From South Korea to Cape Town, Hanseul’s Mother City experience

18 April 2017

Traveling to a completely new country is a must-have experience for anyone who wants to grow professionally, academically and personally. Some find adapting to a new culture challenging but this was not the case for Hanseul Choi who was already on her second trip to Cape Town.

Hanseul came from South Korea to explore Cape Town for the second time in two years. She was accepted for an internship with one of South Africa’s most influential refugee organizations through if i could… In this post she shares her journey, the challenges and highlights of her internship and Cape Town trip with the senior program coordinator, Stephanie toe Water.

 Stephanie: What type of work did you get involved in during your internship?

Hanseul: I helped with the monitoring and evaluation of the peer support group that the organisation was running. I also did research on art therapy and peer counseling as the organisation is trying to improve their peer support program. I also worked in making the staff and performance appraisal forms; I got to observe the group sessions themselves and managed to do a funding proposal. She [the organisation’s director] gave me the opportunity to do many different things. I wish I could be here longer, two of three months would be ideal.

 Stephanie: That’s fascinating! Did you have any interesting findings from the research you conducted?

Hanseul: That was the fun part really. The research was really fun because all these different methods are being applied around the world.

 

Stephanie: Could you run me through a typical day at your host organisation. What was your schedule like?

Hanseul: I would go and complete my tasks for the day. I would speak with the director often. When I got home in the afternoon I’d shop for food, and from 4pm-6pm was the time I’d use to speak to my professor on Skype. So I’d be busy until dinner time. After that, in the evening, I’d hang out with my housemates and we’d cook dinner together. Then hang out and take some time to myself in my room.

 Stephanie: What is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned from this internship experience?

Hanseul: That there are nice people everywhere. In every culture and every country, there are always some bad people too. So I kind of see the universality of things around me. Fundamentally people are really similar. I also realized that if I respect people, regardless of their background, they feel it and it’s always better to have that fundamental part to communicate effectively to have a joyful experience.

Stephanie: How will you apply the skills you have learned?

Hanseul: I am really glad I got the opportunity to observe the group sessions because I really see the value of them and the need for them. The idea of this peer group counseling session is such a good idea that I can apply, not just to vulnerable groups, but to everyone, anyone who has mental health issues.

Stephanie: What were some of the highlights of your trip?

Hanseul: In general the trip was relaxing and really nice. I also gave a presentation on South Korea to the staff. Because they are from so many different countries they take turns to introduce their country’s culture during the staff meetings every week. Then I got to present a little bit, and people were very curious because they don’t see a lot of Koreans here and it’s very far away. Many people think Korea is a very traditional country, which it’s really not, it’s actually very modern. It is so big and I did share that it went from war in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but in 50 years it grew to be the 13th biggest economy in the world in such a short period of time. It’s a really unique and interesting country, it’s the only country that went from a recipient country to a donor country.

 

Stephanie: Were there any challenges during your trip?

Hanseul: I would get migraines and a little bit sick. So for one or two days I would feel lethargic. It wasn’t just the heat or anything, I just get them often. Then I would feel that I’m not getting things done because I’d be really slow. But the Director would check on me often, she was really kind.

 Stephanie: I’m sorry to hear that but I’m glad the organisation’s director was so accommodating and helpful. What about after work activities. Did you enjoy the outings that we organised for you?

Hanseul: Yes! the outing to town was one of my favorites. It was such a relaxed trip.

 Stephanie: What has been the most memorable moment?

Hanseul: The most memorable moment of my internship was getting to meet the refugees and migrants during the sessions. I felt like I was really part of the refugee support work. It was so inspiring to just be able to talk to so many migrants from so many parts of Africa.

Hanseul’s host organisation had only great things to say about her and similarly, Hanseul enjoyed her experience working in Cape Town’s NGO sector.

If you’re looking for a meaningful internship in South Africa’s development sector. Apply for our customized internships. You’ll  grow your skill set, build your CV and have a unique experience that will challenge, inspire and help you grow as an individual. On top of that, you’ll have a glowing portfolio addition to go along with it. So contact us today to find out more.

