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South Africa

 

Famous for its sparkling white sand beaches, diverse African wildlife, exciting outdoor sports and multicultural population, South Africa is a colorful country brimming with excitement and adventure. It is home to over 44.6 million people from at least 20 distinct ethnic groups, and the country has 11 official languages.

ELI’s program is based in beautiful Cape Town, located on a small peninsula that juts from the southern tip of South Africa into the Atlantic Ocean. Influenced by the Dutch, British and Malay, Cape Town is home to well-preserved historical buildings, busy streets, world class shopping and restaurants. No visit to Cape Town is complete without a hike up Table Mountain, a drive down the winding coastline to some of the area’s famous wineries, a visit to Boulder's Beach to see the African Penguins, or a hike up to the lighthouse at Cape Point.

South Africa’s new constitution was approved in 1996, outlawing discrimination in all forms. There is a new and thriving black middle class. However, most South Africans have not yet seen the benefits of these new freedoms. They continue to grapple with a high unemployment rate and an ever widening gap between the well-off and those who live in complete poverty. The average life expectancy is 46 years, and it is estimated that 29.1% of the population is living with HIV or AIDS.

ELI offers tailored internships and volunteer programs in and around beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. Work in townships, wildlife parks, or do professional internships: engineering, business, marketing, fashion, tourism, wineries and more!  These programs are available year-round.

Volunteer and Internship Programs

Youth

Township Orphanages

ELI works with orphanages located in the townships on the outskirts of Cape Town. Many of the children are abandoned or have been removed from their families for safety reasons, and many are HIV+. Volunteers coordinate group activities, assist students with homework, mentor and provide some much needed emotional support. These are great programs for upbeat, motivated volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of little ones! Minimum time requirement is 2 months. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Teaching

Teaching

There is always a shortage of teachers. Volunteers are desperately needed to help poorer schools meet the needs of the students. Volunteers usually start by shadowing as a teacher aide, but after a couple weeks take over their own classroom. All educational backgrounds are welcome! Most volunteers teach English, math, social studies, music and art. Minimum time requirement is 2 months. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Refugees

Refugee Programs

The organizations we have partnered with specifically support abandoned, abused, terminally ill, and refugee children from Rwanda, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The minimum time requirement is 2 months, and these projects are primarily located in townships on the edge of the city so participants must be prepared to commute.

Women's Programs: Participants who wish to work specifically with marginalized women do so in a number of ways: Capacity building, small business development/micro-finance, soup kitchen assistance, and health related programs. Most women's organizations offer assistance in more than one of these fields, so participants in the this field often assist in different projects during their stay. Minimum time requirement is 2 months. Questions? Click here

"I just wanted to once again thank you for sourcing two amazing students for us! Both Amy and Michaela have been incredible! They are both so willing and capable and just make things work. It has been awesome having them with us. Amy has even gotten her whole household involved in sleepovers for the kids and they are all pitching in to take a group of kids on an outing - so great! We are so incredibly blessed by the people you provide for us, without them we truly would not be able to do what we do. THANK YOU!" -Alison, NGO Director

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Wildlife

Wildlife

Animal programs are some of the most popular ELI projects in Cape Town. These placements are a great fit for dedicated conservation, pre-veterinary or veterinary students who would like to simultaneously learn from professionals and contribute their skills. Specific placements are available working with monkeys, ostriches, penguins, birds, cheetahs, reptiles, horses, or the aquarium. For advanced students and professionals who wish to focus on veterinary care, placements are available with an organization that cares for neglected animals, vets, and with a zoo. All animal placements require a minimum two month commitment. Questions? Click here

Here one of our previous volunteers describes her experience:

"As much as the 3 months was difficult being away from friends and family and living with various personalities and ages and also working really hard and often beyond open hours of the facility, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!  It was a dream come true for me and I’ll have the memories forever.  I will definitely return to the cheetah center and SA as soon as I can, if only to visit!"  -Tara

