Internship in Africa any good?

ck123321's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 29


I've decided to try to get an internship for the summer of 2011 and I figured I'd start looking right now. I've been to Africa only once but I really liked it and would like to spend some more time there. I thought that getting an internship there over the summer would be the perfect way of combining pleasure with work.

My question is whether an internship at a consulting firm in, let's say Johannesburg, would be much worse than the same internship in any European captial city.

It seems obvious that an internship in Johannesburg wouldn't be as good as an internship in London or Paris, but how much worse is it?

Also I would like to know if anyone here has experience with consulting internships in Africa or any other kind of internships in Africa for that matter. And since I might be too young for a consulting internship (still undergrad) what could I do instead?

All answers appreciated


Comments (15)

Aug 16, 2010

Well I just recently returned from an internship in Africa, so let me see if I can be of assistance. I'm not sure why you think completing an internship in London or Paris would be better than Johannesburg. South Africa is an amazing developing country, yes, there are still nomad tribesman running around with machetes, but the country as a whole is doing remarkable well, even compared to the developed countries. The world recognizes the potential of South Africa (look at the FDI coming in), and with the success of the World Cup it will only continue. Plus, it will be a nice conversation piece on the resume over the typical London position for future employers and graduate schools.

Internships/trainee programs are typically done in the senior year-post graduation in South Africa, so just something to think about. Before you even begin to think about looking for an internship, you need to ask yourself if you can financial support yourself for 3 months (South Africa is not cheap!). If you're lucky enough to find an employer to give you an internship 99% you will not be getting a salary; although, there are employers who will offset the cost by paying for your housing (a big incentive). Regarding visas, since you won't be getting paid and assuming your American, you won't need one. You will travel on your passport which will give you 90 days of stay. So it is possible to land an internship, you just need to be very flexible on your end. Aim for the local/smaller companies, no multinationals! Good Luck

Aug 16, 2010

If this is your sophomore year, it really doesn't matter that much. Actually, it's kinda cool.

If this is your Junior year, I think an internship in Johannesburg would be comparable to an internship in Chicago or San Francisco. Cool, but you've still got an uphill climb for a position in New York or London.

Aug 17, 2010

On this point, someone mentioned people usually intern post graduation in Africa. Does anyone know if MBB has a post graduation internship program to this effect in South Africa in that case, thus relaxing their usual requirement that one must be in school/it must be over the summer?

Aug 17, 2010

You can anticipate MBB to send their new hires aboard, if that's what you want. I knew of a Bain consultant that was in the same city as I for a 6 month project (company put him up in a swank ass apartment). But don't expect this for recent undergraduates, this particular individual was a MBA graduate with much international experience prior to the assignment.

Aug 17, 2010

Do you by any chance major in HIV and Apartheid Management? But on a serious note my boss was from SA and he spoke Afrikaans maybe learning some of that will improve your success of getting an internship there.

Aug 19, 2010

I realized however that if I were to apply for any internship in let's say Johannesburg I would have to fly down there for an interview right? Might be too expensive to fly down there just for the chance of getting an internship.

Because they do require you to come to an interview in physical person, right??

Aug 20, 2010

Depends on how global the division is.

One of my friends just got an offer to work at Citi New York after completing all of his interviews in London. I knew the hiring manager from an old position, recommended the guy to him here in New York, he called up his colleagues in London, they set up an interview there, he conducted a phone interview, and the hiring manager figured the guy was pretty competent and extended him an offer.

Nov 3, 2014

Hi there,
For anyone who is interested in finding an internship in South Africa. IO Cape Town is an agency that help international students finding an internship in South Africa, in all kind of fields. If you have any kind of qeustions about these internships you can always contact us.

Just Google IO Cape Town. ;)

Good Luck

Internships & Volunteering
IO Cape Town

Nov 3, 2014

Would this be a Bank in SA? If so then depending on your role it is a pretty good opportunity and would definitely help differentiate/spice up your CV.

To be able to show some type of int'l/EM specialty is a nice plus on any interview/job search.

Nov 3, 2014

I would definitely do it.

********"Babies don't cost money, they MAKE money." - Jerri Blank********

Nov 3, 2014

So the question is... do I take an internship offer at a Bank vs. do I decline it because...?

Nov 3, 2014

It sounds like you are just going to be in Africa for the summer anyways so why not do it?

Nov 3, 2014

Yea I think I'll probably do it, wanted to a bit careful before I commit. Thanks for the insight everyone!

Keep it together and you will go far..

Nov 3, 2014