A six Month Internship in a new Country is a big commitment, but it was worth it for Hanna.
After hearing about the Eden Festival of Action, Hanna Vinckers decided to do a six-month Communications Internship with Greenpop. She was inspired by the work Greenpop does in Cape Town, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn from them.
My bachelor Art & Economics required me to do a six-month long internship, so in August last year I started researching for the perfect one. A few months prior to this I had seen an advertisement on Facebook for the Eden Festival of Action that Greenpop hosts every year. The concept of a sustainable festival with the purpose of getting people active about the future of our planet attracted my attention. I remembered the advertisement, looked up the festival and found myself on Greenpop’s website. From them I was directed to Roots Interns, where I applied for a communication internship with Greenpop. Shortly after I submitted my application I had an interview with Roots, and after that with my future supervisor at Greenpop. Before the new semester even started, I had found my internship.
Moving abroad for six months requires preparation. Roots Interns was very helpful and gave me a list of everything I needed to arrange before I could start my internship. My visa application process took a long time. Finally, in December I got my visa, a very happy moment after months of waiting.
I arrived in Cape Town at the beginning of February and moved into the loft. The loft an apartment with dorms that you share with other interns. For me it took a few weeks to adjust to a different country, culture and to a new office environment that was very different than the Dutch office culture.
During my internship I was responsible for the program communications, blogposts and the Bright Green Newsletters. Greenpop is a small organization so I was able to be involved in a lot of things and have some responsibility. Shortly after I started, Greenpop launched their new program, Fynbos for the Future. In this program Greenpop plants Fynbos gardens with outdoor classrooms at schools in Cape Town. I was part of the school selection process and set up the 10 school profiles for the website. In April we had the first planting day at one of the schools. It was amazing to see all the hard work that the team put into this program pay off.
Greenpop also allowed me to do my own research project while I was here. I focused on a methodology that allows the Greenpop team to define realistic goals. This project gave me insight into the organization and helped me form a clear picture of the organization and their events and programs.
Living in Cape Town was challenging and exciting. I loved living in a city surrounded by beautiful nature reserves and ocean, and I really enjoyed the outdoors. It is also a city where you have to be aware of your surroundings. It can be unsafe to walk by yourself, and as someone who likes to explore solo, that was a big adjustment.
The loft is a great place to live because you are surrounded by other interns who also want to explore the city. We hiked Table Mountain and Lions Head and explored markets, coffee shops and restaurants. I went on an amazing safari weekend with Line, the event intern at Greenpop. What helped me adjust to living in a shared space was finding things that reminded me of home. For me it was going to read in a coffee shop, or to watch a movie at the Labia Theater. Adjusting takes time and I learned to not be so hard on myself and take the space I needed.
The next Step
Next semester I will start writing my thesis, and this internship helped me figure out what I want after my bachelor. I also gained experience in communications and my writing in English improved a lot. During my internship I felt like I was part of an organization that has an impact here in Africa.
In a few weeks I will fly home and take the experience and memories of the past six months with me. I learned a lot about myself and working in a professional environment, and for that I am very grateful.
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