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Mandy during her internship in South Africa

"Really nice idea, wanting to do your internship abroad, but how on earth do you arrange it all?!" Find out about Mandy's experience!

  • Adventure
  • Internship Abroad
  • Studying Abroad
  • Living Abroad
  • Working Abroad
  • Africa
  • Cape Town
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Mandy in Cape town: "Is African THAT similar to Dutch?'

To be honest, I thought I could arrange it all on my own. I started with updating my CV and writing my motivation letter. After that, I emailed numerous companies in various countries to look if I could do my internship there. Unfortunately I got very little responses and a rejection. I was really bummed out as I really wanted this. Then, after all, I decided to ask Abroad Internships for help and till this day I'm still happy with that choice! I could just let go of all the hassle and was presented with many interesting options. After just one Skype interview with a company in South-Africa I had found my internship where I would be working for five months. Besides arranging an internship, a lot of other things had to be arranged as well. Things such as a visa, flight, insurances etc. Thankfully I was able to have all my questions answered by Abroad Internships. Especially arranging a visa can be a pain in the ass but in the end it was all worth it.

Goodbye-party and student home

The final weekend before I would leave to South Africa, I threw a goodbye party for my friends and family. Of course it's no fun to leave your friends and family for a while but I was sure my internship was going to be a very good experience for my personal and professional experience.

Finally, it was time and I got to leave to Cape Town. The goodbye at Schiphol airport was pretty tough but I had to keep thinking about the good things that were to come. After a trip of more than 24 hours I was picked up by the owners of the residence where I would be staying and were dropped off at the student-home. I walked into the home and heard people talking Dutch! I thought, ‘’Huh, is African THAT similar to Dutch?", but it turned out that 12 of the 15 people staying in the house were actually Dutch, great! Because of this, it immediately clicked and my nerves faded quickly. I really had no time to easily look around the house or unpack my luggage. No, I immediately had to join for the beach and have dinner with the rest of the group. It was great that I was taken up into the group so quickly! The first couple of days in Cape Town I didn’t have to go to my internship yet, giving me all the time to properly arrange everything, explore the city and getting to know my housemates.

First day at my internship

On my first day I still started to feel some nerves. I left the house at 08.00 with the Uber (taxi) since I had to be at my internship at 09.00. I knew it was only a 15 minute drive but you wouldn’t want to be late on your first day, right? My tip is: keep in mind the differences in culture!! In South Africa, coming in on time is not a good sign. I arrived at the receptionists office, as planned, at 08.15 and she told me my boss wasn’t there yet and that she would call on where he was. Thereafter, it turned out that she had called him out of bed as they start half an hour later here by standard and like so, he would not arrive until at work until 9.30! And lucky me, my boss also happened to be quite moody in the morning… So after a bit of a rocky start, everything started to fall into place. I was introduced to everybody and got my own little spot in the company. The rest of the week was also very interesting but very calm. Turns out that they aren’t as used to the hard-working mindset as we are in the Netherlands.

Overall it was definitely a week to remember! The people I had the pleasure to meet and experiences I got to see and do in just one week were all super fun!