultimately qualify to be a sea Captain! The programme involves her being away at sea for months and she attributes her time in Cape Town to helping her find the right career path.
Harriet’s story demonstrates that there are more options than immediately attending university. Some people thrive inside the education system, others have the need to explore more options. Finding your way to your passion doesn’t always involve a perfect trajectory (this story is a perfect example). However, what we do know from our experience is that an internship can help in finding a new passion, confirm a longstanding passion, or simply light up your path.
Ultimately, there is no real substitute for experience. It is only once you are in the thick of things that options, desires and possibilities become clear. We’ve had the privilege of helping many young people realise their dreams, including the ones they didn’t know they had. Cape Town has played a major part in this – it is through her offerings that we could assist many of our interns in finding their way.
Have a look at the rest of our testimonials for some more first-hand stories.
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.