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Public Health

Public Health

TB/HIV/AIDS:
South Africa is suffering from one of the worst TB/HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. In 2006 the South African Department of Health estimated that 29.1% of pregnant women were living with HIV. ELI is currently filling positions in education, research and treatment. In an effort to prevent the spread of HIV (especially in young female populations) and to counter misinformation and discrimination, HIV outreach volunteers work in teams with professionals who conduct health education campaigns at local schools, focusing on lower economic areas of Cape Town. Volunteers work in teams to create and present material, answer students' questions, spend time with the children, research, and assist with administrative aspects of the campaign. Volunteers with a background in public health research can assist at the university, where numerous studies are underway to better understand the correlation between TB and HIV/AIDS and treatment options. South African hospitals and clinics are struggling to keep up with the needs of HIV/AIDS patients, and consequently many of those seeking medical attention are unable to receive care. Volunteers assist with children’s programs at the hospitals and at orphanages for HIV+ children by leading activities, mentoring and ensuring that the children are taking their medications on time. For medical professionals, volunteer positions are available in a state funded training and counseling center. Volunteers assist in training social workers and nurses to specifically work with HIV/AIDS patients long after the medical volunteers have returned home. These programs require a minimum two month time commitment. Questions? Click here

Psychiatry:
Positions are available for professionally skilled and experienced interns to assist with adults and children. These placements are supervised by a professional and typically require a minimum three month commitment. Interns in this program need to be professional, open-minded, and culturally sensitive. Questions? Click here

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

Students and professionals in this field are in great demand. This is an opportunity to work with local professionals in the field and make a difference in the lives of children. After receiving care at the children's hospital, many children are not well enough to return home. If that is the case, they are routed to one of the many children's homes that are just outside the city center. During their recovery, many of the children spend much of their time in cribs. Further, some of the diseases cause their muscles to atrophy. Regular therapy can alleviate the pain associated with inactivity and help shorten their recovery time. Participants in this program learn how to implement programs for specific conditions and lead small groups in activities to keep these kids active and smiling. These internships require a minimum two month commitment. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Engineering

Engineering

For interns or people who want the experience of working in a foreign country, the chance to work with an engineering firm in Cape Town can be invaluable! Highly qualified participants can intern in the fields of solar energy, civil construction engineering, yacht building, mechanical engineering, water and wastewater engineering, Administration, HR, Software Development/IT, or finance/cost accounting in an Engineering firm. Questions? Click here

These internships require a minimum two month commitment. Most companies, however, prefer interns to stay at least three months to fully integrate into the organization

Media, Marketing & Graphic Design

Media, Marketing & Graphic Design

Positions with some of the top advertising firms in Cape Town are open to serious, upper-level students and recent graduates. Interns assist with print, radio, commercials, marketing research, product promotion, product launches and special events. There are also marketing and logistics positions available with NGOs, and promotional positions with sports related companies. Interns should have some relevant education and/or experience in advertising, marketing, or graphic design. These internships require a minimum two month commitment. Questions? Click here

"As my time in South Africa comes to an end, I would like to thank you for your generous help and support throughout my stay here. I definitely had the most amazing time here in Cape Town and the people I encountered were so interesting and welcoming. It was wonderful to stay in this beautiful country during my summer holiday (even though it's winter here!). I really hope that one day I will come back to South Africa and see more of the country. My internship has been rewarding and I am very grateful that you placed me there, where I was able to learn from the wonderful ladies and to gain some insight into how the company works." -Guanyuan

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Fashion

Fashion

The fashion industry has exploded in Cape Town. The new burgeoning middle class has created a completely new market for local clothing designers and manufacturers. Rare opportunities are available with successful local clothing designers assisting with the design, manufacture, and retail approach to their lines. Other placements include African craft organizations, large-scale manufacturers, and a national knitwear manufacturer. If you'd like your program to coincide with Cape Town Fashion Week, that event usually occurs mid-August. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Tourism

Tourism

An internship with an adventure tour company, sports and cultural events organization, hotel or safari company is a great way to gain real world experience and meet visitors from all over the world. Interns assist with safaris, tours, logistics, customer relations, administrative duties, event planning, public relations, and integrated marketing. Knowledge of European languages (German, Italian, French, or Spanish) can be useful but is not required. Questions? Click here

These internships require a minimum two month commitment.

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Wineries

Wineries

South African wine is famous throughout the world, especially their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. At wineries in Stellenbosch, ELI participants are trained to help with everything from cultivating, preparation, tastings, to marketing and export. Harvesting happens in February. Questions? Click here

These positions require a minimum two month commitment.

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Cost & Details

Cost

Application Fee: $200

The application fee is a separate administrative charge for all programs. It does not apply to the program fee.
(Please see our application fee refund policy here)

All Programs: $795

Credit card payments: Payment by credit card will be assessed a 3.5% surcharge. This is the fee that we will be charged for the transaction. Contact us about alternative forms of payment.

