VACorps Internships in Cape Town

Video and Photos

Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
Riley Jay - Cape Town - Internship
table mountain
table mountain
table mountain
table mountain
Tuning the Vine
Tuning the Vine
Mzolis
Mzolis
Signal Hill
Signal Hill

About

VACorps 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-honoured tradition of creating legends; bold African adventurers who will speak about their experiences in Cape Town, South Africa and its neighbouring countries for the rest of their lives.

We create tailored 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 are a full-service program dedicated to providing our participants with a safe and life-changing experience in the Mother City.

Highlights
  • Tailored Internship Placements
  • 24/7 On-the-Ground Safety & Support Services
  • Weekly Cultural Excursions
  • Program Housing
  • Weekly Culture Series

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

95%
based on 62 reviews
  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.9
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 15 of 62
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Kristy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VACorps provided me an opportunity to explore it while meeting likeminded young people

I am so grateful that VACorps put me at NICRO to work on human rights law with Kelly Stone and Venessa Padayachee as my supervisors. I have learned so much in the past month and a half– not only about myself and my passions, but also about the South African society, its people, its history, its issues. Kelly, Venessa, and everyone I met through this internship were so open and welcoming, bringing me to all their meetings and showing me things that were hard but necessary to see. This is probably my favourite internship that I’ve done so far. My two supervisors are extraordinary, truly respectable people who are very passionate about their work, and I am honoured to have had the privilege to work with them.

Cape Town is a beautiful city, and VACorps provided me an opportunity to explore it while meeting likeminded young people. The program gave us a lot of freedom and choice, while the support and advice was always there when needed. The VACorps staff are very approachable and I loved getting to know them through the Friday trips we did. I especially enjoyed the wine tasting and the hiking trips!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to tell Kelly and Venessa what your personal interests are, and use them to make your own contribution to their project. Also, be open to new experiences and have your thoughts challenged! Play big, as Kelly kept telling me.
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Farhana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is not a goodbye, Cape Town!

Cape Town has been a city that I have wanted to visit for a very long time due to its natural beauty and the unlimited range of activities that it can offer. However what really encouraged me to choose Cape Town for my internship was VAC. I personally did not have much experience in travelling on my own and felt quite overwhelmed trying to find an internship for myself. However, the support that VAC provides from the initial application phase, all the way to your last day in Cape Town, was a huge deciding factor for me. In my first week alone I was able to meet so many new people from all around the world. Some highlights for me was the Garden Route where I conquered my fear of heights and bungee jumped off the world tallest bridge jump. This experience was so amazing that I went on to do a tandem skydive jump a couple of weeks after!
My internship has been a whole other experience in itself. I have loved working with my close knit family at TCOE. They have offered me so much both in terms of desk and field experience. Through them I was able to travel to the Eastern Cape multiple times for research that will prove beneficial for my university studies.
What I will miss the most about Cape Town is the nature, (having discovered a new found love for hiking), the coffee (Dolce Bakery serves the best coffee and bagels!), the food (Obs is just amazing for its range of restaurants) and all the amazing new people I have met in my 10 weeks here. I am very sad my time in Cape Town has come to an end, but it definitely is not a goodbye

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The host site provides interns with some brilliant hands on experience; both desk and field. They work really give you projects that are relevant to your studies or interests. My tip to really get the most out of your site would be to go in with a sociable and positive outlook. The office is small and close knit, so building solid relationships with your colleagues is really beneficial. Building these connections and relations helps opens up more opportunities for learning, resources and guidance to support your work. I was tasked with a project that enabled me to travel a lot for research, attend workshops and really interact with the women that we were working with. One of many tasks that I did was research, design and create a health pamphlet to educate women on the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Finally my major project was to create a training manual that volunteers would use and reference in order to train mothers and teachers on the effects of FAS. This was truly a challenging task, as it was something I have never done before, but I have definitely learnt a great deal. And generally just gaining experience with working at an NGO was good.
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I love Cape Town

I chose Cape Town for the culture difference and the new experiences! I came here alone and I am so glad because it really made me step out of my comfort zone and meet the best people from all around the world. My internship was a medical internship and I gained so much knowledge here about the medical field and Cape Town. The hiking and beaches here are unbelievably breathtaking! I will miss the views and the people! Everyone should travel as much as they can if they have a chance!

