Internships Abroad in Johannesburg

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A Guide to Interning Abroad in Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa. JoBurg. Jozi. JHB. No matter what name you call it, consider also calling it home. One of the world’s leading financial centers, Johannesburg is a main hub for economic activity within South Africa as well as the entire African continent. When contemplating internships abroad, JoBurg has more than its fair share to offer in terms of both intern opportunities and special interests. From safaris to museums, casinos to national parks, you’ll never find yourself at a loss for exciting adventures here, meaning you can work hard and play even harder while interning in Johannesburg!

Internships in Johannesburg

Known as the “City of Gold,” Johannesburg has grown into a thriving metropolis since its founding in 1886. JoBurg, the largest city by population in South Africa, is also known for many “big” ideas, including being home to the largest (and busiest) airport in Africa and the world’s largest man-made forest! Add to that a strong economic climate and it’s easy to see why Johannesburg is a top place for those looking to explore (and intern) in a world-class city abroad.

JoBurg has a number of internships available, particularly for those looking to work in development or with wildlife through local nonprofits. It can also be a hotspot for finding paid internships in Africa.

If you’re the kind of person who prefers hanging out with animals to spending time with people, consider animal sciences internships around Johannesburg. Through some of these programs, interns rehabilitate animals in order to re-release them into the wild; in other programs, interns work with injured or orphaned populations to protect them from predators. Be sure to check out each program’s individual website to learn more about the types of animals you’d have the opportunity to work with.

If you’re looking for ways to connect with and support people within the local community, consider an internship in sustainable development. Depending on the program, you could find yourself writing grants, connecting local youth with college-educated role models, or facilitating adult education classes.

Internship opportunities in JoBurg vary in length anywhere from one week to one year, depending on the kind of experience you’re seeking. Most participants must to be over 16 years old, and many don’t require additional experience to participate (but double check the program listing to be sure!). You can even find jobs in Johannesburg with no experience needed if you’re lucky.

Life in Johannesburg

If you’re looking for a city that truly has a little taste of everything, look no further than Johannesburg. With its fast-paced city living, incredible shopping, proximity to national parks and safari offerings, as well as cultural opportunities like the Apartheid Museum and the Nelson Mandela Bridge, it truly checks off pretty much all the right boxes.

If you’re into sports you’ll find good company. Both soccer and rugby are considered must-do’s in this town, with several stadiums located in and around the city.

Prefer shopping rather than a visit to “the pitch”? Be sure to find your way to the local weekend markets at Maboneng where you can sample some of the best cuisines in the area and then window shop through an assortment of eclectic boutiques.

Braiis, sundowners, biscuits — yebo! Internships available in South Africa won’t save you from all the fun of the local slang. Life outside the office will be lekker!

If your internship runs through the fall, consider hitting up some of the local festivals such as Arts Alive, which takes place for several weeks throughout Autumn, or the Pride Parade, which takes places every October. This is also when the Jacarandas are in full violet bloom– absolutely stunning!

Salary & Costs

If you’re looking to make a little extra cash while enjoying some time abroad, Johannesburg might not actually be the place for you. However, the once-in-a-lifetime real world experiences you gain will more than make up for it. After all, who else can say they helped to rehabilitate baby elephants during their summer vacation? Now that’s the kind of resume booster that potential employers will certainly want to know more about!

So, most internships in Johannesburg are unpaid and actually cost money to participate in. Despite the fact that many require payment, the program price often includes shared accommodations as well as meals.

Programs’ upfront costs may include a majority of your living expenses as well as extra perks, such as airport transfers or even excursions around town or the countryside. Additionally, you may be able to get university credit for your internship participation. Be sure to check in with your specific desired program to ensure you know exactly what your program costs cover, as well as with your home university regarding your ability to receive credits.

Accommodation & Visas

Once you’ve set up your dream South Africa internships, it’s time to get real about what you’re going to do once you arrive in country. 

Living arrangements usually consist of group living with soon-to-be friends, placed in the same location with shared living space. Whether it’s dormitory style or more akin to a multi-bedroom home will depend upon your specific program. These joint living arrangements allow you to connect with individuals from all over the world as you share your internship experiences and learn and grow together.

Visitors from many countries around the world are not required to obtain a tourist visa for visits to South Africa of 90 days or less. However, if you intend to work/intern in Johannesburg, you may need to apply for a Temporary Residence Permit. Whether or not you need this will vary depending on your program’s classification, so be sure to check in with them if you have additional questions.

For those individuals who are required to obtain a visa, including those planning on staying in-country for longer than 90 days, you will most likely receive your visa at the airport upon arrival in South Africa. Contact your local South African Embassy via GoAbroad’s South African Embassy Directory.

Benefits & Challenges

Johannesburg as a city has so much to offer interns and visitors alike, including incredible diversity. JoBurg is a melting pot of expats, not just from nearby African countries, but from all around the world. Not only are the people diverse, but so are the city’s offerings. While you might think that Johannesburg is just another big city, its close proximity to natural wonders and national parks means that, in just 90 minutes, you could be scoping out lions and giraffes on safari.

While the friendly neighbors–both human and animal–may make you want to walk everywhere, due to its sprawling nature, Johannesburg is much more navigable by car than by foot or public transport. As a result, interns may find getting around the city a bit of a daily challenge.

One final aspect of life in the city to be aware of is the crime rate. Johannesburg has one of the highest crime rates in the world. When possible, plan your route in advance, travel in groups (and not at night when you can help it), and keep your belongings safely stored and locked at all times.

In response to the high crime rates, South Africa has fairly robust security systems in place, including a quick and responsive police force and security cameras in public areas; yet, it’s still important to remain aware. As with international travel anywhere, staying alert and aware of your surroundings will help maintain your safety, while also easing your mind so that you can take in all the beauty and incredible adventures that await you in South Africa.

If your idea of a good time involves working closely with animals, connecting with the local community to improve the world around you, and surrounding yourself with natural beauty, Johannesburg might be just the place for you. If you’re looking for an opportunity that will propel you to participate in new experiences unlike any other, consider internships around Johannesburg, South Africa today!

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