VACorps - Cape Town Engineering, Arts, and more Internships

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About

The Volunteer Adventure Corps is a unique organization that has transformed the lives of countless young adventurers through careful program design and a sincere passion for what we do. We at VACorps steadfastly continue our time-honored tradition of creating legends; bold African adventurers who will speak about their experiences in Cape Town, South Africa and its neighboring countries for the rest of their lives.

We create customized internship placements in Cape Town, South Africa for students and young professionals in all fields of interest. Our diverse and extensive list of companies and organizations will give you the opportunity to intern within the field of your choice! Whatever your interests, we will aid you in achieving your goals while you explore one of the world's most vibrant cities.

We're a full-service program dedicated to providing our participants with a life-changing experience in the Mother City, both personally and professionally.

Highlights
  • Tailor-made internship placements in all fields of interest.
  • 24/7 Support. We're your safety net throughout your time in Cape Town and here for you every step of the way.
  • Weekly Friday Excursions that are included in your program cost.
  • Program Housing: all our interns live together in program neighborhood of 'Obz'.
  • Program extras: from Xhosa-language lessons, meal plans, to 10-day VAC Travel trips, we have your African adventure covered!

Questions & Answers

A 6-month internship is $3250, or $300 for each additional month after 3 months.
I worked for a fashion based video production company called Big Sky Productions in Cape Town. I would scout locations, photograph casting calls, help out on set, shadow the producers in pitch meetings, general maintenance of the office, as well as shoot my own projects for the company using their gear. I would work some days until the wee hours of the night, and other days I was in before the sun...

Reviews

96%
based on 44 reviews
  • Growth 9.4
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 44
Hannah
10/10

Most Amazing Experience

I've been wanting to come to Cape Town for as long as I can remember, so when I heard about VAC I was so excited for the chance to intern in this wonderful city. I interned at a small marketing agency for 8 weeks in Observatory. At my site learned valuable skills that I know will help me in the future. My favorite part about Cape Town has been the abundance of things to do while here. The garden route was my favorite activity while I was here. In one weekend I went bungee jumping, walked with an elephant, kayaked in a beautiful river, and went on a big five safari. This country is so beautiful and has so much to explore. VAC helped me feel welcomed and comfortable with the transition of coming here and that is something I will be forever grateful for. They were always open to answer any questions I had. I am going to miss Cape Town and VAC so much!

Yes, I recommend
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Tania
8/10

Is This Program For You & How To Make The Most of Your Trip <3

This review is from the perspective of a low-income student and Gilman scholar who travelled abroad for the first time. I chose a program with VA Corps that allowed me to do a Psychology Internship Abroad.

Pros & Cons of Price Tip 1# Plan 6months in Advance & Get SCHOLARSHIPS

This program is one of the most expensive that I have seen. Since I started applying two months before the deadline I missed the deadline for a lot of scholarships. I was honest about my financial situation and the program was more than willing to help me find scholarships. They offer scholarships for different locations and organization affiliations. For example, as a Gilman scholar I was able to receive a scholarship from the gooverseas program. If you are a student from any western country the currency exchange is great. If you are a low-income student do not be discouraged by the price. I was able to do the program and I do not regret it at all.

Pros & Cons of Being Placed In An Internship Tip 2# Be flexible

A lot of my professors warned me about interning abroad because they have had a lot of poor experiences. My placement was a mixed bag. I originally came to do an occupational therapy internship but I was placed as a psychology intern after my arrival. I was offered a different internship but after a week of bonding with teachers and students I decided to stick with my program. I still talk with the teacher who mentored me in SA. She welcomed me into her home and often brought different SA foods for me to try. We also still message over FB. If you are more rigid I recommend a different program but if you are willing to take things as they come you will do great.

Pros & Cons of Housing Tip #3 Opt for the Better Housing

A highlight of this program is the choice of excellent housing! I choose the best housing option possible and it was a highlight. I only had 4 housemates at a time and we truly bonded. Other interns tended to have way too many housemates and cliques. People who opted to choose their own housing did not like it very much.

Pros & Cons of Social Life Tip #4 Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

The VACorps planned amazing trips. I had the time of my life with some of the best people I have ever met. I cannot express to you the quality of people that I was blessed enough to meet and it happened through going on the planned trips. We went zip lining through mountains, surfing, hiking, and wine tasting. Out of all of those things the surfing took the most courage I had just taken a course called Survival Swimming and I did not have a lot of confidence in water. I also had never been in the ocean before. I got in the water a little bit and a ripple from a wave hit me and I thought "OMG this thing is alive". I walked right back to the beach and said "No way! I would like to live to see another day". Then an instructor came out and convinced me to try again and I did. That experience allowed me to become comfortable with experiencing more. That confidence has never left me. The only con is that you may have to talk with your supervisor so that you can go on these wonderful trips but that shouldn't be a problem.

