Gap Year Internship Program in Cape Town with VACorps

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About

The VACorps Gap Year Program is a transformative experience that will help prepare you for the world that awaits after you finish high school. You will gain real-world work experience, make new friends from all over the globe, and have the time of your life as you explore the most beautiful city in the world.

As a participant of our program, you will join a community that feels like a family. When you arrive in South Africa, we make it incredibly easy for you to adjust to life in Cape Town and call this city your home. From your very first day in the country will guide you through a comprehensive orientation that ensures you will take full advantage of every moment in South Africa.

You will immediately be networked with other participants so that you have a peer group to relate with as you quickly adapt to life in a new city you'll soon be calling home. Gap year students live together in the gap year house, which is another highlight of the VACorps Gap Year Program experience.

Highlights
  • Gain personal and professional development through your custom internship placement at a local organization in Cape Town
  • Live abroad in one of the world’s most beautiful and adventurous cities!
  • Attend VACorps Weekly Meet-Ups and culture series and discover Cape Town's beautiful sights, attractions and culture
  • Live independently in a designated GAP year house with other like minded adventurers
  • Enjoy plenty of travel opportunities to attractions like the Garden Route, Mozambique, Kruger National Park, and Cederberg Mountains

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.8 Rating
based on 20 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Housing 9.8
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.8
  • Safety 9.7
  • Growth 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 8 of 20
Default avatar
Teddy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best three months of my life

This trip was the best time of my life. I have made so many memories and experienced so many things that will stay with me for the rest of my life, including skydiving, bungee jumping, Cederberg camping weekend, and my Kruger safari trip. I met incredible people along the way who have impacted my life and changed me far more than I ever thought possible. I have learned so many things and definitely look at life differently as a result of this experience. My internship was amazing and I know the skills and knowledge that I have gained from it will benefit a lot me later in life. Cape Town is an amazing place and I will definitely be coming back here in the future and would maybe like to live here one day. Thank you so, such a VACorps team -it wouldn't have been possible without you!!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just be yourself and have fun. Don't work too hard because you don't need to.
Default avatar
Gabrielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Independence, adventure and the opportunity to explore my future career path

I chose Cape Town because it was one of the few cities that was open to American travelers at the time. I also have friends at home who were born in Cape Town and whose parents were raised there and they definitely encouraged me to go. I wanted to do an internship because I wanted to get a sense of the real world before studying it in earnest at University next year. It is hard to know what you really want to do career-wise without having any or much exposure to it. In other words, something may seem cool in theory but once you actually get there and start working in that field it may not be what you had imagined. VAC gave me the opportunity to explore my interests in hospitality before deciding that it is what I want to study in college and pursue long-term.

During my time in Cape Town, I learned that I am capable of so much more than I thought. The idea of college terrified me because of all the independence and having to figure out how to balance schoolwork with a social life and making friends with living my life and partaking in all the crazy adventures this world has to offer. It all just felt like so much to take on, but VAC gave me the opportunity to figure it out in a low-stakes environment. Yes, I was working in a professional workplace and needed to complete what was expected of me, but the mistakes I made there are not going to follow me the same way they may in college.

What I loved most about living in Cape Town was definitely the accessibility to so much. You are living right between a city, ocean, and mountains. There is just so much that you can do in Cape Town. I also enjoyed living alone with other people my age and learning together how to do it all. I will miss the energy that the gap students brought to the group. Someone always wanted to do something, so I was never bored or out of ideas of things to do. I stayed for three months and that time flew by quicker than expected. The VAC staff are nothing but incredible. I am most grateful for how they treat their program participants. They truly look at us like adults and not kids so they give us a ton of freedom but are also always there for support when needed. As a gap student, I feel that it was really up to me how involved I wanted to be with the VAC staff which I appreciate a lot. There were never any mandatory checkups or anything like that which made the environment more welcoming to stop by and say hello.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I was in the first group of gap students to arrive so I did not miss out on anything in terms of the group dynamic which I think is huge and definitely something I would suggest to other people looking at the program –– choose the earlier start option.
Default avatar
Gabrielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Independence, adventure and the opportunity to explore my future career path

I chose Cape Town because it was one of the few cities that was open to American travelers at the time. I also have friends at home who were born in Cape Town and whose parents were raised there and they definitely encouraged me to go. I wanted to do an internship because I wanted to get a sense of the real world before studying it in earnest at University next year. It is hard to know what you really want to do career-wise without having any or much exposure to it. In other words, something may seem cool in theory but once you actually get there and start working in that field it may not be what you had imagined. VAC gave me the opportunity to explore my interests in hospitality before deciding that it is what I want to study in college and pursue long-term.

