Quickly becoming one of the biggest economic hubs in Africa, Kenya is a tantalizing mixture of wildlife and a budding financial sector. As a result, those looking to intern in Kenya are offered a large variety of internships, ranging from stereotypical placements in Mombasa or Nairobi to more service focused internships in the countryside. As an added bonus, Kenyan schools provide both English and Swahili language instruction, so the language barrier isn’t normally too big of an issue. Thus, if you’re looking for a professional experience in an emerging African country, look no farther than internships in Kenya!
Opportunities to intern in Kenya are plentiful, in the bigger metropolitan areas as well as in rural areas. However, the most popular locations for internships in Kenya are Mombasa and Nairobi.
One of the more interesting places to intern in Kenya is the eastern port city of Mombasa. This island, connected to the mainland only by bridges, offers a plethora of internship opportunities, as it is one of the biggest emerging economic bases in all of Africa. Whether you’re looking for an internship in Kenya in finance, journalism, or economics, Mombasa has it. Mombasa also provides interns with modern accommodations, culture variety, with Indian and Arabic influences, and a large range of food. If you’re looking to intern in one of Africa’s top metropolises, an internship in Mombasa is for you.
Another city that hosts a number of internships in Kenya, and provides excellent opportunities for professional development, is the capital of Nairobi. Nairobi is the political center of the country, as well as one of the largest cities. Similarly to Mombasa, those who intern in Nairobi will have access to most modern accommodations and a range of internship placements. The most popular types of internships in Nairobi are in journalism, politics, marketing, and economics.
Finally, for those looking to get out of the city and experience the countryside, the rural areas of Kenya provide interns with internship opportunities too, especially in wildlife conservation. Kenya is home to some of the most spectacular wildlife in the world, which also means it is home to many wildlife events, such as the annual migration of millions of wildebeests through the plains or the massing of thousands of flamingos along the Rift Valley Soda lakes. If you’re interested in wildlife sciences, be sure to give the plains and rural areas a look when searching for internships in Kenya.
Internships in Kenya
Thanks to its emerging economy and trade agreements made in the past decade (such as its membership to the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)), Kenya is a hub for a large variety of internships in Africa.
If looking for a finance internship in Kenya, individuals should focus their search on Nairobi and Mombasa. However, these cities also offer increasing numbers of journalism, marketing, and business internships too. In fact, these two cities offer some of the best business internships in Africa, because of Kenya’s position as the leader of the East African economy.
Other popular fields for internships in Kenya include both wildlife and biology, because of the nation’s vast array of animals and unique geography. Of the many internship opportunities in Kenya, one of the most exciting types is working with rare wildlife species, like lions, and contributing to conservation and preservation of the nation’s natural environment.
Salary & Costs
Internships in Kenya are generally unpaid, but that is not to say placements lack value. Most internships will require interns to pay a program fee, which often covers room and board. The Kenyan currency, the Kenyan shilling, is still quite weak compared to the U.S. dollar and the Euro; as a result, Kenya tends to be a very affordable destination for interns from Western countries.
One of the things that some people find hard to digest (no pun intended) is that most Kenyan food is meant to fill a person up, not necessarily be gourmet or delicious. A typical Kenyan meal will consist of stodge filler with beans or a meat sauce. While you may not be “wowed” by the typical Kenyan meal, you definitely won’t go hungry, and each meal will be very cheap and affordable. What you lose in tasteful cuisine when interning in Kenya, you will gain in trips to Kenya’s national parks and the second highest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kenya.
That being said, in Nairobi and Mombasa, it is easy to find high end restaurants to eat out at, fancy shops to buy brand name clothes in, and expensive hotels with modern amenities. However, as an intern, in order to get the most out of your experience, you should pay attention to where Kenyans eat, sleep, and shop; to live and save like a local, think like a local.
Accommodation & Visas
The type of accommodation you have will depend on your specific internship program, however if you intern in Kenya’s major cities, you will most likely stay in an apartment. Apartments can range in size and usually include living with roommates. If you are participating in an internship outside of Kenya’s big cities, your housing will vary greatly. Some internships place interns with host families, which provides a great opportunity to fully integrate into Kenyan culture and come to appreciate Kenyan cuisine.
Visas are generally easy to obtain for internships in Kenya. While all visitors traveling to Kenya are required to obtain a visa, a one entry visa valid for 90 days is easily paid for upon entry to Kenya for $50. If you’re going to intern in Kenya on this visa, make sure to bring your payment in cash with you when you arrive, as it is not possible to pay for it with a credit card. Also, as usual, make sure your passport is valid for at least the following six months the end of your trip. If you wish to extend your stay, you can get in contact with your internship program provider and they can assist you.
Benefits & Challenges
Kenya is a land full of diverse internship opportunities, ranging from working with wildlife to assisting in the finance division of a major company. Most individuals who intern in Kenya find that it is a relatively affordable place to live and work, with a vibrant and open culture, which includes over 72 different tribes.
However, it is important to keep in mind that there are challenges to be faced, as is common with travel abroad to any country. Avoiding travel around Kenya’s big cities at night, not showing off valuables, and steering clear of downtown Nairobi, unless you’re with a local friend, are precautions worth taking during your internship in Kenya.
All in all, interning in Kenya will provide you with a once in a lifetime experience to add to your resume, and may just change your life too!