English School Assistant in Cape Town


Helps migrants and refugees face a big obstacle when looking for a job by improving their language skills.

Do you have an interest in migration and refugee issues? Are you passionate about teaching? This English school assistant internship might be exactly what you are looking for.

During this internship, you will be working on the English School project from this nonprofit organization in Cape Town. Every term around 350 students from different African countries enroll in their program. You will assist with day to day administration and management of the school as well as teach English classes two afternoons. An excellent opportunity to make an impact and contribute to cultural, social and economic integration between migrants, refugees, and South Africans.


This organization started in Cape Town in 1994 as religious assistance to different communities of migrants but soon expanded to offering more tangible assistance as they were confronted with the problems experienced by refugees from Angola, the Congos, Rwanda, Burundi and other African communities. In 2003 a secular non-government organization was started to run these projects, the Scalabrini Center of Cape Town (SCCT).

Migration is perceived as an opportunity by this organization, so they are on a mission to alleviate poverty and promoting development in the Western Cape while fostering cultural, social and economic integration between migrants, refugees, and South Africans. In providing their assistance they advocate respect for human rights and use a holistic approach that considers all basic needs.

Every month around 2000 people visit the center, which offers service through six main programme areas:

  • Advocacy: Protecting, promoting and advancing the rights and freedoms of migrants and refugees by providing paralegal advice and practical assistance to individuals on a walk-in basis. In addition, this team works on driving deeper systemic change in the South African society and immigration and asylum systems.
  • English School: Providing a specialized English language school for refugees and migrants.
  • Employment Access: Providing a gateway to employment by providing support to foreign nationals who are legally entitled to look for work in South Africa. The organization provides a combination of skills training, professional development, and resources needed for success in the job market.
  • Unite: A unique extra-curricular curriculum for grade 8-11, which provokes a deep exploration of the themes of identity, integration, and diversity to promote activism and critical thought in youth living in South Africa.
  • Welfare: Accessing services for migrants and refugees in need. Through a process of consultation, they assist individuals to access basic services such as medical care, schooling, shelter, South African Social Grants (SASSA grants) and assistance with advice/application for voluntary repatriation.
  • Women’s Platform: A multi-national network of women that strengthens individuals to enhance economic independence and integration into the broader South African community.


Education is key to a successful life. One of the biggest obstacles migrants and refugees face when looking for a job is their lack of language skills. This organization provides an effective low-cost service aimed at eliminating this language barrier, focusing on communication skills in order to facilitate a socioeconomic integration while providing opportunities for networking and community building. Presently the English School enrolls around 350 students per term from a variety of African countries. What they offer:

  • Classes from Monday to Friday each week, offering five levels from Beginners to Advanced. The school has developed a South African based curriculum designed to assist students with their integration in Cape Town. In several of the beginners’ level courses, students, along with learning English, learn about their rights as refugees and migrants and the necessary basics to a successful integration.
  • Read and Write programme: for those students who struggle with literacy.
  • English Alive: an extracurricular programme that offers students the opportunity to participate in Drama Group, Debate, Tai Chi, Afrikaans, Film Screenings and Body Mapping Workshops at no additional cost.
  • At the end of each course, students have the opportunity of writing a test and receiving a certificate at graduation.

Your Responsibilities

  • Day to day administration and management of the school. This includes planning for and helping to execute large events such as graduation, exams, and registration together with the English School Manager, along with small daily tasks.
  • Help manage and act as liaison with the volunteer teachers as well as the students and help to represent English School at team meetings and events.
  • Teach a class two afternoons a week.
  • You are encouraged to contribute to the development of the school through the generation of ideas, activities or projects.

This internship offers lots of learning and development opportunities. The working environment is highly interactive; working when necessary with other departments such as Advocacy and Employment Access Program as the English students are often their clients too, you are exposed to learning about the legal problems students face with documentation and the way the law functions in South Africa, the lives of refugees in their country of origin through conversing with them, the reasons for their departure, living within their new community in South Africa, their struggle to fit in as newcomers and much more. Offering them the language education they need to build their new lives is just as rewarding for the intern as for students. It’s all about making a positive change in their lives.

Lastly, leaving your own mark is possible. Whilst the beginning, mid and end of the term are very busy periods, there is room enough for personal creativity during the remainder of the term. This means that personal projects are possible! In the past, interns have developed projects such as a digital literacy course aimed at newcomers, a nutrition course, and an HIV awareness course, and there are some many more opportunities!


  • Work along side the coordinator to keep the administrative system of the school functioning smoothly
  • Accurate register recording
  • Preparation of venues and materials for ad hoc courses and events and assist in maintaining these venues
  • Editing
  • Accurate printing and distribution of documents
  • Teaching (Depending on placement test, English language ability and understanding of English language structure and function)
  • For the phase in which the English school is, you sometimes need to undo and redo tasks as we try to continuously refine our operating system


  • Confident in using a computer
  • Team worker
  • Reliable and willing to help and lend a practical hand where needed
  • An understanding of the respectful principles of adult learning
  • A servant-leadership disposition is important in order to be able to effectively deal with many and diverse people in a fluctuating environment
  • Hard working and dedicated to serving our clients and work alongside a diverse team
  • Commitment of 20-40 per week

This organization also offers internships in Communications, Human Rights and Advocacy, Female empowerment, Empowerment of Refugees or an all-round position.


