IGS University of Twente
Research group CSTM

Example of Fieldwork

Herman Dijkslag in South Africa May – July 2013

For my internship of the minor: ‘Sustainable Development in Developing Countries’, I went to South Africa and I worked for the company NuRa Energy Pty (http://www.nura-energy.co.za/). They install solar home systems in the rural areas of Northern KwaZulu Natal. In these areas no grid electricity is available. NuRa supplies their customers with a PV-panel, battery and four lights. They can also charge their cellphone and watch black-and-white TV. During my field work, I conducted multiple surveys for NuRa e.g. customer satisfaction survey and tampering survey. I also did maintenance and small repairs on the solar home systems.

It was a great experience to work together with the South Africans and meeting the customers. The people at NuRa were very open and welcoming me. They showed me around and embraced me into their families. I was living with a local who showed me the South African way of life. This life is much more relax that the Dutch way of life.

Furthermore is South Africa a beautiful country with all its mountains and especially with its wildlife. The work area of NuRa, northern KwaZulu Natal, has many game reserves and I saw wild animals during the field trips. South Africa has a rich history and I visited multiple museums which helped me to understand some of the current situations in the society. Also the people are nice and helpful. And many of them speak English which was a big advantage for me, because my Zulu was not that great.

During my internship I saw areas and things which a tourist will never see. The decision to go on an internship to South Africa was a good one. It broadened my mind and I would never wanted to miss this experience and wish that everybody will get such an experience.