Bridging Gaps FAQ’s – All your questions answered!

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Where will I do my placement?

All our programmes are customized so we base our search for the best suitable placement for you completely on your individual skills and interests as well as your personal and professional goals.  We also work with over 200 local organisations across a number of different fields so in order to give you examples of where you could be placed, it is necessary for us to chat to you further to find out where your interests lie.  After you submit an enquiry we will get back to you to arrange a skype chat as soon as possible.

Enquire Now!

 

What will I do for my placement?

We work with over 200 local organisations here in Cape Town and each of them offer very specific opportunities so it is difficult for us to provide examples of the sorts of responsibilities and tasks you will have, until we have chatted to you further about your individual interests, goals and skills.  Once you have joined our programmes and we begin our search for the best suitable placement for you, we will begin sending you offers from various local organisations.  Included in each placement offer will be details about the specific organisation and information about what sort of projects and tasks you could be involved in.

 

How long can I do my placement for?

All the opportunities we provide are very flexible in start date and duration.  We charge a once off programme fee which stays the same regardless of how long you do your placement for, and you can decide exactly when you would like to begin and end it.  In saying this, please note that most of the organisations we work with do require at least a one month commitment because of the time it takes to train you and start giving you responsibilities.

The only restrictions in terms of the length of your stay are the visa regulations for South Africa.   If you want to be in Cape Town for longer than three months you will need to obtain a volunteer visa, which we can help you with.

 

What is the difference between an internship program and a volunteer program?

The volunteering opportunities we provide here at Bridging Gaps are less career-orientated than our internship programmes, and more focused on serving the local population of Cape Town. By lending your skills, experience and time to help some of the most vulnerable communities in the Western Cape, you will be changing people’s lives for the better.

Completing an internship is about gaining experience to help you on your career path, learning new transferable skills to increase your employability and discovering where your passions, strengths and weaknesses lie.

 

Why should I pick your program over other internship providers in South Africa?

 Bridging Gaps programmes are:
  • Customized

All the learning experiences we offer in Cape Town are wonderfully flexible.  The dates and durations of our programmes are for you to decide, and the high quality opportunities we provide, are tailored to your needs.  It is imperative to us that during your Cape Town experience, your professional and personal goals are met and we ensure this by working closely with you right from the beginning of the application process.

  • Personalized

An important part of the Bridge the Gap experience is that we really get to know YOU.  From the starting point, right through to the end of your adventure, you will be supported and guided by Lucie and Julian.  We will work closely to help you create your ideal experience before you arrive, and then we will be the first faces you see when you land in Cape Town.  We will accompany you to your first day of work, and throughout your trip would be delighted to show you the hidden gems of the City!

  • Local support

At Bridge the Gap we focus on the one destination we are most zealous about, Cape Town.  We have extensive local knowledge, and one of the fundamental reasons we started these programmes, was to share our passion and enable visitors to experience the beauty, depth and infectious soul of the City.  We both live centrally so are never far away, and pride ourselves in the seamless 24 hour on the ground support we provide to all our participants.

  • All inclusive

Not only do we offer a wide variety of exciting programme opportunities, we also help you plan and arrange every other aspect of your Cape Town adventure.  We will assist you with all your pre-trip preparations, plan and book your accommodation and transport, and help create your ideal personal itinerary by exploring the different tours and activities the City has to offer.  We also organise great weekly events for all our participants to join, and we do our best to ensure affordability for every aspect of your trip.

  • We really do care for the Cape

We really value the power of voluntarism in South Africa and believe that in creating opportunities for yourself through participating in our programme, you will also be creating opportunities for the people of Cape Town.  As an intern or volunteer you will not only be contributing to the economy through tourism, but you will be volunteering your skills, knowledge and time to organisations which will benefit hugely from your help.  Responsible travel is the heart of our programmes and we want to aid you to make educated and responsible decisions which will only impact the country in a positive way.

 

Are start dates and duration’s flexible?

Yes all our internship and volunteer placements have completely flexible start dates.  It is up to you when you arrive in Cape Town and when you begin your placement.  The only exception to this is over the Christmas period when most business in Cape Town close down from the middle of December to the middle of January.

The durations of our programmes are also flexible. However, if you are part of the Bootstrap package the maximum length of time you can do a placement for is 2 months.  In our other two programme packages there is no maximum length of time you can do a placement for.

 

How will I get to my placement each day?

