South Africa was never somewhere I had on my travel list. It wasn’t somewhere I always dreamed of going or even a place I knew much about. And that’s exactly why I went. I was craving something different, something unexpected. So, when I received an acceptance email for an internship through Masambeni in Cape Town, South Africa I knew I had to go.
Three months later, I found myself boarding my first of three flights to meet a city over 8,900 miles away. I was nervous to say the least, but I also had an overwhelming sense of excitement thinking of all of the possibilities lying ahead. As I moved from flight to flight, and from one country to the next, I was anxious to land in my final destination.
After 32 hours of traveling, exhausted, weary, and definitely a bit nervous, I finally made it. I was in Cape Town! I couldn’t wait to get through passport control, find my luggage, and head out to catch my first glance of the city I shockingly knew so little about. As I walked past several advertisements and photos of what I presumed to be must-see attractions, I stopped to admire a giant mural of penguins, seemingly waving their black little fins as a silent hello. The sign just to the right above the exit to the main part of the airport read, “Welcome to the Mother City.” And out I walked to what would be my home away from home for the next 2 months.
My first few days were jam-packed, and I was instantly thrust into the life and beauty of Cape Town. I traveled all the way down to Cape of Good Hope and made the strenuous trek to the top. Although Elisha, my director from Masambeni, seemed to think it was simply a warm up to the rest of the activities ahead. While I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, I was determined to get to the top to see what all the fuss was about. And let me tell you, every step, incline, and flight of stairs was worth it! It was beauty. It was the clear, open skies above an endless deep blue ocean. It was the steep, broken rocks and bits of green grass that jutted out at different points in different angles from the drop off of land to water. It was the way you felt as if you were on top of the world, with every bit of beauty and any possibility within arm’s reach. I had never seen a view so breathtaking in my life. And that was just the start.
Aside from the diverse landscape, with awe-inspiring mountains to narrow city streets and long stretches of sand and ocean, some of the most beautiful experiences I had were admiring a Cape Town sunset. And let me tell you—this isn’t any ordinary experience. Whether it’s on the beach, in a coffee shop learning Xhosa, on top of Signal Hill, on a sunset cruise, or in the room of a house with a twist-to open window in a slanted ceiling, there is nothing quite as awe-inspiring. As the sun starts to set and the sky is slowly painted with shades of yellow to orange and pink to blue, and you’re surrounded by people as carefree as you with ear to ear grins and bubbly laughter, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
The thing about Cape Town is it wasn’t just about the views and pretty sights, it was about the experience—the people you meet, the time you spend together. It was the way the energy and overwhelming sense of welcoming that surrounds the city and people truly made me feel like Cape Town was my home away from home. From the moment I accepted my internship to the day I arrived back home, something about Cape Town just felt different. And it was. The experience I had opened my eyes in ways I never expected; I was able to experience a job I’d always dreamed to learn more about while simultaneously exploring one of the most beautiful and diverse cities I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. If you are even remotely thinking of visiting Cape Town or South Africa, please do—you won’t regret it! Doing an internship there this past summer was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I was extremely fortunate to be a recipient of the Goucher Intern Fellowship, which made my internship experience abroad not only a possibility, but a reality. During my internship, I was able to work with an online blog called Secret Cape Town and learn some of the ins and outs of online journalism. I had the opportunity to do local research, pitch ideas, interview the creator of a local company, and even write my own articles! If you are thinking of doing an internship either in the States or abroad, I highly suggest talking with someone in the Career Education Office or visiting https://www.goucher.edu/career-education-office/professional-experience/internships/goucher-intern-fellowship to learn more!