During my time in Cape Town, I learned that I am capable of so much more than I thought. The idea of college terrified me because of all the independence and having to figure out how to balance schoolwork with a social life and making friends with living my life and partaking in all the crazy adventures this world has to offer. It all just felt like so much to take on, but VAC gave me the opportunity to figure it out in a low-stakes environment. Yes, I was working in a professional workplace and needed to complete what was expected of me, but the mistakes I made there are not going to follow me the same way they may in college.

What I loved most about living in Cape Town was definitely the accessibility to so much. You are living right between a city, ocean, and mountains. There is just so much that you can do in Cape Town. I also enjoyed living alone with other people my age and learning together how to do it all. I will miss the energy that the gap students brought to the group. Someone always wanted to do something, so I was never bored or out of ideas of things to do. I stayed for three months and that time flew by quicker than expected. The VAC staff are nothing but incredible. I am most grateful for how they treat their program participants. They truly look at us like adults and not kids so they give us a ton of freedom but are also always there for support when needed. As a gap student, I feel that it was really up to me how involved I wanted to be with the VAC staff which I appreciate a lot. There were never any mandatory checkups or anything like that which made the environment more welcoming to stop by and say hello.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I was in the first group of gap students to arrive so I did not miss out on anything in terms of the group dynamic which I think is huge and definitely something I would suggest to other people looking at the program to choose the earlier start option. The only bummer about the trip is seeing your friends leave and then having an empty void where they used to be. Because we all come and go at different times, this was challenging. It is also hard to be at home and seeing all the fun things everyone is still doing there. I think 2.5-3 months is the most ideal amount of time because I feel like I did everything without becoming bored and ready to move on.
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Sofia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Gap Year in Cape Town: The embodiment of work hard play hard

As I was planning my gap year, I was instantly drawn to VaCorps. The beauty of Cape Town and the opportunity to intern abroad with a group of students really interested me: there's something about living independently in a foreign city that is really hard to beat. My time in Cape Town definitely feels like the embodiment of "work hard, play hard": while we all had our own different internships and work commitments, the social aspect was definitely a huge part of why I loved my experience in Cape Town so much. I really feel like when you have a routine and have work responsibilities you're able to appreciate the city you're in much more: from sprinting to the beach after work to exploring new neighbourhoods and trying out new food markets we all really made the most out of our time in Cape Town.

I definitely learnt to be more adaptable here in Cape Town: I grew to enjoy the feeling of being out of my comfort zone and trying new things, as well as just accepting that many things in life are unpredictable. Additionally, I learnt to appreciate teamwork much more through my internship. We always worked on tasks as a team and I really valued that experience.

I love how much Cape Town has to offer: there's really nowhere else in the world in which you can go straight from a 3-hour hike to a relaxing afternoon on the beach. I'm also a huge fan of the food scene here: during my three months here in Cape Town, I've spent almost all of my Saturdays at the Old Biscuit Mill food market (it's INSANELY good).

I'm extremely grateful for the constant support VACorps provided. I knew that if I ever needed anything, even at the craziest hours of the night a VACorps staff member would pick up the phone and help out. You're really living the best of both worlds, living independently in a foreign city while having the certainty that if anything were to happen the VAC team would be there to support you.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would recommend people prepare for coming simply by speaking with previous interns and the VAC staff, it's really the only way to get a feel for the experience
Default avatar
Jared
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The most formative and exhilarating time of my life

When I discovered VACorps in September, I applied immediately on a whim, but the thought of actually coming to South Africa and doing an internship here in the midst of a pandemic seemed laughable and almost dream-like. But there was the VACorps staff, instantly walking me through the rest of my application, meeting with me with less than a few hours’ notice, asking me about my personal and professional interests and my preferred internship placement. They were so dedicated to making this happen for me, and for that, I am beyond grateful.

When I finally arrived in Cape Town, halfway across the world and knowing no one, I was so nervous. But VACorps made the transition so fluid. Within two hours of landing, we were already on a hike and then exploring the city’s neighborhoods. The orientation week was absolutely perfect; it provided an ideal mix of structure and independence such that I could instantly acclimate to my new home.

