GoOverseas Interview with Programme Manager, Candice Mitchell

Candice Mitchell, ResearcherCandice has a Bachelor of Social Science degree, with majors in Social Anthropology and English Literature, from the University of Cape Town. After moving to Michigan to do her Masters in Applied Medical Anthropology at Wayne State University, she graduated with top honours and began focusing on research examining various social, political and economic contexts of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, particularly treatment. She has worked as a clinical trial research assistant for the Michigan Institute for Neurological Disorders (MIND), as well as an assistant lecturer, and plans on completing a PhD in International Health and Development. Candice has been involved in several volunteer programmes before joining if i could… and serves as an excellent programme coordinator, interviewing and connecting enthusiastic volunteers with meaningful internship positions in Cape Town.

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What separates if i could… from other internship providers in South Africa?

Candice: Our programme is different because we give interns the opportunity to explore their skill boundaries. You don’t know what you can do until you try. Our intake process is rigorous and we always ensure that interns are matched with the most suitable organisation in order to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship between organisation and intern. if i could… has been in operation since 2007, and we operate on a very personal level with all our interns. This means that we are able to give each intern the guidance and support that they need while they are in Cape Town. The students and graduates who participate in our programme are thinkers, game-changers, achievers, leaders; they are focused and want to make a difference.

What can participants gain by participating in an international internship in Cape Town?

Candice: Firstly, getting any international exposure expands your mind in ways only other travellers will know. You learn, see and experience things that money cannot buy. I have travelled to many cities in the world and I can tell you, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I am sure everyone says that about their city, the only difference here is that I am telling the truth. We boast mountains, beaches, mouthwatering delicacies, affordability and kind people.

Interns will get to see a nation who is picking itself up from the Apartheid regime. Even our city planning structure is designed in a way that kept the idea of separate development alive. Remnants of a slave trade, ancient battles, twice colonised and the implementation of inhumane laws are so evident in day-to-day life in Cape Town.

Describe a typical day on this programme.

Candice: Each internship is different depending on the host organisation as well as on the intern’s skills, abilities and interest. It also depends on what the organisation’s priorities are. Most interns get to conduct research, are involved in internal and external communications, write articles and reports, community development program designing and so much more.

What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering your programme?

Candice: Our program,e offers you not only an amazing experience and skills development opportunity; it also offers you peace of mind. All you do when you arrive is get to work. We assist in arranging your placement with the most suitable host as well as comfortable and safe accommodation close to your place of work. We provide 24-hour in-country support, so in a nutshell…we’re the safest bet you will ever take.

Anything else you would like to share?

Candice: If you place value on life experiences as opposed to how much money you make, your life will be a rich one. One of my favorite poem’s ends by saying:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–Robert Frost
And that’s what we about here at if i could… We make a difference.

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