Looking back at an impactful Communications and Marketing Internship in Cape Town.


Tom Vinke did an internship with Roots Interns itself, which allowed him to get to know all of the organisations that Roots works with. This insight into the non profit sector was very valuable for Tom. He developed a way for Roots Interns to measure the impact that the interns have, not only in their own lives but in the organisations that they contribute to as well. 

Read on for Tom’s account of his Communications and Marketing internship with Roots!

Why an Internship at Roots Interns?

I applied for Roots in November 2018, when I was still on an exchange semester in Riga. The application process and service of Roots Interns was beyond my expectations. They were fast and clear. That same afternoon a Skype interview was scheduled and three weeks later I accepted the internship at Roots itself, where I would be working for 20 weeks as Communication and Marketing intern.

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Tom Vinke Hiking Cape Town Roots Interns

What did I do?

Arriving in Cape Town,  I got to meet my amazing company supervisor Talitha. Straight away I started with my tasks, which were diverse and sometimes challenging. I liked the fact that I was able to do things I never did before, such as running an online social media campaign for summer internships. This was really cool to do, as I got the opportunity to create my own content, slogan, colors and layout. During the design and implementation of the campaign, I really felt that my theoretical knowledge I had followed via courses at my university could be put into practice during this campaign period.

Additionally, my main tasks were running the social media channels and platforms of Roots. This included Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Business. I also monitored the website to a certain extent and created listings and mailings, wrote several blog posts, and I worked on my university research report. This research report would help Roots to measure and communicate the impact that can be made during an internship. Eventually, I created a foundation for an impact result page that will be launched in the near future.

What did I learn?

I learned a lot during my internship; about the use of pictures on social media, how to write a good caption underneath a post, and the use of emoticons. I learned how to manage a campaign and the expectations of both my supervisor as well as the target audience. Additionally, I learned to use different ways of writing a blog post, and how to write compact and to the point. I also discovered my own working style, which helped me to recognize certain points for improvement regarding my professional behavior.

Did I make an Impact?

Based on the work I have done, I think I can say I made an impact and encountered impact myself. With my research assignment, I helped Roots to get a grip on how interns see impact during an internship, what it means to them and if they are able to make an impact. In the end, three types of impacts were distinguished: organizational, project-wise and individual. I have made a beginning for a communication product, the impact result page, which will contribute as an important part of a big puzzle in achieving Roots overall aims and goals in the (near) future.

Read our blog on why NGO Internship matter

For myself, I have encountered an impact as well. I got my first real working experience in a business context. This helped me to identify what specific tasks I enjoyed doing and which ones I enjoyed less. I also got an insider in the NGO world which was valuable. Many partners of Roots and Roots itself manage to establish and create great things with a limited budget and resources. During my internship, I had to keep this in mind as well which stimulated my creativity and resourcefulness a lot.

Tom Vinke Roots Interns Cape Town Tom Vinke Roots Interns Cape Town Loft

Social and City life

Throughout my internship period, I stayed in The Loft, an apartment near the office of Roots, in the center of Cape Town. I can say that I had a very good time there and met many people.  People who I could always walk with to the supermarket, share an Uber, go on a hiking adventure or have a day at the beach. In the evenings there is a possibility to watch a good movie or play a game together. You can sit on the balcony listening to the city noises and watching the sundowning at Table Mountain, which is right in front of you.

I have to say, Cape Town is not a city that reminds of the classical footages most of us have in mind when saying ‘Africa.’ Due to the colonial past (mostly British), the city has western orientation and therefore also very western vibe, especially in the city center. The western vibe has known a further increase since the World Cup in 2010. This means you will find many western-brand bars, restaurants, and products. Excellent for those who do not want to have a cultural shock, and for those who do, Roots also offers internships in more remote areas of Africa.

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During the 20 weeks I was fortunate to spend in this amazing city, I climbed Table Mountain and had relaxed afternoons at Cape Town’s most beautiful beaches. I went to national parks, visits several food and clothing markets, got to dive in the best public swimming pools and watched the sunsets from Signal Hill many times, which also gives you a surprisingly stunning view of the mother city behind you. However, I will have to return at a later moment, as I accidentally missed the penguins, Robben Island, the Wine estate, and Lion’s Head. So, see you soon Cape Town, and dankie for now!

Interns Cape Town Roots Tom Vinke Roots Interns Cape Town Devil's Peak

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