Making the most of your time at UCT and in Cape Town
Of course you are here to study and getting good academic results is of utmost importance. In addition to this, there are ways that you can develop transferable skills while at UCT which will make you more marketable in the international arena:
Types of work experience to consider
Part-time work (tutoring, waitering, marketing etc)
Vacation work (paid block of work, either in SA or your home country)
Project work (with external organisations, often as part of your course)
Voluntary work (usually unpaid, for a charitable organisation)
Internships (usually a couple of months and unpaid, for an organisation in your area of interest)
Getting work experience while at university is critical. As an international student, with a Study Visa to be in South Africa, you are permitted to work in a voluntary capacity or may be paid to work for up to 20 hours per week on a part-time basis.
While all work experience is worthwhile and increases your commercial awareness and employability skills, you’ll gain a better understanding of your sector (as well as a useful network) in the South African context if you try to find some work exposure in your area of interest.
IAPO will issue permission for a student to conduct such work activities. A student has to obtain an offical letter granting employment from the potential employer before IAPO issues the permission.
UCT has numerous clubs, societies and sports on offer. Find something that you’re interested in or passionate about and get involved. Not only will this help you to make friends and grow your network, but it will also allow you to build the soft skills that are so vital in the world of work. Try to get involved in leadership roles, mentoring and service activities. When it comes to applications and interviews you will have interesting experiences and examples to refer to.
The UCT Global Citizenship Programme is a co-curricular programme providing opportunities for critical engagement with contemporary global and local debates, as well as reflection on issues of citizenship, service work, and social justice.
The GC Programme offers three short-courses that are free and available to all UCT students and which you can complete at any point during your time at the institution. These courses are:
Global Debates, Local Voices (GC1), a workshop series.
Service, Citizenship and Social Justice (GC2), a service learning course.
Voluntary Community Service (GC3), self-organized direct service.
UCTPlus is a platform that allows you to track, reflect on and articulate your extra-curricular contributions and this is then formally accredited on your transcript. We know that employers seek the most well-rounded individuals to fill vacancies, so this is a very useful way to formalise and present your involvement in things like mentoring, community service and leadership roles.