Plant your Seeds of Success with an Environmental Internship in Cape Town
Are you passionate about the environment and about encouraging more sustainable practices? Would you like to get involved in conservation or environmental issues? A big city like Cape Town is probably not the first location that comes up in your mind. But we will give you 4 reasons to do an environmental internship in Cape Town, South Africa!
1. Cape Town has some real urban challenges!
Interning in the unique context of South African history and culture gives you a new perspective on urban challenges. As a big city, Cape Town faces many challenges. Some of those definitely link to climate change, the environment or sustainability. Water is a scarce and valuable resource and Cape Town depends on the rainfall and storage of water in the winter months to get through the dry summer months.
Cape Town is also a good example of a segregated city. If you look at aerial photos you will see large under-greened areas whereas other parts show an abundance of green. And how about a sustainable food supply for the growing population due to the influx of economic migrants and refugees? Various nonprofits, as well as the corporate sector, are working towards solutions. An environmental internship in Cape Town is an excellent opportunity for you to get involved with one of the initiatives of local nonprofit organizations and social enterprises that try to find solutions for these urban challenges and educate the local communities.
“In Cape Town there’s a massive divide between the ‘leafy suburbs’ (called such because they have plants and money) and the suburbs that aren’t that beautiful and don’t have that many trees.” – Lauren O’Donnell, Founder & Managing Director of Greenpop
2. The diversity of an environmental internship
The environmental sector is a diverse and multifaceted sector. By joining one of the many local organizations you will get experience in the environmental field that you can never get in a classroom. And due to the grassroots nature of these organizations, you will do a variety of tasks. From getting your hands dirty in the field to writing reports. From doing research or suggesting improvements in systems or ways of working.
Nonprofit Greenpop, for example, runs an urban greening program and has planted thousands of trees in the under-greened areas of Cape Town. Urban greening can help improve the economics of an area but can also environmentally and socially uplift a space. Interns one moment find themselves supporting the urban greening manager, doing some tree monitoring and the next moment planting trees, working on recycling projects or spending time at the nursery. Being outside of the office and being immersed in a variety of tasks instead of spending time inside a library or university will boost your creativity.
3. Get the chance to make a difference
South Africa provides a unique landscape. Especially Cape Town has a special environment worth preserving, but at the same time faces urban challenges, both environmentally and socially. By doing an environmental internship in Cape Town you’ll not only contribute to an environmental cause. Your time and efforts will help achieve something worthwhile, and that can be hugely rewarding. Several projects will allow you to work in the heart of a township. It’s an opportunity to experience the cultural differences and see what life is like for a large part of South Africa’s urban population.
Urban Harvest, for example, installs, maintains and supports organic food gardens at businesses and private homes. But they also run several CSI projects with food gardens at schools and communities. These gardens generate food, income, and skills for the beneficiaries and their surrounding communities. By helping them to grow their own food, they are supporting a healthier, happier and more sustainable way of life for everyone. As an intern you do garden sessions with school children, assist with garden tasks and planning and do research about food nutrition or meal suggestions for the school kitchen. All in one day!
4. Start building a career
An internship is the best way to gain experience in your field and practice your skills. Getting a taste of full-time employment within the real working atmosphere is great. You will be placed in a professional setting that allows you to work hands-on with experienced professionals in your particular field of interest. This increases your experimental learning and broadens your horizon. Doing an internship abroad is a special way of providing your work ability. You perform under different circumstances and challenges with a new surrounding. International experiences will give you a new unique perspective by introducing you to different cultures. This is where you learn from and broaden your horizons. When you proactively intern abroad you show your future employers that you make opportunities for yourself and take the initiative. This will help to build your professional CV with invaluable international work experience.
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