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Cape Town, South Africa
 Summer Internship

Winner of the 2018 Innovative New Program Award

Sport for Development
Internship Overview

2021 Dates - Coming Soon!

In South Africa, we have built a Sport for Development Internship Program available to both athletes and non-athletes. Students are placed with one of the many innovative, non-profit organizations in Cape Town that use sports to advance the prosperity of the community. Students will engage deeply with their partner organization, and also gain a broad knowledge of the sport for development scene in Cape Town.

Cape Town Internship is open to ALL majors!

  • Choose from a dozen different inspiring sport for development organizations in Cape Town.

  • Keep up with off-season training alongside athletes from across the U.S.

  • Make a lasting impact in the community through your internship and service projects

  • Enjoy Cape Town’s vibrant city life, amazing beaches, and an endless list of weekend activities.  

  • Day trips included: Hiking Table Mountain, wildlife safari, Robben Island Tour, Boulder’s Beach to see African Penguins

  • Weekend excursion to Wilderness Beach along the Indian Ocean

About Sport for Development

Sport for Development, also known as Sports-Based Youth Development, is a method to bring social change to youth in underprivileged communities by using sports as a tool to bring people together and teach lifelong skills. Our partners in Cape Town all share the common belief that sports have the power to create positive peer-to-peer relations and stimulate a desire for self-improvement.


Each organization that we work with takes a unique approach to sport for development-- whether it’s a soccer program dedicated to teaching youth about HIV/AIDs awareness, a basketball program keeping kids away from gangs, or a boxing program teaching girls about self-defense and women’s empowerment--all these programs share the singular vision that sports have the power to change the world, one community at a time.

Program Description

We partner with sport for development non-profit organizations in Cape Town to provide hands-on internships. The work includes a combination of supporting the organization’s daily operations and completing an independent project to address a specific challenge. Example internship projects include event planning, website and social media improvement, newsletters system design, grant writing, monitoring and evaluation systems, and partnership development.

Daily Schedule: Mornings are dedicated to project with fellow students and SAA staff in a lab setting at Inyathelo: The South Africa Institute for Advancement. In the afternoon, you will visit your organization’s site to help with operations and better understand the potential implementation of your project.


Students stay in the dorm style accommodations and are provided breakfast and dinner seven days a week. The dorms include a shared kitchen and WiFi accessibility. And laundry is available once per week.

Athletics Abroad

You will have a gym membership at the Sport Institute of South Africa, so can maintain your training by working out 4-5x per week.


Our local staff will take you on weekend excursions which include: hiking Table Mountain, visiting Robben Island, a Wildlife Safari, visiting beaches to see African Penguins, and a weekend away at Wilderness Beach.

Valencia Intership Top
Internship Descriptions

Below are descriptions of some of our partnerships with NGOs in Cape Town where we have hosted interns in previous years. We will do our best to place you with your top choice, however the organizations have the final decision. Contact us to learn more about the placement process and to see a list of current internship options.

Project Playground
Project Playground is a non-profit organization focused on bringing structured recreational programs to youth in neighborhoods that are systematically, socially, and economically deprived. Studies show that structured recreational activities contribute to the positive development of children and increases their motivation, concentration, and ambition. Project Playground reaches local youth through free after-school activities, sports programs, and support programs five days a week and currently serves over 750 children in three townships outside of Cape Town.

Oasis Place
The founder of Oasis Place grew up in the impoverished Cape Flats neighborhood and watched his friends and family turning to gangs and violence at a young age. He wanted to introduce sports programs to local youth to encourage healthy living and to make a positive impact. Oasis uses sports as a force for good. The aim of all OASIS programs is education through linking sports and empowering information- they teach youth about fair play and inclusion and respect, directly applicable to their lives on and off the field.


The Community Health Intervention Programs (CHIPs) was launched through the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) in 1997 in the Western Cape. The vision was to develop a program that was sustainable in its ability to improve various communities’ participation in physical activity. Our primary focus is to offer sustainable lifestyle intervention program to create healthier (mentally, socially, physically), empowered (demystifying science, giving personal responsibility), cohesive communities. The CHIPs program runs successfully in 36 different communities around the Western Cape, through its HealthNutz, OptiFit Outreach and Live-It-Up program.


Great Commission United (GCU)
GCU was founded by a reformed gang member from the Cape Flats neighborhood of Heideveld to keep local youth away from crime and gangs in the area. GCU provides the supportive family environment that youth often lack at home and are attracted to in gangs. Soccer, basketball, and other sports play an integral role in attracting students ages 5-20 to after school programs with life skills training, tutoring, and physical exercise.

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Admissions Process 

  • Submit completed Online Application Form

  • Interview with SAA staff member

  • Approval from university if from a non-affiliate partner school

  • Submit Supplemental item(s): Current resume

    Upon admission to the program, you will connect with our site director for more information about the internship placement process.

We offer partial scholarships based on merit and financial need. Learn more by connecting with someone from our team at  

Cost & Inclusions

Program Cost: $4,995


  • Roundtrip airfare from Regional Hub Airport to Cape Town

  • Airport transfers

  • Housing for the entire program

  • Breakfast and dinner, daily

  • Transport to/from Inyathelo Lab, Sports Science Institute, internship sites and included excursions

  • Excursions to Table Mountain, Robben Island, Wildlife Safari and Boulders Beach to see African Penguins

  • Internship placement and set-up

  • Gym membership and transport Monday-Friday

  • Health Insurance through GeoBlue

  • SAA T-Shirt

Not Included

  • Travel expenses to Regional Hub Airport (Washington- Dulles, IAD or New York -JFK)

  • Passport and associated fees if you do not already have one

  • Lunch, daily and souvenirs/ optional entertainment expenses

Student Testimonials

There were many things I loved about this internship, but I would have to say the girls and the staff member's stories and accepting attitudes towards us and their willingness to share their culture had to be my favorite part. If I ever get the opportunity to go back to Cape Town I would not hesitate to contact the friends that I made there and go and visit.


Emma Patterson, SAA Intern 2017

The value of working hands on with the children was beyond rewarding, especially given the ability to work on a project to support the organization (GCU) that I was linked with. While doing so, learning the importance of cultural competence was very valuable as well. I also highly enjoyed the weekend excursions, these were adrenaline rushing activities that I never thought I would have the blessing of experiencing! The live safari animals, shark cage diving, and hiking table mountain are the three experiences that completely took my breath away. In the small state of Ohio we are unable to gain such rich experiences! I also want to highlight the value of simply traveling abroad with a program that accommodates athletes. If it was not for SAA, due to basketball, I would never have had the opportunity to travel abroad! Thank you again, SAA!

MacKenzi Matthews, SAA Intern 2018

Any Questions?

Please Contact Us!

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