Frequently Asked Questions
We have compiled a list of possible questions. If you have any additional questions to ask us, please feel free to send us a message on our contact page.
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XChange South Africa is an international placement agency for student internships, voluntary work and school programs. We are one of the oldest internship companies in the country and operate in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, on the Garden Route, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London. We are arranging internships and volunteer programs for more than 20 years already.
The advantage of our team is that we consist of mature and experienced local people with more than 28 years of exposure in working for local companies. We further have a team of young people who also stay amongst the students to assist where needed. We have made it our mission to make it as easy as possible for you to come to the country, work here and have a good time whilst here. We have a large database of companies on record that we have been working with for a long time and many years of experience in working locally. Furthermore, you have a direct contact person, should you have any problems.
Select people / a company that is as local as possible. They know local conditions far better. Select a company with a history. Look at how many years they exist. There are too many people who try to arrange internship placements in SA without having experience in the business.
The company must be a registered company and not merely a group of interns trying to make some money on the side. The company must have an infra-structure locally to support you. (good accommodation at an affordable price, transport, social activities etc.) Enquire about that.
Be careful of companies charging very high prices. They cannot do more than what companies like XChange offers you already. You must feel comfortable with the person you have to communicate with and be able to trust their support and advice. They should be able to offer you sound advice, respond quickly to your mails and communicate regularly. Do you have open-channel (direct) communication with the people making your arrangements for you? Insist on that. Careful for too many promises upfront.
South Africa is the perfect destination for a young person, offering a vibrant mix of culture, warm and hospitable people, lots of sunshine, long summers, spectacular scenery, wildlife, beaches and an endless variety of unique outdoor experiences and adventures to suit every interest and pocket. The country also offers excellent value for money still and a selection of food, activities and adventure second to none.
Our beaches are free and beautiful, most activities in nature are cheap or reasonable and the variety – endless. Mountain hikes offer endless opportunities. Restaurants and clubs – too many to choose from, offer every type of cuisine under the sun. For those who prefer cultural activities – the country has plenty of museums, art galleries, some of the largest shopping centers in the Southern hemisphere and cheap clothing outlets for long days of leisurely shopping with new friends.
The country creates memories and experiences you can take home with you after your visit, and together with endless photographs of the social life, scenery and activities, you will have plenty to share with families and friends back home.
Yes, if asked for options, we would assist you where we can.
We are passionate about Cape Town and have rightfully earned our reputation as experts in what we do in Cape Town. This enables us to give our participants the highest levels of support and service because we know our city well having worked and lived here for more than 50 years each as a management team.
Our service is of the most reasonable fees in South Africa and is either negotiated with you, your agency or university. We have a history of offering good internships and good social conditions spanning over more than 20 years already. You can budget around €450 or $480 maximum.
Sending a child abroad for the first time can be a worrying experience for any parent. It is a new country & people, many new experiences for them to discover and all this without daily physical contact and support from you? We are parents too, so we also understand that you as a lecturer, teacher or parent have concerns for their safety, but we have more than 20 years of experience dealing with young people (and some not so young…) from all over the world and have had exposure to all the problems, challenges and joys of working with them. We have never had serious problems in all these years though and believe we have a success story to be proud of.
A new arrival in SA can look forward to meeting at least 10 and more new people in his or her first two days in the new city. Our aim is to integrate our young people with others sharing common interests. We place them in houses where they would feel comfortable, safe and happy – surrounded by others. None of our students and volunteers ever need to be alone and will have XChange staff staying amongst them to ensure that.
We have invested in putting a strong team of people together to work with our students and volunteers. We have a support team in SA consisting of between 4 people in the office, a cleaning & maintenance team of about 3 plus and people who assist us with our projects and tours. We offer new arrivals an orientation; help them sort out their money, cell phones, food for the new house etc. Each new person receives all our contact telephone numbers of all our staff. Should they require medical assistance at any time, one of our staff will help to take them to a doctor or hospital if needed.
We also maintain our own accommodation and have standards that far exceed that of regular student houses or backpackers. Our houses are in some of the best parts of Cape Town and most students can walk to their offices or places of work. We have weekly cleaning services in our houses and maintenance people to ensure the standards are maintained. We assist with any travel arrangements, overland trips, day trips, organize supervised hikes in the mountains etc. We also assist parents who come to visit with accommodation recommendations and bookings, cheaper car rentals, trip information etc. It is a free service and we enjoy meeting families as well.
No matter what time your son or daughter's flight arrives in South Africa, we will have a responsible person there to meet them at the airport. And before they arrive in SA, we will provide the intern with simple guidelines and useful information to help them prepare for their trip to South Africa. If they have any questions or need advice on anything before they travel, you, the parent or the university will be more than welcome to contact us at any time by phone, email, or online chat via Skype.
We do not only find you a suitable internship, but we also find your accommodation in one of our student houses or apartments; assist you with your visa application; pick you up from the airport on the day of arrival and take you to your company on your first working day. We have a weekly newsletter and organised weekend outings with all the other interns and activities to make sure, that you will meet many different people during your stay.
If you are a local from South Africa, then you will most likely receive a stipend.
If you are not from South Africa, then unfortunately you will not, by law, receive a salary. Your visa only entitles you to conduct an unpaid internship and the company is legally not allowed to pay you. In some cases, the company could give you a contribution towards some of your costs like transport, but do not expect anything.