I have gained experience and interacted with patients more than I ever have in America. It was cool to meet and listen to the SA language as well.

My tips for future interns going to my same internship site would be to be ready to see interesting stuff! Keep your eyes open.

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Payton
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Medical Internship in Cape Town

I originally decided to do a medical internship after I graduated from college just to get more experience in the medical field but as I arrived and started thinking about my time in Cape Town I believe it was much more than just getting experience. I felt as if I took a leap of faith and truly got out of my comfort zone which was one of the greatest feelings. I believe my month spent in Cape Town instilled in me an immense amount of growth and confidence. One of my favorite things about interning in Cape Town was the beauty and variety of cultures that exist there. One of the aspects of the VACorps program that I was most grateful for was the people I met through the program. They truly made Cape Town feel like home and each person I met had such an amazing outlook on life. The people and the beauty of the city is something that I miss the most. Overall, one piece of advise I would give to people who are coming to do an intership would be to be completely open to meeting new people and trying new things. By simply saying "yes" that choice can change your life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My tip for future interns at my site would be to really be assertive and intentionally ask doctors or nursing staff if you can help them. The workers and staff are not there to hold your hand but if you show to them that you want to learn they will teach you.
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Vimbayi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'm so grateful for this program, all the people I met, and all the things I learned.

I have visited Cape Town multiple times before, and because of that, I knew it to be an amazing and beautiful place filled with wonderful people, great food, and many things to do. I wanted to do an internship that would help me decide if I want to commit to a career path, rather than going through years of school just to find out that it's not the correct path for me.
I was here in Cape Town for only four weeks. The time flew by in the blink of an eye. Although I'm excited to go see my friends and family back in the US, I wish I could've stayed here longer...for at least six weeks.
A piece of advice I would give people is that if you come in the winter and you're not used to cold weather, bring lots of layers! Maybe even a space heater! Coming from Massachusetts I'm used to the cold, but I saw a lot of people wishing they had warmer clothes for the colder days.
The staff here at VACorps are some of the most kind-hearted and lovely people I've ever met, who I will remember forever and ever and come to visit next time I'm in Cape Town!
I'm so grateful for this program, all the people I met, and all the things I learned.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Choose people to go here who don't need to follow a strict schedule, don't need someone constantly looking over their shoulder, and who doesn't mind doing the best work they can with or without a strict deadline to meet (but who can manage their time and will get the work done ASAP).
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Jamie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience changed my life and my perspective on things

This trip was one of the most eye opening experiences i have ever done. I learned so much about myself and am well prepared to travel more. I never wanted to travel much because i love my home but after this trip, it opened a door for me to go to so many new places. I already planned my next trip!

I can easily say South Africa changed my life and my perspective on things. I am speechless when it comes to explaining how amazing my trip is. I became so close with so many students and VAC employees and will cherish these friendships forever.

During my internship experience in Cape Town I learnt a lot about myself, I met amazing people, became more confident in myself and stepped out of my comfort zone! I joined for the VACorps Mozambique-Kruger adventure and I would definitely advise all interns to join for this trip if they had the opportunity.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have packed better for the cold, wet Cape Town winter weather
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Witold
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The most amazing journey of my life

