Internship in South Africa

South Africa overview

South Africa is made up of many different peoples, each with their own unique language and distinct history. With eleven official languages and many more unofficial ones. This mixed blend of various cultures grants South Africa its nickname the "rainbow nation."

South Africans are extremely passionate about their culture and celebrating through music and this can be seen, often, using arts to express social and political thoughts. South Africans are also known for their athleticism, especially in sports such as cricket, soccer, or rugby. With an internship in South Africa, through AIP, you will have the opportunity to experience this country through all the lenses while exploring one of the most unique cultures in the whole world.

With such a diverse background in its population and employment market, an internship in South Africa will definitely provide extensive and international work experience for students and young professionals, not to mention the unlimited opportunities to grow your network and forge valuable connections. You will have an advantage over others when recruiters and employers see that you have completed an internship in South Africa on your resume.

For our South Africa Internship, we are currently offering 2 programs:

  • Cape Town
  • Johannesburg

South African companies are always looking to enhance the international presence, hence, work opportunities are always on the rise. The medical industry in South Africa is extremely well planned out and established as interns will get the first-hand experience when working in this area. Other various industries are also very important in South Africa, such as business development, marketing, engineering, finance, etc.

AIP partners with various organizations, ranging from multinational corporations to exciting startups. There are an abundant amount of opportunities available to pursue in South Africa. Whether you want to do an internship during your academic studies or over the summer, we accept applications throughout the whole year.

Internship in Cape Town

Known to be a port city, Cape Town is a city on the southwest coast of South Africa, and on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain. To explore the breathtaking scenic view of Cape Town, rotating cable cars take passengers up to the mountain’s flat top, in which everyone can see the view of the city and the packed harbor with boats on route for Robben Island.

Internship in Johannesburg

Johannesburg is South Africa's biggest city. At first, the city began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement. The Soweto township was once home to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Currently, Mandela’s former residence is now the Mandela House museum. The Soweto museums (which includes the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill) document the story of the end of segregation.

Internship experience in South Africa

South Africa is extremely unique and extraordinary in the country’s engrained deep cultural roots. During your time in South Africa, you will realize that Johannesburg’s tall skyscrapers and busy corporate lifestyle is accompanied alongside an eye opening calm of mesmerizing African culture. Ranging from the city life, all the way to the crystal clear beaches and glorious mountains, South Africa has it all.

When you have some free time outside of your internship, we highly encourage you to explore everything that South Africa has to offer. A few must-see landmarks during your internship in South Africa are Kruger National Park, which is one of the best game reserves in Africa and will let visitors see a wide variety of animals from mighty lions to gigantic elephants, and Cape Town that houses a world heritage site (as recognized by UNESCO), otherwise known as the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

Industries to intern in South Africa

Scattered across all 9 official cities, more than 60 million young and multi-ethnic natives put South Africa at the second highest growing economy in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. With market opportunities being on the horizon, South Africa is on the path to diversify its economy in order to compete on the world stage.

Despite its abundance in natural resources and domestic goods, the agricultural sector is not the key driver of the current South African economy. Thanks to the increase in international trade and exchange of information, the tertiary sector is now dominating the country’s economy.

The three fastest growing areas of South Africa's service sector that account for more than half of the country’s GDP consist of international trade, tourism, and communication technologies. Today, rising demands for convenient and innovative services lead to the mushrooming of many South African SMEs or small and medium-sized enterprises.

Traditionally, the South African financial sector is composed of banking, insurance, asset management, and stock exchange. The landscape of its finance sector however is at a turning point as more opportunities arise.

The prevalence of South Africa’s asset management services point at the industry’s adaptability to uncertain circumstances. For the sector to scale up, and to meet the growing demands of the market, South Africa takes a huge leap forward by integrating digitalization to its already existing financial services.

Today, South Africa welcomes the arrival of its brand new fintech services with mountains of financial support which make ways for the incorporation of analytics and artificial intelligence. With the considerably large domestic market opportunities, the possibility of growth and expansion of this industry is high.

Strong economic performances and access to many of its gateways of international trade (harbors and ports) have made South Africa one of the most attractive locations for consulting businesses to take place. As more businesses enter the local market, the number of as well as the need for business consulting services rise altogether.

Differentiation is not new to the consulting industry in South Africa as it provides service in various sections of the business such as finance, management, and information technology. With the arrival of multiple international consultancy companies in many of the country’s urban cities: Cape Town, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, and Pretoria, its future is promising.