 

 

A city of beautiful contradictions: My first trip to New Delhi

8 March 2017

by Chido Dandajena

You can read and hear many things about India, but it’s nothing close to what the travel blogs will tell you. It’s a country of fascinating juxtapositions and stark contradictions: enchanting, urban, restricted, with beautiful people in some unexpected places. It’s essence can’t be captured in text, but I can take you back to the learning experience that changed my perspective on myself, other people and how my actions affect the world I live in.

Stepping out the plane into the grand Indira Gandhi International Airport, the air humid and dense, it’s nothing like I expected. Above the terminal gates nine pristine, hand-shaped sculptures (mudras) are mounted, greeting me as I pass through the gateway to New Delhi.

Mudras_at_Indira_Gandhi_Delhi_1007

Among the busyness and rushed crowds, I spotted a friendly face holding up a placard with my name on it — relief! I’m warmly welcomed by my host who’s struggling to hide her excitement. Luggage collected, cab hailed and we’re off we’re off to my accommodation. My New Delhi journey is really beginning!

Chaat (Street food) - Chandni Chowk

There are hollers and honks from cab drivers, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and hustlers trying to make a quick buck with whatever they can sell you (doesn’t help that I stick out like a sore thumb with my tourist vibe), and the sweet and tangy scent of chaats and spices being sold at shop corners and street carts squeezed on every sidewalk. My entire opinion of New Delhi can be summed up in one phrase — diversity in unity. From the hustle and bustle of Chandni Chowk (inner streets and shopping mall) to tranquil, sunrise yoga sessions in the Lodi Gardens, this feeling is constant and intoxicating.

If you want to experience ‘dili’ not Delhi, it doesn’t get more authentic than a tuk-tuk ride through Chandni Chowk. This famous mall provides everything from books, clothes, food, souvenirs at dirt-cheap prices,surrounded by overcrowded pathways coupled with the chaos of traffic, customers and sellers intersecting and colliding. For those who persevere, the rewards are delectable and worth it. Insider tip: Gyani Ji Ki Fruit Cream standing in front of Gurudwara and Natraj Key Dahi Bhelley near Central Bank are must-eats!

Like any city, among the beauty there are also areas to be improved. Being a woman in New Delhi is not easy.Simply using public transport here will more often than not be accompanied by unwelcome winks and comments from men. Although, staying vigilant and taking the safe options my host family told me about meant I was fine.

Chandni Chowk ShoppingThis gender dichotomy in India is what motivated me to come here to learn about the fight for gender equality. India is a strongly patriarchal society where women don’t have many of the freedoms we do in the developed world. Working in the development sector in New Delhi was humbling and eye-opening to the plight of some women and the starkly different lives they lead every day.

I left the city feeling inspired and invigorated to continue working for gender justice at home too.

During the course of my learning immersion, I saw more than my eyes could contain, smelt, tasted and experienced more than I ever had. Wide-eyed, I took it all in (I wasn’t sure when I’d get this chance again). I would recommend anyone who is serious about a future career in the development sector to travel abroad and get practical experience. It will enrich you, challenge you and give you a far more enlightened perspective.  

Experience New Delhi by coming on if i could…‘s learning immersion programme this summer. Sign up here for more information.

Buddha

Why the world is traveling to New Delhi in 2017

15 February 2017

The bustling country of India has seen a sudden, yet not-so-surprising rise in tourism recently. In New Delhi alone, foreign tourist arrivals notched up a 6.8% growth in January 2016, compared to the previous year, what more is luring so many people from across the globe to this melting pot of culture and color?

If you’re not already convinced, here are a few of the many reasons why traveling to New Delhi is the coolest thing you could do in 2017!

