Ilayda Cakir: Animal & Wildlife internship programme review and rating.

In 2018, Ilayda completed an 4 week internship programme with Bridging Gaps in the amazing city of Cape Town, South Africa. The primary career area of Ilayda's internship programme was Animal & Wildlife.


Overview of Ilayda's internship programme:

South Africa
Prog Choice:
University of York

Ilayda's detailed ratings

See a breakdown

Here's how Ilayda rated the different aspects of her Animal & Wildlife internship programme.

Overall Rating: /10

Ilayda's detailed review of her experience.

Placement & programme experience
Location experience
Bridging Gaps' services & support experience
Placement & Programme
What were your reasons for wanting to complete in ?

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.

What kind of internship experience were you initially looking for?

How did your actual internship placement compare to your ideal internship experience? ?

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

Did you receive sufficient levels of supervision and guidance from your colleagues at your host organisation?

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.

Were you given adequate responsibilities during your internship?

Did taking part in your internship challenge you and help develop your skills?

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.

Overall, was this international internship a worthwhile experience that 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.

What fears did you have before coming to 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.

What do you think about those fears now?

After spending some time in the city, what is your impression of with Bridging Gaps?

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 as a worthwhile and enjoyable place to visit?

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

Service & Support
Did Bridging Gaps help you prepare for your trip sufficiently? E.g. placement search, communications, mentoring?

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 ?

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!

Did Bridging Gaps help you prepare for your trip sufficiently? E.g. placement search, communications, mentoring?

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

Would you recommend pursuing in with us to other people?

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

In what ways could our internship programmes be improved?

Before you applied, how did you feel about the programme fees?

Having completed your placement and had the experiences you've have, what do you think about the fees now?

The fees were reasonable 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.

What would you say to someone that is considering an internship here but is concerned about the fees?

Anything else you would like to add?

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!


Check out our Animal & Wildlife programme

Click below to see more a more detailed description of our programme to see if it can give you the career boost you're looking for.

Animal & Wildlife Internship Programmes

Develop crucial field skills necessary to start your successful career in conservation and have the chance to work with a diverse range of wildlife including; The Big Five, Cape fur seals, Humpback whales, Great White Sharks and African penguins. We also offer internship opportunities in veterinary clinics where you have the chance to work with cats, dogs and exotic pets.

Internship Focus Options:


Game reserve work

Veterinary work

Rehabilitation and protection

Animal & Wildlife Internship Programmes
Download and read a free guide.

13 Essential Insights for a Fulfilling and Safe Internship in Cape Town