VACorps Participant Reviews
From Tanzania to Cape town to counsel & explore
Submitted by BJ Humplick - - | October 04, 2017
The VACorps program is well thought-out and organized – the pre-arrival info and support, logistic arrangements on arrival, you name it. Everything was spot on! ALL the AVCorps staff are great and very supportive. I felt good about the program from the very first email I received after my inquiry. The constant check-ins by VACorps staff and the weekly activities help to keep interns and staff in touch with one another and with the program. It is very reassuring to know that you have a family away from home. I appreciated the fact that I had an option to choose my internship site based on the information that VAC shared about the available options. My VACorps experience was amazing- I definitely recommend them if you are considering an internship opportunity abroad.
I chose Cape Town because I had heard many nice things about it but also because I wanted to experience a different part of SA having previously visited the SA cities of Jo’burg and Durban. Cape Town did not disappoint! It has a great vibe, the place and people are very nice and laid-back. There are also many cool places to visit (restaurants, tourist attractions, etc.). I was in Cape Town for about 2 months and I loved everything about living there!
The staff at my internship site made me feel welcome and were very supportive.I will never forget the desperation among some of the clients that I attended and met in the course of my internship. It humbled me and made me feel very fortunate to serve in their local community. My internship-experience opened my eyes and taught me a lot about myself. I worked with people with various psychological problems at my internship site- this really sharpened my observation and communication skills and enhanced my emphatic and compassionate side. I had to ‘hit-the-ground-running’, however, this was a challenge that I welcomed with open arms and an open heart. I gained a much knowledge and new skills (tools/approaches) that will serve me well in my professional career as a Counselor Psychologist.
Diversity and amazing professional development in Cape Town!
Submitted by Nikki H. - University of South Florida | September 26, 2017
I chose Cape Town as the place as an internship destination because it provides visitors with the perfect blend of aesthetic beauty, rich history, and cultural diversity. I really loved the people I met in Cape Town during my internship. My experience sharpened my skills and helped me grow professionally so I can move forward with confidence as a future broadcast journalist.
My internship allowed me to work closely with people from entirely different backgrounds and helped me learn more about many different walks of life. I will never forget my very first feature I produced from beginning to end all on my own (it was exhilarating sitting in the control room watching it play out!!!). I lived in South Africa for exactly 90 days and did not want to leave! I most appreciated the mindset Capetonians have about life— it really allowed me to sit back and reflect on what I find most important to me. I would absolutely recommend the VACorps program to others because it facilitated a job in the exact field I aspire to be in which I otherwise may not have found. It was comforting knowing that if anything happened in Cape Town, I had the VACorps support system behind me despite living so far away from home.
An internship abroad with the CTRC
Submitted by Julia - Wheaton College | September 18, 2017
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.
From Kansas to Cape Town
Submitted by Riley J - University of Kansas | September 15, 2017
I chose Cape Town as I have only heard great things about it and didn't want a stereotypical abroad experience in Europe. I really wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I loved interning here because there is literally SO much to do at all times - my friends and I were great at always having something lined up to do. Hiking, restaurants, bars, animals, beaches, etc. Cape Town has it all!
I believe my internship helped me grow personally as I am quite a dependent person who needs things all lined up and written out before I do anything - this internship was the complete opposite. Some specific highlights at my internship site include going for a team bonding trip to HintHunt escape rooms. We went for my supervisors birthday but it was a nice escape from the office. We also went to a combination birthday-farewell-welcome lunch my last week.
I stayed here 9 weeks and could have easily stayed for another 9 weeks after!!! Everybody here always talks about how Cape Town never truly leaves you and people always come back and I 100% can attest to that. I've already entertained the idea of moving here in the future. There is something for everybody here. I especially loved all the food and restaurants - there's certainly many to choose from.
I would recommend this program to anybody. You should absolutely believe all the hype surrounding studying abroad and all the notions saying "experience of a lifetime." If you can do it, do it. VAC's onsite support team did wonders for us and made the experience that much better - the weekly activities give everyone something to look forward to and connect all the VAC interns together. We have become such close friends!
