From discovering my creative side to a memorable summer in Cape Town
Abdul from Syria shared his experiences of his Creative Writing Summer internship in Cape Town with us. It was his second non-profit internship this year and he also used to volunteer in refugee camps and for other NGO’s in Lebanon where he studies Business at the University of Beirut. He was looking for a summer internship to spend his time in a meaningful way while exploring other cultures. Abdul wanted to do an internship that combines working for a good cause with tasks that are linked to his study.
During the months of July-August, I traveled more than 10,000 km from Beirut to Cape Town to participate in a Creative Writing Summer Internship with Greenpop. Greenpop is an NGO that is specialized in urban greening throughout Southern Africa. I’ll admit that I had no prior knowledge about Greenpop and had very limited information about Cape Town. This whole experience was spontaneous and it suited me perfectly because, in addition to me traveling thousands of kilometres to explore a country I’m unfamiliar with, it allowed me to gain professional experience in marketing and writing.
Finding the Internship
During May of 2018, right after I finished with my finals at school, my father encouraged me to search for a summer internship abroad. Once the motive was in my head it was pretty easy to find the right internship. I googled “Marketing internships abroad” and was instantly bombarded by endless options. I scrolled through many options until I found Roots Interns. Roots stood out because it seemed more reliable than the other options. The website itself was well structured and seemed professional and so I scrolled through the options that Roots offered.
I stumbled upon Greenpop and the working environment expressed warmth and friendliness. Therefore, I read more about the organization and the marketing/creative writing summer internship it offered and felt that it suited my needs. After applying I instantly received a response. Roots made the whole process very smooth and also helped me find accommodation in Cape Town as well as a lift from the airport. They would also instantly reply to my endless questions about other interns, Greenpop, Cape Town, and literally anything else I was confused about. Moreover, they would suggest amazing things to do in Cape Town. They were a very reliable source for when I needed advice for activities. To be honest, at first I was doubtful about going to Cape Town but Roots really made me feel at ease.
The Creative Writing Summer Internship
Fast forward to when I arrived at my accommodation in Cape Town. The apartment I stayed in was very comfortable and my roommates were very pleasant South Africans who would constantly offer much-needed advice. My accommodation was a 10-minute walk away from the office, which was convenient for me as I enjoy walking very much. My internship consisted of writing and editing blogs for the Greenpop website. Before doing the internship all my writings were academic. Writing blog posts allowed me to explore my capabilities regarding more creative forms of writing.
Through the Creative Writing Internship, I got to understand the importance of storytelling in marketing. I’m unable to describe my supervisor, Zoe, with anything less than amazing. She was extremely helpful and understanding of any difficulties I faced throughout my internship. I also learned a lot about SEO, which I feel is crucial for attracting traffic to any organization’s website. The employees at Greenpop were fantastic. They were these young, driven, and intelligent people who were always available to help me with anything. I became very good friends with some of the employees at Greenpop.
My Social Life
I feel extremely lucky to have met such wonderful interns at Greenpop. They made my time in Cape Town a hundred times more enjoyable. I became very good friends with the other interns and we’re already making plans to meet up again soon. Together we enjoyed exploring South Africa. One of the most memorable times in Cape Town was the road trip my friends and I went on along the Western Cape. In addition, we’d spend much of our time going on hikes, beaches, and restaurants in Cape Town.
What made my time even more incredible was the amount of first-times. My first time skydiving, first time bungee jumping, first time on a safari, first time whale watching, and the list goes on and on. It is very difficult to choose a highlight of the trip. However, on my last weekend, I went on a trip along the Garden Route and visited many beautiful cities, ate delicious food, met wonderful people, and got to enjoy an authentic African experience.
Cape Town’s “dark side”
My trip to South Africa was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. It was an experience filled with learning, growth, and excitement. Although, there were many stunning things about Cape Town I’ve come to learn about South Africa’s dark history regarding racism and gender inequality. Moreover, the socioeconomic gap, which is considered to be the widest gap in the world, is simply shocking. I would visit breathtaking areas, such as Clifton, which is known to be the most expensive property in South Africa, and then witness townships filled with poverty and drug abuse.
South Africa’s beauty is inexpressible and it’s bursting with activities to do. Sadly, its reputation is stained with its high crime rate. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced any unsafe situations but I heard stories of friends being harassed. However, if you respect some rules, like don’t walk the streets alone at night, you can expect to have a safe stay in Cape Town.
In the End…
Overall my summer internship in Cape Town was literally incredible. When my friends or family now ask me to describe my experience, I am at a loss for words. I genuinely believe it was an experience that helped me grow as a person. I also learned more about the field in which I plan to specialize. My advice to anyone who’s considering on joining the Greenpop family is: Do it! Thanks to Roots, Greenpop, as well as all the friends I made, my trip to South Africa is something I will carry with me for the remainder of my life.
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