It is hard to pinpoint the highlight of this journey because every part of it has met and surpassed my expectations. My internship (where I work with and teach refugees) has been so interesting and fulfilling—I genuinely look forward to going to work each day. Weekends in Cape Town are even more amazing. There are an endless amount of once-in-a-lifetime activities to do here: snorkeling with seals, sandboarding, wine tasting, hiking Table Mountain, skydiving, bungee jumping, shark cage diving, seeing wild animals on a safari, swimming with penguins, surfing, or tanning at the most gorgeous beaches. Cape Town is undoubtedly the coolest place I have ever been to. I’ve spent three months here, and I can say with absolute certainty that I could spend three more and never run out of things to do.

I am so sad to be leaving Cape Town, but I will cherish the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had for a very long time. Coming here has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and easily the highlight of my gap year. I would recommend VACorps to any independent and adventurous individual enthusiastically and without reservation.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The work at my internship site was enriching, fulfilling, and gratifying, but only if you make it that way. The work you do can sometimes be tedious, but if you have a passion for your clients, if you realize how important your work is and how much power you have to help them, it doesn't feel slow or repetitive at all. Go in with ideas, be willing to take on new tasks and responsibilities, and help out in every way possible even if it is totally outside of your level of expertise.
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Isabel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My gap year in Cape Town: A fantastic internship, a beautiful city and lifelong friends

Being a part of VACorps has been amazing for a number of reasons. Not only did I learn about myself as an individual living alone, but I also learned about the unique cultures and people of South Africa. At my internship, I was given incredible opportunities and responsibilities that taught me more than 4 years in a classroom could have. I especially loved when I was thrown right into the deep end at my internship site and was asked to fill in for a guest on live TV on my second day of work. I loved the community here and the freedom, not to mention the insane landscape and natural beauty. I stayed for three months and enjoyed every second of it, though at some points I did feel very far from home. I loved every member of the staff and especially loved hanging out with Kholi and Kuselwa. I am grateful for the accessibility and generosity of the staff. No matter the issue, I was always able to text Oliver, Leanne, or any others with questions and the response was quick and helpful. I will miss everything about Cape Town but mostly the food and the group of interns at VACorps.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
For interns coming in, they should know that they really will be living on their own and will have to learn how to live independently.
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Julianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable experience

I found VACorps when I was looking for a program to travel and learn during the pandemic. VACorps turned out to be an extremely reliable and consistent organization that always answered my questions and shared my and my parent's values of safety, fun, and learning abroad. They placed me with an internship that aligned with my career ambitions but was more virtual than I would have liked, were very accommodating when I decided to switch internships, and found me a better fit at an NGO. While working at my internship site, I learned a lot about the inner workings of NGOs, how to propose a budget, public schools in South Africa, and much more. It was a great learning experience and will be very helpful as a resume addition in the future.

My time in Cape Town was an experience I will never forget. I made lots of friends, tried many new things I have never done before, like bungee jumping, canyoning, and paragliding, and had an overall amazing time. I especially loved the VACorps Friday activities and outings, like camping at Cederbergs, Garden Route, and Kruger. Living in Obz and getting to know the area was also great, and by the end, I definitely felt at home there.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would advise future interns to stay the full three months to get as much as possible out of their time here. Look for learning opportunities everywhere, go to every Friday activity and hike, and take every chance to try something new. Don't hesitate to reach out to the VACorps staff if you need anything. Say "yes" to everything and you will have an awesome time at VACorps!
2 people found this review helpful.
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Jules
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best decision I have ever made

I was terrified to come to Cape Town and live in an apartment with seven strangers, but after three months here I can confidently say that it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. After the first week, I had already become amazing friends with my roommates and now we are inseparable. My internship was the perfect fit for me as a future nursing student and I learned so much more than I could have imagined. I loved all of our Friday activities from wine tasting to Cape Point. But what I loved most about my time here in Cape Town was just spending time at 197 with everyone on a Friday night or going to Ferdinando’s with my roomies on two for one Tuesday. Those moments are what I will miss the most- spending time with the amazing group of people I have gotten to know here. I am so grateful to VACorps for allowing me to learn so much not just about nursing, but about South Africa and all of its beauty. It is sad to leave but I am grateful for all the memories that I get to take home with me.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would recommend that any future intern in the nursing program be prepared to see all types of wounds and all kinds of patients. As an intern, we aren't allowed to help with the actual wound care but sometimes you need to be there to hold the patient's hand or talk them through a painful procedure.
3 people found this review helpful.