Program: Marketeing internships in Cape Town
Cape Town has stolen my heart!
Submitted by Ariel - University of Florida | September 06, 2017
I chose Cape Town as the place to intern abroad because I have always wanted to travel to Africa and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I have loved living in Cape Town, specifically Observatory. There is so much to do here and my house was centrally located. Cape Town has stolen my heart; the people and the amazing views have given me so many opportunities to explore. I also truly enjoyed my internship. It was a wonderful place to work. My co-workers were so welcoming and taught me so much about caring for others. I could not imagine my time here without them. I was very nervous about working with the population at the home, but I as I worked there I got to know the residents and see their amazing abilities and how all of the staff there loved and improved the lives of the individuals. They always created a lively environment that made you feel welcome and at home. I would definitely recommend VACorps to other interns!
If you are considering this program, I would recommend that you enjoy EVERY minute of your time at your internship because it goes by way too quickly. Also, you truly get out whatever you put into your internship, so put your heart into making a difference in these wonderful people's lives.
The highlight of my internship was having the ability to learn from other Occupational Therapists, as well as work independently with my own patients. The program gives you the opportunity to work with many different individuals with varying disabilities, so you get to learn how to help them and how different activities help improve their functioning.
My psychology internship in Cape Town
Submitted by Nikita - George Washington University | September 06, 2017
I participated in a psychology internship in Cape Town and thought the highlight of my internship was the ability to actually shadow the therapy sessions going on in the clinic. In addition, I felt as if I was an equal to the staff - being able to observe everything they did and attending all of their meetings. It was great to receive that type of exposure for someone interested in Psychology.
I choose Cape Town because I had never been to Africa before and I wanted something more than just a simple internship at home. I wanted a learning experience where I could not only dive into greater depth of experience in my field but also learn cultural differences between South Africa therapy sessions and those in America. Even my morning commute was something incredible. There was not a second in this city that I did not love and it was a great combination of work hard and play hard. I only wish that I had stayed longer and would recommend that participants rather arrive in June or July rather than August, as I did if you are planning to participate in the VACorps program during your summer break from college.
My education internship
Submitted by Becca M - Truman State University | August 01, 2017
I chose Cape Town because I knew it had culture and history that I wanted to get to know. I have always been interested in Africa so I took the opportunity and went with it.
For my internship I knew I wanted to do something involving the community and Cape Town has so many wonderful organizations focused on helping the community and I was really drawn to that.
I love the atmosphere at my office. Me and my supervisor get along really well and I am very thankful for her and for my placement. one of my favorite moments though was getting to go to a primary school and see an Oaky lesson be taught.
My internship has taught me that I definitely do not want a desk job. But it has also taught me how to handle family businesses/organizations, how to handle unkind behavior in a positive, manageable way. I personally have grown in independence and my ability to get work done.
I will next forget going to the primary schools and the excitement on the kids faces. Specifically this one kid who wants to become an astronaut and said he wanted to learn to read just so he could teach his little brother. I also will never forget all the cover and coffees.
I have loved getting to explore new foods and all the different experiences I have gotten to have exploring Cape Town. I am glad I stayed for 8 weeks and not 6 because I had more time to do things as well as just enjoy the city. I wish I had more time though, but at the same time I am ready to go home. It is many mixed emotions.
I would recommend VAC because the staff is very nice, welcoming and helpful. They also provide amazing trips. VAC is good with placement and fitting people with organizations.
Just sign up now!
Submitted by Danielle B - - | August 01, 2017
I chose Cape Town as a place to intern abroad because I was looking for somewhere different, but also spoke English. I had no idea how special South Africa would end up being. I stayed here just short of 7 weeks and coming here, that seemed like the longest time. But as my stay comes to an end, I would easily stay twice as long, as my time here flew by. I could not have asked for a better internship. I interned at Mothership Studios, a music and audio design company. The company was just two people, which was ideal for me because I was given one on one attention and allowed to sit in with my supervisor during voice overs, recordings, and sound design sessions. I learned loads, from making cappuccino, to the proper way to coil cables, to the audio editing program Pro Tools, to how to interact with clients and co workers on a real, professional level. I was extremely fortunate to work with two of the kindest, most talented, and best teachers I have ever met. I gained experience in a field I hope to enter when I graduate and got to assist in the editing of radio commercials, podcasts, children’s songs, and more.