How can this program be improved?
This program could improve by improving transparency about confirming an internship site. As I mentioned before, I initially wanted to do an occupational therapy internship and was placed as a psychology intern because I have a degree in Psychology. I did express that I was not satisfied and better options were provided. So be vocal if this happens to you and I am 99.5% sure that they will help match with another organization. You have to be vocal if you have issues at your site.
Yes, I recommend
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Alex
10/10

Cape Town, and VAC, Changed My Life Forever

I would like to offer my utmost thanks to the lovely, empathatic, compassionate, and hopspitably-heroic humans that make up VAC; from Carmen, who picked me up at the airport upon my arrival and welcomed me with ahomely warmth and her ever-present grin, to Oliver, who came down to Muizenberg—the suburb of my internship—for a surf and lunch check-in long after I had finished my time with VAC, everyone involved deserves a thousand cheers and then some for their beautiful creation. VAC allows young adults to not only see THE most beautiful (historically, culturally, physically, and otherwise) city on Earth, but to hear, immerse, grasp, and truly feel Cape Town like no other program I have prior experienced. VAC provided the safety net I needed when assimilating myself with the surrounding environment, and, when it was time to do so, I flew, like a baby bird, out of VAC’s motherly watch and fortified nest, and saw, felt, and met the bona fide Cape Town. Not just people, but true friends I made in Cape Town. Friends, whom after a mere 5 momths together, I can safely say may as well be my best friends for life. Cape Town allowed me to see all the good, all the bad, and all else, and now, I truly believe...

Yes, I recommend
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Chieh-Hui
10/10

Unforgettable once in a lifetime experience

Being able to volunteer in Cape Town during my college career was life-changing to me. College times could be frustrating, confusing at times trying to figure out what is your true passion, who you are, and what are you looking for in the future... Having the chance to explore Cape Town, volunteering at various facilities and learning about their unique culture, values and history by interacting with the local communities, I've definitely found it the amazing way to self-learning and expand my vision.
I really appreciated the opportunity VACorps has given me to be able to travel with a group of intelligent and passionate young individuals and experienced professors/leaders that guided us to learn about being open-minded, being respectful, being curious about cultural backgrounds, being humble to history and appreciate the community, relationships, education, kindness and grow from experience to understand who I truly am in order to make more mature decisions after graduation.
I definitely recommend this program to all undergraduate students (junior/senior) to participate this, it will become an "unforgettable once in a lifetime experience" that will forever take a big part of our memories and growth.

Yes, I recommend
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Emu
10/10

Best City in the World for an Internship

I wasn't sure what to expect from this trip, but I can tell you now that it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. VACorps was super communicative and on top of things during the application process and while I was there. Although I didn't stay near the other VAC students, it ended up working out really well and I was still involved in the weekly activities.

Speaking of activities, VAC always made sure to have something new planned each week (there was never a repeat!) and there were several trip opportunities as well as Monday night Xhosa lessons which were super interesting.

I interned for a small film company in City Central and the people there were just amazing. My boss took me under his wing, making sure I learned every detail of filmmaking and got hands on experience working on sets or editing. When work was slower in January (because holiday just ended), he would give feedback on my work, helping me to improve, and would have me watch and write a review on different influential films. My other coworkers were also super talented and kind, and I definitely felt at home working with all them! I even got to see them again when they visited NYC!

The city of Cape Town, itself, was the cherry on top of the whole trip. The place is absolutely stunning; there's a beautiful view of Table Mountain almost everywhere and there is always so much to do (hiking, wine tasting, garden concerts, surfing, etc.). People there are so friendly and you're almost guaranteed to make great friends from all over the world.

I do have two pieces of advice- if you're internship is based in City Center, look for housing near there so you can walk to work, plus you'd be surrounded by great nightlife and lots of activities. I didn't find Observatory to be that exciting and the AirBnB hostel I stayed at downtown was perfect as there were other interns and travelers there I befriended. My second piece of advice is to make the most of it. Even when you're tired, go watch the sunset on Signal Hill or go to First Thursdays. You'll look back on those moments when it's over!

Overall, I definitely would recommend VACorps and Cape Town to any interested student. You will love it!

Yes, I recommend
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Hailey
9/10

Wonderful Adventure

VAcorps provided just enough support and assistance to really make the trip what we wanted of it. We we're not coddled which allowed us to explore Cape Town to the fullest. The internships were interesting, but make sure to clearly communicate what you want to do and expectations, if not you may not get the experience you hoped for. That being said the staff was very accommodating with any concerns or issues. Definitely take the chance to explore the views, local culture, and if you have time drive along the garden route for an amazing time. This program is excellent for travelers who want to take an active role in the process but may not be as good for more passive or unconfident travelers.