This is a one-time fee that remains the same no matter how long participants stay with the program. The programs in South Africa can last any length of time from two to six months.

Rent: If you decide to use our housing, rent is due monthly in Cape Town. Rent costs approximately $350 per month depending on where the participant stays and shared utilities for the month. WiFi is available in most housing, and is billed according to the size of the download.

Sample Budget: $200 application fee, $795 program fee, $350 per month for rent, roundtrip plane tickets, travel insurance, $100 per week for food and getting around the city, fun money for activities (shark cage diving, surf board rental, sand boarding, etc.)

All prices are listed in US Dollars. The program fees reflect the costs ELI faces when setting up a program. We work hard to keep our costs as low as possible. ELI is a registered 501(c)3 non profit. US taxpayers may be able to deduct some or all of the program fees (for volunteer projects only). If you are outside the US and wondering what these costs translate to in your currency, click here for an online conversion tool that will give you the approximate current exchange rate.

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

What's Included/What's Not

Program Includes:

*Airport Pickup in Cape Town
*Orientation Upon Arrival
*Work Placement
*Activities
*In-country coordinator available 24/7

Program Does Not Include:

*Round-trip Airfare
*Required Travel and Medical Insurance
*Visa Fees

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Accommodations

Accommodations

If you elect to use our housing, your housing assignment will be made a week or two before your arrival in Cape Town.  We work hard to minimize your commute time and match you with roommates who have similar interests whenever possible.  ELIers in Cape Town are from all over the world, so be prepared to live with an international bunch.  ELI arranges accommodations in shared houses and apartments in safe neighborhoods all over the city. Rent is not included in the program fee, it is due on the 1st of each month in Cape Town.  Rent is approximately $350 per month depending on where you stay and shared utilities. Bedrooms are typically shared, so if you would like a single room be sure to make a special request and know that rent will be a little more per month. All housing comes equipped with security, furniture, dishes, linens, WiFi and maid service. No meals are included with the accommodations, but each apartment or house has a full kitchen for participants to use.  If you are living in one of our shared houses, the bedrooms are single-gender but the houses are mixed-gender.  

Apply Now

After you fill out the application form on our website, our applications adviser will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Start Dates

Arrival Dates

The arrival dates for the South African programs are very flexible. We ask that no participants arrive on a Sunday, and no participants arrive December 23-27 or December 31-January 3. This allows our coordinator and their team in South Africa to spend the Christmas and New Years holidays with their families.

Placement Process

We are very proud to offer internships and volunteer projects with some of the best companies and NGOs in the Cape.  These positions are intended for mature and responsible participants who can keep to a schedule and commit themselves to the position.  Further, our group housing is fairly independent: ELIers purchase their own groceries, commute to and from their work sites without supervision, and pay rent monthly.

Placement Process: Please apply 3 months in advance for internships. When you have been accepted to the program and have paid the application, we will send your file to relevant organizations and companies and discuss your education, work experience, interests, proposed dates, and their needs and upcoming projects. When we find a good match, and an internship offer is made, we will contact you and give the goahead to book your plane tickets. At that point we will also email you an invoice for the program fee. Sometimes there are multiple potential internships, and in that case we will contact you for your preference. If we are unable to find a suitable placement for you (it's rare, but it can happen in specialized fields) then the application fee is 100% refunded. If you decide not to go, the application fee is not refunded. The placement process in Cape Town can happen quickly or it can take up to 8 weeks - it depends on your field of study, experience, the time of year, etc. Be sure to apply well in advance to ensure plenty of time for sourcing an ideal placement. If you are working under a university deadline, you must inform us of that deadline in your initial application.

Notes & Helpful Links

Notes & Helpful Links

Visa:

We will help you plan for your South African visa.  Check to see if your passport is from an exempt country.  

Details

Participants will fly into Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Here's a handy tool to see what time it is in Cape Town: Time Conversion Tool.  If you live in the northern hemisphere, remember that seasons are the opposite!  Check the Weather in Cape Town.  Be sure to consult the Center for Disease Control's recommended immunizations. There is so much to see and do around the Cape... Once you have exhausted the usual tourist destinations, here's a great list of recommendations for 50 Things To Do in Cape Town Under R50.

Participant Feedback

 

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