What I loved most about living in Cape Town is the culture. It is truly a unique place, where they take any occasion to dance and embrace everyone they meet. It is also without debate the most beautiful city in the world, with it’s special combination of mountains, ocean, and city life.
I would highly recommend this program to others and suggest no hesitation in applying now. I am incredibly fortunate to have had South Africa impact me over the past weeks and cannot wait to return.
Michelle's Cape Town reflection
Submitted by Michelle F - University of Colorado at Boulder | August 01, 2017
I chose Cape Town in kind of a rush of drama as my previous plans for my public health practicum fell through and I desperately needed something else I could do. Through my roommate Alyssa I found VAC and was able to get placed with Health Systems Trust to satisfy that requirement. I have said all summer/winter that I hit the absolute jackpot with HST as an internship. They have been the most supportive people at the best possible site, and they go above and beyond to make sure I learn and have an educational experience. I've never worked somewhere with a better culture than HST.
They sent me to Eastern Cape for data collection for 4 days not because they really needed another person there, but because they knew it would be an educational experience for me and they wanted me to see more of South Africa than Cape Town. They have really given me a large amount of freedom of work, letting me choose projects I'm interested in and work on them - I got to do lots of cool work in data analysis and also in reproductive health. I'm going to be very sad to leave HST and all the amazing people I've worked with there.
I loved living in Obs and the amazing friends I made here - Having a community to go on adventures with makes everything so much better. I thought about not living in Obs and instead living closer to work, but I'm so glad I decided to stay in Obs. I like my current house at Freeland Lodge very much - I'm actually glad Rent-A-Room was full because Freeland Lodge was a MUCH better deal for me. It was almost half the price and included wifi and electricity, with the only catch being that I share a room, which I really didn't mind at all.
I plan to recommend this program to others for sure! Especially those I know are actually interested in learning about another culture. I stayed for 2 months which was about the perfect amount, I think, because on the one hand I'm starting to really miss home, but on the other hand I'm still going to be heartbroken to leave. South African culture is so rich and beautiful and it's going to be really hard to leave. I am considering UCT for my PhD work, now!
Submitted by Amanda - Ohio State University | July 28, 2017
The things I have seen and the things I have done are impossible to describe in a few sentences. Being able to grow and learn every waking second, even on my walk to the grocery store, have been such a blessing. I have learned so much about myself interning at Ihata Shelter, but also through the painfully slow, overly friendly, and incredibly unique African culture. But if one thing stands out to me the most, this place has taught me a lot about love. Loving every single person I meet, and showing them nothing but love. Loving nature, and continuing to be awestruck by it because it never gets old. And most importantly, loving myself.
I will never forget the moment when one of the women at the shelter threw her arms around me after coming back from my short trip to Johannesburg and sneaking me to her room to give me African sweets. I felt so much purpose and belonging. But I will also never forget the moment the same women, who I had so much hope for, left the shelter without finishing the program. Through my dismay and heartbreak, I was reaffirmed social work is the career for me. I will never forget that hilarious, strong, loving and beautiful woman, and she will always serve as a fuel for my future career. Cape Town has made my heart skip a million beats, but has also broken it.
The culture, the people, the adventure, the mountains, the unknown, the challenges, the thrill, the incredible friends from all parts of the world. Finally, the women at Ihata shelter, I have loved. I am still shocked these women who have seen inexplicable and deplorable hardship were still willing to accept and show so much love to the blonde American girl who says "literally" several hundred times an hour and has a concerningly difficult time understanding foreign accents.
Thank you VAC for giving this to me!!!