Occupational Therapy Internships in Cape Town

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, VACorps has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

About

Occupational Therapy is a very rewarding field and we will work with you to source an ideal internship site that meets your professional goals. Students with a strong theoretical understanding of human anatomy/physiology, developmental psychology and/or prior experience working in rehabilitative settings should consider an OT internship in Cape Town. We have placed program participants at internship sites in the following occupational therapy settings:

Children and youth occupational therapy
Geriatric occupational therapy
Health and wellness occupational therapy
Mental health occupational therapy
Rehabilitative occupational therapy

Our occupational therapy program is well suited to those looking to fulfill graduate school requirements and/or for those already enrolled in master's degree programs.

We also offer opportunities in audiology and speech therapy. You can contact admissions@vacorps.com for more information.

Highlights
  • Tailored internship placement in a professional setting
  • 24/7 On-the-Ground Support
  • Weekly Cultural Excursions
  • Program Housing
  • Weekly Culture Series

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.5 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Growth 10
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 8.3
  • Safety 8
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
Default avatar
Isabelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cape Town stole my heart

I stumbled upon the VACorps website while google searching for summer internships and instantly fell in love with the idea of coming to Cape Town for an occupational therapy internship, as it is tough to find OT internships without a complete degree. This opportunity combined my passions of traveling, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, occupational therapy, and most importantly working with children with disabilities.

My time at my internship site has been nothing short of amazing. My mornings at Normpumelelo School were full of hugs and love from countless kiddos. After only a week of being there and shadowing, I was given my own children to see and have my own therapy sessions with the children. One of my biggest accomplishments has been working one on one with the children and getting to run my own sessions. I learned through observing a session with the OT working with a child with cerebral palsy. The child is in a wheelchair and was not getting enough one on one attention from therapists because of how many children there are to see and lack of time. I observed as the occupational therapists ran a session full of stretching the muscles that she normally did not use while sitting in a wheelchair all day. After that she ran various activities with the child to work on strengthening different areas of development including gross and fine motor skills as well as coordination. After observing, the next day I began my own sessions with the child. Although I was a bit overwhelmed about the responsibility of lifting and moving the child on my own, I knew I had the abilities and knowledge to run a great session. I felt extremely accomplished just after running one session by myself, going through all the different stretches I was taught and coming up with creative activities to help with various areas of development. Throughout the session, the look on the child's face made me realize that what I was doing was making a difference. No money or objects can replace the look of joy on a child's face that you helped create. After painting a butterfly at the end, I returned her to her classroom and she immediately asked "when will you get me again?", in this moment my heart was full. I couldn't wait to see her again. Throughout the next 2 weeks I continued to stretch and do therapy with her as much as possible. I loved every moment with her and strengthening a relationship with her. Seeing her smiling face has made every moment so worth it and amazing. Working with her and seeing her improve has been one of my biggest accomplisments. Another favorite time of mine was running group therapy sessions and using the older students to help with the kids. It is amazing to see how well they work with the little ones. Walking outside during break time was one of my favorite times, I was always attacked by kiddos giving hugs and just wanting some love and attention. Many of my afternoons consisted of playing basketball with the teenage boys, and one of the best moments was making a basket and gaining their respect. I have been so happy that my experience has been so hands on and I have learned so much that I will use in the future. Not only have I learned a lot occupational therapy skills, but I have learned so much about the culture. The way the school is run is so different than at home and it has been amazing to get to learn about the academics and teaching in Gugulethu. My first and last days at this school were full of emotion and tears from the love I felt while there. Nompumelelo Special School will always have a very special place in my heart and I am already thinking about when I will be able to return.

My 12 weeks in Cape Town flew by and I wish I could go back and do it all over again. I have dreaded sitting in the office and completing my final reflection, I never thought the time would come. I have never felt as alive as I have in South Africa. My time in South Africa has absolutely been the best months of my life. Every moment has been better than I could have ever imagined. I absolutely love Cape Town and everything that goes along with it. Throughout these two months I have been able to do more that I ever thought including surfing, scuba diving, hiking, beaching, and exploring various markets and eaten some of the best food ever. Cape Town has so much to offer, and I love that I have never been bored and always have a new area to explore. The beauty of Cape Town in incomparable to any other place I have ever been. One moment you can be in the mountains hiking with insane views of Cape Town below, the next moment you can be on the beach in Camps Bay enjoying the sunset with the mountains behind you. If you are an adrenaline junkie, Cape Town is for you. Anything from paragliding, skydiving, scuba diving, or jumping off the highest bungee jump in the world, all in South Africa. More important than any activity is the friendships and memories that I have created while in Cape Town. People here are so open to meeting new people and are easy to connect with. The diverse group of people I have bonded with in Cape Town will always be close to my heart.

