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covid travel

Starting an internship during a pandemic

It’s no secret that we are dealing with a difficult situation right now. Borders open and close like automatic doors on windy days, cafes and restaurants are in a yoyo of restrictions as well, and let us not forget the intense travel restrictions. Starting an internship during a pandemic is not an easy thing to do. 


So how does one navigate all of this while planning on going to another country for an internship? Two words: research and hope. I’m not kidding.


Ensure that you’ve read everything there is to know about the country you’re travelling to and what they expect of you. For example, to come into Spain, I needed to fill in this form and download the QR-code sent after completion. At the Spanish airport, you have to be able to show this QR code. And don’t forget the negative Covid test! Which has to be done at most 72 hours before you arrive in the destination country. Each country is different, so make sure you read up on all the necessary precautions you have to take.


Now that you’re in the country, what do you do? I’ll be the first to say how grateful I am to have this opportunity, but I’m going to be honest. It’s difficult not being able to travel around freely as I usually would. When I arrived, all cafes and restaurants were closed, unless you got a takeaway. And even after they opened, they’re forced to shut at six o’clock, which is when I finish work. It’s an adjustment, but it forces us to take on a different perspective, one of gratefulness for the ‘little’ things.

The little things

The daily takeaway coffee with my colleagues quickly became something I looked forward to. My walk from where I live to the office is almost always a sunny one, which started and ended the day on a bright note. And of course, being aware of how beautiful this area is.


It is not life as we were used to, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living. And meet people online (with discretion!). I always said I could never do that – being the shy person I am – but I’ve already got to know some friendly people on apps such as Bumble. A Little secret: Bumble has three features. One for dating, one for networking and even one for BFFs- which is where women can connect with other women in the city and become friends. 


If you’re starting an internship during this pandemic or you’re planning an essential trip, and you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the rules, stop and take a breath. Start at the top, to leave what do you need? Get that, then move on to the next step. Do this until you’ve mentally gone through all the steps of your trip. Don’t let the stress take away the excitement of this new chapter you’re entering!

-Danica Van der Merwe