Culture & Sightseeing
India is one of the world’s oldest and most diverse cultures. language changes every 20 kilometers and people from Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Christianity, Sikh and Islamic faiths live together in one community. The well-preserved historical monuments are like storybooks carrying great tales of the past.  taking a tour around them anywhere in the city is truly mesmerizing. New Delhi is home to the famous India Gate, Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Safdarjung Fort and the likes. And it’s not just the history that’s worth experiencing, yoga in the parks and gardens around the city is a popular activity. Yoga sessions are held at sunrise in the beautiful Lodi Gardens.

Daytime activities and a vibey nightlife
Apart from being the capital of India, New Delhi is also the party capital. During the day, you can be entertained by a myriad of plays, musicals, and sightseeing tours. At night you’ll find a majority of the young crowd flocking to bars and clubs to unwind. Serving a population of 20 million, Delhi boasts over a thousand bars and restaurants. Whether your preference is relaxing in a quiet wine bar, or letting your hair down and dancing the night away in a nightclub, there is something for everyone. Nightlife means fun and entertainment: dance clubs, bars, parties, festivals, shows, restaurants and live music bands. Popular areas include Hauz Khas Village, Connaught Place, Khan Market, Nehru Place, Saket and Greater Kailash – N Block.

An exotic culinary adventure
If there’s one thing every single person needs to do, it is to visit New Delhi solely for the food! Although Indian food is heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions, the use of herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables in combination make the food an out-of-this-world culinary experience. Apart from the famous ‘curry’, it is worth trying the street food called chaat. Indian chaats are typically savory snacks found on roadside food carts and are very tangy and spicy. Nowhere else in the world can one find so much variety in food! Some of the highly recommended food markets include Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Paharganj and Lajpat Nagar.

Shoppers’ Paradise
Where’s the fun in going to malls and paying at MRP (maximum retail price) to quench your shopping desires? Luckily, New Delhi is more popular for street markets and offers a range of authentic and fashionable goods at great, negotiable rates. From saree shopping in Chandni Chowk to shopping for artifacts in Connaught Place, Delhi is a paradise one can get lost in. For heavier pockets, of course, there’s no dearth of upmarket malls such as DLF Emporio, Select Citywalk and others.

Transport and Infrastructure
There is an abundance of options for getting around the city and its surrounds, depending on your destination. To make things easier, there are four main methods of getting around using public transport – metro, bus, auto (tuk-tuk) and cabs. The New Delhi metro system is the newest form of public transportation in the city and rapidly becoming the most popular. It has been touted as Asia’s best rapid transit system. It’s also possible to book Uber and Ola cabs, at all times, with your smartphones. Delhi, being the capital and home to the country’s parliament and ministries is very well-maintained. The wide roads, the lush parks, and the colonial architecture is quite breathtaking.  

Upbeat Hostels and Backpackers
It is heartening to see that even in far-off corners of the country, a new travel culture is sprouting, one that is against the tried and tested clichés. As more and more Indians travel to distant lands, they bring back novel ideas and experiences that challenge the status quo. One such concept is backpacking and using hostels as the primary choice for accommodation. New Delhi being the capital of India, attracts more than 180 000 foreign tourists a year and the city is seeing a rising demand for quaint and quirky hostels and backpackers. if i could… works with some of these hostels which we have pre-vetted and are reliable, clean accommodation options.

The Golden Triangle
India is seeing an ever-increasing number of visitors who come to experience the unique blend of headiness that the subcontinent so effortlessly brews. The route between Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur has, for many years, been a veritable ‘India 101’ – an introduction to those on tighter travel schedules. Most international travelers either fly into or out of New Delhi, hence making it a perfect, yet quick stop, for DIY-ers.

With so much to offer it’s no wonder the world is traveling to New Delhi in 2017. All in all, there is one phrase that best describes India, and that is ‘unity in diversity’. When will you be making your first trip?

Follow the link for more information on if i could… internships and contact us to find out how we can create your unique internship opportunity in India.

Must-attend Cape Town events that contribute to making a change

25 January 2017

There are many theories behind Cape Town’s affectionately dubbed nickname the ‘mother city’, however, we’d like to believe it’s attributed to the city’s ability to create space for new ideas and cultivate a culture of positive change. 