The reason why I decided to intern in Cape Town was because I wanted to experience something where I will never get to experience in my life time. So, with Cape Town, it was a brand new start for me and it became the most amazing journey of my life. While interning in Cape Town, the thing that I loved the best is coming in every day and putting a smile on every students' faces. Also, I loved the environment and the other physios I worked with. All the physios were great and I learned so much from them. One thing I learned about myself during my time in Cape Town is that I am very fortunate of the things I have back home. Coming here was definitely a cultural and experiencing it changed my views of things. Some highlights from my site that I will never forget are seeing students land for the first time after surgery, students coming up to you giving hugs, the love that all the staff and student give, and just making some type of impact on a child's life. The thing that I loved most about living here is that there is so much you can experience and do every day. Also, love the part where a lot of things are walking distance so you can just walk somewhere and hang out with friends. I will definitely miss all the people that I met here. I made great connections with people all around the world and learned so much about their backgrounds/cultures. So, I was supposed to stay in CT for two months but unfortunately could only stay for one. I would advise people to stay for at least two months because there is so much to explore. The VACorps activities were good and enjoyed some of them. The aspects of VACorps program that I am most grateful for are the comfort you get from day one. Everyone is friendly and they make you feel like you are right at home. Also, I enjoyed the other interns you meet and the trips you get to go on with them where you get the chance to interact more.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My tips are that be prepared to work with a population that may be different or difficult for some, have to be passionate and show that you care to be there, and be prepared to learn good amounts of information.
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Oliver
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My quick business internship with VACorps

I chose to come to Cape Town because I study an internationally focused study and wanted to experience first hand how business' functioned in an emerging economy like South Africa. The appeal of Cape Town specifically was a combination of the beautiful nature and the massive cultural diversity. Luckily, the internship site I was placed at provided many opportunities to increase my understanding of South African business and politics, not only through the projects I was assigned to but also through interesting conversations with my co-workers.

I improved my understanding of South African business and got to experience different several aspects of it through my work at my internship site, by not only working in the office but also by being invited to different events, which I really appreciated. In relation to just the projects I worked on, I particularly enjoyed projects where it was a lot of trial and error because I learned the most from them.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
It is a small team with many projects, people are friendly and welcoming but at the same time busy, so it is important to be self-motivated and not be afraid to ask for work or find it yourself.
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Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Your experience is what you make it!

I chose to intern abroad as I wanted to further my education/ gain work experience in the travel industry. I'd been convinced by South African friends that Cape Town would be the perfect place for me and my love of adventure! My favourite thing about interning abroad was the opportunity to try something new in a stress free environment - I could join a professional team, learn about the industry and contribute my knowledge too. I learnt a lot about myself, my personal motivations and also my strengths and weaknesses - these are things I can definitely take into consideration when deciding my future career path.
I really enjoyed living in Cape Town. There is no shortage of things to do and places to see. Virtually everything is on our doorstep and very affordable too!
I stayed for just over three months, giving me the perfect opportunity to learn about the place, the mix of cultures and to see how locals go about their daily lives. I'd advise people to come here for at least two months in order to experience Cape Town properly. There are so many galleries, museums, foods to try, markets to visit and hikes as well as many other outdoor pursuits!
For future interns, I'd advise them to come with an open mind and a desire to do all that they can in their time here, Your experience is what you make it!
I enjoyed the weekly activities. It was nice to meet other interns and every week I'd meet new people from different parts of the world.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I'd advise them to come with an open mind and a desire to do all that they can in their time here, Your experience is what you make it!
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Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I came to Cape Town to challenge myself

I came to Cape Town to challenge myself, to learn about culture and politics outside of the US, gain new work experience, celebrate life, and adventure! I've been reconnected with my passion for women's right issues and with my risk taking and adventurous spirit. I've really enjoyed connecting with so many different kinds of people from all over the world and trying and seeing so many new things. I've really enjoyed hiking mostly on my own, paragliding, and sea kayaking -- and love taking in the stunning natural landscape of Cape Town, All the delicious food from all over the world, and South African wine tasting has also been delightful. Also a pleasure to meet and spend time with other VACorps interns, navigating their own adventures here.

I loved getting to meet and support the women at the domestic violence shelter where I was interning - and find differences and connections to their stories of women i've worked with in the US. The shelter has been faced with financial difficulties in my time there, and I was able to learn quit a bit about South Africa's social service funding structure. I was also interested in the organization's management and response to this challenge, which gave me additional perspective on social services work in different social and historical contexts.

