Will Smithson's iKapa experience
4 Fun-Fact Questions:
Favourite South African food and drinks?
My top three were boerewors, Lunchbars, and Red cappuccinos.
What was one of the wildest experiences you had during your time in SA?
During my last week in South Africa, while staying in Wilderness, I did a canyoning trip that involved abseiling, cliff diving, and swimming in very cold water that was one of the wildest things I have ever done.
Quirkiest South African saying or slang word that you came across
My favorite slang word, by far, was calling traffic lights robots.
3 words describing your internship experience in South Africa
What first inspired you to go to South Africa?
Being interested in development work, I wanted more hands-on experience working on the ground in a developing country.
What, in turn, actually made you decide to go to South Africa for your internship?
After attending the iKapa presentation on internship opportunities for students at the Maxwell School, my interest was piqued. After looking into the program more, I realized it fit well with what I wanted from an internship experience.
Tell us about the project that you worked on while doing your internship.
My project was meant to provide an overview of Connect Network's partner organizations current food security programs as well as assess the status of food security in poor communities around Cape Town. I did this by conducting interviews with several of Connect Network's key affiliates.
What was your supervisor like and how did she help you with your internship?
My supervisor specialized in food justice issues which fit well with the theme of my project, and she was able to provide insightful guidance and input.
What was the highlight of your project?
I really enjoyed conducting interviews as part of my research. It usually involved not only interesting conversations with individuals passionate about helping vulnerable communities, but often involved visiting these communities and seeing the impacts of these organizations' work firsthand.
What new skills did you apply from theory, that you had learned at university?
I had taken several courses on designing research projects for social science that were helpful in the early phases of formulating my project outline and design.
Are there skills you learned from the NGO that was new to you and that you think you might use in your future work?
I have never conducted qualitative research before, so having the opportunity to learn more about creating interview questions and conducting quality interviews was extremely beneficial.
Do you think this internship will influence your career path in any way and, if so, how?
This internship gave me a deep appreciation for the work that NGOs do day to day, and I would love to do more work in the non-profit sector moving forward.
What was the all-time highlight of your time in SA?
Hiking up Lion’s Head at sunset was one of the highlights of my time in South Africa.