Not only does the ‘mother city’ play host to the most magnificent natural landscape, there is also an endless list of things to do, places to see and activities to get involved in. Because this list is so diverse, we’ve broken it down for you into a list of must-attend-at-least-once events, taking place between January and March, which also contribute to making a difference in the city.

Open Streets Cape Town

Copyright www.openstreets.org

Copyright Open Streets

Open Streets Cape Town (OSCT) is a community-led initiative inspired by the need to create shared spaces in the city and with the aim to bring people together regardless of who they are or where they come from. Since it’s genesis in 2012, OSCT has grown into an annual highlight for locals and visitors. People from all over the city come together and the street is turned into a car-free playground of creative arts, yoga and anything fun, creative and inclusive. The heart of the initiative is rooted in ‘challenging paradigms of urban mobility…and ultimately drive behavior change around the role of streets in the life of the city’. 

The concept originated in Bogotá, Colombia where it’s known as “Ciclovía” and attended by approximately two million people on a 120-kilometre stretch of car-free streets every Sunday and public holiday. It has since been adopted by 400 other cities around the world.

Check their website for the next Open Streets event taking place in Mitchell’s Plain www.openstreets.org.za

Lace up for Cancer Fun Run

Runners world dot co dot za

Copyright Runner’s World

This World Cancer Day Hospice Palliative Care Association in collaboration with the Cancer Alliance (CANSA, Choc, Love Your Nuts, People Living With Cancer and Sunflower Fund) hosts their annual, family-friendly fun run to raise funds for all living with and affected by cancer. 

If you’re not in the greatest shape, that’s okay too, show up in your craziest outfit and come and enjoy the live performances, food trucks and plenty of prize giveaways.

Lace up for Cancer Fun Run takes place on the 4th of February 2017, take a look at their site for more details www.hpca.co.za/about/lace-up

Cape Town Cycle Tour

Photo by Sam Clark /CTCTT / Gallo Images

 

The largest, timed cycling event in the world takes place annually in Cape Town. Sunday, 12 March will mark the 40th year of Cape Town Cycle Tour and will see 35 000 cyclists lining up to ride the 109km, picturesque route with one of the world’s seven natural wonders as the backdrop. Seriously,  what more inspiration do you need?

For a fee, you can sign up to ride for one or more of the charities listed on their website. The Cape Town Cycle Tour was the first cycle event to include a comprehensive Environmental Management Plan which subsequently led to the International Cycling Union requiring a similar plan for all events under its organization. This definitely an event worth supporting, and no you don’t have to be Eddy Merckxo to participate, if you can ride a bike, you’re good!

www.capetowncycletour.com

Hope@PaulCluver Summer Festival

Copyright of www.cluver.com

This community-based performance series boasts its fourth successful year of bringing communities together to share high-quality and thought-provoking, musical and theatrical performances. The Thembalitsha Foundation and Paul Cluver Wines invites you to a night of comedy and classic films under the stars at the magnificent Paul Cluver, outdoor amphitheater. Support a worthy cause while being entertained by some of Cape Town’s top talent.

The Thembalitsha Foundation works to serve those in needy communities by equipping them to be self-reliant through the provision of health care, education and training initiatives.  

This event started in November 2016 and will run through February 2017, take a look at www.cluver.com for more details. 

There you go! You have no excuse not to be a change-maker especially if you can have fun while doing it. Look out for our upcoming April- June list of must-attend-at-least-once, change-making events in Cape Town.

8 pieces of advice to ensure a memorable and incident-free trip to Cape Town in 2017

9 January 2017

With Cape Town coming to the forefront as one of the best tourist destinations in the world, I’m sure by now you’ve heard your fair share of stories about the Mother City from those people you know who have visited before. While each person’s trip here is sure to go differently, there are still a few basics that you can stick to, to ensure the smoothest and most memorable internship experience in the oldest city in South Africa. Like any other popular tourist destination in the world right now, there are times when innocent individuals fall prey to petty crime such as theft, but we assure you that if you stick to the following tips, you will be able to keep those unfortunate incidents at bay and allow you to absorb Cape Town in whichever way you choose to.

cape-town-passport

When travelling abroad, documents such as your passport need to be kept safe at all times.