My stay in Capetown will be 10 weeks, which feels about the perfect amount of time for an experience like this. I was able to see and explore many things inside and outside of Capetown, foster beautiful friendships, and get a taste of social service work in an international context. Honestly, I wish there had been more coordination with my internship site around what skills I had to offer them so we could have initiated a project for me earlier on in the experience. Similarly, my site could use some support identifying their organizational needs from interns, and committing institutional support of the intern projects. All told it took about 3 weeks for me to get a sense of how the organization functioned and discuss with the staff what I had to offer - and even still my work 1:1 counseling and group session work was not able to be offered on a regular basis due to a lack of organization of the women's time on the part of the shelter. Every day I arrived - I had no idea what I would be doing. While this is an experience in and of itself - and I'm able to take initiative and be flexible in many environments - I found this at least emotionally taxing and at most re-traumatizing, for both interns and women, who were operating in an environment that lacked transparent communication, whose daily schedule is unpredictable and reactionary, which created an atmosphere of suspicion and hyper individualism (ie. every woman for herself). While this in many ways can be seen as reflection of the post-colonial context, I had the opportunity to visit another domestic violence shelter, and conversed with other interns about their sites - narratives which did not reflect the above experience - but one of collaboration and appreciation. I offer caution placing interns at this site without a good deal more work prepping both with the site and the particular intern around the needs and capacities of both parties.

I appreciated the VACorps orientation week and Friday excursions the most as some lightly structured activities in which to connect with others and explore what this area has to offer. I'm grateful for VACs support especially in the beginning of the experience - having people to connect with and support getting information on the logistics of living life here - paying for electricity at the grocery store, the difference between data and airtime, different forms of public transport etc. I've also appreciated the accessibility of program staff to answer questions and support connecting with an opportunity to visit another domestic violence shelter while I am here - which offered a meaningful dimension to my internship experience.

If I could go back in time I would tell myself to bring mainly "athleisure" clothes - both for hiking etc, but also exploring all over the city and beyond - you really just need to be comfortable. I did bring my hiking shoes and was really glad i did - hiking trails here are pretty rugged, and sneakers alone do not feel sufficient.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come to the internship the first week with a project you have to offer. You will need to run your project 100% independently. Still, ask shelter staff for schedule of when/how you can implement this project consistently (when you will run groups, have 1:1 sessions, post to Ihata social media etc) - get a commitment from the organization to support your project - i.e access to physical space to meet, expectations/allowance for shelter client's schedule to attend groups etc.
Ask shelter staff for a supervisor and weekly supervision/ check in meetings
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Jessie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best decision of my life!!!

I have no idea why I initially chose Cape Town as a place to live for the past several months but it was the best decision I've ever made. The second best thing to happen was working at a refugee center in Cape Town. Leaving today was sad and really hard because the people at the center have become family to me. I have created an entirely new family here between my coworkers, VACorps staff, and amazing friends-- both local and international-- and it makes leaving Cape Town one of the hardest things I have ever done and I am not ready to go. Trust me, if I didn't have to go back to school for my senior year I would take a semester off and stay even longer.

Enjoy every minute of your program experience. It is an internship unlike anything you could ever have and my coworkers became my family. Saying goodbye today was full of laughter and happy tears. Make relationships with the refugees, they are amazing people! Through this internship, I learned that my next step in life is to continue my studies but abroad rather than staying in the United States. I also learned that I forever want to work in an NGO and/or with refugees.

What would you improve about this program?
I think VACorps needs to do a better job of advertising the Mozambique & Kruger trip. All participants should consider going on this option trip because it was the best trip of my life!
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Mirriro
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Life changing Experience

This experience has been very challenging and amazing all at the same time, I would definitely do this again it was a life-changing experience. I learned a lot about myself and the South African culture, being an African myself, I learned a lot at my internship and I will continue to pursue such opportunities in life.

I have made some lifetime friendships with staff and interns I will forever be grateful all thanks to VAC.

For future interns, enjoy every minute of your time here, as it goes by so quickly. Make sure to do all the activities!

