10 Frequently Asked Questions

01 Who can apply?

In principle, anyone who is at least 18 years old can apply. In many projects, passion and enthusiasm for the field of work are the only requirements and volunteers do not need to have any special knowledge. For other voluntary services or internships, a minimum age is requested or relevant practical experience or professional knowledge, training or specific expertise are required. You can find the exact requirements in the project descriptions.

02 When do I have to apply?

We have no fixed application deadlines. The lead times and application deadlines vary with the project. For some projects, a lead time of six to nine months is recommended – especially if you plan to come to South Africa during the European winter months or if you nee to apply for a visa before leaving your home country. Short-term applications are generally possible for stays of less than 90 days. If you do have a valid passport it is possible to organise your stay within 2 to 3 weeks. 

03 Which language skills do I need to bring?

The required language skills depend on the volunteer or internship placement. For some placements it is sufficient if you are able  to have a basic conversation, other placements require a rather higgl level of proficiency. An honest self-assessment is essential as in many placements the language skills are key to the success of the placement. In case of doubt, we can help you to assess your language skills and will assist you to organise a language course at one of the renowned language schools in Cape Town before starting your internship or voluntary service. Especially for participants who did not have a chance to practice their English skills for a number of years we reccomend a 1 to 2 week long refresher course.

04 Can I start my internship or volunteer placement any date or do you have fixed starting dates?

A personal approach that considers individual needs of our applicants is key to our service. Most of our project partners are very flexible with starting date. However, when working at our partner schools, the South African school holidays must be taken into account. Some projects request that volunteers arrive on certain days of the month or week. You can apply at any time and there is no deadline for your application. Students, who wish to apply for financial aid may, however, need to consider deadlines as many scholarship providers have only 1 or 2 deadlines per year.

05 When do I have to pay the application fee and programme fee, and in what cases can I claim back my fees?

The application fee of 125 € is due with your application documents. It is a down payment on the programme fee and convinces us and our partner organization of the seriousness of your application. If we for some unexpected reason cannot offer you a placement that matches your profile and your interests, you will receive a full refund of the application fee. The programme fee is due after the successful placement and after we have sent you the written confirmation / volunteer or internship contract.

06 Why do I have to pay for a volunteer or internship placement?

For the organisation of your volunteer service or internship various costs occur – costs do not only occur for your flights, accommodation and meals. The costs also include other services, in particular personnel costs for organising your voluntary service or internship: To ensure the quality of our volunteer and internship placements we visit our partner organisations regularly. This is necessary to understand the framework conditions of the placement as well as changes in needs for interns and volunteers and to check on compliance with agreed standards. Furthermore, information material for applicants has to be created and updated regularly, applicants have to be advised and assessed for their suitability and finally, participants are also extensively prepared for their time in South Africa. Our service also includes the review of internship guidelines of your university and the preparation of volunteer and internship contracts as well as on-site support: you are picked up at the airport, your are introduced to your new environment as well as tasks in the project, and of course you have a contact person for questions and problems while in South Africa. And finally, in order to guarantee the quality of our volunteer assignments and internship positions in the long term, we review your stay with you and our partners and evaluate the experiences of both your employer and yourself, so we can make adjustments to project descriptions or selection criteria where necessary. All of this takes time and money. For more information, see Costs & Funding.

07 Will I be paid for volunteering or for doing an internship?

All of our volunteer and internship placements are unpaid. According to the South African visa regulations you need a “work permit” to engage in any paid for activities. Because high unemployment is the cause of many social problems in South Africa, the South African government has severely restricted the opportunities for foreigners to receive a work permit. The organisation or company would need to proof that no South African citizen could be found for the job. This is only possible in certain sectors of the economy. However, some companies and organizations in the tourism sector offer free board and lodging or other benefits. We always try to negotiate the best for you with our partners.

08 Can I participate in several projects / Can I combine different projects?

You are welcome to participate in several projects as long as you adhere to the requested minimum duration of your volunteer placement. We are happy to advise you which projects can be easily combined. You will receive a strong discount on the programme fee for the second or third position (if there is a programme fee). We are happy to provide you with detailed cost calculations for various program combinations.

09 Can I combine my internship or volunteer placement with a language course or a tour through Southern Africa?

We recommend all our participants to plan in some extra time to travel through South Africa and/or its neighbouring countries. This is the only way to explore the cultural and geographical diversity of the country. Whether you intend to travel with your own rental car or with a guided tour – we are happy to advise you on the various options and help you with bookings.

You are welcome to combine your internship or voluntary service with a language course. Ideally, you do the language course before you start working in the project. In some projects were your working hours are flexible or where you only work part-time you can also do the language course while volunetering or interning. We are happy to advise you on the various courses and options for you.

10 What is the difference between an internship and a volunteer placement?

Our internships are particularly suitable for students and graduates, who would like to gain international experience in their field of profession and who would like their universities to recodnize their work in South Africa as an obligatory internship. If you apply for a voluntary service, we assume that you primarily want to volunteer for a good cause and that you want to make your time, experience and expertise available to the project of your choice. As with the internship, you will gain relevant professional experience.

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