Ready, Set, Intern Abroad!
Internships abroad can be complicated. Often they are expensive, during the wrong time of year, or often are considered voluntourism rather than helpful. With lots of research and a want to try something daring, I landed an internship at Greenpop in Cape Town, South Africa, where I was soon immersed in the chance of a lifetime.
What is Greenpop?
Greenpop is a Non Profit based in Cape Town that began with 9 Capetonian’s and their goal to reduce their impact on the environment. The goal was to plant 1000 trees during the month of September in under-greened townships of Cape Town. Through fundraising and the gathering of other like-minded people, 1000 trees had been planted and spark had begun to continue their efforts. Underfunded schools began to contact the founders and sponsors were offering to partner and support their efforts. Through this, Greenpop was created. Today Greenpop works with underfunded schools and areas in the Cape Flats as well as green festivals to spread their love for sustainability and re-connecting people to their environments.
My Work for Greenpop
My work for Greenpop began when I took the opportunity to live in South Africa for two months and work as a Videography and Photography intern. Diving in head first at the tender age of 17, I traveled for the first time abroad to do something that others may have thought was crazy. I, on the other hand, was excited to expand my horizons and volunteer for something that I was passionate about, the planet. Greenpop primarily works within the Cape Flats, which are a combination of slums and townships that are still trying to combat the effects of Apartheid. These areas are sparse and trash-ridden, with very little green because of the mass (forced) exodus of people in the 90’s. Greenpop strives to throw off this inequality of available green space by planting trees and allowing everyone to enjoy nature, not just the upper class.
As a Videography and Photography intern, I was apart of the communications department at Greenpop and worked with other interns as well as Zoë and Justine, who managed all things marketing. While at the beginning of my internship, many of my fellow interns and Greenpoppers were packing up to travel to Zambia for the Zambia Festival of Action (a Greenpop run tree planting festival) I was fortunate to travel to several schools in the Cape Flats such as Lehlohonolo Primary, The Hague Primary, and Garlandale High School to interview learners and teachers who participate in the Greenpop Urban Greening Programme. My team and I also filmed at one of the Greenpop plant days in Lavender Hill. We worked to plant 24 trees with learners from all age groups and taught them about composting (you will have to learn to love this if you work for Greenpop), mulch, and how to take care of the trees. I took pictures of so many children that day, and got to see the smiles on their faces when I showed it to them. I promise you will never truly understand how fortunate you are until you see this in person. For most of July, I worked tirelessly on the beneficiary video, editing and rethinking my idea over and over again until I finally was satisfied with it. Lots of late nights and calls to my dad (he’s a videographer) went into this video to make it what it is, and I hope that it will spread the Greenpop Urban Greening Programme’s message far and wide. Take a second to check out the link on the bottom of this article for a short video that I created for Greenpop to get a feel for everything that this company does.
Why It All Matters
While my time as an intern came to an end far sooner than I expected, I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity to work for a company that was actually making a difference in the everyday lives of people in Cape Town. During this internship I traveled across South Africa, ate strange foods at markets, laughed until I cried, dipped my feet in the vibrant blue waters of the Indian Ocean, danced under the stars, watched the African sun dip below the horizon, and most importantly made some of the greatest friends I have ever had. Every day I yearn to pass the message of Greenpop on and how you make even the smallest of changes to becoming sustainable. So stretch yourself by taking an internship abroad to Cape Town, because as Nelson Mandela once said, “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
Video Link: https://youtu.be/Wetj52fHYM0
Check out this link if you’re interested in internships in Africa!