Medical Internship

Interested in an Internship? Join our SAVE Foundation Intern Program!

As our organisation grows, so does our SAVE family. If you are a hard working, compassionate individual then our program could be right for you! Our non-profit organisation includes a wide array of programs that need the assistance of willing and dedicated interns.

The Internship

An example of a hospital you could be working within is Retreat Community Health Centre(RTCHC). It is one of the biggest community health clinics in the Western Cape with a 24 hour emergency centre and a Maternity Obstetrics Unit(MOU). Retreat has a large catchment area that stretches from Manenberg/Heideveld till Ocean View in the deep south. RTCHC does not have any overnight facilities, except in the MOU. The hospital serves over 500 patients a day in the outpatients clinics, this includes the hypertension clinic, the X-Ray department, social workers, the HIV & AIDs centre, the TB centre, The paediatric units, the psychiatry departments, the physiotherapy department etc. The facility has a number of qualified doctors and nurse practitioners of whom students can observe. They can also be placed on rotation between the various departments and or clinics as well as rotation between medical professionals and different wards etc.

With your internship program you can be placed at any other Medical centre for your position

Why intern with us?

• Gain international work experience

• Enhance your CV

• Develop a global understanding of healthcare and medicine

• Gain clinical hours and a letter of recommendation

• Gain insight into the South African healthcare system

• Work alongside local professionals

• Discover the South African culture and health-related challenges.

• Make a difference in the live of the patients.

Project DetailsIncludedTransportAccommodationExtra InfoReviews


• Arrival day for Orientation: Every Friday

• Project starts: Every Monday

• Location: Cape Town

• Minimum duration: 12 weeks

• Airport pick up

• Orientation and welcome BBQ

• Walking tour

• Accommodation

• Transport to and from the projects for the first week

• 24 hour support and supervisor on project

• Donation to the NPO to assist with projects

• Certificate of appreciation

You will receive a meet and greet at Cape Town International airport and then you will be transferred to your accommodation. The first week at your project – you will be transported by a private car or minibus to and from project. The vehicles are all roadworthy and have all relevant licences and liability insurance.

Acceptance subject to availability of your internship position
Placement areas will vary depending on your experience and availability

Example of your accommodation: You will stay at either an internship house or 3 to 5 star backpackers or hostel once your placement has been secured, we will be able to confirm this. You will share with other interns and/or guests. Dormitory accommodation with 3 – 10 sleepers.

Packing list

  • Warm clothes – Many people have the perception that South Africa is a hot place, however from May until l September it is our winter months and temperatures can drop to 10 degrees and nights can get even colder and rainy. There is no in door heating in South Africa.
  •  Old clothes – bring comfortable clothes to work in.
  •  Sunscreen
  • Prescriptions – if required.
  • Basic first aid

Available facilities are:

• Electricity

• Beds, mattresses and linen(no towels)

• Males and Females may be in shared room unless otherwise requested.

• You are responsible for keeping your own room tidy.

Notice: The most important things to bring are a sense of humour, patience, an open mind and a positive attitude

Water: Water is safe to drink however scarce in many areas, use water sparingly and have short showers or baths

Electrical power: South African electrical power is 240 volts AC. Appliances from North America will burn out if they are not switched over or have a properly-rated power transformer (not just a plug converter) attached. Think twice about that hair dryer! South Africa is also prone to electricity cuts due to short supply. Please turn off lights and heaters when not in the room. The plug adapter needed for South Africa plugs is very difficult to find in your home country, we suggest you buy the adapter in South Africa.

Health: The sun is an important health factor to consider. You can burn easily, even in winter and on cloudy days, so always use sun block (SPF 30+) and a hat, and drink plenty of water. Moderate to severe sunburns are common among visitors and volunteers, yet they are completely preventable. Please be cautious of the sun, severe sunburn can prevent you from participating to full capacity

What is the difference between volunteering and regular tourism?

