What is an internship?

An internship or learnership is a carefully monitored work study or volunteer experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals that reflect what he or she may want to pursue later as a full-time career.

What industries and specializations accept interns?

You can undertake an internship in almost any function or industry. Please explore our sample internship page to get an idea of what we offer. But remember, no two internships are alike, your internship is customized to you .

What are my responsibilities as an intern?

Masambeni internships are customized based upon the student or young professional. When filling out your application, make sure to note the amount of time you would like to spend at the internship site and in leisure. Please note your education level, professional experience, and any relevant work experience. Thus, your roles and responsibilities will be based upon your past experience (if any) and your desired participation.

May I participate in more than one internship program?

If you plan on devoting a significant portion of your time to interning, volunteering, or working within the Cape Town community please submit a separate application for each desired internship. Masambeni will craft a personalized internship program for each desired interest.

What is the refund policy?

All of our custom internships are sold as specified. If you experience an unsatisfactory time while interning with one of our partners, please alert Masambeni’s staff as soon as possible and we will attempt to arrange an alternative solution.

Is my internship destination safe?

Masambeni staff ensures that each internships program is suitable and safe while designing your personalized internship. While coordinating with our learnership partners we make sure to inspect the work environment, the employer and work conditions, the licensing and accreditation and the geographical location of the internship site in the broader Cape Town city. We hold ourselves to a high standard and would not send an intern to any place that we wouldn’t be comfortable working in either.

General Safety

During your first day or two upon arriving to South Africa, Masambeni staff will brief you on safety. While South Africa is not considered an unsafe country, it is important to take basic safety precautions especially when you’re traveling in an unfamiliar environment.

Don’t give money to homeless people or street children; if you want to help their situation, give them food or grocery vouchers. These can be bought at local grocery stores such as Pick N Pay and Kwik Spar.

If you are uncomfortable walking down the street when you see a stranger, turn around and walk another way.

Do not give your personal information out to strangers. Be vague about where you stay.

Never walk around by yourself at night. Walk together in groups or take a private taxi.

Avoid political or religious conversations with people you don’t know.

Crime

Petty, opportunistic crime is the greatest risk. Be aware of pick-pocketing when carrying a purse or handbag. Don’t carry large amount of cash on your person, but if you do, separate your cash into several pockets. Never carry valuables where they can be easily accessed. To ensure a safe internship experience always practice vigilant behavior by remaining alert to your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation.

Do you offer any paid internships?

Regrettably, Masambeni doesn’t offer any paid internships. Due to government regulations people who come on a tourist visa are not eligible for work remuneration. However, in select cases, you may be able to receive academic accreditation for time spent interning at a Masambeni partner.

I recently graduated from college. Do I have to be enrolled in school to participate in your internships program?

Not at all! In fact, Masambeni accepts participants from all stages of personal and professional development. We cater to students and young professionals, life-long learners and travellers. However, most of our participants range from 18 – 35 years old.

Do you offer internships in cities other than Cape Town?

Masambeni doesn’t offer any internship outside of Cape Town. Nevertheless, we can work with partner organizations to find programs outside of the immediate city. Fill out an application and make sure to mention your desires in the byline.

What currency is used in South Africa?

The currency in South Africa is the Rand. One Rand (R) = 100 cents (c). Bank notes issued include R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10; coins R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c.

Before departing, it is recommended to consult, www.xe.com, a currency converter website, for the most up-to-date exchange rates

Avoid exchanging money at the airport or “Bureau de Change”. The exchange rates are often much higher and are usually coupled with expensive commission rates. It is recommended to exchange money at larger commercial banks such as ABSA, Standard Bank, First National Bank (FNB), and Nedbank.

ATM/Debit Cards:

We recommend you access your funds in South Africa through an ATM/Debit card, or any card with which you can withdraw money from ATM machines. Make sure you inform your bank that you will be traveling abroad for an extended period of time and check your bank’s polices regarding maximum cash withdrawal and overseas transaction fees.
Most ATMs in South Africa accept: Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus, Maestro, and Switch.

Credit Cards:

The most recognized international credit cards are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, Diners Club (with Visa as the most widely accepted). It is highly advisable to obtain a major credit card in your name before travelling abroad. Be sure to write down your credit card number and emergency card numbers in a separate place in you’re your card is stolen or misplaced.

Important Tips:

Not all merchants accept credit cards or debit cards regardless of name brand.
If you choose to take money out of an ATM using a credit card, be aware that credit card companies charge a fee for “cash advances.” Be sure to find out what these fees are before leaving.
Never let anyone assist you with an ATM withdrawal, no matter how friendly they may seem.

Try wherever possible to not carry large sums of cash on you!

Budgeting

Depending on your spending habits and lifestyle choices, personal budgets can vary enormously in Cape Town. The city is very active, lively and boasts a vibrant nightlife. Many opportunities exist for interns to eat-out, socialize and visit beloved attractions. Depending on what part of the city you are in, the cost of goods are very comparable to Western prices. Other times, the cost of goods can be far cheaper.

For those who are on a strict budget we recommend 45 Euros per week, or around 250 Euros per month.

A modest budget and lifestyle may cost around 200 Euros per week, or around 800 Euros per month.

If you are planning non-Masambeni related excursions, like a trip to Hermanus or the Garden Route, plan to spend anywhere from 80 – 150 Euros per trip.

Emergency money

In case you run out of money, or need to have emergency money sent to you, the best option is an international wire. Both MoneyGram and Western Union are widely available in the city of Cape Town.

