Here is what our two Cape Town interns said!
1. What motivated you to intern with The Happy Africa Foundation?
Deb (UK): Having spent three years working as a teacher in the UK, I wanted to broaden my experience and learn more about development and the charity sector. I chose The Happy Africa Foundation because of their commitment to sustainability and because of the range of focal projects they run in Cape Town. The internship gave me the perfect opportunity to gain ‘on the ground’ experience on projects and also develop a deeper understanding of the work done behind the scenes in a non for profit organisation.
Jess (CANADA): I had volunteered with African Impact in a prior year, and sought to travel and work in development again for a longer term. The opportunity to spend more time in an amazing country and learn about the charity and development sector had to be seized! At the time of my internship I had the goal of entering graduate studies in global development, so obtaining experience from the ground level of development was opportune.
2. Why did you choose Cape Town?
Deb: I chose Cape Town because of the rich and recent history of South Africa. The country is still very much recovering from many years of oppression during the Apartheid era and it provides the opportunity to balance making a real, meaningful impact in a number of communities. Cape Town is also an absolutely beautiful city and offers a huge range of choices for activities to do at the weekends and during time off; there is everything, from hiking to shark cage diving!
Jess: Cape Town could not have been a more appealing city! The city has countless options for activities, is rich in history and the single most beautiful place I have ever lived. I was incredibly lucky to call Cape Town home. The projects in Cape Town are also diverse in their nature and their reach, enabling for a wide range of learning opportunities and experiences like none other!
3. Had you ever travelled to Africa before taking on the internship?
Deb: No! I had never been outside of Europe before I came to Cape Town.
Jess: Yes, I was in South Africa a few years prior to my internship, volunteering with African Impact. It is through African Impact that I first found out about The Happy Africa Foundation.
4. If you could say youve learnt one thing from your time in Cape Town, what would it be?
Deb: That you can find positivity, optimism and potential in almost any situation. The children and adults we work with through our focal projects are some of the most inspiring individuals I have had the opportunity to meet and I have learnt a huge amount in the time I have spent with them.
Jess: Oh gosh, this is impossible to narrow down!! I cannot possibly say only one thing. Each and every day is full of a new experience. Whether it be a day on project or in the office, I learned about the charity sector in all facets of my internship. One day I may have spent helping volunteers prepare students at a creche for primary school, and the next I may have been spent working on an online fundraising campaign.
5. Any advice for people considering coming to Cape Town?
Deb: Come with an open mind and willingness to learn. With the internship, you get out as much as you put in and it will really change the way in which you look at the world.
Jess: My only advice is to just do it! I think you truly receive the most out of this experience by diving right in and soaking everything up. The days are so various, and time moves far too quickly to do anything less than live through your time to the absolute fullest!
6. What has the internship given to you? (eg. work/education/opportunity)
Deb: The internship has opened my eyes to the possibilities beyond the work I was already doing at home. I was fortunate enough to be offered a role as a volunteer co-ordinator for African Impact for my final three months in Cape Town. This has allowed me to broaden the skills I can offer in future work and I am sure that the experience will enhance my ability to teach about international development when I return to the UK, supporting young people in becoming more globally aware.
Jess: For myself, I used my internship experience on graduate school applications, combining my academic background with my practical work experience from the internship helped me be accepted! I am now doing my masters in Global Development. Also, during my internship, I expressed interest in staying involved with The Happy Africa Foundation and African Impact in Cape Town. I am now a volunteer coordinator, and have been able to keep living and working in the best city in the world!