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Refugee Internships in Cape Town, South Africa
VACorps participants VACorps participants

Refugee Internships in Cape Town, South Africa

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Work Environment

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

An internship abroad with the CTRC

Overall, I chose Cape Town to intern abroad because I wanted to gain international working and living experience, and I wanted to immerse myself in a culture that is very different from what I know. As an international studies major, I have spent a lot of time studying African politics and history, and I wanted to get a more holistic understanding of the current climate by seeing and experiencing it for myself first hand. What I loved most about interning here was making connections with both locals and refugees from all over Africa. You would be amazing to find refugees in Cape Town who have traveled here from as far as North Africa.

My intern experience working at the CTRC made me grow personally and professionally because I learned to adapt to an unfamiliar working environment in an international setting, being that one day I want to work internationally I gained valuable skills learning to work with people from all over the world. Things I will never forget from the refugee center are not only the welcoming staff, but the harrowing stories from refugees who never ceased to inspire and amaze me by their strength and courage. It is hard to pick just one thing that I have loved about being in Cape Town for two months, but I have loved to learn how to navigate and get around a foreign city on my own. The city itself with the diversity and culture has been something I have fallen in love with. I loved the VAC program excursions and the staff, they were very helpful.

Looking back on it, the ultimate highlight of my internship was leading an HIV/AIDS support group at CTRC. The clients and their stories were inspiring and I felt like we were able to make a strong connection. To future participants, I would recommend that you learn to communicate clearly, and always go directly to your own specific supervisor to avoid miscommunications. The centre is a very busy place and you need to learn to take the initiative when your supervisor is not present.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Hooked on Cape Town

This internship really stretched my comfort zone. CTRC puts a lot of trust in their interns, so I had a lot of responsibility right of the start. I conducted interviews, processed finances, created a support group, taught human rights workshops and helped organize the CTRC Nelson Mandela day, plus National Women Day. I've learned so much about social work, the nature of poverty and education in South Africa, the effects of rape and war on women and African feminisim in general. My experience with VAC and in Cape Town was wonderful. The VAC staff is so frinedly and supportive, while Cape Town itself is the most beautiful and interesting city. After this experience, I can easily see myself coming back and staying for years.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Work Environment

    5

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Only took six weeks to fall in love with a city

My time at CTRC has been so invaluable that I am dreading leaving. I have become so close to mu supervisors who I view as mentors and we have spent countless times discussing potential future careers for me after the experience, and knowledge I've gained at the centre. From the beginning, I was integrated into the staff, even as just an intern and I was challenged to do difficult social work I didn't know I was ready for. I am so thankful to have spent my weeks at such a worthwhile and inspiring job. I only wish I could have stayed longer!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Work Environment

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Refugee center internship

I was able to gain 1 on 1 experience with refugees and was very independent in my work. I understand how a social service organization operates in a developing country and learned how to deal with difficult situations myself.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    3

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Cruisin' the Cape

It was great, loved the staff, Cederberg was amazing! Friday activities were also really fun! I would recommend talking more about the meal plan and how much it costs/not everyone does it! I wish I would have known that before I came.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My Second Home

I traveled 10,000 miles to find myself feeling right at home. Cape Town has been a place of adventure, leisure, and life lessons for me. I have made friends and memories that will last a lifetime. After three months I have grown professionally and personally more than I would have ever thought possible. Thank you VAC and thank you Cape Town! P.S. Some words of advice: don't over pack, always wear sunscreen, take a mini bus taxi at least once, go on the Garden Route, and make friends with people not form your country.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Work Environment

    8

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    8

Internship at ARESTA

ARESTA gave me the opportunity to see hands on the struggles many South African citizens face. It was amazing to see the changes in communities after we implemented our programs.
My internship definitely stretched my comfort zone. I learned to go with the flow and become more patient and understanding. Professionally I learned that you will not always get praised or acknowledged for doing good work but that doesn't mean your boss doesn't appreciate it.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

My time in Cape Town

My experience in Cape Town was a tough dose of reality. Learning about the life and experiences of refugees was extremely eye opening. This is in addition to realising some of the realities of working for an NGO. I truly left my comfort zone here, but I was so blessed to have the opportunity to work with many different departments and learn new things about work and myself. Although many experiences were frustrating, as I learned realities, my time here was incredible important to my understanding of the world.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Work Environment

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Learning Cape Town

Cape Town is a beautiful place but to fully experience it, you have to immerse yourself in the culture and not just be a tourist doing fun outings and excursions. Walk the streets, get to know locals, and find those little gems that only locals know about. In regards to the internship, be flexible and patient and don't close yourself off. I learned a lot about myself professionally and personally and gained so many skills. This experience confirmed that I am on the right career path and that I truly have a passion for refugee and human rights issues.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Internship at PASSOP in Cape Town

My internship affected me professionally as I learned to deal with many different types of people, I gained more confidence and improved my English. My internship affected me personally as I discovered how many people are in difficult situations around the world. I learned so much!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Work Environment

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Cape Town Refugee Center

I don't think I will ever forget some of the refugee stories that I heard and I gained a better appreciation for the resources I take for granted in Canada. I also learned how to better assess peoples' situations and to be more flexible for different ways of doing social work and interacting with clients. I definitely had some doubts about my placement before I arrived, but I learned a lot and grew both professional and personally. My placement site seemed grateful for having me there and I was grateful for the experience.