Visa Information

Most citizens can visit the country on a free 90-day tourist visa that can be acquired at the airport while passing through customs. Countries eligible include: US/UK/EU/AUS/NZ. If not listed, check your countries’ South African embassy to find the requirements of entry. Most prospective interns will require a letter verifying their objectives and stay in Cape Town. Upon payment to the program, Masambeni will grant you a letter of qualification. We are also here to answer any questions you might have during the customs process and assist you should you need help.

Visa Tips

Because you will not be earning income while you are in South Africa, mention to customs that you are a tourist. If refer to yourself as a volunteer, you may raise issues .

If you plan to stay longer than 90 days, contact Masambeni and we can help extend your stay.

If you do not hold a US/UK/EU/AUS/NZ passport please contact Masambeni.

Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the date you enter South Africa. You are responsible for obtaining your own passport prior to the start of your internship.

Make sure your passport has at least two blank pages for the visa.
Always leave your passport and valuable documentation where you can find them in case of an emergency.

Is Public Transport Available in Cape Town?

Public transportation can be a safe, effective, easy and economical way to get you to your destination. The public transportation available in Cape Town includes: trains, buses, “minibus taxis”, and metered taxis. As part of the Masambeni orientation, interns will receive a practical public transportation demonstration where Masambeni staff will both demonstrate and accompany you on the minibus taxis and trains. At the end of the orientation process, you will be familiar with how to use Cape Town’s public transportation system.

Taxis

They’re two types of taxis in Cape Town: metered, traditional taxis, and minibus taxis. Minibus taxis are generally safe to use during the day and high accessible. However, interns are highly discouraged from using them outside of regular commuter hours (7:30Am to 5:30PM, Monday – Friday). “Minibus Taxis” are generally cheaper than metered taxis and are used to transport thousands of people to and from the surrounding townships, CBD, and Southern Suburbs. As practitioner tip, payment is made on board and it’s recommended that you carry small amounts of change as drivers generally don’t carry change.

Train

Cape Town’s Railway Station has two different classes of travel: (1) Metro, which is general/economy class and (2) Metro-plus, which is premier/first class. Usually the difference is the presence of visible security and seats. We recommend that interns always purchase Metro-plus seating; it’s only 4 – 7 Rand more expensive than general tickets.

Bus

The city bus service is the least preferred method of travel for interns. However, it can be useful once you’ve determined your route schedule. MyCiti buses is a new bus service in Cape Town. The route chiefly runs around the city center, but they’re a few routes that extend to nearby suburbs.
For more information about the bus schedules and routes for MyCiti buses, please reference: http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/MyCiti/Pages/default.aspx

General Tips

When travelling at night, always use a metered taxi.
Never board a minibus tax that is empty. Remove valuables and/or keep money in a secure place before boarding.

Metered taxis are usually set at a fixed price. However, they sometimes can be bargained with for a better price.
Don’t use the trains after dark.

Health and Medical Care

It’s optional, but highly recommended that you seek out a complete medical screening before participating in the internships program. Please notify Masambeni staff through the application process if you have any chronic illnesses or allergies that might require special assistance. Masambeni will safeguard your medical information and not share it with any outside organizations. If you have a chronic illness, have your doctor write a clinical report so that, in the case of emergency, it can be given to a medical specialist in Cape Town.

If you take prescription drugs, take a sufficient amount with you that will last for the duration of your time abroad. Be sure to bring along the original packages and doctor’s prescription in case you may need to get them refilled while you’re interning with Masambeni.

No special vaccinations are needed if you are coming from a non-passport restricted country. However, if you’re traveling to rural or remote parts of South Africa, a Hepatitis vaccine shot is highly recommended. You won’t be required to take malaria medication while living and interning in Cape Town, but if you’re planning on traveling to the Kruger National Park or any other remote park of South Africa/Africa, it’s necessary to take malaria medication and/or have a yellow fever vaccination shot.

If you are coming from a passport restricted country please check the latest vaccination recommendations for South Africa with your doctor. Furthermore, the Yellow Fever vaccination is required if you are traveling from a country where Yellow Fever is endemic. You will be asked to present a Yellow Fever certification at Passport Control.

Will I get malaria while interning in Cape Town?

Cape Town is a malaria free zone. However, if you decide to explore other areas of South Africa, particularly the North-East portion and Kruger National Park, you will be exposed to greater than average risk. Please consult your healthcare provider if you plan to do so.

Can I drink the tap water in Cape Town?

The City of Cape Town was awarded a 98% score in the Blue Drop Drinking Water Quality certification process. You can readily drink the tap water throughout the city. However, it is advised to bring your own water supply when traveling to and interning in the townships.

How do I respond to emergencies?

In case of an emergency, dial 112 from your cellphone for emergency services and then call Masambeni staff immediately.

In the event of an illness or injury that is less urgent, but still requires medical assistance please call Masambeni staff. We will help coordinate the appropriate medical care.

In the event of a common illness, such as a cold or flu, any pharmacy in the Cape Town area will carry basic first aid supplies, and a qualified pharmacist can assist in recommending medicines to buy for relief.

When visiting a clinic, be sure to take your passport with you as a form of ID. Also take along your medical insurance form/card. Please keep all your receipts from medical expenses to support your claim. Consult your individual medical insurance policy for coverage details, inclusions and exclusions.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is prevalent in South Africa. The HIV rate in Cape Town specifically is very high (25% of young adults). Please be prepared to act responsibly and we advise you not to take unnecessary risks. If you are going to have any form of sex, please use protection.