Work culture

Hierarchical and egalitarian social structures are visible inside South Africa’s day-to-day corporate culture. Regardless, racism is not entirely eradicated from society. Prime examples can be seen in South African work and labor law which restricts foreigners to carry out volunteering projects. With respect being central to many businesses in South Africa, promotion of cultural diversity, equity, and inclusion are used to combat racism and discrimination.

Respect is evident in the reverence for authority can also be seen in how decisions are made inside of both public and private organizations. In a typical South African workplace setting, decisions are finalized by those who are at the top of the organizational pyramid (addressed with titles) after general consensus has been reached by the subordinates.

Its relaxed and carefree nature is also translated into the way in which South Africans carry out their business negotiations. Regardless of their carefree approach during their initial business appointments, South African natives place a lot of value in business meetings.

You are expected to arrive on time for business meetings and greet all attendees individually (remember that equality is strongly sought after in South African culture). During the meetings, it is essential that you pay attention to the speaker. At the same time, you should be a good listener and give all attendees equal amounts of respect, and opportunity, for them to voice their opinions.

Bear in mind that although some silence is common in South African meetings when disagreements occur, prolonged silence, which is bound to bring awkwardness into the discussion, is expected to be disturbed. On the contrary, the opposite should be done whenever strong emotions are involved in the conversation.

As a mixing pot of a variety of different cultures and ethnicities, South Africans often are fluent in more than one primary language. Regardless of their racial and ethnical background, all formal business-related gatherings, including governmental activities are carried out in one of the two official languages of business and commerce: English and Afrikaans.

Benefits of interning abroad in South Africa

Through the experience of a lifetime in a highly distinct South African environment: Table mountain, Amphitheater valleys, Camps beach, Lake St. Louis, etc.; and unique culture at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town or Constitutional Hill Human Rights Precinct at Johannesburg, you will be captivated by natural and cultural beauties.

An internship in South Africa not only distinguishes you from other candidates when competing for a job, it builds you up to become the better version of yourself! Your day to day interaction with local South Africans of various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds will only boost your cultural competency and fill you up with empathy, which is extremely useful when collaborating with people from different parts of the world!

South Africa is a vast country. You will not be short of interesting places to visit over the weekends during your internship. Since different regions of South Africa have their own dialect, culture, and traditions, a trip to new provinces like Orange Free Cape is guaranteed to give you a brand new look of the country!

Don’t mistake South African provinces to be your sole travel destinations. Take advantage of your internship in South Africa and travel to its surrounding countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, and many more where you can immerse yourself in their rich and eye-opening culture, people, and nature for a much more reasonable cost!

South Africa accommodation

  • Furnished accommodation
  • Free Hi-Speed Wifi access
  • Close proximity to the workplace (within 1 hour or less)
  • Accessible by public transport
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Visa information

South Africa offers VISA exemptions for most developed nations. What this means is that visitors from these nations will be given a free 90 days visitor’s visa. Under the "ordinary" category, any country that is listed with "90 days" means that they will qualify for a visa upon arrival and this is free. You will also note that some countries are currently crossed off the list due to high COVID infection rates. This list will be revised on a monthly basis.

In case they're from countries that require a visa upon arrival, they will receive a visitor's visa, which permits voluntary and charitable activities (i.e. unpaid).

Our process

1. Apply
Click "Apply Now", fill the form and schedule an interview to discuss your dream internship.
2. Interview
During your interview, one of our AIP representatives will ask you questions about your background, past work experiences, internship preferences and goals.
3. Pay Deposit
If you are officially accepted into AIP, you will be asked to confirm your spot in our program with a deposit fee.
4. Placement
Our experienced placement team will match you with your ideal host company and arrange an online interview for you with them.
5. Final Payment
Once your internship has been accepted by yourself and the host company, you will be invoiced for the final payment which will officially confirm your placement.
6. Prepare
After your payment confirmation: For remote internships: We will put you in contact with your host company so that you can start to work right away on your internship. For all the other AIP programs: We will assist you in the visa application process, as well as arranging airport pickup and accommodation (if applicable).
AIPx might be a suitable option for those that are in a hurry. Via AIPx, we will have a confirmed interview for you within 21 working days (The normal process can take up to 8 weeks).
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