Learning, exploring and having an impact at the same time!
Theo traveled from France to South Africa to do an internship as part of his studies at NEOMA Business School in Paris. He did his Marketing and Fundraising Internship with Greenpop, an environmental NGO based in Cape Town. Theo, who had never been to Africa before, was very excited about interning with an organization that has such a positive impact on the environment. He expected to learn a lot about marketing and running campaigns for a non-profit. What he didn’t expect was to actually spend 5 weeks of his internship working on a festival and sleeping in a tent…
The beginning of a unique adventure
I still remember the day I came to South Africa a few months ago. I was very excited for several reasons. It was my first internship and my first time abroad, away from my family and friends, for such a long period of time. I was amazed by the beauty of this city which is so different from every place I knew at the time.
This internship was a big change for me, a completely new experience and one of the best choices I made in my life, so far. Before going to South Africa, I knew little about the country, the people and the culture. Everything was very new to me…but in a good way! I would definitely advise others in similar situations to dare to discover the unknown by going abroad for some time. I believe that the best experiences you can make in life are beyond your comfort zone, your home, your city or country.
My internship with Greenpop: A professional asset
It was a great pleasure working with Greenpop because it felt like working with friends. Everybody was so nice and welcomed me like an “old friend”. The internship was very diverse as I got the opportunity to be part of both the marketing/ communication and the fundraising department. However, I was mostly working with Zoë, my supervisor, who is the head of communication. My internship was professionally a real asset because of the valuable things I learned. From the beginning on, I was given important tasks and responsibilities: researching effective fundraising strategies and opportunities, writing fundraising proposals and several marketing activities.
Although I was initially looking for an internship in business development, it turned out that my Internship with Greenpop actually perfectly fitted my expectations. Especially I liked helping Zoë designing the Arbor Month fundraising campaign as it gave me a good first impression in understanding and seeing how to run a campaign. My job was to find prizes and contact potential companies that could give away some prizes. For the first time, Greenpop also wanted to have a spokesperson for this campaign. Therefore, I checked out Social Media and contact suitable celebrities.
At the beginning of the internship, I also had the chance to run my own fundraising campaign. It was a surprising experience because I did not expect this kind of challenge. However, it was very valuable to raise money for Greenpop as I felt that I had made an impact. So, one of the reasons why I enjoyed my internship was the contribution of MY work to the positive impact that Greenpop has on the environment. I had the feeling that my internship mattered.
I believe the acquired knowledge of my Marketing and Fundraising Internship shaped my entrepreneurial attitude and will help me with my future plans to set up my own company.
My highlight: The Eden Festival of Action
During my time with Greenpop, I participated at the Eden Festival of Action. It was a 3-week festival in Eden, near Knysna in South Africa. Living in a camp and sleeping in a tent for almost five weeks was probably the most challenging part of this experience. However, it was surely the highlight of my internship because it is not the kind of internship experience you would expect. It was unique!
I really got to know the people in the camp by living with them 24/7. You make some special connections with these people. They became close friends and there was always a good vibe going around. From a professional perspective, the event was also very interesting. I learned to efficiently operate in a team. When you run these kinds of events, you realize the impact of our daily work. The Eden Festival of Action was a powerful tool to spread and raise awareness about the positive impacts we can have on the environment if we work together.
My South African Family: The Cape Town Loft
I found a lot of new friends from all over the world in Cape Town. At the loft, a shared apartment for up to 12 people, I lived with other interns who also found their NGO internship through Roots. Living with young people in similar situations was a great experience. We could always walk to work together and had many stories to share about both work and the weekends.
During our spare time, we always spent time, traveling, enjoying Cape Town or hiking together. I loved exploring this beautiful city. There is always something to do in Cape Town. You can hike Lions Head in the morning, take lunch at the Old Biscuit Mill and finish your day in Long Street having a drink with friends. The city offers both the ocean and iconic mountains like Table Mountain. It is a place full of never-ending opportunities.
The loft was a lively place full of like-minded people who are, at the same time, very different in their personalities and culture. I met beautiful people who made my internship unforgettable. The loft dwellers became a real family to me.
In the end, my time in South Africa was one of the best experiences I made in my life, can’t stress that enough! 😀 I am very happy with all the things I achieved with Greenpop and the friends I will never forget. Everything went by so fast and back at home I really miss Cape Town.
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