When you first arrive in Cape Town we will provide you with a comprehensive orientation to show you where everything is in the city, and how everything works.  Then, either Julian or Lucie will accompany you to your placement on your first day, and going forward until you feel comfortable using the public transport route on your own.  All of our placements are located in or around the city and with each placement offer we send you, we will outline what the required commute would be each day.

It is possible to walk to all of the placements which are based in the city bowl and of course we will do the route with you.  For most of the placements located outside of the city centre, a short bus ride is required.

 

Do you offer any paid opportunities?

Since South African law prohibits any foreign national doing any form of paid work in the country without a valid working visa, all the opportunities we provide are unpaid.  It is incredibly difficult to obtain a working visa for South Africa because you have to be sponsored by an organisation before you even arrive in the country.

 

Do you offer internships and volunteer placements in cities other than Cape Town?

At Bridging Gaps we focus on the one destination we are most zealous about, Cape Town.  We have extensive local knowledge, and one of the fundamental reasons we started these programmes was to share our passion and enable visitors to experience the beauty, depth and infectious soul of the City.  We both live centrally so are never far away, and pride ourselves in the seamless 24 hour on the ground support we provide to all our participants.

 

Will there be other interns or volunteers at my placement with me?

As we work with so many local organisations here in Cape Town which all provide such unique opportunities, and our placement search is based completely on your individual skills and interests, it is unlikely that there will be another Bridging Gaps participant at the same organisation as you.  There may however be other foreign or local interns at the organisation where you are placed.

 

What should I wear for my placement?

Appropriate work attire is specific to each organisation we work with but, in general you will find that you can wear more casual clothes than what you are used to back home.  There are only a few placements which will require you to wear formal work clothes, and we will let you know if this applies to you.  We suggest that for your first day you dress smartly, and then you will be able to gauge what appropriate attire is going forward.  For most volunteer placements you will be able to wear casual clothes, however revealing clothes of any kind are not suitable for any placement.

As you can experience four seasons in one day in Cape Town, it is a good idea to bring a wide range of clothes!

 

Can an internship lead to a paid position in an organisation?

Although this is rare, it can happen.  Completing an internship or volunteer placement at an organisation is absolutely no guarantee that you will be offered a paid position at the end of it, however if you make a great impression and really add value to the organisation, there is no reason why it couldn’t.

Our programmes are an amazing way to make important and life-long contacts in your specific field of work, and these contacts could help you at any stage of your career.  Completing an internship or volunteer placement is a wonderful way of getting your foot in the door of the working world and gaining invaluable experience.

 

Do you offer any scholarships or grants?

We cannot offer any scholarships or grants for our programmes.  However, we will support and guide any of our participants who want to raise money to go towards their trip to Cape Town.  We are happy to advertise individual fundraising pages through our various social media platforms and will assist in arranging any fundraising events.  Past programme participants have also been successful at raising money directly through their universities and schools.

 

Can I work at more than one organisation during my time in Cape Town?

Usually we limit our placement search to one organisation for you because it is more beneficial to yourself and the organisation if you only commit to one place.  We find that the longer our participants stay at their placement, the more they learn and gain from the experience.  However, if you are planning on staying in Cape Town for over 6 months, then we can explore more than one option for you.  Also, we can definitely facilitate weekend volunteering opportunities for anyone who is interested.

 

Can I earn academic credit?

Yes definitely! Lucie, Julian and the local organisations we partner with can assist you with any documents and assessments you need completed in order to gain academic credit from your university.

 

What will I get when I finish my placement?

All the organisations we work with have agreed to carry out a formal assessment of anyone they host, if it is required.  At the end if your placement you will receive a letter of reference from your supervisor and both Julian and Lucie would also be more than happy to provide letters of reference upon request.

We can also provide certificates of participation upon request.

 

What if I don’t like my placement?

As we do everything we can to ensure that your placement will be the right fit for you, we hope that this will not be the case.  However, if when you start your placement you really feel that you will not benefit from working in your chosen organisation, we can make arrangements to find you a new placement.  We ask that you give at least a week to try out your role, because often it can take time to settle in to your organisation and be given proper responsibilities.  If after this time you still feel you will not gain from the experience, we will make arrangements to find you another placement.

 

What does it cost to do an internship or volunteer placement with Bridging Gaps?

Here at Bridging Gaps we understand the importance of people’s individual needs, especially when it comes to travelling and working in a new country. That is why we have three different tailored programme packages, each with different levels of specialised features included in the price, and each suitable for different people looking for different experiences of Cape Town.

