Courtney Schaf - 2016 Program Participant

What made you want to leave the comfort of your home university and go abroad?

I was interested in exploring a new city with other highly motivated students from all over the world.

Girl standing at the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa
Me summiting Table Mountain

Of all the program providers across the globe, why did you choose iXperience’s program in Cape Town?

This program was flexible and allowed me to gain classroom knowledge and real world experience with the internship. The course was rigorous enough to learn a ton.

What surprised you most about life in Cape Town?

I was most surprised by the vibrant and lively nightlife that exists in Cape Town. Cape Town is a cultural oasis and there really is something for everyone here; whether you are interested in clubbing, live music or performances, or a bar scene, you really can find it all in Cape Town.

What made your time with iXperience unique?

Meeting new people from all over the world. This program attracts a very diverse group of people which I'm glad I had the opportunity to meet.

How did the local staff support you throughout your time in South Africa?

Very helpful in inspiring me to explore the city and live like a local.

View of Cape Town, South Africa from a helicopter
Views from my helicopter ride over Cape Town

What was the hardest part about interning abroad for you?

The hardest part about being abroad was probably claiming the title "intern" in a country where that term is quite vague. What I mean by this is the work culture in South Africa is very different than that of the States, so an intern’s boss can have them doing all different types of high level assignments, which was challenging, yet very rewarding for me.

Also, remembering to integrate work and "play" can get difficult at times, because there were days when I was tired from a long day of work, but simultaneously I wanted to explore my new city!

What is one thing you wish you would have known before interning abroad in South Africa?

I wish I had researched more of the history of South Africa, so that I had a better understand of their work culture prior to starting.

Describe a typical day in your life as an intern in Cape Town.

Wake up, go to class/work, go to the gym/hike, have dinner, and then go out and explore the nightlife. Weekends were jam packed with excursions or city exploration.

Sunset behind Lions Head in Cape Town, South Africa
Beautiful Sunset from Table Mountain with a silhouette of Lion's Head

What did you enjoy spending your free time doing?

Trying new food spots or checking out markets!

Do you have any packing tips for future interns headed to Cape Town?

Pack a wide assortment of clothing because Cape Town weather is quite sporadic and changes very often, so there are very hot dry days followed by a very foggy and raining days. Also, don't underestimate their winter season; it can get pretty cold and many stores or restaurants do not have indoor heating.

What do you feel the biggest benefit of interning abroad is?

The biggest benefit of interning abroad is expanding your professional and personal network on a global level. I have been fortunate enough to have met, worked with, and formed relationships with my bosses, coworkers, and even some locals.

Would you recommend iXperience’s program in Cape Town to other students? Why?

Yes! My time in Cape Town has been exceptionally fun and I've seen and experienced a ton of new things with new people. I wouldn't trade my two months for anything.

Zebras in South Africa
A pack of Zebras during the Safari

What is your best piece of advice for students preparing for your program?

You will learn as much as you put in.

If you could intern abroad again, where would you like to go?

If I could intern abroad again, I would want to go somewhere in Southeast Asia. I'm very fascinated by quickly growing and advancing countries with rich cultural backgrounds.