How can this program be improved?
Communication between the internship sites, staff and interns could use improvement.
Yes, I recommend
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Cassie
10/10

Legend

Without VAC I would not be who I am today. I started at an internship that wasn’t the best fit for me but VAC listened and made adjustments and got me into the most perfect job experience I could hope for. 8 years later and I am still working in the same field! The living situation was amazing. I lived with people from all over the world, it was easy for everyone to get along because we had so much in common. VAC taught me so much about growing as a person and respecting different cultures I am still trying to hit a new country every year and expand my travel experience. I still keep in touch with many of the people in my program! My advice to anyone looking to explore or have a new experience or a new start or just expand your knowledge is to get out of your comfort zone and take a chance and you will be rewarded with forever friends and memories.

How can this program be improved?
The program was very laid back. On “Africa time.” My only suggestion might be that they try to be more organized? But that is difficult when you are dealing with so many free spirits <3
Yes, I recommend
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Manuel
10/10

Business Startup Internship

Background: I had just graduated from University and I did not have any internship experience. I searched for a possible place to go, and South Africa caught my eye! It was far from home and so pretty based on the youtube videos / pictures I saw.

Application: I applied and the process was fast, straightforward. I received my placement and began emailing with someone direct from VAC. They provided a really detailed what to expect document. Seriously I knew everything I needed to know before arriving.

1st Day: My 1st day two people went with me to the train station and took me direct to the office building I would call the office for the next several months. My internship was amazing! learned so much and inspired me to love startup ecosystem.

Activities via VAC: Every Friday we would go and do activities, now these would vary. Sometimes it was a hike, or going to the Winelands, Tea tasking, To events around the city. Seriously anything - and take advantage of it. When I arrived I knew no one, a week into it I became close with the people I lived with. Then when I went on an activity right after that I became so close with everyone. I still try to keep in contact with them, even those who live in my State.

My Internship: I had a really open office, we all became close to one another. We sometimes would play cricket inside the building. I got the chance with some seriously brilliant people, they were so impressive to be around. I was luck enough to get another internship with one of the companies after my “main” internship and that turned into an even more! We became so close! I even came back to Cape town to intern again with them, and then decided to stay longer 2 times after that.

If you have questions: VAC was so helpful when it came to any problems or questions I may have, they were just a WhatsApp away! Plus the houses we lived in were so cool, pretty, clean, and also AMAZING friends were made.

Post VAC: To tell you how much VAC has affected my life, I was able to intern for a long time, made brilliant connections in Cape Town's startup world. Met some friends for a lifetime. I was able to return to Cape Town and be with another startup. And finally - when I returned home I was able to get my dream job at a startup in my home city and in the exact role. When talking about my experiences that made me qualified for the job I regularly referred back to my experiences in Cape Town. I should also mention, when I arrived I actually had no idea what I had planned to do as a career, well VAC put me on the path I am on right now. Working in operations at a tech startup in Chicago.

Best Memories: Waking up for a hike on the MANY mountains that surround the city. Being able to be part of some major events at my work. Also my work, we use to go on outings together to help become closer. Going to many tourist sites all over the city multiple times. Even the simplest experiences like binge-watching Lord of the Rings in our house with all of our roommates. All these memories will last me a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
Honestly, I am having a hard time thinking of things. I guess maybe the only tip I can think of is more on an applicant side. I recommend that an applicant really ask questions, make sure to just make a list and send them. Trust me they will go out of the way to help you and answer anything for you. They provide a lot of info off the bat. Like where to get cash, how to get around, basic sites to see, how to pay for electricity etc.
Yes, I recommend
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Margaret
10/10

Life Changing Internship Abroad

I spent three months as an intern in Cape Town, South Africa and I learned so much. It was truly a life-changing experience! My internship was challenging, yet essential to my professional growth and VACorps is to thank for the opportunity. The program provided everything I needed and supported me fully through it all. Everything regarding my internship and the VACorps program exceeded all of my expectations.
Not only did this internship guide me to understand cross-cultural differences in the workplace, it also gave me a unique and unmatched experience that I wouldn’t have gotten if I’d stayed in the U.S. It helped open my mind to new ideas about politics, geography, language, socioeconomic status and so much more. I experienced a city that is more fiscally divided than any place I’ve been, a place where corruption, crime and hunger are all too common. But I also experienced more love and acceptance there than any other place I’ve been. The people I met were welcoming, loving and eager to get their stories out and to learn about my work and where I came from. I experienced a sense of community and respect for others, and I saw hope everywhere I looked, and going to another country than yours offers a more enriched learning experience on all fronts.
Living in an area so rich in culture and diversity gave me a new perspective on life and allowed me to absorb an incredible amount of history, cuisine, stories, people — the list goes on. The experience fueled my passion for traveling, and I learned that although sometimes discomforting, change will bring happiness. And without a doubt, I believe the best way to bring variation to life is through travel.