What would you improve about this program?
For it to include the prices together with the accommodation so that there are not a lot of different payments. I would appreciate if VAC informed us what to expect financially so that students are aware of the amount of money they have to bring.
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Keira
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The perfect place for a human rights internship

Cape Town is the perfect place for a human rights internship, and working out in the cape flats was very eye-opening. I couldn’t have picked a better location for an internship and I’ll definitely be coming back as I’ve fallen in love with Africa. Working with at my internship site was extremely rewarding seeing the struggles of abuse these women go through and being able to work directly with them and have a real impact was amazing. I’m going to miss not being able to go to the markets every weekend or just take an Uber to a vineyard and do wine tastings all day long with my friends. I stayed for 6 weeks and this was the perfect amount of time, I got everything done I wanted to including shark cage diving, paragliding, all the markets, Stellenbosch wine tours, surfing, hiking, and the garden route. The weekly vac activities were so much fun and the vac staff is great - especially Kholi and Kuselwa! I’m definitely most grateful to vac for pairing me with my internship site as being able to work with Kelly’s domestic violence pilot program out in the cape flats and working directly with SAPS in Bishop Lavis has been groundbreaking and rewarding work.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready to go with the flow, you won’t always have to go out to Bishop Lavis and on the days when you don’t, you have to be independent and find things to do if you aren’t working. Also just be switched on, working out in the cape flats is amazing because you get to see a different side to Cape Town but you need to be aware of safety in going out there and also being conscious of the different cultural aspects in each community. The work that you do is extremely rewarding and you can see the real impact your having but you get out what you put in.
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Zena
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Extended my stay cause I didn't want to leave!

Originally I chose Cape Town because I wanted to do something different from the rest of my friends who intern in their hometown back in the US. I enjoyed the fact that the VACorps Application process wasn't a lengthy, nerve racking , application. It was easy to do. I enjoyed all the information I was sent and provided with by the VACorps team prior to my arrival. It made me super excited to come to Cape Town! The day I arrived in South Africa I was warmly welcomed by a member of the VACorps staff at the arrival gate in the airport. I was a bit scared honestly because SA is an unfamiliar place and I came with no friends or family, however the Orientation week that VACorps provides helped calm my nerves - I enjoyed the township tour on the Red Bus tour during orientation week. I also really enjoyed the support and love we all got from the VACorps staff members. It really helped me to feel better and less lonely/homesick.

I was terrified to start my internship as I had no idea what to expect! However I made so many friends and built many relationships that I know will last a long time. The people at my internship site were so welcoming. I'm gonna miss their jokes and the atmosphere so much. As time went by I didn't want to leave, so much so that I even extended my stay for a few extra days!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice for anyone thinking of interning with VAC is to just do it!. If possible even try and plan to stay a long time (at least 3 months). Don't be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone. Don't be intimidated or scared because of language barriers or cultural difference. Break out of your comfort zone and remember how great of an opportunity this is. Through my internship abroad experience I was able to work on being less shy and became far more outgoing.
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Candy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Perfect for Young Professionals

Cape Town is the perfect place to work as a young professional! I deeply enjoyed getting to know the people and culture of the city; it's forever dynamic and exciting. I've learned to step out of my comfort zone and I greatly appreciate the kindness and generosity of the locals. I interned as a reporter at GroundUp News and they wasted no time in giving me a taste of journalism in South Africa. I will miss the support of the GroundUp newsroom as well as the expertise and guidance from my co-workers. I really had to push myself to learn quickly about current affairs in order to write and report. I worked on stories mainly by myself and I had to be very self-reliant. My tips to future interns would be to feel comfortable doing a lot of things independently.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
At my internship site, there are not a lot of shadowing opportunities and the adjustment period to the work is pretty much non-existent.

Location

Location:
Cape Town
Currency:
South African Rand
Weather:
Jan-Mar
81 F / 57 F
Apr-Jun
68 F / 46 F
Jul-Sep
66 F / 45 F
Oct-Dec
77 F / 52 F
Airports:
Cape Town International Airport
( CPT )

Cape Town is a port city, the legislative capital of South Africa, the most southern city in all of Africa, and referred to as the "Mother City". It is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa.

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About VACorps

The VACorps internship program creates tailored 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 --...