The Bootstrap plan is our budget package.  The internship and volunteering opportunities we provide in this package are extensive and our placement search is customized to suit your personal interests and goals.  We will find you the best suitable placement in a wonderful local organisation and we will guide you through all your pre-trip preparations.  We will be your 24 hour on the ground support system however; this package includes no added extras. The programme fee for our Bootstrap package is £995.  This is a one-off fee which stays the same for any lengths of stay in Cape Town.

The Concierge is our standard programme package.  We will find you the best suitable placement in an inspiring local organisation in Cape Town.  All our programmes are completely customized and we base our placement search on your skills, interests and personal and professional goals

As well as assisting you with all your pre-trip preparations, you will be provided with some useful items at the beginning of your trip to help you settle into life in Cape Town as quickly and easily as possible.  The Concierge package also offers a great variety of accommodation options and includes some added extras to make your Cape Town adventure that little bit more special!  As a member of the Concierge package you will also be entitled to discounted rates on many of the exciting outdoor activities Cape Town is home to.  The programme fee for our Concierge package is £1575.  This is a one-off fee which stays the same regardless of the length of your placement.

The Ambassador is our luxury package.  After speaking to you about your personal interests, skills and goals, we will begin our customized placement search to match you up with an inspiring local organisation.  Once you are 100% happy we have found the right organisation for you, we will guide you through visa arrangements, booking flights and arranging your chosen accommodation.

As a member of The Ambassador package you will receive a complementary welcome pack upon arrival, along with some exclusive items to make your time in Cape Town as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.  The programme fee includes some unmisable Cape Town experiences as well an all inclusive weekend Garden Route tour.  As a member of the Ambassador package you will receive extensive on the ground support and guidance from the Bridging Gaps team, as well as continued career advice and assistance long after you have completed your placement in Cape Town. The programme fee for our Ambassador package is £2595.  This is a one-off fee which stays the same regardless of the length of your placement in Cape Town.

 

How do I apply to be part of the Bridging Gaps Cape Town programmes?

Below are the 10 steps you would need to follow to become a Bridging Gaps intern or volunteer: 

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1) Enquire through the website telling us who you are and your field of interest. Enquire Now!
2) We like to arrange a time to connect with you telephonically as soon as possible so we can start exploring your personal goals and interests. Following our conversation you will receive the application materials.
3) Once you are ready to apply, we require a 300 GBP deposit. This deposit is refundable for up to three weeks after we send you your first placement offer.
4) To support your application we also require one letter of recommendation.
5) Now you are officially part of the Bridging Gaps programmes and we will begin our search for the best suitable placement for you!
6) We aim to have at least one offer for you within 3 weeks, and we will continue exploring opportunities until you are 100% happy we have found the right one for you!
7) During this time we will work closely with you to help you choose and arrange your accommodation.
8) We will assist you with creating your ideal trip itinerary by exploring all the travelling options and exciting activities to enjoy in Cape Town.
9) We will guide you through all your pre trip preparations and introduce you to any other participants who will be in Cape Town at the same time as you.
10) We will meet you at the airport to start your Cape Town adventure!

 

Cozy Bay

Bridging Gaps photography

 

Do you require a deposit in order to join your programmes?

Yes we do require a deposit of £300 when you apply to our programmes.  This deposit comes out of the total £995 programme fee, and it is 100% refundable up until 3 weeks after we send you your first placement offer.   When we do send you your first internship or volunteer offer you either have the choice to accept it straight away, or we can continue searching for other placement opportunities for you until you are 100% happy.  Alternatively you have three weeks to decide if you want to pull out of the programme completely and you will receive your full deposit back.

 

When do I need to pay the remaining balance of my programme fee?

The balance of your programme fee will be due 3 weeks after you have accepted a placement with us.  Your deposit payment of £300 is due at the time you apply to be part of the Bridging Gaps programmes and that is when we will begin our search for the best suitable placement for you.  We will then continue searching until you are 100% happy we have found the right organisation for you, and three weeks after that, your programme fee balance will be due.

 

When should I apply to the programmes?

We ask that you apply at least three months in advance because it can take time to find you the best suitable placement and we will continue to send you project offers, until you are 100% happy it is the right one for you.  As soon as you have decided which field you would like us to explore for you, it is advisable that you get your complete application in to us because the longer we have to search for you the better.

If you are hoping to arrive within a few months of applying that is also fine, we will just have less time to finalise all the details of your trip.

 

Do you have deadlines? 