You’ll be staying at The Lenox, a comfortable guesthouse in the heart of Cape Town. Built in the old Cape Dutch style, The Lenox is characterful and historic. It has multiple balconies, a large dining room, and many other communal spaces. Shared bedrooms include 2 twin beds, and there are plenty of single rooms available as well (at an extra fee). You’ll be walking distance from many shops, cafes, restaurants, and some of the touristy highlights Cape Town has to offer as well.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Be sure to prioritize hydration in the summer to avoid heatstroke. South Africa does have high crime rates, so it’s important to be aware and use common sense to stay safe. Some safety guidelines are to always walk in groups, take a taxi/Uber in the evenings, know safe/dangerous areas, secure your belongings, don’t walk around with large sums of cash (you can pay everything with a card), minimize wearing flashy accessories, and be cautious of overly friendly strangers.



The accommodation offers free Wi-Fi to keep family and friends up to date via WhatsApp, Zoom, etc. Cafes/restaurants also offer free Wi-Fi. You can also consider getting a local SIM card if your phone is unlocked, or setting your phone’s status to roaming, depending on your provider’s rates.



A simple breakfast, lunch and a delicious cooked dinner (vegetarian & vegan options available) from Monday to Friday are included in your fee. Indulge in local dishes, like bobotie and South African Braai! For desserts, don’t miss out on milk tarts and malva pudding. There is a diverse food scene in Cape Town, so no matter your cuisine preference or dietary restrictions you’ll have plenty of options. Let us know in advance if you have any allergies/dietary needs.

Location details

Location details

Discover Cape Town’s attractions: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Gardens, city tours, historical sites, and the Cape Point Peninsula. There are also opportunities to surf, kayak, paraglide, cage dive with sharks, and more! Cape Town has a mediterranean climate with cool winters and hot summers so be sure to check what the temperature will be like during your stay.


Fee Breakdown

You can start your internship every week, so your final starting date is based on what suits you and the organization the best. Please keep in mind this organization is closed for four weeks of summer holiday in December and January.

What you’ll pay (2024 rates)

12 WEEKS USD 2,321

16 WEEKS USD 2,797

20 WEEKS USD 3,273

At Roots, we do everything we can to make your internship experience smooth and hassle-free. We offer an all-inclusive service, which means we will help you find the right internship (we believe we are great matchmakers!), help you with visa arrangements, book accommodation for you in Cape Town, give you all the pre-departure information you need before arriving, pick you up from the airport and check in with you while on your work placement to ensure you feel supported.


  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An academic internship eligible for university credit. Check with your university to confirm if this internship qualifies for credit or alternatively we can assist you with purchasing transfer credits.
  • Accommodation in a shared room (2 pax). If you prefer a single room, please contact us for availability and prices.
  • Airport transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Meals from Monday to Friday
  • Wifi access
  • Housekeeping service
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement and other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • Supervision and support during your stay
  • Regular check-ins during your internship with your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship
  • A discount on weekend activities, exclusive to Roots Interns


  • Flights to Cape Town International Airport
  • Visa and medical/travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Transport to the office
  • Meals during weekends
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities


Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in South Africa.

What can I expect from a NGO internship in South Africa?

During your internship in South Africa you can expect to meet people from around the world, as well as indulging yourself into the culture of this beautiful country! If you want to know more about what to expect, make sure to check out our top 7 reasons for an internship in Cape Town.

Will I have time to explore South Africa during my internship?

Yes! We partner with various activity organizers that can offer discounts exclusive to Roots Interns, for example, a road trip through the Garden Route and bungee jumping off the world’s largest natural bungee. You may also explore the country on your own and we are happy to give recommendations.

Am I able to do an internship while on a study program in Cape Town?

Yes! You are able to do a part-time internship with certain organizations so that you can continue your studies, while also gaining valuable work experience.

Will I receive a stipend of any kind during my internship with Roots?

Unfortunately, no. When working with a nonprofit organization, your internship will be unpaid, but there are many ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth that are invaluable!


LOCATION: Cape Town, South Africa
TASK FOCUS: English teaching, coordination, administration
LENGTH: 12-26 Weeks
COST: From USD 2,382


“Working with this organization really gave a good perspective on how things work within a nonprofit and that was very valuable for me. They also work with a vulnerable population, which means working at this NGO and with these people makes you develop important skills such as how to communicate certain things or talk to people who don't speak your language as well. So I sometimes helped at the English school as well.”

Lola, The NetherlandsRefugee and Migrant Charity Internship, Cape Town


  • Gain practical experience in coordination, daily operations of running the school and teaching English
  • Help eliminate the language barrier for refugees and migrants and facilitate their social-economic integration
  • Learn about African culture and the lives of refugees in their country of origin
  • Gain insight in the challenges refugees face living in their new community in South Africa
  • Live and work in Cape Town, arguably one of the most stunning cities in the world.
  • Enjoy exploring South Africa’s many highlights during your time off


If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:


Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.



We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.


If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.


If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.


Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.


Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!


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