The VACorps staff has been absolutely incredible every second of my time here. My program advisor, Carmen, made this experience incredible. The staff was always there to assist me in any way that I needed and always excited to help. The activities every Friday were an amazing way to bond with the other interns and staff members. Some of my favorites were the Braai at Mama Sulis, Cape Point and surfing in Muizenberg. The bond I have formed with the staff is indescribable and I look forward to coming back to visit them as soon as possible. I could not be happier with the VACorps program as a whole, my internship experience and the staff members.

By the end of my time here, I can honestly say I feel like a "Capetonian" . I will miss the beauty, culture and people the most. I have made some of the best memories and relationships in Cape Town that I know will last forever. Thank you for the time of my life Cape Town and VACorps, I promise I will be back soon. Until next time South Africa, I love you.

Default avatar
Christian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 2 1/2 Months of my Life

Coming to Cape Town was definitely the best decision I have ever made! I would not change my experience here one bit. After being here for 2 1/2 months, I really started to feel more like a local living here. I loved being able to do an internship here in the field of study I want to work in but also get to enjoy all the activities Cape Town has to offer. Some of my favorite activities to do include going to Signal Hill to watch the sunset, going to Old Biscuit Mill on Saturday mornings, renting bikes to ride at Seapoint, and going to Mzansi which is a local restaurant in Langa, a township here. VAC was super helpful throughout the whole process, as I had many questions before arriving. I loved all the weekly activities they planned for the interns, especially the braai in Khayelitsha! All the staff here made me feel super welcome and I loved getting to know so many of them! Another part of my time here that I enjoyed was going on the Mozambique trip. This was one of the highlights of my time here and the friendships made there will last a lifetime. I highly recommend taking advantage of this trip as it is planned out by the staff so you don't have to worry about the details of the trip. Overall my time in Cape Town has been the best 10 weeks of my life and I would do it all again in a heartbeat!

Sydney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sydney Dodson- Cape Town/ VAC

I chose to come to Cape Town because I was looking for an amazing travel and work experience. During this process of looking for what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, I came across the VACorps program and it seemed like the perfect fit, and it has been amazing! My favorite part about Cape Town has been the beautiful scenery everywhere. The mountains and the oceans are visible on any drive or any hike, which is something I do not see at home. A few of my favorite activities have been watching the sunset, especially on Signal Hill. Another one of my favorite activities was hanging out with the kids during the braai at Khayelitsha. Through working at my internship site and spending time here in Cape Town, I have furthered my love of children and my desire to help others. Although I was only in Cape Town for a short 4.5 weeks, I have grown and met life-long friends. I would advise others to stay for at least 6 weeks if possible because there is so much to do in Cape Town! This has truly been an amazing experience.

Default avatar
Anna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cape Town Farewell

I will be that cliché person to say that this trip has not only transformed my life, but changed my persona forever. I came to VAC with the main hope to gain professional experience. Unsure on what I would gain from Cape Town personally and culturally, I shortly realized the lessons I have learned are ones that will stay with me for a lifetime. One of my biggest challenges in life thus far has been getting out of the United States to experience new cultures. The best decision that I possibly could have made was choosing Cape Town, South Africa to broaden my horizons, and I thank VAC for being my liaison. How can I possibly find the right words to explain my incredible, nearly indescribable 7-week experience? Originally thinking that 7 weeks was too long, I only learned it was not nearly enough time in the most beautiful city that I have ever experienced.

On a professional scale, what I gained from my internship was more than any amount of money could teach me. In all earnest, I could not have been placed at a more perfect internship site. I worked at Tembaletu alongside staff that welcomed me with open arms and treated me like family. At Tembaletu, I went to work alongside Occupational Therapists who I had the pleasure to observe while also doing my own independent projects. One of my favorite things I did while interning was going to the beautiful area of Constantia for hippotherapy where the students did rehabilitation by riding horses.

Outside of my internship, VAC had provided me the opportunity to make a large group of friends that I know will be nothing short of lifelong friendships. From there, we indulged ourselves in the South African experience and culture through a plethora of activities: climbing Cape Town’s most beautiful mountains, going on safaris at Kruger national park while sleeping in bungalows (courtesy of VAC's Thomas Hill), interacting with elephants, baby lions and monkeys, frequenting the Forex, visiting weekend markets, sunset cruises a regular routine, and lastly never passing up a weekly Friday VAC activity.

Words cannot describe how much I will miss the vibrant, creative, and charming atmosphere of South Africa. The finger prints of the South African people and coordinates will surely never fade from my heart.