There are no deadlines to apply to be part of our Bridging Gaps programmes.  We have a rolling admissions process but we do recommend that you send your complete application in to us at least 3 months before you want to begin your placement.  This ensures we have enough time to find you the best suitable placement as well as helping you with arranging every other aspect of your trip.

 

Is the cost of housing included in the program fee?

Since every aspect of our programmes is customized to suit your individual travel plans, budget, and preferences, the cost of accommodation is not included in the Bridging Gaps programme fees. We offer a number of differently priced accommodation options in Cape Town, each suitable for different people.  Let us know your preferences and we’ll find you the ideal accommodation for you!

 

Will you help me to arrange my flights and visa?

Yes of course!  As part of your pre-trip preparations we will assist you with arranging visas and insurance as well as booking flights.

 

Does the program fee increase if I stay longer?

No definitely not! In all three of our programme packages- The Bootstrap, Concierge and Ambassador, the programme fee is a one-off fee which stays the same regardless of the length of your placement.

 

Are there any pre-requisites to join your programmes?

There are no pre-requisites to join our programmes however, it is beneficial to have some previous experience in the field you are hoping to complete a placement in.

 

Who will look after me when I am in Cape Town?

Julian and Lucie will be your mentors throughout your stay in Cape Town.  We will guide you through all your pre trip preparations and then once you are in Cape Town we will be your main contacts.  As soon as you arrive you will be provided with both our personal cell numbers and the Bridging Gaps emergency phone number.  Both of us live very centrally and will never be more than a short walk or phone call away if you ever need anything.  We will keep in regular contact with you to ensure your placement is going as well as possible and we would be delighted to show you all the incredible places and activities Cape Town is home to.

 

How will I meet other people once I am in Cape Town?

During the lead up to your trip we will introduce you to any other Bridging Gaps interns and volunteers who will be in Cape Town at the same time as you.  Then, once you arrive in Cape Town you will meet all the other programme participants at our weekly social events.  Once a week we will either organise a dinner and drinks night at a new restaurant in town, or arrange an exciting activity or place to visit over the weekend.   During our social events it is also likely you will meet some wonderful local Capetonians and we often find that many of our participants form great friendships with their colleagues at their host organisation.

 

Who are the other people who join your programmes?

Our programmes are suitable for people looking for an exciting gap year adventure, university students and post graduates wanting to gain valuable work experience, and those looking for a meaningful career break.   We therefore have a range of different people on our programmes and we really feel this adds to everyone’s experience of Cape Town!   It is an amazing opportunity to be part of a community and meet people from all over the world who you will share your incredible experiences of Cape Town with.  We have no doubt you will make friends for life by joining a Bridging Gaps programme today!

 

Can I come with my friends?

Yes absolutely! We love it when groups of friends join our programmes together! Participating in a placement abroad and experiencing life in another country is an incredible thing do with your friends and we definitely recommend it.  If you apply far enough in advance we will do our best to ensure you all get to live in the same accommodation.

 

Is there an age requirement?

The minimum age you have to be to join our programmes is 18.  The average age of our Bridging Gaps interns and volunteers is 21-26.  However, we welcome people at all stages of their lives so if you are looking to have a meaningful career break please don’t hesitate to enquire with us now!
Enquire Now!

 

Do I need to be enrolled in school to participate in your program?

No definitely not!  Bridging Gaps Programmes are suitable for people looking for Gap Year opportunities abroad, post-graduate international work experience and meaningful career breaks.  They are also ideal for university students looking to gain academic credit.

 

Can I use my home phone in Cape Town?

In Cape Town mobile phones are known as Cell phones and ‘credit’ is called ‘airtime’.  We advise that you bring your normal cell phone with you and then when you arrive, we can provide you with a South African SIM card loaded with a small amount of airtime.  It is your responsibility to ensure your phone is unlocked to all networks.  Alternatively, you can bring your normal phone and leave your home SIM card in it, to use it for internet access and messaging services such as whatsapp.  We can then provide you with a simple non smart phone with a South African SIM card, which you can use to make local calls or send local text messages.

 

Can you assist me with booking any travelling I would like to do while I am in Cape Town?

Yes definitely!  We encourage all our interns and volunteers to see as much of South Africa as they can, and do as many activities as possible during their time in Cape Town.  We have partnered with a number of reputable tour companies and activity providers in the Western Cape and we would be delighted to assist you in the planning and booking of anything you would like to experience.  We can also offer you a discounted rate on backpacking accommodation, Garden Route tours and much more!

 

Table Mountain

Bridging Gaps photography

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