Located on the southwestern corner of the African continent, Namibia is both one of the world’s largest and most sparsely populated countries. Encompassing a large portion of the Namib Desert, there are only about 2 million citizens who live in Namibia, yet it still manages to maintain a significant regional presence because of its close historical ties to South Africa. Taking the journey to intern abroad in Namibia will enable you to gain valuable global work experience in one of Africa’s too-often overlooked countries.
Namibia is located just north of South Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Angola and Botswana to the north and east, respectively. Namibia encompasses a wide diversity of ethnic and cultural groups, and has seen its national borders fluctuate significantly throughout the past two centuries as it has gradually thrown off the shackles of colonization and apartheid. Most recently Namibia gained its independence from South Africa in 1990.
As the nation’s capital and most populous city, Windhoek is generally the most popular destination where to intern abroad in Namibia. Sitting in the heart of the country in a basin valley, Windhoek is indisputably the economic, political, and cultural capital of Namibia. Nearly every major company and organization with a presence in Namibia is anchored in Windhoek, and there are a ton of exciting cultural opportunities to take advantage of there.
It is also possible to intern abroad in Namibia in more remote destinations such as the smaller city of Gobabis or other rural areas where much of the country’s population continues to reside. Your experience will be quite different depending on whether you live in an urban or rural area, so take this carefully into account while researching potential locations where you might undertake your internship abroad in Namibia.
Because it is a developing country, many internships abroad in Namibia are concentrated on helping locals gain traction in various social and economic development efforts. There is a large degree of economic inequality in the country and so many citizens lack access to valuable freedoms and social resources; education, medicine, and human rights are all examples of potential fields where you might intern abroad in Namibia and lend a helping hand.
Because it is one of the few countries in the world to actually include environmental conservation efforts within its national constitution, it is also a popular choice to intern abroad in Namibia within the areas of environmental and wildlife preservation. As an offshoot of this realm, you can intern abroad in Namibia within fields such as sustainable development and agriculture as well.
While there are a wide diversity of languages spoken across the country, English is the most common second tongue, and so you will not have to worry too much about the linguistic barrier while you intern abroad in Namibia. Internships in Namibia tend to last for anywhere between three and six months, and some programs may additionally combine your daily work with the opportunity to earn academic credit in a variety of fields.
Salaries & Costs
Because most internships abroad in Namibia tend to lean towards the form of volunteerism, it is unlikely that you will earn a salary while you are working there. Many programs will, however, compensate you by other means such as covering many of the costs of housing, food, and transportation.
On the whole Namibia is a very affordable destination for most international interns, so expenses need not be of too much concern. The local currency is the Namibian Dollar, which exchanges at a rate of about 15 NAD to $1 USD.
Accommodation & Visas
The type of available accommodations will generally depend on whether you intern abroad in Namibia in an urban or rural setting. If you are interning in a city then you may have the option to live in your own apartment or flat, while interning in a village you will usually be living either in a homestay or other group living situation. You will be made comfortable wherever you end up interning abroad in Namibia; just remember that because it is a developing country, luxuries such as hot water, air conditioning, and internet may not always be available.
Namibia’s visa requirements will vary depending on what country you are travelling from, how long you intend on staying, and whether or not you will be paid while you intern abroad in Namibia. In general, interns from most industrialized countries are allowed to enter the country visa-free for up to three months before they must obtain documentation. For more information relating to your individual circumstances, check out our Namibian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Push Yourself. While you can find internships abroad anywhere in the world, choosing to intern abroad in Namibia will be a bold venture during which you immerse yourself in a drastically different cultural context amidst the African landscape.
Engage History. From the roots of ancient civilization to its battle to overthrow oppression under colonization and apartheid, Namibia has endured a fascinating historical progression that has manifested in its currently promising global trajectory.
Interact. The best part of an internship abroad in Namibia is the people. You will be overwhelmed with hospitality as a visitor to their country, and can expect to build many solid relationships throughout the course of your internship.