Yes, I recommend
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Daniel
10/10

Cape Town Service Learning Trip

Traveling to Cape Town has had an amazing impact on my life. Being submerged in this culture has allowed me to grow as an individual through the meaningful and amazing connections I formed. I volunteered at Site B clinic in Khayelitsha and collaborating with the nurses and doctors here have made me a better registered nurse here in the United States. My favorite memory of this trip I had was going to an authentic South African barbecue and playing with the children on the street. This trip has only benefitted my life and has allowed me to succeed in my college and nursing careers because of having this exposure to diversity.

How can this program be improved?
I don’t have any recommendations for improvement. I believe the organization provided excellent service throughout the 3 week trip.
Yes, I recommend
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Gabriela
10/10

VACorps -SA

This was an experience of a lifetime! I had the best time in Cape Town. My internship provided me with opportunities I would have otherwise not had without VACorps. I learned more than I could have ever imagined as a medical intern due to the fact that I got hands on experience as an undergrad student. On top of that, the friendships I made were incredible. The staff were always there and wanted us to explore. They helped us plan excursions and even sometimes came with us! I would go back in a heartbeat.

Yes, I recommend
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McKown
10/10

Formative Life Experience

I had a truly formative life experience during my time as an intern with Volunteer Adventure Corps. Not only was the work I was doing fulfilling and life changing, but I found that the camaraderie with other interns, immersion into South African culture, and the intern outings shaped my perception of influence. I was able to realize the value and importance of how things that are unknown to me allow me to develop a fuller and truer sense of myself and my surroundings. Specifically, I developed curriculum and instruction for a nonprofit organization. I lived with interns and local Cape Town residents that helped encourage fun outings and memories. I also was able to fully realize my passion for adventure and thrill seeking during my time in Cape Town. I was able to go shark-cage-diving, bungee jumping, visit an elephant sanctuary, go on a safari, and gain PADI scuba certification.

Yes, I recommend
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Sara
10/10

Ubuntu

While interning for VA Corps in South Africa 5 years ago, I learned the word Xhosa word Ubuntu which translates to "I am as we are." Since this experience that saying has become a way of life to me. To say my internship was life changing would be an understatement. It has shaped my career as a physical therapist, it has given me a motto for life of kindness and openness to others and gave me a clearer understanding of what a vision of togetherness means. As an example, I was a physical therapy intern at Athlone School for the blind. One of my favorite memories was when a bus driver saw the children with visual imairments playing soccer and said " I thought this was a school for the blind" and I proudly stated "It is. " Together we can help each other to see the world.

Yes, I recommend
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Ryan
10/10

My VAC Experience

My experience as a VACorps volunteer in Cape Town, SA really opened my eyes to a whole other side of the world. I was able to gain useful knowledge and skills that have helped guide me to my career as a future physician assistant. My time in South Africa also enhanced my cultural awareness and understand of South African culture and history which has given me a deeper interest in learning about other world cultures. Being a VACorps volunteer teaches you things that you cannot read in a book or watch in a documentary.

How can this program be improved?
The security could use a greater improvement and finding safer areas to house volunteers. Maybe add more cultural and technical training prior to the start of service.
Yes, I recommend
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Hollie
10/10

I Love VACorps

I could write a novel about all of the things I have learned while being in South Africa. I chose Cape Town originally for the amazing scenic views. I pictured myself laying on the beach, climbing mountains, and seeing wild animals. When I arrived, I did all of that and so much more. My favorite part of being here was learning about the culture and people of South Africa. Everyone I met here was so inviting and friendly. I learned how to ask for help when I needed it, take chances, and slow down. I found tranquility in nature as well as the busy streets of the city.

At my internship site, I was overwhelmed by the differences in the school system at first. Luckily, I found that everyone at the school was so willing to help me learn as a professional as well as share my experience and ideas freely. I was able to try educational practices I had learned in my college courses without worrying if it would work or not. My mentor was always helping me along the way. We celebrated my failures and successes. I learned how to work along side of professionals in my field. I cried on my last day of teaching as I hugged and said goodbye to the students who helped me feel so at home in South Africa. I was thanked by all of the teachers, some I barely spent time with, and felt so appreciated.

I will never forget the mountains, the beaches, the Addo and the garden route, but I will miss the people I have met here and friendships I have formed the most. After about two and half months of being here, I am so sad to leave. I feel like a different person leaving here. I am more knowledgeable about the world, people’s perspectives, who I am and who I want to become in the future. I want to thank VACorps staff for holding my hand along the way but also letting me go on my own to explore this beautiful country. I know I will be back someday soon.

How can this program be improved?
It can’t!
Yes, I recommend

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About VACorps

The VACorps internship program creates custom placements in Cape Town, South Africa. We consistently receive rave reviews from program participants, parents and university administrators alike because we devote all our energy to one purpose --...