  • Documents and Cash  – Always try and separate your credit cards from your cash so that if anything happens to either of them you aren’t in a tough spot. Never carry large amounts of money with you and try and find out how much money you will need for the basics when getting around the city, such as train fair and taxi fair.  Try not to carry more than what is required for any given excursion. Do not accept any help from strangers at an ATM and always report any lost or stolen documentation to the authorities immediately.
  • Insurance – It’s always a good idea to take out some sort of travel insurance. Whether it be for your property or for medical care, insurance will stand you in good stead should anything go wrong. South Africa has excellent medical care and any hospital will be able to take good care of you should you get injured while hiking or during other similar activities.
  • Know the numbers that count – A few relatively simple numbers to jot down and keep close by just in case you should fall victim to any petty crime. You can call the police from any public phone or landline using 10111 or if you are using a cellphone you can reach them on 112 (both free calls). Being voted as one of the top tourist destinations in the world, most of our reputable tour guides have excellent first aid skills, but should you find yourself needing emergency medical attention you can reach the National Ambulance Service by dialing 10177.

cape-town-emergency-numbers

It’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with emergency numbers in the city you are visiting.

  • Staying at your accommodation  – During your flights, make sure to never leave your luggage unattended and always keep your bags within arms reach. Careless tourists make for soft targets to opportunistic thieves anywhere in the world. Avoid allowing strangers into your room and never disclose any of your passwords with people. Additionally, most places have some sort of security deposit box so that should keep important valuables safe for the duration of your stay.
  • Considering driving? – Always remember when driving in Cape Town to keep to your left! Another important thing to consider is that most cars in South Africa are of the manual or ‘stick shift’ variety and the automatic cars are usually the more expensive option when looking to hire. Cape Town drivers are generally laid back and are for the most part courteous drivers. Just remember to not panic, stick to the basics and always try and be mindful of jaywalkers as people down here have the tendency to not use pedestrian crossings.

driving-a-beetle-in-cape-town

Remember, when in Cape Town, always keep to the left!

  • For outings – Try and get your hands on a map of the city as soon as possible. The geography of the city can be confusing to many, as essentially Cape Town is a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides with a massive mountain range running through the middle. We have quite a straight forward street layout, so you should be able to get the hang of finding your way around in next to no time.
  • When swimming – With so many beautiful beaches littered all over Cape Town, you will more than likely find yourself venturing out for a swim or a tan at some point or another. When using any of the beaches, always make sure that you swim only if there is a lifeguard on duty, always try to swim in a group or with someone else and never alone. Make sure you have a good sunscreen as the African sun does pelt down some powerful rays, so protecting your skin is of utmost importance as temperatures in summer often exceed the 30 degree Celsius mark most of the time.

swimming-in-cape-town

Cape Town’s beaches are one of the city’s main attractions.

  • For hiking  – With one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature taking center stage in Cape Town, Table Mountain alone offers you a variety of different trails of varying difficulty that caters to all sorts of fitness levels. When exploring the great outdoors, always try and stay in a small group of about 4 people, keep your mobile phone fully charged and with you at all times should you get stuck or lost. The weather is known to change on the drop of a dime, so even if it appears to be hot and sunny outside always take along something warm just in case the weather decides to take a turn for the worst. Again, a map will come in handy when trying to get around here too.

hiking-in-cape-town

A group of students together on a night hike.

Simple enough to remember right? While these may sound like the downright basics of travelling to anywhere in the world, it’s usually only when these relatively simple things to keep in mind get overlooked that things go wrong, so be sure to always be aware. Otherwise make the most of your time in this wonderfully rich and diverse city and submerge yourself into our fabulous culture while you spend your time interning.

For more great reads on Cape Town and other tips and tricks for making the best out of your internship, be sure to join our Facebook page where we have regular updates on interning in Cape Town, South Africa!

(images in this post are sourced from the internet)

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