Lydia Feinberg Henze's iKapa experience
Updated: Mar 16
We caught up with warm-hearted, impact-driven, and past iKapa intern, Lydia Feinberg Henze. Read what she had to say about her time as an intern in Cape Town.
4 Fun-Fact Questions:
Favourite South African food?
Melktert! Second fav – Koeksisters. And of course, Biltong.
Most memorable “tourist activity” you experienced while in SA?
I drove down Chapman’s Peak Drive every day!
Quirkiest South African slang that you came across?
Lekker! (Not sure if that qualifies but I heard it all the time and loved it)
Describe your internship experience in South Africa using only 3 words…
Once in a lifetime experience
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Lydia and I’m from Connecticut. I studied Public Policy at Syracuse University where, through a familial connection, met Dee Moskoff. Following graduation in 2014, I spent 2.5 incredible months in South Africa. I currently live in Bridgeport, CT with my husband, Spencer, our 10 year old Tabby cat, Max, and our 2 puppies Targa (10 months) & Hobie (8 months).
My internship in SA furthered my interest in pursuing a career in the nonprofit space. I currently work as a Major Gift Officer at Americares; a global health nonprofit that responds to people affected by poverty or disaster. My experience in SA shaped me into the professional I am today.
What first inspired you to want to go to South Africa?
To be quite honest, I graduated from Syracuse and felt lost – just like most graduates do! I knew I wanted to help people, but I truly didn’t know how to. Luck found me when, through a familial connection, I was introduced to Dee who invited me to come work with her for a few months in South Africa.
What, in turn, actually made you decide to go to South Africa for your internship?
When I was first offered the internship, I’ll admit I almost said no because it seemed too far – too “out-there” really. But after some thought, there was nothing holding me back. I was searching for an experience to push me outside my comfort zone and here was my opportunity. I believe my flights were booked within a week.
Tell us about the project that you worked on while doing your internship.
While in SA, I conducted a survey (which was presented to 93 organizations) to help the staff at the organization I did my internship at, Connect Network, understand the progression and current standing of each affiliate, the network as a whole, and aid in the formulation of benchmarking goals for 2017.
What was your experience of gathering information from NGOs like? Was it easy? What was the process like?
Every NGO was different but overall, they were receptive and eager to participate. Because there are so many affiliates, we had to work with each one to make it easy for them to participate. Some surveys were mailed out, some were done in person and others via the phone.
Did your internship influence your career path in any way?
Absolutely. My experience in SA solidified my interest in working within the NGO sector. I learned so much about fundraising, quality improvement, donor relationships, marketing, and even grant writing during my time there. My internship laid the foundation for what I do now at Americares.
What was the all-time highlight of your time in SA?
So hard to answer! The work was truly impactful, but I think the people and the landscape are what I look back on most. The beautiful languages you hear, the incredible mountain and ocean views – it’s the most gorgeous country and I cannot wait to schedule a trip back.
What piece of advice would you give to new interns thinking about applying to iKapa?
Just go! You will not regret it. I would do it again 100 times over if I could.