For regular tourists the emphasis is on the tourist who expects to receive excellent service on their trip (great hotel, good food and all excursions working according to a timetable). The place and local community becomes less important with the tourist becoming the centre of attention.Volunteer tourism (or “voluntourism”) has the emphasis shifted to work contribution, goals of the program and helping the local community. It is the success of the program and the atmosphere between the community and the volunteers that helps make the trip unforgettable – not the level of service or the quality of the hotel. Many programs are underfunded so inevitably there will be some difficulties; however it is the overcoming of any challenges which creates a sense of achievement and satisfaction not found in regular tourism

Will there be any surprises?

Volunteer tourism can be unpredictable. While SAVE does the upmost to stick to timetables and examples of type of work needed by the volunteer, there are many factors that can impact these plans. For example, the weather and seasons, local holidays, mood of the wildlife and immediate needs of the programs. The information you will receive from the program is important and valuable however things can change and we urge you to use it as a guideline and expect the unexpected – this is what makes volunteer tourism so diverse and exciting. It is important that you arrive with a flexible attitude and remember that just by being at the project you will be contributing to its running, growth and success. Many of these programs are in cultures very different than yours and as such the type and length of work given may or may not seem important to you but it will be for the program.

Culture Shock

The volunteers you will be working with come from all over the world and may be from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Volunteering is also a cultural experience where you can learn about different cultures; but please be both tolerant and patient. Do not be shy in sharing your experiences, recipes, songs and traditions it will just add to the overall group cohesion. Children may be raised in ways that are very different to what you are used to. If you are ever unsure about a certain issues, please feel free to discuss it with your volunteer leader.

Extra expenses

Please take into account additional expenses like tours, trips, telephone, restaurants and bars. It is a good idea to carry different types of payment: Cash, Credit Cards, Debit cards and Traveler’s Cheques are options.

Travel Insurance

It is very important and necessary to purchase and carry travel insurance for any unforeseen eventuality. We would be happy to recommend a reputable insurance company.

Tiina Kinunen, Finland

12 September till 12 December 2016

I came to Cape Town to do my Medical Internship which was for 3 months. When I came to CT airport a Save volunteer member was waiting for me with a sign that had my name on it. Save also organised the place I was going to be living for the entirety of my internship. I was very pleased with the comfort SAVE provided me in my arrival and the first week there I  had orientation and the best part, I stayed by the beach !

I moved to the Observatory to start my internship at Lotus River Hospital- Physiotherapy Department. The accommodation was a beautiful guest house called Green Elephant and I slept in one of their dorms. This allowed me to meet so many people that weren’t necessarily doing what I was doing and I made loads of friends. The staff was also very lovely, kind and helpful. I rented a car with my friend and we drove to work every morning. I enjoyed myself as the work was what I expected and my time was used accordingly. My supervisor was also very helpful and made me feel comfortable in all the tasks at hand.

Cape town is a perfect place to have fun in your free time. We climbed up to mountains, drove to Cape point, surfed in the Indian ocean, went on a safari, ran on the beach, slept too less and spent the best time of our youth. All throughout my time with SAVE Foundation they provided me with  “mental” support and an everlasting friendship.

Application Requirements

• Application Form

• Copy of identity document

• 2 written references

• letter of motivation

• Police clearance

• Reference letter from Educational institution

• Intermediate level of competency in English

• Copy of return flight itinerary

• 18 years and older

Acceptance of internship is subject to availability of position

In case of an emergency: Notify your leader immediately. An ambulance can be called or private transportation can be used to get to the nearest health centre, clinic or hospital.

SAVE Policies

All SAVE participants must have medical, travel and trip cancellation insurance for the duration of their program. SAVE must receive proof of insurance no later than 65 days prior to departure.
SAVE has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs. Offenders will be removed from the program immediately without refund.
No smoking is allowed in front of the children or at the schools. Volunteers who smoke can do so away from the school/crèche premises or after projects have been completed. 

A responsible level of drinking (for volunteers of legal age) during free time is allowed. However in these limited situations:

• Alcohol is never to be consumed during the work day.

• Participants are never to be intoxicated whilst at project.

• Participants are never to be under the influence of alcohol during group discussions.

• No hangovers will be tolerated on project so please keep drinking to off days




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