Intern in South Africa: my experience working at International House in exchange for an English course

Intern in South Africa: my experience working at International House in exchange for an English course

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International House (IH) Cape Town offers a fantastic internship in which you are able to study an English course for free in exchange for your work as an intern during the evenings. In this post, Gabi from Brazil tells us about her experience as an intern for 1 month in South Africa! She was able to improve her English while developing her marketing skills at work. Furthermore, she made a lot of friends and explored the vibrant city of Cape Town.

In this post, Gabi will tell us:

  1. Characteristics of the IH internship
  2. Application Process
  3. Experience
    • My story
    • English course
    • Internship
    • Location
  4. General Opinion
  5. Recommendations

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Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English
Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English
Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

1. Characteristics of the IH internship

  • Type of program: study and work abroad.
  • Location: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Organization: International House (IH)
  • Website: ihcapetown.com
  • Eligibility Requirements:
    • Nationality: nationals from any country can participate.
    • Age: for the English course you must be at least 16 years old (if you are younger you can take private lessons), and for the internship, you must be at least in high school.
    • English level: for the English course you can start at any level; you do not need to have any English skills beforehand. For the internship you need to have a good English level to be able to understand your tasks.
  • Duration: my experience abroad lasted 1 month but it could last from 2 weeks to a maximum of 1 year or even more (both language course and internship).
  • Application Fee: no application fee.
  • Finance: the internship program at International House IH covers usually a 3 to 6-month Standard English course for free in exchange of 3.5 hours of daily work at the office and organizing and attending social activities with the students in the evenings and sometimes the weekends. I only had to pay for my living expenses and airplane ticket to South Africa.
  • Visa: there are several ways in which you can enter South Africa to study English:
    • Tourist Visa: I entered South Africa with a tourist visa which lasts 3 months and can be extended for another 3 months when you are in Cape Town. International House can help you with the application process.
    • Student Visa: if you want to stay longer you also have the possibility to apply for a student visa (stay maximum 1 year).
    • Cultural Exchange Visa: you can also apply for this kind of visa to stay a maximum of 1 year studying and working at the same time (you should be 18-25 years old and be a full-time tertiary level student or a recent 6 month- graduate).

2. Application Process

a. Enter International House website

Read more information on the Study and Work section 

b. Contact IH

You can send an email to info@ihcapetown.com or call +27 21 433 0546.

c. Collect the required documents

Scan and send registration form and copy of your passport to the International House team.

d. Process your visa

Once accepted to the program apply for your visa. You can read more information on the Home Affairs Department of the Republic of South Africa.

e. Plan your trip

Do some research to find your flight tickets, life in Cape Town and solve any question you could have.

3. Experience

a. My story

My name is Gabi I am from Brazil and live in Rio de Janeiro. I have an Undergraduate Degree in Fashion and a Masters in Marketing Strategy, and I was working as a Marketing Coordinator for a big Brazilian female brand when I decided to come to International House Cape Town to improve my English and learn how to work in a different language that I was not used to.

Internship - International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

b. English Course

English level

I took advanced English for 1 month. When the course finished I improved all my communications skills; now my plan is to apply for a Masters degree in Marketing at a university in Cape Town.

Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

My Teachers

My teacher was Brandon, a native English speaker original from South Africa. In his classes we did interactive activities like walking tours around the city and real practice exercises. We did not follow a book but we received daily material that was in line with the course content.

My Classmates

My group was formed by several students that came from Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. They had different ages from 22 to 45 years, and different backgrounds because some of them were studying in their home country and others were already working in different job positions like lawyers and designers. This made the course interesting and compelling as we were able to exchange our opinions and beliefs. I made a lot of friends in my class as well as in the whole school.

Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

Touristic Activities

International House organizes every week different activities that the students can join if they want. For example, in a normal week you could have:

  • Tuesday: Lions Head
  • Wednesday: Paintball
  • Thursday: Steenberg Wine Estate
  • Friday: Student Party
  • Saturday: Oranjezicht Market
  • Sunday: Live Jazz at Asoka
International House Cape Town - South Africa - Weekly Activities

Parties

Also, once a month International House organizes parties inside the school with a lot of music, food, and drinks.

Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

Certificate

After the course ended I received a certificate that showed my level of English, course type and how many weeks I was studying on International House.

Internship - International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

c. Internship

Working hours

I had to work 3.5 hours per day and I had free weekends.

Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

Activities

I performed marketing related activities like social media management, blog posts writing and video filming to promote International House showing its diversity and how can we have fun while learning English. Besides these activities, we also had to organize and attend social activities with the students in the evenings and sometimes on the weekends and classify the student files.

Professional Development

The most important thing to me was to think about how to create brand awareness all over the world because this was directly related to my studies and previous work experience. Thanks to this, I not only improved my English but I also learned how to work in a different country with people from various cultures.

International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

Other interns

I was working with other interns from Brazil, France, Germany, and The Netherlands who also became my friends!

Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

d. Location

The exchange program took place in Cape Town, South Africa. In specific in Sea Point that is a touristic area with houses and hotels with a beach view and the main road full of restaurants and shops.

International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English - IELTS course

Accommodation

I stayed with some friends who live in Cape Town. But if you do not know anyone in Cape Town, you can ask the International House team and they will give you a lot of options.

Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

People

People in Cape Town are really kind and polite. You can see different kinds of people on the streets, with a wide diversity of ages, cultures, and religions.

Weather

If you come to Cape Town during winter be prepared because this city has a really diverse weather and in one day there could be a lot of climate changes. For example, it could be a cold and rainy day but in 10 minutes the sun will come out. On the other hand, if you come during summer, Cape Town has a more stable weather with a lot of sunny days and outdoor activities to offer to you.

Internship - International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

Food

The food is really delicious; you can find a lot of great quality seafood. The most famous meal is fish and chips and if you like exotic meat here you will be able to find different kinds of meat as ostrich meat.

Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English

Security

I think you could probably have heard that South Africa is dangerous, but that’s not true! Cape Town in specific is a safe city and Sea Point is a touristic neighborhood with good security. Just remember not to go to a bad place in a bad time (as in any other country)!

4. General Opinion

Pros

  • The course was great to improve my language skills and now I have a C1 level of English and I feel more confident to stay in Cape Town to study for a Master’s degree in English.
  • I can add this internship to my CV complementing it with an international experience.
  • You can find a lot of different activities to do in Cape Town as hiking mountains like Table Mountain, going to the museums like the District Six Museum, going to beaches like Clifton or going to nightclubs like Harringtons.

Cons

  • As I came during winter some days were rainy and cold but I still had sunny days. Just be careful with the wind.

5. Recommendations

  • Today, learning English is a crucial skill that you should have in this global world. I recommend you to take the opportunity to participate in this study/work program because you will genuinely improve your English skills as well as develop other working skills during the internship.
  • You should visit the Robben Island Museum, it is one of the places where you can feel the history of Africa and Nelson Mandela.
  • Go to Ocean Basket Restaurant; it has great seafood and affordable prices.
  • The students from International House liked a lot to go to Mojo Market to watch the World Cup games and to Stones to play pool.
  • Over the weekends the best nightclubs with the best parties will be located in Long Street.

I loved to live in Cape Town for one month that is why I will come back to stay for good.

IH Social Activities
Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English
IH Teachers
Internship International House IH Cape Town - South Africa Study English
Table Mountain
The Beach

In the Work Abroad section, you can find more experiences earning internships and full-time job positions abroad! If you had a similar experience and want to inspire others to apply please send an email to pilar.noriega@thelifestylehunter.com

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Work Abroad - English Internship - International House

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6 Comments

  1. 19/07/2018 / 2:35 PM

    This looks so rewarding. I’d love to do something like this some day.

  2. 18/07/2018 / 9:08 PM

    This is so cool! Going abroad helps to really widen your horizons!

  3. 18/07/2018 / 2:54 PM

    how exciting! that is such a fun experience

  4. Crystal Marie
    18/07/2018 / 1:22 PM

    This sounds like an amazing experience. How cool you were able to travel there so young.

  5. Whitney Kutch
    17/07/2018 / 7:15 PM

    What a cool experience! I’ve always wanted to go to Cape Town but have never really had the opportunity. Thanks for sharing your journey!

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